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Discuss what elements and qualities make drama unique as a literary form.

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brigaither | Student | (Level 2) Honors

Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:09 AM via web

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Discuss what elements and qualities make drama unique as a literary form.

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noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:27 AM (Answer #1)

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Unlike a novel or an epic poem, drama brings a story or event to life in a way that its audience can literally see, rather than imagine in their minds. Thus, the word "theatre" has the word "see" at its root. Drama allows its audience not just to hear, but to see the story. When reading Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, we have to imagine the characters through the author's words. When watching Sophocles' Oedipus the King, we can see real human beings; we don't have to imagine what their costumes look like, we can see what they are wearing and we can literally see what they are doing. Hence, the word drama has at its root a Greek verb that means "to do." Unlike other literary forms, drama literally shows us people "doing" various actions.

Also, in contrast to a literary form like the novel, dramas have a fairly fixed length. Rarely does a drama last more than three hours and usually they last about 90 to 120 minutes. Novels can be hundreds of pages in length or sometimes fewer than a hundred pages. Aristotle hinted at this difference 2400 years ago in the Poetics when he compared Tragedy [sic] and Epic [sic] poetry:

They differ in that Epic poetry admits but one kind of meter and is narrative in form. They differ, again, in their length: for Tragedy endeavors, as far as possible, to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to exceed this limit, whereas the Epic action has no limits of time. (S. H. Butcher translation)

Additionally, whereas novels contain dialogue, description, and prose writing, drama permits broader variety in its means of expression. Drama can contain dialogue and description, but it can contain spoken dialogue, dialogue in song, poetic passages in a number of different metrical patterns. Drama can also include dance and musical accompaniment. Drama can be seen and heard, literally, through a variety of sounds (e.g., human, instrument).

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amitsingh11582 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 16, 2012 at 7:16 PM (Answer #2)

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Drama is a piece of art or literature which is meant to be performed on the stage.

According to my opinion human mind has been shaped in the form that it can understand and realise the things most influencially after watching it rather than reading or listening.

We may corelate ourselves with the things of drama more easily in comparision to poetry or novel.

for example, we can not remember poem or epic which we had read before 2-3 months but if we watch a movie or watch a drama on stage, we may keep in mind, the characters and few dialogues also more than one years or life long.    

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM (Answer #3)

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The Aristotlean definition of drama is "imitation of an action by language without narrator" as opposed to epic (more than one narrator) and verse (one narrator).  Theatre is "imitation of an action in the form of action".  Drama is sometimes referred to as a "recipe for performance", in that the stage directions are part of the script.

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