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Guru Quote: Lajos Egri Oct 08

The Art of Dramatic Writing“A weak character cannot carry the burden of protracted conflict in a play. He cannot support a play. We are forced, then, to discard such a character as a protagonist. There is no sport if there is no competition; there is no play if there is no conflict. Without counterpoint there is no harmony. The dramatist needs not only characters who are willing to put up a fight for their convictions. He needs characters who have the strength, the stamina, to carry this fight to its logical conclusion.

We may start with a weak man who gathers strength as he goes along; we may start with a strong man who weakens through conflict, but even as he weakens he must have the stamina to bear his humiliation.”

Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing

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4 Responses
  1. Scott Michael says:

    Brilliant quote.

  2. Trevor Mayes says:

    Agreed. Egri’s entire book is amazing — especially considering it was written in 1942!

  3. DrWho Fan Club says:

    Trevor,
    HOW would Bruce Willis from Die Hard fit in this quote. How can we get imagination and creativity from books. Lots of guys I know refuse to be true artist or creative. They hide behind their office desk or comfortable job with their pets or wives and make fun of people who create creative characters or dare to live like a true artist.
    Some of the most creative screenwriters in this world are naturally creative, they don’t need books or talk it . They just write it. I wish some these guys around town would realize creativity is gift, and it cannot be taught.

  4. Trevor Mayes says:

    DrWho Fan – There may be a lot of protagonists that one could consider weak, but Officer John McClane from Die Hard is almost certainly not one them. He single-handedly defeated a group of highly trained terrorists — all in bare feet! He exemplifies this quote.

    Everything is teachable. Having natural skill for something just gives you a head start. Here’s a quote from super manager Jewerl Ross that I recently read:

    “No one makes it in this town unless they are willing to do what it takes. Ambition and intelligence are meaningless. Hard work and real skill are what matter.”

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