The Study of
year and the place of the author’s birth, his nationality, training for
literary work, occupations other than writing, some of his main works.
manner does the title refer to the story of the play?
Subject Manner—How suitable is the story of the play for dramatic
purposes? Is it:
(with a beginning, middle, and end?)
Significance (Not a mere succession
of humdrum events?)
of successful presentation on the stage?
Theme—Understand dramatic theme. Is
theme or abstraction?
portrayal of a type or historic character?
presentation of an environment or a special phenomenon?
discussion of a problem—social, economic, political, religious?
picture of some broad aspect of phrase of life with a dominant characteristic?
the plot and indicate the four divisions of:
(beginning with inciting moment)
point (crisis, climax)
(clear-cut theme, single group of characters, single line of action)?
(main incidents involving different groups of characters, multiple line of
action but no subplot)?
(main plot and one or more subplots)?
main characters of the play and give the chief traits of each.
main characters portrayed by both:
indirect method (action, speech of characters themselves)?
direct method (what we are told about them)?
1. Individual or type (Everyman)?
Stationary (one who acts on the same motives in the
Simple (Macbeth) or complex (Hamlet)?
Developing (one whose character changes)?
(one whose character does not change, but who
gradually reveals hidden qualities)?
Foil characters (who throw the main character into
Complementary characters (similar in type, work together)?
Link characters (who hook up different characters or
Chorus characters (who comment on action, give
F. Are the characters acting with human will, seeking to get or to escape something, acting on motives under the impulse of passion or emotion? Or are they mere puppet of fate or circumstances?
the play according to each of the following:
to type or form?
definition—suffering (“waste”) is the essential note, which produces the
pity and fear.
with a sensational romantic plot and both the comic and tragic elements
that deals with the less serious phases of life, incongruities, inconsistencies,
foibles, and weaknesses of humanity are sources of action.
a. Comedy of manners (high comedy)—weaknesses, errors, affectations of society or some class of it. Intelligent satire.
character—foibles, weaknesses of individuals; stock characters.
intrigue—comic action arises from circumstances—no one plans them
situation—comic action arises from deliberate planning by one of the
of comic entertainment overrides naturalness in treatment of plot and character
4. Tragi-Comedy—(The Modern Drama)—contains characteristics of both tragedy (prevailing serious tone, moments of deep tragic tension, tragic ending foreshadowed) and comedy (relief by scenes of a humorous nature, tragic ending averted)
B. According to Method—To which class does the play belong?
1. Romantic—emphasizes the ideal, often at the cost of reality (subjects are usually mystery, chivalry, love; setting frequently in distant past; atmosphere of glamour, admiration for heroic and beautiful “Truth of Nature” Shakespeare—Cyrano de Bergerac.
in theme and treatment, fantasy, symbolism, allegory.
N.B.: The following terms are used by various writers in different senses. Understand clearly what you mean when you use them.
actual conditions and activities of (contemporary) life in some phases the
dramatist conceives it to be and reacts to it.
“Truth or face.” Ibsen, Strife
procedure with more emphasis on photographic accuracy—less intrusion of
author’s personality. Inclined to
overstress the sordid, emphasizes atmosphere and environment at expense of plot
or action. (Lower Depths, Cherry
Orchard, The Weavers).
5. Expressionistic—strongly subjective; concerns itself with internal rather than external actions; frequently calls for unusual stage devices, lighting, make-up.
the mental states of the characters, complexes, neuroses, and
C. According to Subject Matter.
1. Legendary—stories of indefinite time and detail. (Lear, Coriolanus, Macbeth).
facts and records.
dealing with love, crime, war, society, with social, economical, political,
religious problems. (Problem play).
VI. Dialogue—Is the dialogue natural, labored, too literary?
Elements. Note the following
elements if anything noteworthy concerning them occurred to you in your reading
of the play.
A. Did you enjoy the play? Give reasons.
profit did you derive from reading it?
characters appealed to you most? Why?
seen any other plays or movies similar in theme, plot, or character?
If so, compare the two.