You have seen that tragedy is a serious play that ends on a sad note, while comedy ends happily. In traditional tragedy, playwrights are not allowed to bring in any comic action. If you read Oedipus Rex, for instance, you will observe that the atmosphere is tense from the beginning to the end. As time went on, even from the Elizabethan period, comic characters were included in tragic plays. This is called comic relief. Tragic-comedy is a play that mixes both comic and tragic elements in equal proportion of each. It therefore elicits both tragic and comic emotions.
Drame is a term of the modern period given to a category of dramatic literature which deals with man in common place and contemporary circumstance. The genre is presumed to have evolved from the French drama. The French regarded it as a play of serious intent dealing with contemporary issues and lives. Playwright like Ibsen, Chekhov, Osborne and many other modern writers are considered as the people that made extensive use of this dramatic genre.
In their plays, they contemplate man with his dealings with contemporary issues and relationships in his society. Drame is noted for its great diversity, technical experimentation and a mixture of general forms of writing. Sometimes, it is difficult to classify it as either tragedy or comedy. The playwright here is not concerned with the genre but concerned with the treatment of social issues to uplift his society. It is a product of modem drama that thrives on innovations and experimentations.
Drame has a relationship with other dramatic genres. It relates to melodrama in the sense that it involves the spectator in action through the identification of characters. It also makes extensive use of suspense and tension. However, it differs from melodrama because its interest is on political ideas and other serious issues and this brings it close to tragedy. It has the capacity for provoking thought and discussion on the issues raised after the presentation (reading) of the play.
Melodrama has characters that are easily identifiable. Drame also has the same. But the difference is that characters in melodrama are divided into protagonist and antagonist for easy audience identification. Drame is close to tragedy with its concern with human conduct and the place of drama in the modern world. It is also close to tragedy with regards to its honest treatment of issues, especially with its portrayal of characters with adequate human (realistic) motivation. It is different from tragedy mainly because of its lack of elevation, narrowness of vision, and, sometimes its lack of universality in its emphasis on contemporary life.
Farce which is referred to as comedy of situation, is a humorous play on a trivial theme usually one that is familiar to the audience. The themes that are treated in farce include mistaken identity, elaborate misunderstanding, switched costume (men in women’s clothes) heroes forced under tables, misheard instructions, discoveries, disappearances and many such situations.
Farce is not considered an intellectual drama because it does not appeal to the mind. It deals with physical situations and does not explore any serious idea. It presents physical activities that grow out of situations like the presence of something when something is not expected or the absence of something when something is expected.
Farce does not treat serious social issues. Sometimes it does not tell a full story or present a logical plot. A good example is somebody walking and slipping on a banana peel and falling in an exaggerated manner. The main objective is to entertain by evoking laughter. It presents mainly mechanical actions to show that human life is mechanical, aggressive, and coincidental.
Categorization in drama helps us in our study of dramatic literature. To a large extent it helps us in the appreciation of different forms of drama. You have learnt from this article that there are different forms of drama.
Your knowledge here will help you to understand both dramatic literature and dramatic performances. You will then be in a position to understand why some actors act the way they do in certain circumstances.