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The oft-cited theatricality of Adam Smith’s impartial spectator is contentious and rests on a generalized notion of theatre. This essay argues both that Smith, like his predecessors in sentimental moral philosophy, thought of spectatorship theatrically and that Smith’s spectatorship framework is rooted in French neoclassical dramaturgy. Smith’s formulation of sympathy in the Theory of Moral Sentiments bolsters this view, as does the correspondence between Smith’s definition of impartiality and the neoclassical formal isolation of spectators from the interests of protagonists. These facets of spectatorship are the basis of an impersonal mode that prevails in Smith’s social theory of morals.