Ch 8: Dramatic Literature

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons to learn about the different aspects of dramatic literature, including the history of drama and methods for analyzing dramatic works. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these drama topics.

Dramatic Literature - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

You probably already know what a drama is. You have probably watched a drama on television or at the movies. However, how does this genre transfer to literature? Does drama mean the same thing in written form as it does on the small or big screen? This chapter will help you find the answer to that question. You'll learn what makes a written piece a drama and study the history of the drama. In addition, you will look at various types of dramas and get a feel for the structure and form of a dramatic written piece. Some of the things our lessons will cover include:

  • Tragedy in drama
  • Dramatic farce
  • Melodrama
  • Surrealism
  • How to analyze dramatic work

VideoObjective
What Is Drama? - Terms, Time Periods and Styles Discover drama with an overview of prose and verse type dramas.
History of Drama: Dramatic Movements and Time Periods Investigate different periods of drama in history with a focus on renaissance, realism and modernism.
Elements of Drama: Characters, Plot, Setting & Symbolism Study the literary elements of characters, plot, conflict, setting and symbolism in dramatic form.
Tragedy in Drama: Classical to Modern Take a look at types of dramatic tragedies.
Dramatic Comedy: History and Types Study black comedy and tragicomedy.
Dramatic Farce: History, Examples and Playwrights Break down this form from early days to modern day, looking at examples from Chaucer and Wilde.
Elements of Melodrama: From Early Theater to the Modern Soap Opera Take a look at older theatrical examples and modern variants.
Mixed Form Drama: Epic, Theatre of the Absurd, Expressionism and Surrealism See what happens with drama becomes a mixture of different forms.
Analyzing Dramatic Works: Theme, Character Development & Staging Compare interpretations in the dramatic form to interpretations in prose and poetry, while also analyzing for theme and character development, plot and staging.

12 Lessons in Chapter 8: Dramatic Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is Drama? - Terms, Time Periods and Styles

1. What is Drama? - Terms, Time Periods and Styles

Ever wonder why we use the word 'drama' when referencing people who overreact to a situation? Discover the definition of drama, its different styles, and why your friends might belong on the stage in this overview of the dramatic genre.

History of Drama: Dramatic Movements and Time Periods

2. History of Drama: Dramatic Movements and Time Periods

Today's theatre is a mix of many styles that have been popular for hundreds of years. In this lesson, learn how each time period contributed to what we now see during a live, dramatic performance.

Elements of Drama: Characters, Plot, Setting & Symbolism

3. Elements of Drama: Characters, Plot, Setting & Symbolism

Have you ever wondered how actors in a play can convey a story without the audience reading the script? Watch and learn how playwrights use dramatic elements to tell a story on the stage.

Tragedy in Drama: Classical to Modern

4. Tragedy in Drama: Classical to Modern

Nearly every story has a hero, but some are better off by the end of the story than others. In this video, we learn what is so tragic about the hero in a tragedy.

Dramatic Comedy: History and Types

5. Dramatic Comedy: History and Types

Everyone loves to laugh, and sometimes it's at the most inappropriate times. Even the ancient Greeks loved a dirty joke or two! Learn more in this video about dramatic comedy, its history and types.

Dramatic Farce: History, Examples and Playwrights

6. Dramatic Farce: History, Examples and Playwrights

Would you believe Curly, Larry, and Moe, The Three Stooges, are simply practicing a centuries-old form of drama? Learn more about how horseplay and high energy contribute to the dramatic comedy sub-genre called farce.

Elements of Melodrama: From Early Theater to the Modern Soap Opera

7. Elements of Melodrama: From Early Theater to the Modern Soap Opera

Have you ever wondered where or when soap operas started? In this video, we will look at the history and transformation of the melodrama from the stage to the small (and big) screen.

Futurism, Dada, Surrealism & Expressionism

8. Futurism, Dada, Surrealism & Expressionism

They say that entertainment often mirrors reality. This was only partially true in the early 20th century. Watch this video to see how playwrights all took different approaches to creating their own realities in these dramatic movements of the early 1900s.

Epic Theatre: Brecht

9. Epic Theatre: Brecht

Communism? 'Mack the Knife'? Verfremdung? Wonder what these have in common or what they even mean? Find out how epic theatre united these with the hope of making social changes.

Theatre of Cruelty: Artaud

10. Theatre of Cruelty: Artaud

Most of us watch movies or television shows to relax or escape reality, not as a means of reform. In this video, learn how Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty tries to shock the audience into becoming better people.

Theatre of the Absurd

11. Theatre of the Absurd

You've heard the word 'absurd,' but did you know it was a type of theatre? Watch this video to see how the absurdity of World War II helped promote the Theatre of the Absurd.

Analyzing Dramatic Works: Theme, Character Development & Staging

12. Analyzing Dramatic Works: Theme, Character Development & Staging

If 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,' then why does analyzing a dramatic script seem so difficult? Find out how to make analyzing dramatic works easier with a four-step process in this video lesson.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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