Home » The Origins of Drama: Books

It’s an easy mistake to make: drama is thought to be the melancholy works and sentimental words, the chapters filled to suffering. All books must be drenched in metaphors, with all emphasis placed on tragedy. It cannot offer laughter. It cannot provide kind moments. It must instead be a wrenching experience, leaving the individual wondering why he chose such a story (and why he is unable to put it away, hide it beneath the safer romances). Such a notion dominates the casual reader, with all assumptions offered to literary works that don’t slip into rhyme or humor. The drama is its own category.

This is not entirely accurate, however.

The notion of the drama is given now to books that offer less than happy circumstance. It was once, though, given only to plays.

Established in the 5th century as a way to define the blossoming theatrical movement (which consisted of romances, tragedies and comedies), the drama applied not to epics but instead just to the stage. Its purpose was to structure the many categories and provide their needed rules, tropes and climax requirements. It was a term to encompass all elements of Grecian performance and was not offered its own ideals. It was not a form of literature. It was instead a simple device.

This is far different that the expectations of today – when the word is applied to all stories with less than amiable intentions. Books without smiles are easily associated with this form and are believed to be a separate identity. And this evolution from stage to chapters happened over the slow centuries, with the rise and fall of empires and the change of public perception. Theater was broadened; verses were reshaped; and the drama seemed too stoic to be placed within the gentler works, the wit and wonders. It was deemed serious instead, and it is through this that the common claims were established.

And such claims are given freely now, with books being devoted to all things solemn.

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