What is poetic drama? Are ancient Greek dramas, Elizabethan dramas, and Eliot's dramas in verse examples of poetic drama?

Poetic drama, or verse drama, is drama that is written entirely or mainly in verse. For centuries, this was the dominant kind of drama. Ancient Greek drama was written in verse, as was much of Elizabethan drama. Eliot's dramas in verse are also an example of poetic drama.

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Poetic drama or verse drama is drama that is written either completely or mainly in verse. This doesn't mean that the relevant verse has to rhyme; in many cases, they do not. In the works of Shakespeare, for example, there is a lot of blank verse on display, written in...

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Poetic drama or verse drama is drama that is written either completely or mainly in verse. This doesn't mean that the relevant verse has to rhyme; in many cases, they do not. In the works of Shakespeare, for example, there is a lot of blank verse on display, written in iambic pentameter. In Eliot too, blank verse is very much the norm. But the dramas of these two playwrights are written predominantly in verse all the same.

Shakespeare and Eliot are part of a long tradition that goes back many years in Western drama. Indeed, one could say that verse drama has been the norm throughout Western theatrical history rather than the exception. But as dramatic conventions changed, a less self-consciously theatrical language emerged which more closely resembled the actual language spoken by people in their daily lives. As the depiction of ordinary people's lives became more and more common on stage, it was deemed inappropriate to render their words in verse.

Nonetheless, verse drama still forms a large part of the stage repertoire. For the most part, this is due to Shakespeare. But the Bard, and other Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights who wrote verse drama such as Jonson and Fletcher, were merely carrying on a tradition that went back to the very dawn of drama in ancient Greece. Greek tragedy and comedy were written in verse. Great dramatists such as Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides were poets as much as playwrights, and it is no surprise to find Aristotle writing about Greek drama in a book called the Poetics.

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