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Drama

Drama

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Published by Abhay Vohra
English Studies
English Studies

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Published by: Abhay Vohra on Jul 17, 2007
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08/26/2012

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S
 TEFANIE
L
ETHBRIDGE AND
 J
 ARMILA
M
ILDORF
:
Basics of English Studies: An introductory course for students of literary studies in English.
Developed at the English departments of theUniversities of Tübingen, Stuttgart and Freiburg
3. Drama
 Table of Contents:
3.1. Text and Theatre
...................................................................................90
 3.2. Information Flow 
..............................................................................91
 
3.2.1 Amount and Detail of Information ....................................................913.2.2. Transmission of Information ..............................................................933.2.3. Perspective .............................................................................................943.2.3.1. Dramatic Irony ...................................................................................95S
O
 W 
HAT
? .........................................................................................................96
3.3. Structure
..................................................................................................98
 
3.3.1. Story and Plot ........................................................................................983.3.2. Three Unities .........................................................................................983.3.3. Freytag’s Pyramid ..................................................................................993.3.4. Open and Closed Drama ..................................................................101
3.4. Space
.....................................................................................................102
 
3.4.1. Word Scenery .....................................................................................1033.4.2. Setting and Characterisation .............................................................1043.4.3. Symbolic Space ...................................................................................104S
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HAT
? ......................................................................................................104
3.5. Time
......................................................................................................106
 
3.5.1. Succession and Simultaneity .............................................................1073.5.2. Presentation of Temporal Frames ...................................................1073.5.3. Story-Time and Discourse-Time .....................................................1083.5.3.1. Duration ...........................................................................................1083.5.3.2. Order ................................................................................................1113.5.3.3. Frequency ........................................................................................112S
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HAT
? ......................................................................................................113
3.6. Characters
............................................................................................113
 
3.6.1. Major and Minor Characters ............................................................1133.6.2. Character Complexity ........................................................................1143.6.3. Character and Genre Conventions ..................................................1143.6.4. Contrasts and Correspondences ......................................................1153.6.5. Character Constellations ...................................................................1163.6.6. Character Configurations ..................................................................1163.6.7. Techniques of Characterisation .......................................................117S
O
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HAT
? ......................................................................................................120
Basics of English Studies, Version 03/04, Drama
 
88
 
3.7. Types of Utterance in Drama
.........................................................122
 
3.7.1. Monologue, Dialogue, Soliloquy ......................................................1223.7.2. Asides ...................................................................................................123S
O
 W 
HAT
? ......................................................................................................1233.7.3. Turn Allocation, Stichomythia, Repartee ......................................125S
O
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HAT
? ......................................................................................................1263.7.4. The Significance of Wordplay in Drama ........................................129
3.8. Types of Stage
....................................................................................130
 
3.8.1. Greek Classicism ................................................................................1313.8.2. The Middle Ages ................................................................................1313.8.3. Renaissance England .........................................................................1323.8.4. Restoration Period .............................................................................1323.8.5. Modern Times ....................................................................................133
3.9. Dramatic Sub-Genres
.......................................................................133
 
3.9.1. Types of Comedy ...............................................................................1333.9.2. Types of Tragedy ...............................................................................134S
O
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HAT
? ......................................................................................................135
Bibliography: Drama
................................................................................138
 
Basics of English Studies, Version 03/04, Drama
 
89
 
3. Drama
3.1. Text and Theatre
Key terms: 
 
primary textsecondary textdramatis personaemultimedia elements
 When one deals with dramatic texts one has to bear in mind that dramadiffers considerably from poetry or narrative in that it is usually written forthe purpose of being performed on stage. Although plays exist which weremainly written for a reading audience, dramatic texts are generally meant tobe transformed into another mode of presentation or medium: the theatre.For this reason, dramatic texts even look different compared topoetic or narrative texts. One distinguishes between the
 primary text
, i.e.,the main body of the play spoken by the characters, and
secondary texts
,i.e., all the texts ‘surrounding’ or accompanying the main text: title,
dramatis personae
, scene descriptions, stage directions for acting andspeaking, etc. Depending on whether one reads a play or watches it onstage, one has different kinds of access to dramatic texts. As a reader, onereceives first-hand written information (if it is mentioned in the secondary text) on what the characters look like, how they act and react in certainsituations, how they speak, what sort of setting forms the background to ascene, etc. However, one also has to make a cognitive effort to imagine allthese features and interpret them for oneself. Stage performances, on theother hand, are more or less ready-made instantiations of all these details. Inother words: at the theatre one is presented with a version of the play whichhas already been interpreted by the director, actors, costume designers,make-up artists and all the other members of theatre staff, who bring theplay to life. The difference, then, lies in divergent forms of perception. While we can actually see and hear actors play certain characters on stage, we first decipher a text about them when reading a play script and then atbest ‘see’ them in our mind’s eye and ‘hear’ their imaginary voices. Putanother way, stage performances offer a multi-sensory access to plays andthey can make use of 
multimedia elements
such as music, sound effects,lighting, stage props, etc., while reading is limited to the visual perceptionand thus draws upon one primary medium: the play as text. This needs tobe kept in mind in discussions of dramatic texts, and the following introduction to the analysis of drama is largely based on the idea that playsare first and foremost written for the stage. The main features one can look at when analysing drama are the following:
information flow 
overall structure
space
 
time
characters
types of utterance in drama
 
types of stage
dramatic sub-genres
 
Basics of English Studies, Version 03/04, Drama
 
90

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