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Elements of Drama – BA Second Year | Merofuture


  1. Context, Modes and the Elements of Drama

Ans: Characters, dialogue, and plot are the indispensable elements of drama. Together they make possible the imitative world of every play. The particular version of a play is determined by a variety of circumstances – by the mode of the play, the literary from of the play, and the design of the theatre.

  1. Dialogue

Ans: Dialogue refers to the conversation between two or more people, either verbal or written. It is fundamental element of drama. It is used in general for expository purpose. The following are some of the literary and stylistic values of effective dialogue:

a. It advances the action;

b. It is consistent with the character of the speakers, their social positions and special interests, the adding realism;

c. It gives the impression of naturalness;

d. It presents the interplay of ideas and personalities among the people conversing;

e. It varies in diction (style of speaking), rhythm, phrasing, sentence, length, characteristic voice, pronunciation, accent, dialect, speech rate, vocabulary range, image bearing knowledge, etc. according to the various speakers, thus adding interest;

f. In drama, dialogue is supported constantly by its physical accompaniment, action, movement, and in the total effect of setting and scenery.

Dialogue is, in sense, a form of action. It is artfully constructed concentrated, selected and heighted for economy and intensity. Dialogue is most often between two or among more than two characters. Audience overhear what they talk. Sometimes it is in the form of “soliloquy” or “aside”. Aside is a remark made by a character in a play. It is intended to be heard by the audience but not by the other characters on stage. Soliloquy is speech of a character in a play delivered while the speaker is alone. The purpose of a soliloquy is to make the audience aware of the character’s thoughts or to give information concerning other participants in the action.

Dialogue is necessarily a more artificial form of discourse than ordinary conversation. It is a script for theatrical production. It can tell us about the total spectacle: the setting, the arrangement of characters on the stage, their physical movements, gestures, facial expressions, and inflections. It is also a text for conveying the imaginative world of the play. It can tell us about the character speaking, the character listening, and the other characters not present. It can tell us about relation among the characters, circumstances, their world, and off-stage events. While reading a play, we should follow all the give-and-take form of dialogue to get the imaginative experience of the play.

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  1. Plot

Ans: Plot is the framework of a piece of drama or fiction. It is the planned series of interrelated incidents that make up the story being told. Typically, they are arranged in a logically, ordered sequence to arouse interest and suspense and to lead to a climax and denouement that are artistically satisfying. There is constant interaction between the characters involved and the incidents portrayed. In a plot there are following element:

a. Preliminary situation: It is introductory part which gives the information necessary for an intelligent reading of the story (or seeing the play). The preliminary situation may provide the setting of the story, present the main characters and/ or plunge directly into the action.

b. The generating circumstance/ inciting force: It is the episode or event that cause the rising action and starts the train of events. The generating circumstance is sometimes called the initial impulse or exciting force.

c. The rising action: It comprises all the incidents that follow the generating circumstance and precede the climatic scene. The events are lined by the cause-and-effect principle, and all lead to the approaching climax. It is a crisis that brings on the climax.

d. The climax: It is the important stage in which fortune of the contest turns in favor of or against the protagonist. It is the scene of the action of the story reaches a balancing point, from which it will take one turn or another. Sometimes the climax of the plot involves a recognition scene, called “discovery” in a play, in which the protagonist recognizes the cause of conflict.

e. The falling action: It is towards the end of the climax. In the falling action the intensity of the conflict diminishes, leads to the resolution or denouement.

f. The denouement: It is a French word for “unknotting”. It is the resolution of the complication. It is ending of the conflict and also ending of the story.

The events that take place in our daily existence do not embody a significant pattern or process. If they have any pattern at all, it is merely the product of habit and routinge. In a drama, there is aplot. Every event is part of a carefully designed pattern and process. It is a wholly interconnected system of events, deliverately selected and arranged for the purpose of fulfilling a complex set of imaginative and theatrical purposes. Plot is thus an extremely artificial element. Along with the development of events, interest is also developed by creating complications and suspense. In drama, the totally of events must create a coherent imitation of the world.

Plot comprises everything that takes place in the imaginative world of a play. It includes off-stage as well as on-stage actions, reported as well as represented. The on-stage action is called scenario. There is difference that the plot includes both on-stage and off-stage only. In this sense, the scenario embodies the actions occurring on the stage only. In this sense, the scenario embodies the plot but it is not itself the plot. In a plot, all the vents are necessarily arranged chronologically, whereas in a scenario, events are arranged dramatically. The scenario is constructed of a series of dramatic units. Each time a character enters or leaves the stage, a new dramatic unit begins. The appearance or departure are like a form o punctuation. To understand characters and plot, we should examine unit individually to discover both on-stage actions. We should also examine the actions in relation to one another in context. Context is a technique that influences our perception and understanding of characters and plot. By studying the dramatic units, we can recognize the dominant process of the play. We can easily perceive complications, discoveries and resolutions in the plays. To sum up, plot it an extremely complicated element, one that can be understood only thorough a detailed analysis of dramatic units.

  1. Character

Ans: Characters in a play are like real people, but not entirely identical to people in real life. Real people, after all, exist in the world as it is, but characters exist in an imaginative world shaped by the theatrical contexts and imitative purpose of drama. In the classical Greek theatre, for example, a character was defined visually by the fixed expression of his or her facial mask. Size of the theatre or purpose of the play often projected characters to e identical to be real people. Because of its sustained interest in psychological behaviors, modern drama tends to put a great deal of emphasis on character. Despite the workings of the human mind in modern dramas, they do not embody characters who can be taken as identical to real people. Many of the characters are conceived to dramatize specific ideas about the impact of the family and society upon the individual. The exhibit patterns of behavior that are typical rather than actual. Anyway, we must acknowledge the truth that they are real even being false because they are endowed with human capacities – taking, acting, interacting, experiencing pleasure and enduring pain.

While reading a drama, we should consider all of the ways in which characters are revealed and defined by dialogue and plot. The following points should be considered to understand a character.

  1. Details of whatever character says;
  2. Attitude, beliefs, and feelings of the character;
  3. Content and style of utterances;
  4. Information of what others say about the character;
  5. Context and situations of behaviors;
  6. Comparing and contrasting the character with others; and
  7. Theatrical contexts and imaginative purpose that shape the character.

Possible Questions

  1. Write short notes on the following:
  2. Dialogue/ Interaction in Drama.
  3. Plot in Drama
  4. Character in Drama

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