Guide to Literary Terms

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Are there similarities between a novel and a drama?

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These two forms of literature, the novel and drama, share a number of similarities. We may even argue that there are more similarities than differences in these forms. The most fundamental similarites shared by novels and dramata are the use of character and narrative

Though there are plays and novels that experiment with the boundaries of the form, eschewing many conventions, each will almost always feature multiple characters. The characters in novels and plays will usually be presented as real people with minds and emotions that allow them to make decisions within the context of the novel or play.

This is true even with fantasy novels that may use animals to stand in for people. The characters are real even there, insofar as they are understood to be capable of feeling and thought. They are not, in other words, mere symbols.

The second major similarity shared between novels and drama is the use of narrative. Both of these literary forms are essentially seeking to tell a story. Poetry and non-fiction do not share this element as a definitive trait. Though poetry and non-fiction can be used to tell a story, these forms do not necessitate a story as novels and plays do. 

Additionally, novels and plays are works of fiction, each might draw from a similar foundry of conventions (plot, symbolism, metaphor, irony, etc.) Each form can also be interpreted for theme and meaning in similar ways. 

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