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History of English Drama

History of English Drama – Know more about it

Drama:

1) Drama is a composition in verse or prose to be acted on the stage, in which a story is related by means of dialogue and action and is represented with, accompanying gesture, costume and scenery as in real life.

2) Drama is a composition designed for performance in the theatre in which actors take the roles of the characters, perform the indicated action and utter the written dialogue

The elements of drama are-

1. plot

2. characterization

3. dialogue

4. settings

5. stage directions

6. conflict

7. theme


Important notes on History of English Drama

1) Drama has its origins in folk theatre.

2) Drama is a multiple art using words, scenic effects, music, gestures of the actors and the organising talents of a producer.

3) The dramatist must have players, a stage and an audience.

4) Amphitheaters: a circular building without a roof and with rows of seats that rise in steps around an open space. Amphitheaters were used in ancient Greece and Rome.

5) Minstrels: a medieval singer or musician, especially one who sang or recited lyric or heroic poetry to a musical accompaniment for the nobility.) People enjoyed their performances.

6) Between the 13th and 14th century drama started having themes which were separated from religion.

7) Miracle plays: Miracle plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. These plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches.

8) Mortality Plays: a kind of allegorical drama having personified abstract qualities as the main characters and presenting a lesson about good conduct and character, popular in the 15th and early 16th centuries.

9) In the Morality plays, the characters were abstract vices and virtues.

10) Allegory: a story, play, picture, etc. in which each character or event is a symbol representing an idea or a quality, such as truth, evil, death, etc.; the use of such symbols.

11) The Secular Morality plays have direct links with Elizabethan plays.

12) Features of the Renaissance Period:

i) They imposed a learned tradition.

ii) They were classical in depth with themes of education.

iii) They presented general moral problems.

iv) They showed secular politics.

v) These plays had nothing to do with religion.

vi) There were examples of both, comedy and tragedy.

13) Prime dramatists of the Elizabethan period :

Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.

14) Tragedy developed in the hands of Kyd and Marlowe.

15) The public theatre of the 16th century:

i) It differed in many important ways from the modern theatre.

ii) It was open to sky.

iii) They were without artificial lighting.

iv) The stage was a raised platform with the recess at the back supported by pillars.

v)There was no curtain and the main platform could be surrounded on three sides by the audience.

vi) There were galleries around the theatre.

16) In the 17th century the enclosed theatre gained importance. There was increasing attention to scenic device as the theatre became private.

17) William Shakespeare is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.

18) Ben Johnson was contemporary to William Shakespeare. He was a classicist, a moralist and a reformer of drama.

19) Due to the Civil wars, no theatres existed between 1642 to 1660.

20) The Restoration produced a very different kind of dramatic literature. Dramatists like Chapman, Thomas Middleton, Webster and Dekker were at the forefront.

21) When Charles II came back with the Restoration of 1660, the theatres were reopened.

22) Comedy of Manners: George Etherege (18th centure)

23) Features of Modern Theatre:

i) Use of picture frame stage.

ii) Actresses taking female parts.

iii) Moveable scenery designed to create a visual image for each scene.

iv) Use of artificial lights.

v) Irregular spectacle, melodrama and farce.

vi) Monopoly held by the two houses, Covent Garden and Drury Lane, for the performance of serious drama.

vii) The audiences which gathered to the 19th century theatre had not the intelligence or the imagination of the Elizabethan audience.

viii) The danger in the 19th century theatre was that, above all, it was unrelated to the life of the time.

24) Ibsen was the great Norwegian dramatist of the 19th century. He dominates modern drama.

25) Ibsen’s prominent dramas: The Doll’s house, Ghosts, and An Enemy of the People.

26) George Bernard Shaw was deeply influenced and affected by Ibsen’s innovative contributions and experimentation. He was the most brilliant playwrights of his times.

27) H. Granville Barker, John Galsworthy, St. John Ervine were some of the playwrights who explored contemporary problems of 20th century.

28) Lady Gregory with W. B. Yeats and J. M. Synge were the most important dramatists of this Irish revival.

29) John Osborne, wrote on people who grew up after the Second World War. Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger’ brought a new vitality to the theatre scene.

30) Other important playwrights of the modern era include Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee William, Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.

31) Features of Indian Theatre:

i) Earliest seeds of modern Indian Drama can be found in the Sanskrit Drama.

ii) From the first century A.D. ‘Mahabhasya’ by Patanjali provides a feasible date for the beginning of theatre in India.

iii) ‘A Treatise on Theatre’ (Natya Shastra) by Bharat Muni is the most complete work of dramatology in the ancient world. It gives mythological account of the origin of theatre.

iv) Modern Indian drama however, has influences from all over the world, as well as Sanskrit and Urdu traditions.

32) Features of Comedy:

i) A comedy deals with humorous story with a happy ending.

ii) A comedy creates laughter and fun.

iii) A comedy depends mostly on unusual circumstances and witty dialogues.

iv) A Comedy uses humorous dialogues and situations to give relief

33) Features of Tragedy:

i) The tragedy deals with a serious or darker themes with sad ending.

ii) A tragedy creates emotions of pity and fear.

iii) In tragedy the main character mostly has a moral flaw that causes the tragic end.

iv) A tragedy evokes pity for the characters and teach moral lesson.

34) Drama: Drama is a composition in verse or prose to be acted on the stage. It tells a story through action, costume, setting and dialogue.

