What Is Didactic?
The most basic definition of didactic is that it is meant to instruct something or to share a lesson. In art and literature, however, didactic refers to didacticism which is a philosophical framework that asserts the importance of conveying instructions and information as literature’s primary goal. Didactic text does not focus on offering recreation and pleasure but in telling an important argument or ideology. On the one hand, something didactic can be dull and simplistic, although on the other hand, it can combine the goals of sharing thoughts and remaining entertaining by responding to the specific tastes of the audience and respecting differences.
Medieval Europe is filled with didactic stories that have strongly moralistic or religious goals and themes. Many of the early plays talk about the evils of deadly sins, such as lust, envy, sloth, and pride. A good example of a didactic piece of literature is Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan which talks about the spiritual journey of a man until he achieves redemption. One of the main points of the poem is that the road to becoming a Godly person is never easy but riddled with difficulties. Subsequently, only true believers with persistent dedication and unwavering faith can achieve the glory of God’s deliverance. While this poem has a beautiful message, it can come as lackluster to some people who dislike overtly didactic texts. They may also prefer stories that have higher entertainment value such as those with jokes or humorous characters and plots.
Many modern didactic literature works combine moral or ethical objectives and amusement. Perhaps a good illustration would be film, 12 Angry Men, directed by Sidney Lumet. Shown in 1957, the story is still very much attention-grabbing and exciting today because it is a courtroom drama. The jury deliberated the case of an 18-year-old boy who was alleged to stab his father. All of the jurors voted guilty on the preliminary hearing apart from Juror 8 who asserted that since the punishment was death, the defendant deserved further deliberation. Some jurors were irritated because they wanted to leave early for different reasons, like a Yankee game, and blatant discrimination against people from poor areas. The film is didactic as it teaches the significance of a jury’s thorough deliberation to arrive at rational and objective decisions. Nevertheless, it is entertaining as it has different characters with diverse personalities and motivations that affect them as jurors. The film shows the possibility of creating didactic works that are far from being boring but contain nuggets of wisdom.
Writers and students may ask the key to writing attention-grabbing, didactic texts particularly if they want to promote specific arguments or ways of thinking and living and here are some tips for them. First, think of the audience and how they are usually entertained. If they are used to sarcasm or dark humor, then this can be the tone of the work. Second, embed the lesson or idea underneath the themes. Perhaps an image that represents the idea can be shown alongside the characters or activities. The more covert the message is, the more deeply it may impact the viewers. Third, always consider how the audience will react and respond beforehand. Not all people are open to different ideas, especially those that contradict what they hold as permanently true. Do not write as if only you know the truth when different realities and truths exist. A didactic story that can make others think, if not change, can be achieved through a text that does not force people about one way of thinking but helps them consider another viewpoint.
Didactic means sharing a lesson, idea, or ideology to the audience. While it can be boring, there are ways of making didactic texts interesting even to those who would disapprove of the underlying message. As authors, you can make your work appealing by considering the audience and not forcing ideas head on. Be gentle with your audience and ensure that they will have a good time consuming your work so they may consider your message at the very least.