Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2015

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in English




Fred Robinson


This paper seeks to understand why visionary elements are sometimes implemented in otherwise realist works of theatre. Beginning with the father of realism, Henrik Ibsen, and discussing some of the social and domestic conventions present in his work, the paper then moves through an analysis of visionary elements, as they have been implemented in the following works: August Wilson's The Piano Lesson (1987) and Two Trains Running (1990), Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (1949), and Elizabeth Egloff's The Swan (1993). In doing so, the paper investigates how visionary elements can be effective in enhancing realist themes such as entrapment, escape, and the impact of the past on the present, while also commenting on the characteristics of realism itself.