Types of Drama:
Broadly, dramas are divided into three types: tragedy, comedy and tragicomedy. Nowadays, farce is also discussed as a kind of drama.
Cuddon (1991) defines tragedy as “a kind of protest, it is a cry of terror or complaint or rage or a anguish to and against whoever or what ever is responsible for this harsh rack’, for suffering, for death. Be it God, nature, fate, circumstances, chance or something nameless. It is a ‘cry’ about the tragic situation in which the tragic hero or heroine find themselves”. For Aristotle tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious and also a having magnitude, complete itself. Tragedy presents the heroic or moral struggle of an individual, culminating in his/her ultimate defeat.
Tragedy is presented in the form of action, which will arouse pity and fear in the audience as it witnesses the action. Tragedy involves the audience in the action and creates tension and expectation. With the climax and final end, the audience will have learned a lesson and will leave the theatre not depressed or sullen, but uplifted and enlightened.
A universal form of expression and a major dramatic genre, comedy is intended to amuse the Spectators Garden States. “Comedy is associated with humorous behaviour, word play, pleasurable feeling, release of tension, and laughter. Imbued with a playful spirit, comic entertainment frequently exposes incongruous, ridiculous, or grotesque aspects of human nature”.
Comedy is written chiefly to amuse its audience. Comedy is a fictional work in which the materials are selected and managed primarily in order to interest and amuse us. For example, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Drama’.
Tragicomedy is a dramatic genre that contains elements of tragedy and comedy both. It intermingles both the standard characters and subject matter and the standard plot forms of tragedy and comedy. Tragicomedy is a mixture of emotions. It blends seriousness with laughter, and pain with pleasure. For e.g. Shepard’s ‘True West’.
Farce is a form of drama which is intended to excite laughter through exaggeration and extravagance rather than by realistic imitation of life.