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(tragedy & comedy)
doc. dr. Darja Darinka Hribar
Made by:
Nino Peček
What is Drama?
Drama comes from Greek words meaning "to do" or "to act." When acted on a stage it follows
a typical drama triangle. The symbol for drama are two masks, one sad and other happy. A
play is a story acted out. It shows people going through some eventful period in their lives,
seriously or humorously. If the problems are confronted in a serious maner, we talk about
tragedy, but if it talks about life in a humorus way it is called comedy.
So we divided drama into two main sub-genres of which we will talk later on. Drama itself is
a mirror of life. In drama we follow some events that have accured in present or past time to
some person or group of people. In most cases we then accompany this character/s trough
his/their story in which they reveal their feelings to viewers. Trough theese plays we often
feel that the author is expressing himself. He lets us know in what way he feels and sees the
world around him. Drama itself is played in theatres. In early stages dramas were played in
amphiteatre which was invented by the ancient Greeks. Later on a new modern cinema was
invented. It was called the Elizabethan theatre. Now if we look at the language of drama, it
can range between great extremes: on the one hand, an intensely theatrical and ritualistic
manner; and on the other, an almost exact reproduction of real life. A dramatic monologue is
a type of lyrical poem or narrative piece that has a person speaking to a select listener and
revealing his character in a dramatic situation.
The creators of drama were greeks. First world known drama writers were Sophocles,
Euripides, Homer etc. We should also mention the greatest english drama writter
Tragedy, comedy and their subgenres
If we start with tragedy we can divide it into two subgenres. First up is classical tragedy and
the second modern tragedy. The classic tragedy dates back to ancient Greece where it all
began. The word tragedy comes from Greece itself. And it literally means »goat song«( tragos
= "goat" and aeidein = "to sing" ) The animals were sacrificed for rituals as a gift to the gods.
The plays were mostly carried out durring festival Dionysia(it was performed in honour of
god Dionysus) It was actually a competition where writers itroduced three plays to the
audience, at the end best one won. Theese plays were performed in an amphiteatre. In
classical tragedy the characters belong to high and noble classes. Theese kind of plays are
serious and noble. There's always a strugle between right and wrong, good and evil. At the
end afcourse good wins but not physicaly but moraly. Most of the time the good guys die and
the bad ones live. That is why it is called a tragedy, although they win spiritualy and moraly
they face a physical downfall. Now if we look at the modern and classic tragedy we notice
one main difference. In modern tragedy the characters do not need to be from high or noble
class, they can be poor everyday people. Although the characters and places are different you
can still recognize the typical drama-tragedy form. Te tragedy protagonist has a biological or
some other flaw. He can also be a social outcast which makes him tragic. Another difference
is that in classic form of tragedy the language and literature must be poetic and noble, modern
tragedy does not require that kind of literature.
Example of classical tragedy: William Shakespeare - Julius Caesar (Julij Cezar)
Example of modern tragedy: Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and punishment (Zločin in kazen)
Tragedy subgenres
Classical Greek – Downfall of a royal figure (character)
Simple tragedy - Protagonist never realizes what causes downfall
Complex tragedy – Protagonist realizes what caused downfall
Italian Renaissance tragedy – Deals with roality must end calamitously
Comedy is a total opposite of a tragedy. It is a fun, happy play, which is meant to entertain the
public (viewers). It comes from Greek word »komodia«. Comedy has a happy end. The
characters are mostly from lower class. Dialogues are humorus. They make fun out of
everyday problems. But the word comedy is such a generalized word that we should pay more
attention to many subgenres.
Example of a comedy: Pierre Beaumarchais - The Marriage of Figaro
Comedy subgenres
Satire – Is mother to all other forms of subgenres in comedy, satire is meant to entertain
public trough naive, foolish and funny characters. Although satire is usually meant to be
funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humour in itself so much as an attack on
something of which the author strongly disapproves, using the weapon of wit. It uses sarcasm
and irony.
Farce – It is comedy written for the stage in which the author makes fun out of serious
literature. It is meant to entertain the audience with the elements of unlikely, wierd, mistaken
identities, verbal humor which may vary in the intensity of play etc. Farces move to its climax
in a frantic phase where the problem is then resolved. Protagonist may get away with some
bad deed that he has commited. Farce is trying to show people like irrational and immoral
beings who only care for themselfs. Farce is a natural companion of satire.
Irony - Dramatic irony involves the reader (or audience) knowing something about what's
happening in the plot, about which the character(s) have no knowledge. Dramatic irony can be
used in comedies and tragedies, and it works to engage the reader, as one is drawn into what
is happening. The audience may sympathize with the character, who does not know the true
situation. Or, the reader may see the character as blind or ignorant (as with Oedipus). The
clues may be rather obvious, but the character may be unwilling to recognize the truth.
Burlesque - Burlesque is a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and
sometimes grotesque exaggeration. The word derives from Spain (burla is joke). It is not rare
that this type of comedy contains elements of erotic and sexuality.
Grotesque- This type of play is the most extreme. It features the elements of ugly, fictional or
even immposible. Grotesque is also used in serious literature. The author tries to highlight the
main idea of the play trough things of bizzare.
Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In
English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to
a serious play with either a happy ending or enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the
Greek writters
The most known greek writters were Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylos. They won the most
competitions they attended. They are very appreciated writters and artists.
Aeschylos - He is often recognized as the father of tragedy, and is the earliest of the three
Greek tragedians whose plays survive, the others being Sophocles and Euripides.
Sophocles - He was born arround 496 b.c. He came from a wealthy family and he lived near
Athens. He brought some inovations into plays. He added the 3rd actor on the stage and he
also added three additional singers in the choir. His famous dramas were Antigona, King
Oydipus, Electra etc.
Euripides - Was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being
Aeschylus and Sophocles). It is believed that he has written ninety-five plays. Euripides is
known primarily for having reshaped the formal structure of Athenian tragedy by portraying
strong female characters and intelligent slaves and by satirizing many heroes of Greek
mythology. One of his plays is a well known called Cyclops.
William Shakespeare
Was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English
language and the world known dramatist. His works that have survived are 38 plays, 154
sonnets and several poems. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and
1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, later on he started writting
tragedies like, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet etc. At the peak of his career he started
writing tragicomedies where he became famous becuase he mixed beautiful wit ugly, poor
with rich, ordinary with noble and started making fun out of serious plays. In his time alot of
people thaught that this kind of literature was offensive, now we appreciate this kind of work
as we appreciate all other.
Interesting information about drama
Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday
Shakespeare invented the word "assassination"
Anne Hathaway was 26 years old when William married her at age 18
After the festival dedicated to god Dionysus mating was strongly encouraged
'Lysistrata' was written by Aristophanes and performed more than any other Greek
Japan has a centuries-old tradition of farce plays called Kyogen. These plays are
performed as comic relief during the long, serious Noh plays.