The term dramatic literature indicates a paradox; in that literature originally meant something written and drama meant something performed.  Drama is an approach of fictional representation through dialogue and drama or performance. It is one of the literary genres, which is an imitation of some action. Drama is also a type of a play written for televisions, theaters, radios and films. In literature, the word drama defines a genre, or style of writing. Drama is a play that can be performed for theatre, radio or even television. These plays are generally written out as a script, or a written version of a play that is read by the actors but not the audience.

Drama, as in a play, is meant to be performed on a stage in front of an audience at the theatre. So, drama refers to the script, while the word theatre is the performance of the script. 

Definition of Drama

The definition of a drama is a story or situation which commonly presents some sort of conflict. In simple words, a drama is a composition in verse or prose presenting a story in pantomime or dialogue, containing conflict of characters, mostly the ones who act in front of spectators on the stage. The person who writes drama for stage directions is known as a dramatist, scenarist  or playwright.

Types of Drama

Let us consider a few popular types of drama:
  • Comedy – Comedies are lighter in tone than ordinary writers, and provide a happy conclusion. The objective of dramatists in comedies is to make their audience laugh.  Hence, they use quaint circumstances, unusual characters and witty remarks.
  • Musical Drama – In musical drama, the dramatists not only tell their story through acting and dialogue, nonetheless by dance as well as music. Generally the story may be comedic, though it may also involve serious subjects.
  • Farce – Generally, a farce is a preposterous genre of drama, which often overacts or engages clowning humor.
  • Melodrama – Melodrama is an extravagant drama, which is sensational and appeals straight to the senses of audience. Just like the charade, the characters are of single dimension and simple, or may be stereotyped.
  • Tragedy – Tragic dramas use darker themes such as disaster, pain and death. Protagonists often have a tragic flaw—a characteristic that leads them to their downfall.

At times because of the large number of dramas, they are often subcategorized as:
    • Crime drama and Legal drama
    • Historical drama 
    • Horror drama 
    • Docudrama
    • Psychodrama
    • Comedy-drama
    • Melodrama
    • Romantic drama
    • Tragedy

Characteristics of Drama

Drama is anticipated to reflect human behavior and action in the midst of crisis and everyday life. Several genres exist within drama, each with their own storytelling methods, character types and dramatic approach. There are four main genres of drama: the tragedy, comedy, melodrama and tragicomedy. Understanding the characteristics of these genres creates a basic understanding of the influences and types of theater being produced today.

The 5 characteristics of drama are:
    • Idea/Plot
    • Characters
    • Language
    • Music
    • Performance
Characteristics of drama are quite subjective. People infer drama in different ways, and what are considered the 'key elements' of the medium may vary, depending on whether you're in the audience or actually part of the cast. Another way to describe the characteristics of drama would be to look at it in terms of the steps that a production needs to go through between inceptions through to being performed in front of a live audience. 

In this context, the following could be seen as characteristics of dramatic performances:
    • plan / script/ scenario/ text
    • the process
    • the product
    • the audience

Examples of Drama from Literature

The Heiress is based on Henry James’ novel the Washington Square. Directed for stage performance by William Wyler, this play shows an ungraceful and homely daughter of a domineering and rich doctor falling in love with a young man, Morris Townsend wishes to elope with him, but he leaves her in lurch. Author creates melodrama towards the end, when Catherine teaches a lesson to Morris and leaves him instead.

Sentence Examples:
  1. He is reading an ancient Greek drama.
  2. In all of forty five minutes, some sort of drama would emerge once the inhabitants awoke.
  3. I prefer drama to comedy.
  4. He didn't need this type of drama, and she was too good for a man like him in her life.
  5. His interest in drama began at a very early age.
  6. "I was going to say drama-free," Gale replied.
  7. She studied drama in university.
  8. "Don't have time, don't want the drama," he replied and swiped his T-shirt from the ground.
  9. The dramas of teenage life
  10. She watched the drama unfold as they began screaming at each other.
  11. A competition full of drama.
  12. The drama of the courtroom proceedings.