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·       Second oldest form of literature

·       Watching something happen:  Voyeuristic

Raw Message (Told) ––> Story (Read) ––> Play (Seen)

·       Viewing vs. Participating

·       Used to refer to stage; now many written to be read.

·       Playwright has the last word:  Dialogue endures


Aristotle’s definition of drama:

·       Plot:  All 7 elements

·       Characterization:

*Tragic flaw; pro/antagonist; round/flat; static/dynamic

·       Theme(s)

·       Dialogue/Stage Directions: 

*Convey developments in plot/characterization 

*How playwright must convey back story, narration, etc. 

Ex:  Man who pulls cord in “Samuel”; Mathilde’s desires 

·       Setting (sets; props; costumes): 

*Conveys developments in story; mood; reveals character

·       Music (mood; emphasis; character)


Three main kinds of plays:

·       Tragedy:  Ends unhappily, often with death; meant to evoke pity & fear (Hamlet; Romeo and Juliet)

·       Comedy:  Ends with marriage, resolution of conflict   

·       Tragicomedy:  Mixes elements of both; makes an overall statement affirming life

(Forrest Gump; Juno; Shawshank Redemption)

     *Farce:  Making statement with comedy (Lysistrata)  

     *Dark Comedy:  Funny; Twisted (Fight Club)