What is drama?• Drama is a type of literature telling a story, which is intended to be performed to an audience on the stage.• Generally, while drama is the printed text of a play, the word theatre often refers to the actual production of the text on the stage. Theatre thus involves action taking place on the stage, the lighting, the scenery, the accompanying music, the costumes, the atmosphere, and so on.
Elements of drama Plot: The events in a play. Setting: The time and place of a literary work. Characters: People or creatures in a play. Dialogue: Conversation in a play. Theme: The central thought of a play; the idea or ideas with which a play deals. Scenery: The various elements that are used to create a particular visual setting for a play.
Types of drama Tragedy: In the Greek sense, a play that ends with the death of at least one of the main characters. In modern usage, it refers to a play that doesn’t have a happy ending. Comedy: In the Greek sense, it is a play that doesn’t end in death. In modern usage, it refers to a play that ends happily or that is humorous. Tragicomedy: a play in which serious and comic elements are mixed.
Origins and a Brief History of DramaDrama is generally thought to have started in Greecebetween 600 and 200 BC, although some critics traceit to Egyptian religious rites of coronation.Greek Drama:In Greece, dramatic performances were associatedwith religious festivals. The Greeks produceddifferent types of drama, mainly tragedy and comedy.Famous Greek tragedians includeAeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The best writerofcomedy was Aristophanes. Greek theatre mask
Roman Drama:The Romans inherited the drama traditions fromthe Greeks. The expansion of the Roman Empirehelped spread drama to many places in Europeand the Mediterranean world. Seneca is themost important Roman tragedian.
A Roman Theatre
Medieval Drama:The Middle Ages start with the fall of the Roman Empire.Most of Classical learning was lost in medieval times. TheMiddle Ages were dominated by religion and the study oftheological matters. The Christian doctrine and Christianvalues were the measure of everything. During the MiddleAges, drama was looked down upon as evil and a means ofcorruption. However, faced with the need to spread theword of God to the illiterate masses, the Church came todevise some form of dramatic performance to help inteaching Christian beliefs and biblical stories. in which thecharacters personify moral qualities (such as charity or vice)or abstractions (as death or youth) and in which morallessons are taught. The three main types of medieval drama are mysteryplays, about Bible stories, miracle plays about the lives ofsaints and the miracles they performed, and moralityplays, in which the characters personify moral qualities (suchas charity or vice) or abstractions (as death or youth) and inwhich moral lessons are taught.
The Renaissance: The Renaissance is the period that followed theMiddle Ages. It started in Italy in the fourteenth centuryand spread to other parts of Europe. The wordRenaissance is a French word which means rebirth. TheRenaissance period witnessed a new interest in learningand discovery of the natural world. The works of theGreek and Roman writers were rediscovered. Theinvention of the printing press helped make theproduction of books easier and cheaper, hence, availableto more people. Humanism: The humanist movement stressed the role of man and reason in understanding the world and rejected the predominance of religious thinking.
Renaissance Drama During the Renaissance, the works of Greek andRoman dramatists were rediscovered and imitated.Plays were no longer restricted to religious themes.This happened first in Italy and spread then to otherparts of Europe. In England, drama flourished during the reign ofQueen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), who was a patron ofliterature and the arts. Theatres were built in Londonand people attended plays in large numbers. Themost important dramatists were William Shakespeareand Christopher Marlowe.
The Globe Theatre in London
Christopher MarloweWilliam Shakespeare
Dramatic Terms• Playwright: The writer of plays (dramatist)• Stage directions: Instructions written in the script of a play, describing the setting and indicating actions and movements of the actors.• Soliloquy (Monologue): A speech in a play in which a character, usually alone on the stage, talks to himself or herself so that the audience knows their thoughts.• Protagonist: The main character in a play.• Antagonist: The character opposing the main character.• Tragic hero: A character of high repute, who, because of a tragic flaw and fate, suffers a fall from glory into suffering.• Tragic flaw: A weakness or limitation of character, resulting in the fall of the tragic hero.
• Dramatis Personae: "People of Drama" in Latin; a list of the characters in a play, usually found on the first page of the script.• Blank Verse: Unrhymed iambic pentameter verse. It is the preeminent dramatic verse English (as in the plays of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare).• Chorus: The course in Greek drama is a group of actors who speak or sing together, commenting on the action. In Elizabethan drama, the course consisted of one actor who recites the prologue and epilogue to a play and sometimes comments on the action (As in Doctor Faustus).• Comic Relief: Humorous episodes in a play that is mainly tragic.