Ch 3: Western Theatre from Renaissance to Realism

About This Chapter

This chapter outlines the history of Western theatre from the time of the Renaissance through modern realism. These short lessons and quizzes can help you strengthen your theatre history knowledge for upcoming exams, essays, homework assignments or any academic need.

Western Theatre from Renaissance to Realism - Chapter Summary

This comprehensive dramatic arts chapter examines Western theatre from the Renaissance to through modern drama. Follow along with our expert drama instructors to explore important plays, playwrights and themes from English Renaissance theatre, Shakespearean theatre, restoration comedy, Spanish Golden Age theatre, modern drama and modern melodrama. This chapter is available at any time that fits your schedule, and it also includes short quizzes to help you remember the information. If you have any questions, you can reach out to our instructors using the Ask the expert feature. Upon completion of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Recognize the qualities of Commedia Dell'Arte plays
  • Describe the characteristics and significance of English Renaissance theatre
  • Analyze the themes and characters from The Tragic History of the Life & Death of Dr. Faustus
  • Evaluate the life and work of William Shakespeare
  • Summarize the history of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • Discuss the significance of restoration comedy from the 1700s, Spanish Golden Age theatre and modern drama
  • Identify the elements of melodrama
  • Interpret Chekhov's Uncle Vanya
  • Assess the works of Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov and Constantin Stanislavski

13 Lessons in Chapter 3: Western Theatre from Renaissance to Realism
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Commedia Dell'Arte: Plays, Facts & Costumes

1. Commedia Dell'Arte: Plays, Facts & Costumes

Commedia dell'Arte is a fascinating form of theater, often improvised around set scenarios. This lesson will introduce you to its basic characters, the costumes that distinguish them, and important facts about the development of the form.

English Renaissance Theatre: Characteristics & Significance

2. English Renaissance Theatre: Characteristics & Significance

The English Renaissance was a time of great change, and the theater was in no way exempt from that change. From the theaters to the plays themselves, the renaissance saw great changes emerge in English theater.

The Tragic History of the Life & Death of Dr. Faustus: Characters & Themes

3. The Tragic History of the Life & Death of Dr. Faustus: Characters & Themes

You probably recognize his name, but you might not know who the infamous Dr. Faustus really is. Keep reading to encounter the key characters and themes in Christopher Marlowe's most notable work!

Introduction to Shakespeare: Life and Works

4. Introduction to Shakespeare: Life and Works

This video provides a crash course introduction to William Shakespeare's life, plays, and poetry. From 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' to 'The Tempest', we'll give you a timeline of his works and quick descriptions of what you need to know to identify them.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: History & Facts

5. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: History & Facts

The Globe Theatre is one of the most popular theatres in the world. There have been a number of plays performed at The Globe Theatre, including many of the plays written by William Shakespeare. Learn more about the theatre, and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

6. Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

Despite their name, Restoration comedies have nothing to do with fixing up a theater. Rather, these were shockingly explicit works that were created after almost two decades of live performances being outlawed in England. Watch our video lesson to learn about this surprising and hilarious time in English theatrical history.

Spanish Golden Age Theatre: History & Significance

7. Spanish Golden Age Theatre: History & Significance

Spain's Renaissance came a little later than most of Europe's, but it was no less spectacular. In this lesson, we'll see how the Spanish Golden Age impacted theater both inside Spain and out.

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

8. 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.

Modern Drama: Definition & Examples

9. Modern Drama: Definition & Examples

Modern drama, which developed around the turn of the twentieth century, focused on alienation and disconnection. These themes can be seen in some of the most famous plays of playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, and Eugene O'Neill.

Plays by Henrik Ibsen: Themes & Writing Style

10. Plays by Henrik Ibsen: Themes & Writing Style

The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote some of the world's most enduring, modern plays. However, his life was anything but easy. In this lesson, we will look at the life of Ibsen, his plays, and observe Ibsen's writing style.

Anton Chekhov: Plays & Short Stories

11. Anton Chekhov: Plays & Short Stories

Anton Chekhov was a famous Russian playwright and writer. In this lesson we will learn about his life, plays, and short stories. A short quiz will test our knowledge.

Uncle Vanya by Chekhov: Summary & Characters

12. Uncle Vanya by Chekhov: Summary & Characters

This lesson looks at the characters of Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya.' In addition to a brief summary of the play and an overview of the characters, the lesson discusses the origin of 'Uncle Vanya.'

Constantin Stanislavski: Biography, Books & Facts

13. Constantin Stanislavski: Biography, Books & Facts

Learn about the style of acting developed by Russian theater director Constantin Stanislavski, who believed that an actor's performance should evolve from inner emotion. Discover the connections between the Stanislavsky system and nineteenth century theater and literature.

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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