Masks In Noh And Greek Theatre

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The use of masks in theatre, both functionally and symbolically can be dated back to hundreds of decades ago, along with speculations that the earliest masks came from the Neolithic period. While it is yet unknown which civilization first created or developed masks, it is clear that the existence of these masks are not without justifications. The non-theatrical use of the word “mask” is often referred to as the concealing of “something from view”, usually the human face (Oxford Dictionary Online). However, in many different types of theatre, masks do not solely function for the purpose of concealing. The function of masks differs for different forms of theatre, and is dependent on the relevant attributing background factors. Although the functions of masks are different for each art form, each function is vital and in being so marks the importance of masks in the art form itself. Principally, the importance of masks in theatre stems primarily from its functions and purposes.

In this essay, a comparison will be made between the importance of masks of two contrasting art forms: Noh and Greek theatre. While there are antithetical characteristics in both art forms, there are also analogous characteristics when compared. This comparison will examine how the different function of masks in Noh and Greek theatre serves to be of importance to each art form- in other words- examining how the different function and roles of masks in Noh and Greek theatre are what makes the masks

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