Didactics is a term that refers to a particular philosophy in arts and literature that emphasizes the idea that various forms of art and literature should convey information and instruction, as well as pleasure and entertainment.
The word didactic is often used for those literary texts that are overloaded with informative or realistic things and are characterized by the omission of graceful and appealing details. Didactics is therefore becoming a derogatory term referring to the forms of literature that are noticeably boring and learned. However, some literary texts are also entertaining as didactic.
Didacticism in Morality Plays
Moral pieces from medieval Europe were perhaps the best examples of didactic literature. These plays were a type of theatrical performance in which allegorical characters were used to teach the audience a moral lesson. The most common subjects that were presented in moral concepts were what are commonly called "the s even deadly sins": pride, lust, greed, envy, anger, indolence and gluttony. Another issue such games took advantage of was that repentance and redemption were possible for a person even if that person purposely gave in to temptation. Historically, plays the morality were a transitional step between Christian mystery plays and the secular plays of Renaissance theater.
Examples of didactics in literature
Example 1: Pilgrim progress (by John Bunyan)
John Bunyan's pilgrim progress is one of the best examples of didactics in the form of spirituality allegory. The poem describes a religious and spiritual journey of a person on the way to liberation.
The poem describes an ordinary sinner, "Christian", who leaves the city of destruction and travels to the city of heaven for salvation, where God lives. On his way he finds a companion, "Faithful", who helps him on his way into town.
On many occasions many characters - "Hypocrisy", "Apollyon", "Worldly Wiseman" and "Persistent and Lithe" - try to discourage or prevent him from achieving his goal. Eventually he arrives at the heavenly city supported by Hopeful's faith.
The moral or didactic lesson this allegorical poem is intended to convey is that the path to heaven is not easy and full of obstacles. Furthermore, a Christian must be prepared to bear all the costs to achieve his salvation. Besides, a man is full of sin, but that does not prevent him from gaining fame.
Example 2: Essay on Man (by Alexander Pope)
Alexander Pope's Essay on Man is a moral treatise of satirical verse that teaches individuals in an indirect way should by ridiculing society's vices.
"Know yourself, do not assume that God is scanning
The correct study of humanity is man.
A Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Darkly wise and roughly large:
With too much knowledge for the skeptical side,
With too much weakness for the pride of the Stoic,
He hangs in between; to act or rest when in doubt;
If in doubt, regarding yourself as god or beast;
If in doubt, give preference to mind or body;
Born but to die and to be guessed again but to err; he thinks too little or too much; “
The above excerpt is from the first verse of the second book of the poem. It clearly summarizes the humanistic and religious principles of the poem.
Example 3: Animal Farm (By George Orwell)
George Orwell's Animal Farm is an allegory or moral and didactic story in which animals on a farm are used to prevent the fall of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II. To describe and expose the evils of the communist revolution of Russia World War II. Sure, the actions of the various animals on the farm are used to expose the greed and corruption of the revolution. It also includes an illustration of how powerful people can change a society's ideology. One of the basic rules on the farm is:
“All animals are the same, but only a few are more equal than others. “
The animals on the farm represent different parts of the Russian society of the time that occupied Russia after the revolution. For example, "pigs" represent those who became authority after the revolution; "Mr. Jones", the owner of the farm, represents the fallen Tsar Nicholas II; and "boxer," the horse, represents the working class. The didactics in the novel allows Orwell to make his position on the Russian Revolution clear in order to expose its evils. Some critics may argue that didactics can turn literature into a tool for boring instruction, but it definitely gives readers an opportunity to improve their behavior and understand evils that can lead them astray.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw