To Write, or not to Write, a Good Drama Essay

Drama essays can be fun and challenging

Do you need to prepare a drama essay for your literature course? Do not worry. It can be really fun and interesting, even when, as any other written assignment, it necessarily represents a challenge for every student. Why would anyone write about drama? Well, mostly because drama and its history teach us a lot on how every different culture modified its purpose and meaning and ended up producing, from its very foundations, what this major literature form is today.

Getting into topic

What exactly is drama? The term comes from a Greek word meaning “action”. It is then, the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. You have probably seen many times the two masks associated with drama. Have you ever wondered what do they represent? It is the traditional generic division between comedy and tragedy. They are symbols of the ancient Greek Muses, Thalia (the Muse of comedy) and Melpomene (the Muse of tragedy).
Drama is enacted in theatre, performed by actors on stage, in front of an audience. It is an art which presupposes collaborative modes of production as well as a collective form of reception. There are many artists involved in drama, although the most significant work is the one of the actor. Konstantine Stanislavski, a Russian actor and theatre director whose innovative contribution to modern European and American realistic acting has been significant, would say about the actor’s work: “Bring yourself to the part of taking hold of a role, as if it were your own life. Speak for your character in your own person. When you sense this real kinship to your part, your newly created being will become soul of your soul, flesh of your flesh.”

What you can write in your essay

Drama essays can be written on many different topics. You may explore the way drama evolved from ancient Greece into other civilizations. Japanese drama, Kabuki theatre, for example. You may write a drama essay on a certain dramatist of a given period or culture, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Moliére, Anton Chejov, George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Miller … also contemporary ones. And you can write an essay on a specific play. In such case, we strongly recommend you to go to the theatre and see it yourself! Drama is all about the stage, you will miss a lot if you only read the book. Your essay should refer to aspects such as theme, plot, character development, technique and setting. Try not to quote published criticism but give your own opinion instead. Be creative, provide plenty of details and do not forget to quote lines from the play.

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