DRAMA

Definition of Drama

Drama is a mode of fictional representation through dialogue and performance. It is one of the literary genres, which is an imitation of some action. Drama is also a type of a play written for theaters, televisions, radios and films.

 

In simple words, a drama is a composition in verse or prose presenting a story in pantomime or dialogue, containing conflict of characters, particularly the ones who perform in front of audience on the stage. The person who writes drama for stage directions is known as a dramatist or playwright.

Types of Drama

Let us consider a few popular types of drama:

  • Comedy – Comedies are lighter in tone than ordinary writers, and provide a happy conclusion. The intention of dramatists in comedies is to make their audience laugh.  Hence, they use quaint circumstances, unusual characters and witty remarks.
  • Tragedy – Tragic dramas use darker themes such as disaster, pain and death. Protagonists often have a tragic flaw—a characteristic that leads them to their downfall.
  • Farce – Generally, a farce is a nonsensical genre of drama, which often overacts or engages slapstick humor.
  • Melodrama – Melodrama is an exaggerated drama, which is sensational and appeals directly to the senses of audience. Just like the farce, the characters are of single dimension and simple, or may be stereotyped.
  • Musical Drama – In musical drama, the dramatists not only tell their story through acting and dialogue, nevertheless through dance as well as music. Often the story may be comedic, though it may also involve serious subjects.
 

Examples of Drama from Literature

Example 1

Comedy:

Much Ado About Nothing is the most frequently performed Shakespearian comedy. The play is romantically funny in that love between Hero and Claudio is laughable, as they never even get a single chance to communicate on-stage until they get married. Their relationship lacks development and depth. They end up merely as caricatures, exemplifying what people face in life when their relationships are internally weak. Love ove between Benedick and Beatrice is amusing, as initially their communications are very sparky, and they hate each other. However, they all of sudden make up, and start loving each other.

Example 2

Tragedy:

Sophocles’’ mythical and immortal drama, Oedipus Rex, is thought to be his best classical tragedy. Aristotle has adjudged this play as one of the greatest examples of tragic drama in his book, Poetics by giving following reasons:

  • The play arouses emotions of pity and fear, and achieves the tragic katharsis.
  • It shows the downfall of an extraordinary man of high rank, Oedipus.
  • The central character suffers due to his tragic error called hamartia; as he murders his real father, Laius, and then marries his real mother, Jocasta.
  • Hubris is the cause of Oedipus’ downfall.

Example 3

Farce:

Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest ,is a very popular example of Victorian farce. In this play, a man uses two identities; one as a serious person Jack (his actual name) that he uses for Cesily, his ward, and as a rogue named Ernest for his beloved woman, Gwendolyn. Unluckily, Gwendolyn loves him partially because she loves the name Ernest. It is when Jack and Earnest must come on-stage together for Cesily, then Algernon comes in to play Earnest’ role, and ward immediately falls in love with another Ernest. Thus, two young women think that they love the same man – an occurrence that amuses the audience.

 

Example 4

Melodrama:

The Heiress is based on Henry James’ novel the Washington Square. Directed for stage performance by William Wyler, this play shows an ungraceful and homely daughter of a domineering and rich doctor falling in love with a young man, Morris Townsend wishes to elope with him, but he leaves her in lurch. Author creates melodrama towards the end, when Catherine teaches a lesson to Morris and leaves him instead.

Function of Drama

Drama is one of the best literary forms through which dramatists can directly speak to their readers or audience as well as they can receive instant feedback of audience. A few dramatists use their characters as a vehicle to convey their thoughts, values such as poets do with personas, and novelists do with narrators. Since drama uses spoken words and dialogues, thus language of characters plays a vital role, as it may give clues to their feelings, personalities, backgrounds, and change in feelings, etc. In drama the characters live out a story without any comments of the author, providing the audience a direct presentation of characters’ life experiences.

http://literarydevices.net/drama/

PROSE

Prose Definition

Prose is a form of language that has no formal metrical structure. It applies a natural flow of speech, and ordinary grammatical structure rather than rhythmic structure, such as in the case of traditional poetry.

