There are four types of drama, they are comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy and melodrama. These genres originated in different times, but each of them has its own characteristics. However, all of them have their place in modern culture and should be appreciated. Read the article and freshen up your knowledge of drama!
What is drama?
Drama is a unique and distinctive genre of literature. Drama definition is a narrative presented by actors/actor on a stage through dialogue/monologue and live action. Usually, dramas are stories that are acted. Through the combination of performance, music, dance, props, etc; the audience is able to feel like a part of the action. This is what makes drama a unique genre of literature. Of course, you can also read drama; however, you will get the full impression of what the author intended to show only when you visit a theater.
Types of drama in literature
There are four main forms of drama. They are comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy and melodrama. All these types have the common characteristics of drama genre; they are, plot, characters, conflict, music and dailogue.
Comedy is a type of drama that aims to make the audience laugh. Its tone is light and it mostly has a happy ending. Such tradition came from the Ancient Greek theatre, where comedy first emerged as a form of drama. Comedy could be further divided into subcategories, for example, dramatic irony, farce, sarcasm, black comedy, etc. Each type of comedy has its own audience. Interestingly, such preferences may also depend on the cultural background of people.
Murders, deaths, insanity, and pain are among the most common ideas in tragedies. Main characters usually have some kind of weakness or defect that causes their downfall.
Tragedy first appeared in the theatre of Ancient Greece. Like comedy, it lived through Roman Empire, Medieval times, Renaissance and other eras. Aristotle believed that the main characteristic of tragedy was the change of fortunes of the main character because of his flaws. The philosopher also believed that such drama has to implant a feeling of fear and pity in the audience.
As drama evolved, more modern script writers thought that depicting the downfall of a common person will cause the viewer to feel greater emotions as it will relate more to a character of their own social status.
Tragicomedy is a special kind of drama that combines the features of tragedy and comedy. It means that such play may be sad but will have a happy ending, or it may be serious with some elements of humor emerging throughout the whole play.
Unlike comedy and tragedy, tragicomedy emerged a bit later, in the times of Roman Empire. Roman dramatist Plautus was the first to write a tragicomedy and to use the term. In his play Amphitryon, he used the lightheartedness of comedy but chose gods and kings as the main characters. This was quite revolutionary of him.
Before Plautus, there were strict rules about writing drama, it was either comedy or tragedy. These genres were never mixed together. Plautus was the first to note that in our daily lives we have features of both tragedy and comedy. Therefore, drama also can combine them both.
Melodrama is the last one of the four types of drama. It is a kind of drama in which everything is hyperbolized. Usually, themes depicted in melodramas are simple and without any unpredictable plot twists. There are quite a lot of stereotypes in such dramas. However, the main point of a melodrama is not to tell a story but to awaken feelings in the audience. They are mostly love stories with beautiful heroines, charming heroes and scary villains.
Melodrama originated much later than comedy, tragedy, and tragicomedy. It first appeared in France at the end of the 18th century. Later, it reached Britain and became one of the most popular types of drama in the 19th century.
Particularly, the 19th century was the period when theatre was the most popular kind of entertainment and was visited by vast number of people. This is due to the fact that in those times, theatres became available for common people. As melodrama was aimed at this layer of society in particular, it became immensely popular. The influence of melodrama on society was so great that it lived to our days and even penetrated other areas of literature and entertainment.