Elements of drama are neccesary parts of drama.They include, plot, characters, act, scene, Dialogue, settings, stage, Audience, Catastrophe, Denouncement and comic relief.

Characters: These are the people we read about in a literary work. In a literary work, a writer describing actions or ideas must as well describe the characters affected by the actions or ideas. The major interest of an audience is on the people in a drama. So also our central interest is on the characters in a novel. The author of a literary work makes his comments on society through his characters. A good writer must have complete knowledge of his characters; the way they look, how they talk, e.t.c. There are two identifiable ways of showing characters, namely are, Motivation and Setting.
Motivation: This refers to the reason for a character’s action. The reason for a character’s action must be given. In literature, as in life, characters dictate actions. For example, if Shylock had not insisted on Antonio’s pound of flesh, the play, Merchant of Venice would have been something different. A writer has to ensure that the reasons behind his character’s action are clear and logical.

Setting: It is the place in which a character’s story takes place. The people in literature, like the one who reads about them, do not exist in space. They act and react to one another. They also react to their world. The real geographical location, the period and cultural environment are some of the things which come together to form setting. For example, the setting of Sizwe Bansi is Dead is South Africa and the Apartheid regime. So also the settings of The Joys of Motherhood are Ibusa, Lagos as well as the Colonial period.

 Plot: Every literary work has element of plot. Plot tells what happens to the characters. It is the story-line of a literary work. A plot is created around a series of event that occur within a specific period of time. There are no general rules guiding the order in which the events are arranged. However a good plot has a beginning, middle and an end. That is to say, the plot guides us from a character with problem {somewhere} through a character confronting the problem, {through somewhere} to the character overcoming or being overcome by the problem {to a point.}
E.M. Forster describes plot as “the arrangement of event in cause-effect relationship”. This means a plot tells us what makes something happens (cause) and what happens (effect). If there is no relationship between cause and effect, there will be no conflict, and therefore no plot.

4. Theme: Is the basic idea expressed by a literary work. It is the central idea or observation about life. It builds from the interplay of characters and plot. A theme may state that life is good or not good, or condemn crime or exonerate crimes. It may sanction or warn the reader to live a better life or adopt a new lifestyle. A good story directs the reader to the author’s conclusion.

Stage: A platform usually in theatre, where actors and actresses, dancers perform. A stage is otherwise described as the physical representation of the world of the play.

Audience: A group of people watching a performance of a play on stage. Drama is an audio-visual literary work. The audience sees and hears the dialogue of the actors who translate a play to drama on the stage. The audience serves as the element of measuring the success or failure of the play.

Dialogue: This means conversation between the characters or actors and actresses in a play or drama. Dialogue is also found in other literary works like poetry and prose. It has the following stylistic values:
(a) It advances the action in a given way and is not used as mere ornamentations
(b) It reflects the social position, character and special interest of the speakers. It changes expressions and tone according to the speaker’s nationalities, dialect, occupations and social standards.
(c) Although it is not a word for word record of what was actually said in real life, it gives the impression of naturalness.
(d) It does not only give the interplay of ideas and personalities among the characters speaking, but also provides a conversational give-and-take as opposed to series or remarks of alternating speakers.
(e) It varies in diction, phrasing, and rhythm etc.
Before 1558, the tradition was: nobles and elevated characters speak in Blank verse and high rhetoric while minor characters (underlings) speak in prose firm.

Act: It is a major division in the action of play just as the novel has chapters so also a play is divided into ACTS. This division was introduced by dramatist of the Elizabeth period. These Elizabethan dramatists imitated a Roman playwright, by dividing the actions into five acts. However, during the 1900’s many writers imitated Chekhov by structuring plays in four acts. Whereas in the 1900’s some plays were written in three acts.

Scenes: Sir Edmond Chambers describes scenes as a continuous section of action in an unchanged locality. Simply put, a scene is a logical unit into which an act is divided. In today’s plays, a scene usually consists of units of actions in which there is no change of place or break in the continuity of time.
In constructing a scene, climatic arrangement is the most important principle. A scene may also be that of relief, or dialogue scene, battle scene, court scene, and monologue scene etc.

Comic Relief: It is a humorous scene or funny incident or speech in a serious drama. In a tragedy such humorous scenes are usually introduced to provide relief from emotional intensity. This can as well, increase the seriousness of the story.

Catastrophe and Denouement: This refers to the turning point in the life or actions of the protagonist in an unfolding play. This turning point may result in success or failure for the protagonist. The misery is solved or the misunderstanding is cleared away at this point in the play. If the play is a tragedy, this turning point is termed catastrophe. But in both tragedy and comedy, this change of event is commonly referred to as Denouement. Denouement is also called Resolution. Denouement may involve reversal (peripety, According to Aristotle) in the hero’s fortunes. The reversal may be to the protagonist’s failure or destruction as we have in tragedy.

17 Apr, 20
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