35) The four periods of History of British Drama are:

i) Medieval period

ii) Renaissance period

iii) Restoration period

iv) Victorian period

36) The four elements of drama are:

i) plot

ii) characters

iii) theme

iv) stage directions

37) Examples of dramas each from four periods of history:

i) Medieval period        

:- Robin Hood, Everyman

ii) Renaissance period         

:- Romeo and Juliet, Duchess of Malfi

iii) Restoration period 

:- All for Love, The Way of the World

iv) Victorian period      

:- The Importance of Being Earnest, A Doll’s House


Activities based on History of English Drama

Q.5.

A) Objective test        4 Marks
A1. (MCQ, Fill in the blanks, True or False)(2)
A2. (Match the columns, Elements of Drama, Chronological order)  (2)                        

Model Activities:

Activity Sheet No. 1

A) Fill in the blanks.(2)

i) —————- is a composition in verse or prose to be acted on the stage.

a) Drama   b) Novel     c) Short story      d) Poetry

Answer-

a) Drama

ii) The play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ belongs to ———–

a) Medieval period

b) Renaissance period

c) Restoration period

d) Victorian Period

Answer-

a) Medieval period

B) Choose the correct alternative.(2)

i) The public theatre of the 16th century has not the following one feature.

a) Open to sky

b) No artificial lighting

c) Curtain

d) Raised platform as a stage

Answer-

c) Curtain

ii) Shakespearean era came into existence in the 16th century to the public theatre.

a) 14th

b) 15th

c) 16th

d) 17th

Answer-

c) 16th


Activity Sheet No. 2

A) Fill in the blanks.(2)

i) Drama has its origins in ———- theatre.

a) historical        

b) folk        

c) modern

d) ancient

Answer-

b) folk

ii) Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, G. B. Shaw. Here the dramatist who is odd is————

a) Thomas Kyd

b) Christopher Marlowe

c) William Shakespeare

d) G. B. Shaw

Answer-

d) G. B. Shaw

B) Choose the correct chronological order.(2)

a) Modern Period

b) Restoration Period

c) Medieval Period

d) Victorian Period

Answer-

c) Medieval Period

b) Restoration Period

d) Victorian Period

a) Modern Period


Activity Sheet No. 3

A) Fill in the blanks.(2)

i) ————— is the contemporary to William Shakespeare.

a) Ben Johnson

b) Oliver Goldsmith

c) Richard Sheridan

d) Oscar Wilde

Answer-

a) Ben Johnson

ii) Ibsen is the great Norwegian dramatist of the ———– century.

a) 16th

c) 17th

d) 18th

e) 19th

Answer-

e) 19th

B) Find the odd element. (2)

i) See the terms and write odd one.

a) settings

b) stage directions

c) conflict

d) acting

Answer-

d) acting

ii) See the writers and write odd one.

a) Thomas Kyd

b) Christopher Marlowe

c) William Shakespeare

d) T.S Eliot

Answer-

d) T.S Eliot


Activity Sheet No. 4

A) Fill in the blanks.(2)

i) The writer of The Doll’s house, Ghosts and An Enemy of the People is———–

a) Oscar Wild

b) G. B. Shaw

c) Ibsen

d) William Shakespeare

Answer-

c) Ibsen

ii) Earliest seeds of modern Indian Drama can be found in the ———– Drama.

a) English

b) Sanskrit

c) Farsi

d) French

Answer-

b) Sanskrit

B) Answer the following.(2)

i) Name any four periods of History of British Drama.

Answer:- 

The four periods of History of British Drama are:

i) Medieval period

ii) Renaissance period

iii) Restoration period

iv) Victorian period

ii) List the four elements of drama.

Answer:- 

The four elements of drama are plot, characters, theme and stage directions. 


Activity Sheet No. 5

A) Fill in the blanks.(2)

i) A Treatise on Theatre (Natya Shastra) is written by———–

a) Patanjali

b) Samuel Beckett

c) Bharat Muni

d) Harold Pinter

Answer-

c) Bharat Muni

ii) The series of events occurring in a play is ————

a) characterization

b) theme

c) stage directions

d) plot

Answer-

d) plot

B) Give any two features of ‘Comedy’.(2)

Answer-

i) A comedy deals with humorous story with a happy ending.

ii) A comedy creates laughter and fun.

iii) A comedy depends mostly on unusual circumstances and witty dialogues.

iv) A Comedy uses humorous dialogues and situations to give relief.


See More-

Being Neighborly

Nose versus Eyes


Activity Sheet No. 6

A) Answer the following.(2)

i) Give any two examples of dramas each from any four periods of history.

Answer:-

i) Medieval period         

:- Robin Hood, Everyman

ii) Renaissance period          

:- Romeo and Juliet, Duchess of Malfi

iii) Restoration period  

:- All for Love, The Way of the World

iv) Victorian period       

:- The Importance of Being Earnest, A Doll’s House

B) Give any two features of ‘Tragedy’.

Answer-

i) The tragedy deals with a serious or darker themes with sad ending.

ii) A tragedy creates emotions of pity and fear.

iii) In tragedy the main character mostly has a moral flaw that causes the tragic end.

iv) A tragedy evokes pity for the characters and teach moral lesson.


Do solve the online test.

Online Test on – History of English Drama

Set by: Prof. Tushar Chavan

Rashtriya Junior College,

Chalisgaon

Dist. Jalgaon




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Activity Workbook for Std. XI English

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