Drama is one of the three genres of literature. It is defined as a work of art acted on the stage before an audience. We can also define drama as the recreation of life on the stage. A Greek philosopher called Aristotle also defines drama as “imitated human action”. This definition implies that what is acted on stage as drama, copies actual life situations. Play is often mistaken for drama. A play cannot be termed a drama until it is produced on stage before an audience. A play is therefore defined as a piece of writing designed for the stage. Professor J.M. Manly listed three essential elements in drama. They are:
[*]A Story (b) Told in action (c) By actors who impersonate the characters of the story.
We appreciate the story, the plot and the themes of a drama through the actions and conversations of the characters.
TYPES OF DRAMA
Comedy: It is a kind of drama which amuses and ends happily. It strives to provoke laughter e.g. The Tempest, written by William Shakespeare.
Comedy of manners: It ridicules people who violate the social tradition and order of the society. Every society at any given time, has laid down pattern of behaviour that people have to abide to. Comedy of manners deals with the traditions, relations and intrigues of people in a given society. Examples
(a) Love’s Labour’s Last and (b) Much Ado About Nothing, both by William Shakespeare.
Romantic Comedy: It is a kind of comedy which deals with love affairs that involve a beautiful and idealized central female character who is sometimes disguised as a man. This love affair is usually rough but all difficulties are overcome in the end and it ends happily. It was practiced by Shakespeare and some of his contemporaries during Elizabethan’s period. Examples:
Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare.
Satiric Comedy: A comedy that ridicules philosophical doctrines or political policies, or attacks the disorder of society by ridiculing people who violate the standards of manners or morals.
Tragedy: It is a form of drama which end is usually sad. The leading character or the character we admire most in a tragedy ends tragically, sorrowfully, or gets involved in a situation that arouses sympathy. According to Aristotle, the purpose of tragedy is to arouse feelings of pity and fear, as a result, produces in the audience a catharsis.
Modern tragedy is derived from Greek and medieval tragedy. The Greek tragedy originated from rituals of life and death. Medieval tragedy on the other hand, originated from the representation of the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Examples of Tragedy1. The gods are not to Blame, Ola Rotimi
2. Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
3. Macbeth, William Shakespeare
4. Hamlet, William Shakespeare
5. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare.
Features of Tragedy
1. A protagonist or hero who commands respect in the society
2. A hero who undertakes an action of a certain size or seriousness
3. Through the action of the protagonist he falls into trouble or faced a physical suffering.
Tragic-Comedy: This is a drama/play which have both qualities of a tragedy or comedy. It may begin with a tragic plot but ends happily. Its action appears to be leading to a catastrophe until an unexpected turn of events, usually in the form of abrupt happy end changes everything.
Farce: A humorous play in which the characters make silly mistakes meant to make people laugh. Its action and events deviate from reality.
Melodrama: A play that is full of exciting sensational actions or events and in which the characters and emotions appear too exaggerated to be real.