By Muhammad Faseeh ul Hassan

Definition

Drama is a specific mode of fiction, presented through dialogue and performance on stage rather than narration.  “Drama” is a Greek term which means “action”. It is one of the Literary genre which is the imitation of some action. It is usually performed in theatre, on radio or television. The writer of the drama is called as “Dramatist” or “Playwright”.

In simple, a drama is a composition in verse or prose presenting a story in pantomime or dialogue. It contains strife of characters, especially the ones who act before crowd on the stage.

Types of Drama

With respect to its types, Drama has been divided into four major types which are;

  • Tragedy
  • Comedy
  • Tragicomedy
  • Melodrama
  • Musical Drama

It is an extremely difficult thing to put on the stage anything which runs contrary to the opinion of a large body of people.

-GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Tragedy  also called as the “Goat Song”. The technical definition of tragedy according to Aristotle states that ” It is the imitation of an action, serious, complete and of a certain magnitude. In a language beautified in different parts with different kind of embellishments, through action and not narration and through scenes of pity and fear bringing about the catharsis of these emotions”.

Tragic dramas utilize darker subjects, for example, disaster, agony and death. Protagonists often have a Hamartia (tragic flaw) which leads them to their downfall. The conclusion of tragic dramas is dreadful and leaves a message for rest of the society.

Also Read: Tragedy detailed article.

Comedy  is a play characterized by its humorous or satirical tone and its depiction of amusing people or incidents, in which the characters ultimately triumph over adversity. The conclusion of the comedy is jovial and cheerful. 

Also Read: Comedy detailed article.

 Tragicomedy is a type of drama that blends aspects of both tragic and comic forms. Frequently observed in dramatic literature, the term can portray either a lamentable play which contains enough comic components to help the overall mood  or a genuine  play with a happy ending.

Melodrama is a subtype of drama which is typically sensational and designed to appeal strongly to the emotions, takes precedence over detailed characterization. Melodramas normally focus on exchange, which is frequently pompous or extremely sentimental, instead of action.

Also Read: Melodrama detailed article.

Musical Drama is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger and are communicated through words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole.

Examples Of Drama

Example #1 Hamlet By William Shakespeare (Tragedy)

The play Hamlet by Shakespeare is one of the most famous tragic play in English literature.  The major theme of this play is death. The death of the King Hamlet  sets off the events in the play one after another. When the Prince Hamlet finds out about the updates on his dad’s demise, he returns to Denmark. He is shocked at the early remarriage of his mother with his uncle. He is visited by the ghost of the king and informs him that the king is murdered by his uncle, Claudius. But tragically, as the plots develops forward, Hamlet the revenger has become the revenged, hunter becomes the hunted. The whole play focuses on the theme of death in one way or another. 

Example #2 Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (Comedy)

Much Ado About Nothing  is the most as often performed Shakespearian comedy  in present day times. The characters’ compact , brilliant way of talking speaks to the ideal that Renaissance subjects made progress toward in their social collaborations. The play pokes fun at the fanciful language of love that courtiers used. When Claudio falls in love, he tries to be the perfect courtier by using intricate language. As Benedick takes note of: “His words are a fantastical feast, just so numerous peculiar dishes”. Love among Benedick and Beatrice is entertaining, as at first their interchanges are very sparky, and they scorn one another. However, at the end they make up, and start loving one another.

Example#3 The Faithful Shepherdess By John Fletcher (Tragicomedy)

The Faithful Shepherdess is a Jacobean time stage play, the work that introduced the playwriting vocation of John Fletcher. The play’s eponymous courageous woman is Clorin, a virgin shepherdess who esteems modesty and commitment most importantly. A gifted healer, Clorin has decided to live in isolation close to the grave of her first love. Throughout the play, different couples will wind up tossed into erotic turmoil, and it is Clorin who heals them and encourages their compromise.

Function of Drama

 The roles of drama ranges from instructive, educative, informative, entertaining, therapeutic, social and cultural to religious and political experiences.

  • It enables us to learn about ourselves, our society and about life in general.
  • It teaches us to reflect on life’s actions and experiences.
  • It exposes life’s actions and experiences through performances on stage.
  • It encourages us to choose the good and discard the bad aspects of life.
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