What is the Principle of Realism?

Alex Williams
11 Min Read

This world is a world of wisdom. It’s full of different people with different beliefs and perspectives. Things like idealism, realism, socialism, etc are often heard and discussed in society. You also see their representation in artwork, literature, drama, TV, Films, and even politics. You live amidst such ideologies all around but have you ever tried understanding their crux and questioned what is realism and its characteristics? Or what is the principle of realism? If yes, then you are at the perfect place to get all your answers.

1. What is Realism and its Characteristics?

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Mostly realism is associated with art. It’s an art movement in human history where the artists took a profound shift in how art was conceptualized, created, and defined. In mid-19th century France, this social and stylistic movement consciously started wherein artists rejected the approach of the Romantic period. The Romantic period artworks glorified heroic figures and nature, using only mythological as well as Biblical figures to elevate the idea of humanity. Must read What are the Characteristics of Ancient Art?

On the other hand, Realism artists were totally opposed to the ideas of the Romantic period. They began to paint human subjects as realistically as possible. They drew human sufferings, imperfections, and flaws. This movement grew immensely because of the 1848 Revolution in France where people’s right to work and workers’ rights were established. In this way, an aesthetic movement also became a political movement. Gustave Courbet was among the first painters to use Realism. His paintings like Burial at Ornans (1849) and the Stone Breakers (1849) are great examples of realism art. Now let’s move forward and look at the characteristics of realism artwork:

  • It focuses on showing a subject as it is.
  • It portrays mundane and everyday experiences as they are in real life.
  • It focuses on natural and plausible settings.
  • It rejects romantic ideals.
  • Character development.

2. What is the Principle of Realism?

Since you have acquired important knowledge about what is realism and its characteristics, you are now ready to further learn what is the principle of realism. Realism is a perspective through which we perceive realities and these are the fundamental principles of realism:

  • The idealists believe that the reality in the world cannot be forsaken. They disprove the theory of God being true in the world of falsehood.
  • The realists disapprove of idealists and unreal theories as these theories have no relation with the present life. On the contrary, realists believe in the human being’s greatness in his present life. They believe that life’s truth and the aim is to develop from the present unsystematic life.
  • Realists believe that ideologies like philosophy and idealism are not useful factors in life.
  • Realists believe that knowledge is real and can be assimilated by human beings.

3. Who is the Proponent of Realism?

After learning what is the principle of realism, let’s turn your focus on learning about the proponents of realism. Realism is a belief associated with the study of the world we live in and is different from philosophical ideas and spiritual things. Realism opposes imaginary or fictitious things or events and it is generally believed that Aristotle is the father or proponent of Realism.

He is called so because of his separation from the philosophical teachings of Plato. He believed that reality exists in the sensible world and that you can gain this reality through the sense of observation and perception. Other important realism figures are John Locke, Francis Bacon, Milton, Rabelais, Comenius, and Bertrand Russell. (See What is the One Factor that led to the Emergence of Romanticism?)

4. What is Realism in Educational Philosophy?

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What is the principle of realism in philosophy? According to realists, the world is objective and the school’s job is to teach students about the world. They believe good can be found in the laws of nature and the order of the physical world. Truth is the true resemblance of observation and they believe in observable facts. According to them, educational aims are specific to each individual’s perspective.

The aim of education should be teaching present practical life and truth rather than beauty. They believed in teaching the students basic, essential knowledge with no subjective opinions added. The teachers are simply guides who introduce the real world to the children. According to realism, children should be given due regard while planning their education and should have ample freedom in life and decisions in life. (See Why is Philosophy important Today?)

5. What are 7 Characteristics of Realism?

Since we have already learned about the important characteristics and what is the principle of realism artworks earlier, its now time to explain what are 7 characteristics of realism literature:

  • Transparent Language: Realistic literature starts with transparent and simple language and not fancy and unrealistic phrases. They are about the stories of ordinary people.
  • Verisimilitude: Realistic literature creates stories that seem true and real, wanting you to believe that real life is unfolding on a page. Realistic writers go out of their way to get their facts straight.
  • Omniscient narrators: The narrators in realistic literature are like superheroes who know everything. They can be describing one character and then jump on to the other. But not every realistic story used omniscient narrators; some used first-person narrators as well.
  • Quotidian: Realistic writers don’t write about larger-than-life heroes or setting they write about regular people in a regular setting with regular routines. The daily stuff is the crux of realistic work.
  • Characters: Realistic writers describe, analyze, and dramatize character personalities. They write the physiological reality of individual characters.
  • Social Critique: The realistic literature work is all about critiquing the political as well as social conditions of the world. Authors like Charles Dicken and Leo Tolstoy were among such realistic authors who critiqued social and economical inequalities through their novels.
  • Class: Realistic work emphasizes society and class in general.

6. What are the Main Characteristics and Themes of Realism?

As you know what are 7 characteristics of realism are, let’s learn about the characteristics and themes of realism. Though there are a lot of themes and characteristics of realism here only the main ones will be discussed.

  • Has a realistic setting.
  • Focuses on detailed everyday life occurrences.
  • Focuses on everyday people, mostly middle and lower-class people.
  • Has a plausible plot.
  • Has characters with complex motives and behaviors just like real-life people.
  • Has a spotlight on the characters’ ethical decisions. 

7. What are the Characteristics of Realism and Naturalism?

The characteristics of realism include having realistic settings with real people as characters. These characters have complex emotions and motives. Realism focuses on representing the mundane life more than the mythical life. On the other hand, naturalism is a type of realism. It was beloved as Romanticism’s counter-movement. It shows how one’s character is affected by their social condition and environment and is highly focused on the poor and the working class. Its main characteristics are:

  • It represents modern society in a detailed way.
  • It often features low-class characters in an urban setting.
  • Realism gives the opportunity for people to solve problems, while naturalism shows people are bound by social and economic problems.
  • Naturalism is comparatively more extreme.

8. What are the Characteristics of Realism in Drama?

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The characteristics of realism in drama are:

  • Realistic dramas represent modern life in terms of themes, costumes, scenery, and set pieces.
  • They focus on real life and have believable dialogues plus everyday common settings.
  • They emphasize tough decisions and behavior.
  • They are easily relatable to the audience. 

9. What are the Characteristics of Idealism?

Now that you have read what is the principle of realism and what are the characteristics of realism in drama, let’s know about the characteristics of idealism. The characteristics are as follows:

  • It believes in the universal mind.
  • It regards man as a spiritual being.
  • It considers the world of ideas and values more important than the world of matter.
  • It believes that real knowledge is perceived in the mind.
  • It emphasizes personality development.
  • Its stresses the fact of unity in diversity.

10. What is Difference Between Idealism and Realism?

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The primary difference between idealism and realism is that idealism sees things being shaped by our ideas and thoughts whereas realism takes the actual view of the situation. Must read What is Ideal Self and Real Self?

11. What are Two Characteristics of the Realistic Novel?

What is the principle of realism in a novel? The two characteristics of a realistic novel are:

  • It takes place in the present or recent past.
  • It has believable characters. They live in a setting that could be or is real.

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