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Chapter 4.1 - History of English Drama Balbharati solutions for English Yuvakbharati 11th Standard Maharashtra State Board

Chapter 4: History of English Drama

Chapter 4.1 - History of English Drama Balbharati solutions for English Yuvakbharati 11th Standard Maharashtra State Board
Chapter 4.1 - History of English Drama Balbharati solutions for English Yuvakbharati 11th Standard Maharashtra State Board
Chapter 4.1 - History of English Drama Balbharati solutions for English Yuvakbharati 11th Standard Maharashtra State Board


4.1 History of English Drama

Drama:

1) Drama is a composition in verse or prose to be acted on the stage, in which a story is related by means of dialogue and action and is represented with, accompanying gesture, costume and scenery as in real life.


2) Drama is a composition designed for performance in the theatre in which actors take the roles of the characters, perform the indicated action and utter the written dialogue


The elements of drama are-

1. plot

2. characterization

3. dialogue

4. settings

5. stage directions

6. conflict

7. theme


(I) Introduction to English Theatre:

Drama has its origins in folk theatre. Drama is a multiple art using words, scenic effects, music, gestures of the actors and the organising talents of a producer. The dramatist must have players, a stage and an audience.

     The beginnings of drama in England are obscure. There is evidence to believe that when the Romans were in England, they established vast amphitheaters for the production of plays but when the Romans departed their theatre departed with them. 


 (Amphitheaters: a circular building without a roof and with rows of seats that rise in steps around an open space. Amphitheaters were used in ancient Greece and Rome.) 

Then there were minstrels. (Minstrels: a medieval singer or musician, especially one who sang or recited lyric or heroic poetry to a musical accompaniment for the nobility.) People enjoyed their performances. 

Gradually by the 10th century the ritual of the plays that itself had something dramatic in it and had got few features of a play.

Between the 13th and 14th century drama started having themes which were separated from religion. The words themselves were spoken in English, a longer dramatic script came into use, and they were called as Miracle plays. 

(Miracle plays: Miracle plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. These plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches.)

Later, these religious dramas were the Morality plays in which characters were abstract vices and virtues. (Mortality Plays:a kind of allegorical drama having personified abstract qualities as the main characters and presenting a lesson about good conduct and character, popular in the 15th and early 16th centuries.) These were allegories. (Allegory:a story, play, picture, etc. in which each character or event is a symbol representing an idea or a quality, such as truth, evil, death, etc.; the use of such symbols.)


(II) Elizabethan and Restoration Theatre: 

The Secular Morality plays have direct links with Elizabethan plays.

Features of the Renaissance Period:

i) They imposed a learned tradition. 

ii) They were classical in depth with themes of education. 

iii) They presented general moral problems. 

iv) They showed secular politics. 

v) These plays had nothing to do with religion. 

vi) There were examples of both, comedy and tragedy. 


Prime Dramatists:

Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare are the prime dramatists of this era. 

It was Kyd who discovered how easily blank verse might be converted into a useful theatrical medium which Shakespeare used brilliantly in all his plays.

     Tragedy developed in the hands of Kyd and Marlowe. 

Comedy had also proceeded beyond rustic humour. 

By the nineties of the 16th century, the theatre in England was fully established but complicated conditions governed the activities of the dramatist.


The public theatre of the 16th century: 

i) It differed in many important ways from the modern theatre. 

ii) It was open to sky.

iii) They were without artificial lighting. 

iv) The stage was a raised platform with the recess at the back supported by pillars. 

v)There was no curtain and the main platform could be surrounded on three sides by the audience. 

vi) There were galleries around the theatre. 

In the 17th century the enclosed theatre gained importance. There was increasing attention to scenic device as theatre became private.


William Shakespeare:

Shakespearean era came into existence in the 16th century to the public theatre. He wrote for the contemporary theatre, manipulating the Elizabethan stage with great resource and invention. William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".


Ben Johnson: 

Ben Johnson was contemporary to William Shakespeare. He was a classicist, a moralist and a reformer of drama. In comedy, Johnson’s genius is found at its best and his influence was considerable. The Restoration dramatists leaned strongly upon him.


Closing of theatres:

Closing of theatres by the Puritans in 1642. The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become more Protestant. With the Civil wars no theatre existed between 1642 to 1660. 

The next phase which appeared after the Restoration produced a very different kind of dramatic literature. Dramatists like Chapman, Thomas Middleton, Webster and Dekker were at the forefront.

    When Charles II came back with the Restoration of 1660, the theatres were reopened. The Restoration comedy achieved its peculiar excellence. