Suspension of Disbelief

From Google Definitions:

Suspend disbelief: temporarily allow oneself to believe something that isn’t true, especially in order to enjoy a work of fiction.

The capacity to accept the fantastical or implausible elements of a work of fiction while overlooking their inherent flaws is known as “suspension of disbelief.” In order to enjoy a narrative, the reader or audience must temporarily put their skepticism aside. It entails accepting the tale on its own terms and trusting the author to explain everything in the end.

One may argue that it is necessary for a full understanding of works of drama and fiction. It’s not easy to lose yourself in a book if you can’t put your skepticism aside and believe in the story’s made-up settings, characters, and events. This is done so that people may appreciate literary and dramatic works that deal with unusual subjects and issues.

But how can we take these stories seriously if the events depicted in them do not occur in reality? The genre will determine how far a story’s credibility can be pushed. Understanding the artist’s message necessitates recognizing that what you’re seeing is fictitious. However, the story must remain true to its central theme, no matter how fantastical it may seem.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the phrase “suspension of disbelief” in 1817. Aristotle, however, was the first to consider this concept in light of established theatrical conventions. Today, the audience is asked to put aside their skepticism and believe everything they see onstage so they might find catharsis in the performance.

Further Reading

Accepting the Unbelievable by Frank Moone, Medium

“Willing Suspension of Disbelief”: When it Works, When it Fails by Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fans Society Blog

Six Fervently-Held Hypotheses Regarding “Willing Suspension of Disbelief” by John H. Stevens, SF Signal

Why Stories Are Like Taking Drugs by Jonathan Gottschall, Literary Hub

Leave a Reply