Drama is a literary term derived from Greek language means action. It can be defined, "drama is an action that is performed on the stage along with characters before the audience." Its beginning is adhered to Greek religion as acting before god for making him pleasant. They mostly wrote tragedies and comedies. In English literature, its beginning is, too, linked to religious drama____liturgy plays, mystery plays, miracle plays, morality plays, tragedies, comedies and the modern plays. The modern era divides it into full length plays and short plays.
The following are the most important elements of drama:
It is the most important element and without it the drama is never performed. It is the name of place where on the drama is acted. it is shaped like bow with various doors for entrance and exit. The characters come from one door, perform their roles and exit from other doors. if we think it broadly we find two stages, one is for characters and other is for audience but The audience stage is different. The audience watches drama and extols the actors. The acting is watched from both sides. one has full action; where as the other has full reaction expressed in words, gestures and feelings rolling the different ideas in audience minds.
It is the pact of events. The writer makes idea into his mind with out lines from whom he makes the story. So plot is the series of events or actions those are collected and the story is made. The dramatist divides plot or events into three different parts____ exposition, middle or body and denouement.
i. Introduction or Exposition: It is found or placed in the first act or beginning of the drama. There in all the characters and the main issue on that the drama is written are introduced to the audience. The audience easily understands the relations and the movement of drama. It is a great help for him to render positive and negative feelings to the actors according to categories. The main problem is acquainted and developed entering to the body of the drama.
ii. Middle or Body: In this realm conflicts, rising action and falling actions take place. It is the body of the drama, hero and villain come face to face and speed their thoughts or tricks whether they are positive or not. In it the audience gets familiarity to internal and external conflict of main characters. The internal conflict is between the hero and his conscience, where as the external conflict is between the hero and the villain. Both fight or try to knock down each other. Their tussle reaches the peak and now it has to fall down to the end. It means all conflicts and problems come on the stage for solution, but in body they are not solved.
iii. Denouement: It is the stage of catharsis or solution of problems. As Shakespeare supports the statement that virtue is rewarded and vice is punished. On this stage is the falling down of all actions. Here conflicts are resolved and after that the characters as well as the audience tension is released. They all go to the previous level.
Story is carried on by characters. The dramatist takes characters of all class — hero, heroin, villain attendants etc. But the major focus remains on the main characters as hero, heroin, villain etc. A good series of characters is found, earning feelings from the audience by acting. The struggle of actors or all characters add help or work to the hero. The hero has to perform hazardous or adventurous actions and for him the other minor or major characters make his aim achievable. By this means, the hero succeeds to eradicate evils from the society.
All the characters work with great sincerity. Indeed they are to great extent faithful to their professions. For example :. Hero is faithful to heroin deeds, villain is sincere to villainous deeds, attendants, servants to their professions. It is sincerity, devotion, or faithfulness that pushes their work as a real work. In this way, reality by characters is prevailed in the drama. So, drama is called the reflection of society
The story is written in dialogue form, which are uttered by the characters. The dramatist makes dialogues simple and short, as that the characters utter them easily but in one breath. The dramatist puts the spirit of attraction. These dialogues have feelings which are felt by the audience that's why the happiness of characters is supposed the happiness of audience as well as sorrows. Sometimes the audience laughs and some times weeps by bringing out the tears.
It is an unconscious and spontaneous force of speaking to oneself. It occurs when a person is under the dreadful dominance of dejection or is found in dilemma, or his mind is unbalanced searching catharsis. In such battle, different ideas come out spontaneously and uncontrollably. Such speaking makes him unaware of the surroundings, he thinks that he is speaking to himself and every thing is secret to him, but it is not like that. He thinks inverse of the fact, for he is disclosing it to all. Thus soliloquy is a psychological study of man and it helps to get acquaintance with the inner working of one. The dramatists employ it with a purpose of divulging character's innermost thoughts or the plan of future in advance to the audience. It is just to expose mental tendency of the character or the boundary of judgment that creates curiosity among the readers or audience.
Drama is not written for decorating the shelf, but it is written for readers or performed before the audience. The audience is inseparable from drama. Indeed it is the audience that watches and extols characters and makes fans. It is the audience that gets similarity to feelings and emotions. It is the audience that gets awareness about evil deeds and fights for making the society free.
Undoubtedly, drama provides entertainment and instruction, the both are for audience. The dramatist chooses theme and actors from that society and represents it before the audience. If the society is moving towards the evil deeds, the dramatist awares the audience of them by representing. So drama is a polished means of uplifting manners and beings of the audience, as the audience must make war against them and defeat them for ever. That's why the audience is as important as the characters.
07. Subject Matter:
It is above discussed that men of letters, being the members of of society, depict its good as well as bad deeds. They are the true crusader and the cultured leaders, trying to lead the society to thorough fare. When ever they smell rat, inform the society. The dramatist picks out good deeds as well as bad deeds and performs before the audience with great spirit and compels to react. The bad deeds are performed in a bitter manner, where as the good deeds are performed in an attractive and pleasant manner; as that the audience must welcome it. So society is an endless abode of ideas or subject matter.
08. The Supernatural Element:
In olden days it was used in tragedies and comedies, but now a days it has got more popularity and has become a great source of entertainment in Asian as well as in European dramas. The dramatist introduces ghost, witch, wizard, storm, weird or other mighty objects. The spectators watch them with more interest. They are important and add heroism to hero. Supposing, if hero fails to seek out the truth, the dramatist introduces ghost or storm brings some sort of sign of his beloved or any other that re-continues his struggle and solves the crucial matter.
Simultaneously there are bad signs, too, introduced by the dramatist as that the hero may become adventurer by fighting against such strong or easily uncontrollable elements in order to save his society. The drama remains full of horror and encourages the audience not to surrender but fight and the Creator will award you success.
It is also accredited as an important element of drama; the drama is never performed without costumes as that of the concerned society. The characters are dressed matching the dialogues, events and surroundings. If there is a joker, he has to wear joker's costumes; if the character is villain or performing other role, he has to wear that dress and other required tools. It lays great impression on audience, because they appear to be the symbol for the audience. The audience wears them, when such deeds are performed.
Language ought to be simple and musical, qualifying the habits of the characters. The dramatist wants to convey his central theme to the readers, so he makes dialogues according to the residents and their capacity of perceiving. The society only accepts simple and short sentences elaborated with simile, metaphor, satire, irony and alliteration. That's why language is selected by keeping in view the mentality of the society.
The above described elements are major and important. Apart from it there is a good series of minor elements of drama.