What is the genre of "Dutchman"?

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"Dutchman," written by Amiri Baraka, can be considered to fall into many different genres based upon different aspects by which one could focus upon.

The first main category which the text falls into is literature. Literature is defined by a piece of prose or verse. The next subcategory which the text falls into is drama. The text is a play. All plays are, therefore, considered dramas. A drama is simply another name for a play.

The first subcategories of dramas are either tragedies or comedies. Here is where "Dutchman" can become confusing regarding its genre. Some may look at the play as being one which depicts a tragedy. The play can be considered a tragedy because of the violent and deathly acts of the characters Clay and Lula.

Others may justify the play as a comedy given the ironic actions of Lula as she brushes off her stabbing of Clay to begin her seductress behaviors again at the end of the play. (This is a stretch though--most people would consider the play a tragedy.)

Another level of the comedy includes comedy of manners, sentimental comedies, satirical comedies, and burlesque comedies. If one were to look at "Dutchman" as a comedy, they could break it down even further into a comedy of manners. A comedy of manners is characterized by stock characters (Lula as a white upper-class seductress and Clay as an African American male with attitude) and the problems related to social class.


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