By Helen & Jenny
It is an early 20th century movement in fine arts and literature. The movement emphasizes the expression of inner experience rather than solely realistic portrayal and tries to depict not objective reality but the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in the artists themselves. Also, it can be thought as a reaction against conventional Realism and Naturalism, but it extends the aims and methods of Impressionism.
At that time, a wide rage of those modern artists were typical of the qualities of highly subjective, personal, spontaneous self-expression. Through distortion, exaggeration, primitivism and fantasy did they accomplish their aim. They used to reassemble formal elements by vivid, discordant, violent or dynamic application. That means those artists replaced the visual objects reality with their own image of this object; however, they felt that as an accurate representation of its real meaning. They no linger search harmony and forms (I think that is also why in “Death of A Salesman" Willy's presence, past and illusion can exist at the same time.), instead, they tried to achieve expression intensity which according to the aesthetic point of view, personal idea, and human critics. So, the objective reality is distorted to symbolize the mental condition of the artists.
The objective of expressionism in literature, notably in the novel and
the drama, are similar to those in art. Expressionist drama gave rise to
a new approach to staging, scene design, and directing. The object was
to create a totally unified stage picture that would increase the emotional
impact of the production on the audience. This sort of drama incorporated
unrealistic expressive lighting, over-acting, abrupt dialogue and convoluted
temporal sequencing to create a dark and distorting atmosphere for the
audience to be a part of.