What is drama?

Drama is a work of prose or verse intended for presentation as a stage performance and works of fiction that are characterized as serious or emotional. 

Drama

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on February 25, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 258

Drama - a composition in prose or verse presenting, in pantomime and dialogue, a narrative involving conflict and usually designed for presentation on a stage. Aristotle called it “imitated human action.” This type of composition needs a theater, actors, and an audience in order to be fully experienced; reading it...

(The entire section contains 258 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Guide to Literary Terms study guide. You'll get access to all of the Guide to Literary Terms content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Introduction
  • Complete Index
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Drama - a composition in prose or verse presenting, in pantomime and dialogue, a narrative involving conflict and usually designed for presentation on a stage. Aristotle called it “imitated human action.” This type of composition needs a theater, actors, and an audience in order to be fully experienced; reading it is not enough. Sometimes, the word is used to mean a serious play.

The word is taken directly from the Greek drama, meaning “a deed or action of the stage.” The Greek word evolved from the Greek term dran, meaning “to do” or “to act.”

Drama arose from religious ceremonies, as opposed to comedy and tragedy’s evolvement from themes in ceremonies such as fertility, life, death. Thespis of Sixth Century B.C. Attica was the first composer and soloist in tragedy. Aeschylus added a second actor to allow conflict and dialogue. Sophocles and Euripides added a third. Medieval drama largely evolved from the rites commemorating birth and the resurrection of Christ. During the Renaissance, we can see the beginning of drama as we know it: a picture of human life revealed in successive changes or events and told in dialogue and action for the entertainment and instruction of an audience. During the mid-Sixteenth Century, England was host to one of the greatest eras of world drama. It was during the Elizabethan/Jacobean Age that Shakespeare wrote his 38 plays.

According to the modern definition, any play (such as Beckett’s Waiting for Godot) may be considered a drama.

see: absurd, antagonist, dialogue, protagonist, satire, tragedy


Explore all literary terms.


Illustration of PDF document

Download Guide to Literary Terms Study Guide

Subscribe Now
Previous

Direct Characterization

Next

Elegy