 

Normal every day speech is spoken in prose and most people think and write in prose form.  Prose comprises of full grammatical sentences which consist of paragraphs and forgoes aesthetic appeal in favor of clear, straightforward language. It can be said to be the most reflective of conversational speech. Some works of prose do have versification and a blend of the two formats that is called prose poetry.

Example of a Poetry Verse

Read this from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” written by Robert Frost.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

Prose Form

“The woods look lovely against the setting darkness and as I gaze into the mysterious depths of the forest, I feel like lingering here longer.  However, I have pending appointments to keep and much distance to cover before I settle in for the night or else I will be late for all of them.”

The above paragraph is conveying a similar message but it is conveyed in ordinary language, without a formal metrical structure to bind it.

Some Common Types of Prose

1. Nonfictional Prose: A literary work that is mainly based on fact although it may contain fictional elements in certain cases. Examples are biographies and essays.

2. Fictional Prose: A literary work that is wholly or partly imagined or theoretical. Examples are novels.

3. Heroic Prose: A literary work that may be written down or recited and employs many of the formulaic expressions found in oral tradition. Examples are legends and tales.

4. Prose Poetry: A literary work which exhibits poetic quality using emotional effects and heightened imagery but are written in prose instead of verse.

 

Prose Examples in Popular Literature

Prose in Novels

This is usually written in the form of a narrative and may be entirely a figment of the author’s imagination.

Example #1

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 1984 – George Orwell

Example #2

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

Example #3

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

These examples of prose have been taken from novels where writers have employed their imaginations. They are examples of fictional prose.

Prose in Speeches

Prose used in speeches often expresses thoughts and ideas of the speaker.

Example #1

“You can see that there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow (of death) again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires.” – Nelson Mandela

Example #2

“The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things.” – Mother Teresa

Example #3

“As for the marriage laws, they are due for a sweeping reform, and an excellent beginning would be to wipe the existing ones off the books.” – Shirley Chisholm

These prose examples have been taken from speeches where prose is often crispy and persuasive and suits the occasion to convey a specific message.

Prose in Plays

Prose written in plays aims to be dramatic and eventful.

Example #1

“You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.” – “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” – Tennessee Williams

Example #2

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. ” – “As You Like It” – Shakespeare

It is often in conversational mode and is delivered by a character. However, its style stays the same throughout the play according to the personality of the character.

Functions of Prose

While there have been many critical debates over the correct and valid construction of prose, the reason for its adoption can be attributed to its loosely defined structure which most writers feel comfortable using when expressing, or conveying their ideas and thoughts. It is the standard style of writing used for most spoken dialogues, fictional as well as topical and factual writing and discoursed. It is also the common language used in newspapers, magazines, literature, encyclopedias, broadcasting, philosophy, law, history, the sciences and many other forms of communication.

What is Poetry

Poetry

Poetry (ancient Greek: ποιεω (poieo) = I create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. It consists largely of oral or literary works in which language is used in a manner that is felt by its user and audience to differ from ordinary prose.

It may use condensed or compressed form to convey emotion or ideas to the reader’s or listener’s mind or ear; it may also use devices such as assonance and repetition to achieve musical or incantatory effects. Poems frequently rely for their effect on imagery, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used. The interactive layering of all these effects to generate meaning is what marks poetry.

Because of its nature of emphasising linguistic form rather than using language purely for its content, poetry is notoriously difficult to translate from one language into another: a possible exception to this might be the Hebrew Psalms, where the beauty is found more in the balance of ideas than in specific vocabulary. In most poetry, it is the connotations and the “baggage” that words carry (the weight of words) that are most important. These shades and nuances of meaning can be difficult to interpret and can cause different readers to “hear” a particular piece of poetry differently. While there are reasonable interpretations, there can never be a definitive interpretation.

