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DRAMATIC GENRES

TRAGEDY
COMEDY
TRAGI-COMEDY
MELODRAMA
DRAME
FARCE

TRAGEDY
Tragedy focuses on the individual.
It presents the world in a state of disruption, which,
through a series of misfortunes, is transformed at
the end, opening up the possibility of a new
situation.
The audience learns about events simultaneously
with the hero:
The audience does not know how the conflict will
be resolved and must rely on the heros actions,
thus identifying with his suffering and actions.
That provides for suspense, fear, intensity of feeling.
It presents the misfortunes of a human being (tragic
hero) in his/her aspiration for a higher aim or ideal.
In his attempt to improve himself or the world around
him, he makes a mistake or an error of judgement
(tragic error).

The tragic error leads to his fall and eventual


physical destruction.In the course of tragedy a
discovery or reversal of fortune takes place that
changes the fate or sign of the hero.
Tragic heroes follow their desire or objective up
to its ultimate consequences, even though it
normally means their death.
The heros destruction brings about the
regeneration of society, so that his suffering is
not in vain.
The audience experiences catharsis from being
witness of the heros suffering: empathy for the
hero.

COMEDY
Comedy focuses on society.
Movement of comedy: from initial harmony, towards
chaos and disruption, restoring that initial harmony at the
end.
Social order is disrupted and restored: thus the idea of a
happy ending.
Comedy relies on anticipation: the audience knows what
is going to happen before the characters on stage do.
That provides for humour and relief, since the audience
knows in advance the resolution of the conflict.
The path and rhythm of comedy is faster than that of real
life.
Characters are stereotypes associated to social class or
behaviour.

TRAGI-COMEDY
Combination of tragic and comic elements.
The action moves from initial tragedy into a
final happy ending indicating reconciliation.
There is no individual tragic hero, but a hero
in pursuit of an goal: love, ambition,
revenge, etc.
It does not follow the unities of action, time
and place.
The plots are associated to romance and
adventure, magic and the supernatural.

MELODRAMA
A play with music.
It is articulated through the opposition of a
hero and a villain (protagonist / antagonist).
The protagonist suffers but triumphs in the
end.
The antagonist causes destruction and
suffering, but is defeated at the end.
Melodrama portrays a serious action
containing adventure, danger, suspense,
last minute resolutions or reversals.

Poetic justice: each character gets what


he/she deserves according to their acts
and behaviour.
The fight between good and evil is always
resolved in favour of good.
Characters are one-dimensional: they
follow one goal straightforwardly.
Characters are condition by their social
context

Conflicts presented are domestic and


taken from daily life.
The plot revolves around tension, thrill,
excitement.
It depicts highly charged emotional
moments and sensational situations.

DRAME
It deals with human beings in contemporary
situations and everyday life situations.
Characters must confront their own realities
and social circumstances.
The subject matter of these plays is serious.
It focuses on the treatment of social issues
and society.
Endings are ambiguous, verging on the
comic and the tragic.

Characters are common people.


They normally belong to a specific social
class, acting as prototypes.
Drame explores human conduct and
behaviour in specific circumstances.
It does so in realistic terms: characters
have realistic motivations.
Plot relies on tension and suspense, also
in realistic terms.
It is considered an intellectual genre
capable of inspiring debate and thought
about the issues presented.

FARCE
Type of comedy that relies on action rather
than dialogue.
Action in farce is physical, including slapping,
slapstick, running, hiding in closets, etc.
It is a comedy of situations: bedroom farce.
It appeals to basic human instincts: sexual,
moral, etc.
Characters are presented as lower than
human beings, close to animals.
The aim of farce is to ridicule its characters.

Plots and actions are ammoral: there is no


edifying human learning at the end.
It presents a chaotic universe where
human rules do not apply.
The action presented on stage is normally
violent, though filtered by humourous and
absurd situations.
Absurdity is a major source of humour,
both at the levels of dialogue and action.