Dickens’ death was an absolute sensation. I mean, he potentially died from the stress of reenacting a violent death scene! Thinking about his death at the end of this course, I have also been thinking to the extents other artists go to in order to pursue their crafts. Specifically, thinking about his absorption in his work brought to mind ‘method’ actors, who alter their behaviors to fit those of the character they are portraying. They lose weight, alter their appearance, change their behavioral patterns and lifestyle, all to understand a character better so that they might appear to have more depth and dedication on screen.
Dickens in this sense, seems to me to have been a method writer of sorts. He acted out his characters and scenes, for what reason no one can actually know, but it definitely altered his understanding of his characters and possibly himself. I’m curious to know what Dickens’ intention was for these scenes he performed. Was he trying to get inside his own characterization? Or was he trying to affirm that his characters were believable and human? Lots of people think of method acting as extreme and sometimes dangerous, and that’s exactly what Charles’ Dickens performances were. Most people, and as we discussed in class, lots of the trusted people around him, thought that his performances of Nancy’s murder violent and bad for his health. We probably can’t know if these performances actually are the reason for his death, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they were.