Nature of poetry

Poetry can be differentiated most of the time from prose, which is language meant to convey meaning in a more expansive and less condensed way, frequently using more complete logical or narrative structures than poetry does. This does not necessarily imply that poetry is illogical, but rather that poetry is often created from the need to escape the logical, as well as expressing feelings and other expressions in a tight, condensed manner. English Romantic poet John Keats termed this escape from logic Negative Capability. A further complication is that prose poetry combines the characteristics of poetry with the superficial appearance of prose, such as in Robert Frost’s poem, “Home Burial.” Other forms include narrative poetry and dramatic poetry, both of which are used to tell stories and so resemble novels and plays. However, both these forms of poetry use the specific features of verse composition to make these stories more memorable or to enhance them in some way.

What is generally accepted as “great” poetry is debatable in many cases. “Great” poetry usually follows the characteristics listed above, but it is also set apart by its complexity and sophistication. “Great” poetry generally captures images vividly and in an original, refreshing way, while weaving together an intricate combination of elements like theme tension, complex emotion, and profound reflective thought. For examples of what is considered “great” poetry, visit the Pulitzer prize and Nobel prize sections for poetry.

The Greek verb ποιεω [poiéo (= I make or create)], gave rise to three words: ποιητης [poiet?s (= the one who creates)], ποιησις [poíesis (= the act of creation)] and ποιημα [poíema (= the thing created)]. From these we get three English words: poet (the creator), poesy (the creation) and poem (the created). A poet is therefore one who creates and poetry is what the poet creates. The underlying concept of the poet as creator is not uncommon. For example, in Anglo-Saxon a poet is a scop (shaper or maker) and in Scots makar.

Sound in poetry

Perhaps the most vital element of sound in poetry is rhythm. Often the rhythm of each line is arranged in a particular meter. Different types of meter played key roles in Classical, Early European, Eastern and Modern poetry. In the case of free verse, the rhythm of lines is often organized into looser units of cadence.

Poetry in English and other modern European languages often uses rhyme. Rhyme at the end of lines is the basis of a number of common poetic forms, such as ballads, sonnets and rhyming couplets. However, the use of rhyme is not universal. Much modern poetry, for example, avoids traditional rhyme schemes. Furthermore, Classical Greek and Latin poetry did not use rhyme. In fact, rhyme did not enter European poetry at all until the High Middle Ages, when it was adopted from the Arabic language. The Arabs have always used rhymes extensively, most notably in their long, rhyming qasidas. Some classical poetry forms, such as Venpa of the Tamil language, had rigid grammars (to the point that they could be expressed as a context-free grammar), which ensured a rhythm.

Alliteration played a key role in structuring early Germanic and English forms of poetry (called alliterative verse), akin to the role of rhyme in later European poetry. The alliterative patterns of early Germanic poetry and the rhyme schemes of Modern European poetry alike both include meter as a key part of their structure, which determines when the listener expects instances of rhyme or alliteration to occur. In this sense, both alliteration and rhyme, when used in poetic structures, help to emphasise and define a rhythmic pattern. By contrast, the chief device of Biblical poetry in ancient Hebrew was parallelism, a rhetorical structure in which successive lines reflected each other in grammatical structure, sound structure, notional content, or all three; a verse form that lent itself to antiphonal or call- and-response performance.

In addition to the forms of rhyme, alliteration and rhythm that structure much poetry, sound plays a more subtle role in even free verse poetry in creating pleasing, varied patterns and emphasising or sometimes even illustrating semantic elements of the poem. Devices such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, dissonance and internal rhyme are among the ways poets use sound. Euphony refers to the musical, flowing quality of words arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Poetry and form

Compared with prose, poetry depends less on the linguistic units of sentences and paragraphs, and more on units of organisation that are purely poetic. The typical structural elements are the line, couplet, strophe, stanza, and verse paragraph.

Lines may be self-contained units of sense, as in the well-known lines from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

To be, or not to be: that is the question.

