Life of Actress Eleanora Duse. Term Paper

Total Length: 1033 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

Page 1 of 3

In fact, this was the beginning of what became known as Method Acting, and this form of acting became one of the most popular in the world. Thus, Duse created a new form of acting that still endures long after her death.

Of course, this style of acting did not develop overnight. Writer Sobel continues, "Duse's powerful stage presence may have made her work look like an effortless, natural gift, but as with any great artist, this seeming ease was entirely built on her early years of arduous and at times grueling, unrelenting study of technique and craft" (Sobel). She had to appear more mature and older than her years when she acted as a child, and she continued to develop her techniques throughout her life.

In her personal life, Duse was the long-time lover of Gabriele d'Annunzio, an Italian poet and dramatist, who wrote some of her best parts. Biographer Lee continues, "It was Duse's naturalistic art that inspired d'Annunzio to write for her 'Un sogno d'una Notte d'Estate,' (a Summer Night's Dream), [...] 'La Citta Morta' (the Dead City) and finally, 'Francesca da Rimini,' which no one but Duse and perhaps Sarah Bernhardt could interpret" (Lee). She was also known for other love affairs, and it is rumored that she had affairs with women, as well. All of this helped make her a little risque during her time, but it did not dampen the public's enthusiasm for her work. Another aspect of her career is that she could play just about any role, from light comedy to dark dramatics, and she brought her own individual style and character to each of her roles.
She retired in 1909 when she was 51, but financial problems continued to follow her, and she made a comeback in 1923, when she was 65, and she still astounded audiences with her talent and techniques. In 1924, she was in America performing when she caught pneumonia. She died in Pittsburg, but was buried in Venice, where her career had really taking flight when she was young.

In conclusion, Eleanora Duse was one of the greatest actresses of her time. She could play just about any role, from comedy to tragedy, and some of her best roles were in Shakespeare's works, along with some of the popular dramatists of the time. She invented Method Acting, creating a legacy in the theater that lives on today. She proved that women could command the stage, and become successful performers at a time when many women actresses were seen as cheap or tawdry. She was a great actress and her work influenced a world of actresses and actors, just as the motion picture industry began to blossom.


Beasley, David. Mckee Rankin and the Heyday of the American Theater. Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2002.

Editors. "Eleanora Duse." NNDB. 2008. 14 April 2008.

Lee, William. "The Dead City." 2008. 14 April 2008.

Sobel, Eliezer. "Eleanora Duse." Wild Heart Journal. 2001. 14 April 2008.

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?