History of English Drama

In Literature, Drama is considered an integral part. It includes the people, culture, and languages in society. It highlights the social activities. The drama starts where logic ends.

History of English Drama


It has written for theatre. Some common characteristics of drama include plot music and dialogue. They are also called forms of play. In simple words, a drama is a composition in verse presenting a story in prominence of dialogue in front of some audience.


Old English is so different from the various dialects of modern English. It might as well be a whole other language, and it is in Old English that the earliest fragments of English poetry found. The first complete poems to have survived to the current date are a hymn to creation attributed to Saint Caedmon, who lived between approximately 658 and 680 A.D.

Origin of Drama:


Drama originated in ancient Greek. 

In Greek drama, it is associated only with religious festivals.

There are two types of drama: 

  1. Comedy 
  2. Tragedy

As a result, Greek writers are the originator of drama.

They are also called ancient Dramatists of English Drama.

Ancient Greek Dramatic:

Comedy writers

  1. Euripides 
  2. Aeschylus 
  3. Sophocles

Tragedy writers 

  1. Tryptophan
  2. Aristophanes 

Top ancient Greek plays: 

  • Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  • Prometheus bound by Aeschylus
  • Media by Euripides
  • Antigone by Sophocles

Elements of drama:

The elements of drama by which The matrix work can be explained and evaluated can be characterized into three areas.

  1. Literary elements
  2. Technical elements
  3. Performance elements

Role of Aristotle in the history of drama:

Aristotle was one of the forefathers of Greek literature. 

He gave six elements of drama which were also called literary elements in which he took all the characters of a drama.

Elements by Aristotle:



  1. Plot:

It is the root of the drama. It shows the incident in a drama or play and refers to the action. The basic storyline of the drama is called a plot.

When we talk about incidents they are the initial incidents rising action, falling action and climax, etc.

It is called an event of drama.

       2. Denouement:

It is the technique used in Greek which means the final part of the play, drama, or poem.

The result of a situation is called Denouement.


It refers to the meaning of the poem. It is the main idea or lesson which we learn from the play. The theme is quite a substitute. Some general Themes are conflicted between two individuals, man and supernatural powers man and himself.


A character is defined as any animal person who is present in literary work. Aristotle called it an agent. It can be the people's ideas are portrayed by the actor.

Types of character:

  1. Protagonist
  2. Antagonist
  3. Flat character
  4. Round character
  5. Static character
  6. Stop character
  7. Foil character
  8. Stereotype character
  9. Dynamic character
  10. Archetype character

      3. Dialogue:

It refers to the word written by the play writer and attaches the character in the play. It helps tomorrow's action and reveals the innermost thoughts of a character.



It is used by a character typically when he is alone.

For an example of Shakespeare's Soliloquy in Shakespearean play.

      4. Aside

It speaks from character to character. It reveals what a character is thinking or feeling. It gives information to the audience.

     5. Rhythm of music:

It is a four prominent feature of a drama. In the Modern era, it is called music. In Greek, it was called rhythm. 

    6, Spectacles:

It means stage crafting or stage setting. It could be a set of characters of different elements which leave a prolonged impact on theatre. 


There are settings of the stage.

  1. Indoor setting
  2. Outdoor setting

For example: 

In Oedipus Rex, the stage setting of Oedipus in Greek in which we see Earth is green, dying babies, falling images which reveal that thousands decay of trees and benches.


We are also called technical elements as modern elements of drama

It includes scenery, set, costume, properties, lights, sounds, and makeup, etc. are the technical elements

  1. Scenery:

It means the equipment that is a curtain, platform flat used in traumatic production to communicate with the surrounding environment.

     2. Properties:

Any movable object accepts scenery like the car apartment.

      3. Light:

It is needed to help the environment.

      4. Makeup:

Makeup is needed to change the character. Mask body paint is IMPORTANT to transfer the character into an actor.


Some performance elements play an integral part.

  • Acting:

The use of face, beauty, and voice is necessary to portray a character.

  • Character motivation:

The cause or reason for a character's behavior is character motivation.

  • Character analysis:

The process of examining how to use elements of drama.

Literary, technical, and performance.

  • Empathy:

The capacity to relate to the feeling of another is known as empATHY.


The Romans inherited the tradition of drama from the Greeks. The expansion of the Roman empire helped them to spread the drama to many places in Europe and Mediterranean World. The Romans were borrowed in the middle ages.

Seneca is the most popular and important tragedy writer of this Roman drama.


It is called the middle ages, which came after the fall of the Roman empire. Most of the classical learning was lost in the medieval ages. Middle ages were nominated by religion and only theological matters were discussed in this age.

The Christian doctrine and Christian values were discussed in this drama. The drama was considered evil and a means of corruption. 

It happened for the first time in history that theatres were banned and closed for 20 years in this age.

Types of drama in MEDIEVAL DRAMA:

There are three types of medieval drama.

  1. Mystery play about Bible stories
  2. Miracle play about the life of the saint and the miracles they performed

A morality play about the character personifying moral values such as charity is obstruction about death and moral lessons are taught.


The Renaissance is the period that followed the middle ages. It started in Italy in the 14th century and spread to parts of Europe. The word Renaissance is a French word that means rebirth. It is also called the rebirth of English literature. 

It is the vast age of English literature in which we learn about different inventions, religious themes, and innovations in society. The drama was no longer considered evil and started opening in theatres after a long time.

The humanism movement started with the humanist movement which stressed the role of man and reason in understanding the word and rejected the predominance of religious thinking.


During this age, the work of Greek and Roman Dramatists was discovered and imitated. They were no longer restricted to religious themes. This happened first in Italy and then in other parts of Europe.


In England, drama flourished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who was a patron of literature and arts. Theatres were built in large numbers and people attended plays in large numbers.

The most prominent dramatists were William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Larkin, Edmund Spencer, and Christopher Marlowe.

What's Your Reaction?