Alternatively a line may end in mid-phrase or sentence:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

this linguistic unit is completed in the next line,

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

This technique is called enjambment, and is used to create a sense of expectation in the reader and/or to add a dynamic to the movement of the verse.

In many instances, the effectiveness of a poem derives from the tension between the use of linguistic and formal units. With the advent of printing, poets gained greater control over the visual presentation of their work. As a result, the use of these formal elements, and of the white space they help create, became an important part of the poet’s toolbox. Modernist poetry tends to take this to an extreme, with the placement of individual lines or groups of lines on the page forming an integral part of the poem’s composition. In its most extreme form, this leads to the writing of concrete poetry.

Poetry and rhetoric

Rhetorical devices such as simile and metaphor are frequently used in poetry. Indeed, Aristotle wrote in his Poetics that “the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor”. However, particularly since the rise of Modernism, some poets have opted for reduced use of these devices, preferring rather to attempt the direct presentation of things and experiences. Other 20th-century poets, however, particularly the surrealists, have pushed rhetorical devices to their limits, making frequent use of catachresis.

History of poetry

Poetry as an art form predates literacy. In preliterate societies, poetry was frequently employed as a means of recording oral history, storytelling (epic poetry), genealogy, law and other forms of expression or knowledge that modern societies might expect to be handled in prose. The Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic which includes poetry, was probably written in the 3rd century BCE in a language described by William Jones as “more perfect than Latin, more copious than Greek and more exquisitely refined than either.” Poetry is also often closely identified with liturgy in these societies, as the formal nature of poetry makes it easier to remember priestly incantations or prophecies. The greater part of the world’s sacred scriptures are made up of poetry rather than prose.

The use of verse to transmit cultural information continues today. Many English speaking–Americans know that “in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. An alphabet song teaches the names and order of the letters of the alphabet; another jingle states the lengths and names of the months in the Gregorian calendar. Preliterate societies, lacking the means to write down important cultural information, use similar methods to preserve it.

Some writers believe that poetry has its origins in song. Most of the characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of utterance—rhythm, rhyme, compression, intensity of feeling, the use of refrains—appear to have come about from efforts to fit words to musical forms. However, in the European tradition the earliest surviving poems, the Homeric and Hesiodic epics, identify themselves as poems to be recited or chanted to a musical accompaniment rather than as pure song. Another interpretation, developed from 20th-century studies of living Montenegran epic reciters by Milman Parry and others, is that rhythm, refrains, and kennings are essentially paratactic devices that enable the reciter to reconstruct the poem from memory.

In preliterate societies, all these forms of poetry were composed for, and sometimes during, performance. As such, there was a certain degree of fluidity to the exact wording of poems, given this could change from one performance or performer to another. The introduction of writing tended to fix the content of a poem to the version that happened to be written down and survive. Written composition also meant that poets began to compose not for an audience that was sitting in front of them but for an absent reader. Later, the invention of printing tended to accelerate these trends. Poets were now writing more for the eye than for the ear.

The development of literacy gave rise to more personal, shorter poems intended to be sung. These are called lyrics, which derives from the Greek lura or lyre, the instrument that was used to accompany the performance of Greek lyrics from about the seventh century BCE onward. The Greek’s practice of singing hymns in large choruses gave rise in the sixth century BCE to dramatic verse, and to the practice of writing poetic plays for performance in their theatres.

In more recent times, the introduction of electronic media and the rise of the poetry reading have led to a resurgence of performance poetry and have resulted in a situation where poetry for the eye and poetry for the ear coexist, sometimes in the same poem. The late 20th-century rise of the singer-songwriter and Rap culture and the increase in popularity of Slam poetry have led to a renewed debate as to the nature of poetry that can be crudely characterised as a split between the academic and popular views. As of 2005, this debate is ongoing with no immediate prospect of a resolution.

Love poems proliferate now, in weblogs and personal pages, as a new way of expression and liberty of hearts, “I have won many female relations with this valid resource”, has said a contemporaneus writer called Federic P. Sabeloteur.

http://www.poetry.org/whatis.htm