Drama is a display of emotions, a representation of relationships and the portrayal of the different phases of human life. It sketches different personalities and represents a wide variety of emotions through the different characters it portrays. Which of its components are identified as the elements of drama? Let us see.
Aristotle, a philosopher who wrote on a variety of subjects like poetry, theater, music, rhetoric and handled subjects like biology, physics, logic and politics, writes that there are six elements of drama, According to him, plot, theme, character, dialogue, music and the visual element of a play make up the six elements of drama. Let us look at each of them. Theme: The theme of a drama refers to the central idea of the play. It can either be clearly stated through dialogue or action or can be inferred after watching the entire performance. Plot: The order of events occurring in a play is referred to as the plot of the drama.
It is the basic storyline that is narrated through a play. The entertainment one derives from a play depends largely on the sequence of events that occur in the story. The logical connection between the events and the characters, which enact the story form an integral part of the plot of drama. Characters: The characters that form a part of the story are interwoven with the plot of the drama. Each character in a play has a personality of its own and has a distinct set of principles and beliefs. Actors who play various roles in a drama have the very important responsibility of bringing the characters to life.
Dialogue: The story of any play is taken forward by means of the dialogue. The story is narrated to the audiences through the dialogue written by the playwright. The success of a drama depends hugely on the contents of the dialogue and the quality of dialogue delivery by the actors of the play. Music: This element of drama comprises of the melody in the use of sounds and rhythm in dialogues as well as melodious compositions, which form a part of many plays. The background score, the songs and the sound effects that are used in a play make up the musical element of drama.
Music composers and lyricists sit together to create music that can go well with the theme of the play. If the scenes of a play are accompanied by well-suited pieces of music, they become more effective on the audiences. Hence, music forms a very important element of drama. Visual Element: While the dialogue and music constitute the audible aspect of drama, the visual element deals with the scenes, costumes and special effects used in it. The visual element of drama, also known as the spectacle, renders a visual appeal to it. The costumes worn by the artists must suit the characters they are playing.
Besides, it is important for the scenes to be dramatic enough to hold the audiences to their seats. The special effects used in a play add to the visual appeal. Thus, the spectacle forms an essential component of drama. Apart from these elements of drama as given by Aristotle, the structure of the story, a clever use of symbolism and contrast and stagecraft form some of the other important elements of drama. The structure of the story comprises of the way in which the story is put forth to the audience. The way in which the characters play their roles and the framework of the story constitute the drama structure.
Direction is an essential constituent of a play. A well-directed story can help in fetching greater mass appeal. Stagecraft plays a vital role in increasing the visual appeal of a drama. The use and organization of different stage properties and the stage setup constitute the stagecraft, which is an essential component of a play. The use of symbols implies the use of indirect suggestions in a drama. Logically used symbols help in making a scene more effective. The use of contrast is about using stillness followed by activity or silence followed by noise.
It can also mean the use of contrasting colors to add to the visual appeal. It can mean the clever use of contrasting scenes following each other that enhance the dramatic element of a play. An enthusiastic audience is perhaps one of the very essential elements of drama. A play needs a live and lively audience who can constructively criticize performances and generously appreciate quality work. Elements of Drama Most successful playwrights follow the theories of playwriting and drama that were established over two thousand years ago by a man named Aristotle.
In his works the Poetics Aristotle outlined the six elements of drama in his critical analysis of the classical Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex written by the Greek playwright, Sophocles, in the fifth century B. C. The six elements as they are outlined involve: Thought, Theme, Ideas; Action or Plot; Characters; Language; Music; and Spectacle. 1. Thought/Theme/Ideas What the play means as opposed to what happens (the plot). Sometimes the theme is clearly stated in the title. It may be stated through dialogue by a character acting as the playwrights voice. Or it may be the theme is less obvious and emerges only after some study or thought.
The abstract issues and feelings that grow out of the dramatic action. 2. Action/Plot The events of a play; the story as opposed to the theme; what happens rather than what it means. The plot must have some sort of unity and clarity by setting up a pattern by which each action initiating the next rather than standing alone without connection to what came before it or what follows. In the plot of a play, characters are involved in conflict that has a pattern of movement. The action and movement in the play begins from the initial entanglement, through rising action, climax, and falling action to resolution. . Character These are the people presented in the play that are involved in the perusing plot. Each character should have their own distinct personality, age, appearance, beliefs, socio economic background, and language.
4. Language The word choices made by the playwright and the enunciation of the actors of the language. Language and dialog delivered by the characters moves the plot and action along, provides exposition, defines the distinct characters. Each playwright can create their own specific style in relationship to language choices they use in establishing character and dialogue. . Music Music can encompass the rhythm of dialogue and speeches in a play or can also mean the aspects of the melody and music compositions as with musical theatre. Each theatrical presentation delivers music, rhythm and melody in its own distinctive manner. Music is not a part of every play. But, music can be included to mean all sounds in a production. Music can expand to all sound effects, the actor’s voices, songs, and instrumental music played as underscore in a play. Music creates patterns and establishes tempo in theatre.
In the aspects of the musical the songs are used to push the plot forward and move the story to a higher level of intensity. Composers and lyricist work together with playwrights to strengthen the themes and ideas of the play. Character’s wants and desires can be strengthened for the audience through lyrics and music. 6. Spectacle The spectacle in the theatre can involve all of the aspects of scenery, costumes, and special effects in a production. The visual elements of the play created for theatrical event. The qualities determined by the playwright that create the world and atmosphere of the play for the audience’s eye.