What is Drama? Definition, Examples of Drama as a Literary Term

Drama definition in literature: A drama is defined as a piece of literature of which the intended purpose is to be performed in front of an audience.

What is Drama in Literature?

Drama meaning: A drama is a type of literature that is written for the purpose of being performed in front of an audience. This type of writing is written in the form of a script, and the story is told through the lines of the characters played by actors.

Example of Drama

The television show Grey’s Anatomy is considered to be a genre. This show is written with the intended purpose of actors performing the lines for their viewing audience.

Types of Drama in Literature

Comedy: A comedy is a type of drama that is written to be entertaining or amusing for the audience.

  • The television show Seinfeld is considered a comedy. This sitcom follows the lives of four friends and the humorous situations they encounter together.

Tragedy: A tragedy is a type of drama that can be described as serious in nature and often includes a catastrophic ending.

  • William Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet is an example of a tragedy. In this play, two young children fall in love and feel the need to hide this from their parents due to their feuding families. However, their rash thinking leads them to their ultimate deaths.

Farce: A farce is a subcategory of comedy. Theses low comedies include ridiculous and slapstick comedic situations in order to create humor for the audience.

  • The movie Dumb and Dumber is an example of a farce. This movie follows the story of two caricatures on a mission to return a briefcase to a beautiful lady. Throughout the film the two encounter several ridiculous and crude situations.

Melodrama: While it originally referred to dramas that included accompanying music, melodramas now refer to plays that include highly emotional situations in order to play on the feelings of the audience.

  • The play Les parents terribles by Jean Cocteau is an example of a melodrama that involves several layers of over dramatic situations including cheating and suicide.

Musical Drama: Musical dramas refer to plays in which characters engage in dialogue but also include scenes in which the passion of the character is so great he expresses himself in song.

  • Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera is a well-known example of a musical drama that tells the story of obsession.

The Function of Drama

Dramas serve the function of entertainment for the audience. While reading a story is powerful, watching the story be performed by actors adds a level of realism to the work. In the age of binge watching, many people enjoy spending leisure time watching dramas specifically in the forms of movies or television.

Summary: What is a Drama in Literature?

Define drama in literature: In summation, a drama is a work of literature written for the intended purpose of being performed for an audience. Dramas are written in the form of a script and actors perform interpretations of the characters involved in order to tell the story the viewers versus reading a story in novel form.

Final Example:

The hit Grease by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is an example of a musical drama. In this popular play and movie, viewers are taken through the story of high school love between two teens who are completely opposite outside the love they share for each other.