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Drama is a literary composition involving conflict,
action crisis and atmosphere designed to be acted by
players on a stage before an audience. This definition
may be applied to motion picture drama as well as to
the traditional stage.
Apply these questions to a recent movie you have seen
or a radio or television drama,
1. What did the leading character want?
2. What stood in his way? (People - environment-
personality, etc,)
3. What was the high point of tension or the
crisis? (This is where the leading character
must make a crucial decision that will effect
the outcome of the play.)
Character analysis
1. Are the characters true to life or are they
types or caricatures?
2. How is the character revealed?
3. What is the driving force of each leading
4. If a character changes, are the causes
convincing and true to life?
1. Are the sets appropriate?
2. Are they attractive?
3. Are they authentic?
Critical standards useful for drama, novel, motion
1. What is the chief emphasis (ideas, character,
2. What was the purpose? (entertainment,
humor, excitement)?
3. Is it realistic or romantic?
4. Does it show life as it really is or distort life?
5. Does it present any problem of human
6. Does it glamorize life and present an artificial
happy ending?
Types of Drama:
1. Tragedy -- In general, tragedy involves the
ruin of the leading characters. To the Greeks,
it meant the destruction of some noble person
through fate, To the Elizabethans, it meant in
the first place death and in the second place
the destruction of some noble person through
a flaw in his character. Today it may not
involve death so much as a dismal life, Modern
tragedy often shows the tragedy not of the
strong and noble but of the weak and mean,
2. Comedy -- is lighter drama in which the leading
characters overcome the difficulties which
temporarily beset them
3. Problem Play -- Drama of social criticism
discusses social, economic, or political
problems by means of a play.
4. Farce -- When comedy involves ridiculous or
hilarious complications without regard for
human values, it becomes farce.
5. Comedy of Manners -- Comedy which wittily
portrays fashionable life.
6. Fantasy -- A play sometimes, but not always, in
comic spirit in which the author gives free
reign to his fantasy, allowing things to happen
without regard to reality.
7. Melodrama -- Like farce, melodrama pays
almost no attention to human values, but its
object is to give a thrill instead of a laugh.
Often good entertainment, never any literary
Types of Drama of Historical Interest:
1. Medieval mystery plays -- dealt with Bible
stories and allegorical mysteries.
2. Chronicle plays -- dealt directly with historical
scenes and characters.
3. Masques -- were slight plays involving much
singing and dancing and costuming. They were
usually allegorical.
Drama is the most dependent of art forms -- director,
actors, scene and costume designers must interpret
before the audience does.
The Place of the Actor
1. The player should respect his play, his part,
his fellow players, and his audience.
2. He should have imagination enough to create
character for us instead of merely exploiting
his own personality.
3. He should have a technical equipment in his
'voice, facial expression, bodily poise, gesture,
and by-play that enables him to project the
character as he conceives it.

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More Literary Terms

1. Allusion - an indirect reference by casually
mentioning something that is generally familiar (In
literature we find many allusions to mythology, the
Bible, history, etc.)
2. Aside - Lines whispered to the audience or to
another character on stage (not meant to be heard by
all the characters on stage)
3. Catastrophe - the final event in a drama (a death in
a tragedy or a marriage in a comedy)
4. Comedy - A light play with a happy ending
5. Comic Relief - A bit of humor injected into a serious
play to relieve the heavy tension of tragic events
6. Crisis or Climax - the turning point in the plot (This
occurs when events develop either for or against the
main character and a crucial decision must be made.)
7. Dramatic Irony - occurs when the audience knows
something that the character on stage is not aware.
8. Foreshadow - Lines that give a hint or clue to future
events (It doesn't tell the future but hints at it.)
9. Irony -
 A method of expression in which the ordinary
meaning of the word is opposite to the thought
in the speaker's mind
 Events contrary to what would be naturally
10. Metaphor - an implied comparison between two
different things; identifying a person or object as the
thing to which it is being compared.
Example: 'It is the East and Juliet is the sun.' -
'tossed on the sea of life'
11. Metonymy - a figure of speech whereby the name of
a thing is substituted for the attribute which it
suggests. Example: The pen (power of literature or the
written word) is mightier than the sword (force).
12. Nemesis - agent of retribution (the person who
13. Personification - giving the quality of life to
inanimate things
14. Poetic Justice - The operation of justice in a play
with fair distribution of rewards for good deeds and
punishment for wrong doing
15. Simile - an expressed comparison between two
different things using 'like' or 'as' - Example: 'eyes
twinkle like stars' - 'as loud as the roaring sea'
16. Soliloquy - A single character on stage thinking out
loud (a way of letting the audience know what is in the
character's mind)
17. Tragedy - A serious play having an unhappy ending
18. Tragic Flaw - A character trait that leads one to
his/her own downfall or destruction