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Tragedy

A tragedy portrays the career and downfall of an


individual
It also shows both the capacities and limitations of an
individual
The protagonist could be superhuman, a monarch or an
ordinary person ( in the moderna age)
Famous Greek Tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles and
Euripides
In English Lit: Elizabethan and Jacobean periods are the
great age of tragedy.
Examples: Kyds The Spanish Tragedy, Websters The
Duchess of Malfi , Shakespeares Hamlet

Comedy
Intended primarily to entertain the audience
It ends happily for the characters
Gk: Aristophanes is the most notable. Eg. The Frogs,
Lysistrata
Dont concentrate on the fortune of an individual rather
the interest is spread over a group of people.
Tend to deal with low life and humble people.
Involves misunderstanding, and deceptions
Moves from the possibility of disaster towards a happy
ending, often symblised by a wedding.

Tragicomedy
A mixture of tragedy and comedy
John Fletcher A tragicomedy is not so called in respect
of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths,
which is enough to make it no tragedy, yet brings some
near it, which is enough to make it no comedy.
Both upper and lower class people depicted together,
according to Jacobean and Elizabethan theorists
Shakespeares Merchant of Venice and Winters Tale

Miracle Play
It dramatizes saints lives and divine miracles and
legends of miraculous interventions
A form of late medieval drama
Little evidence in English lit
Example: French: Miracle de Notre Dame
a different form of Mystery Play ( dealt with biblical
stories)

Morality Plays
Dramatisation of the battle between the forces of good
and evil in the human soul
A Christian moral lesson concerning salvation
Originated from the mystery and miracle play of the
Middle Ages
An exteriorization of the inward spiritual struggle, mens
need for salvation and the temptations
Many morality plays contained a character called the
Vice
Eg. Everyman (c.1500)

Interlude
Lat. between play
A short dramatic entertainment , probably produced
during a feast, or between the acts of another play
Eg. John Heywoods The Play of the Weahter, The Four
Ps
Subject matter varies from farce to morality plays

Problem Plays
A play which explores a specific sociological problem
The dramatist provides an unconventional point of view
on the question involved and also takes sides
The personal point of view is done through a suitable
mouthpiece
Eg. Ibsens A Dolls House ( deals with discrimination
against women)
It also deals with race relations, class and family
conflict, social and political ills as subject matter

Masque
Originated in France during late sixteenth and early seventeenth
centuries
A courtly dramatic entertainment
It combines poetry, drma, song, dance and music by masked actors
Little or lose plot
Extravagant costumes and spectacular stage effects and
decorations
At the end, there is a dance where the audience also participate
Eg. Miltons Comus
Antimasque: a contrasting episode of clowning before or during the
masque proper. Ben Jonson in 1609 invented this form

Pantomime
The art of acting without speech, by means of gestures,
facial expression and bodily movement, often
exaggerated and comic
Also signifies a theatrical entertainment for children
during Christmas a dramatised fairy tale or favourite
subjects are Cinderella, Aladdin and the Bean Stalk
Dumb show: a mimed version of the plot, eg. the play
within the play in Shakespeares Hamelt
Help the audience to follow what is about to happen

Farce
Intended primarily to provoke laughter
It uses exaggerated characters and complicated plots,
full of absurd episodes, ludricious situations
Mistaken identity is frequently an element in the plot
Unlike satire, it is not censorious
Brandon Thomass Charleys Aunt (1892)