What Fourth Wall?
The Greeks didn’t pay any attention to a division between actor and audience. When a playwright wanted to address the audience, they just had the chorus talk to the theater. It worked fine for quite a while.
Shakespeare’s characters didn’t hesitate to turn to the audience for a little chat. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puck slyly addresses the theater:
Puck [image credit: Shakespeare38 Captured]
“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
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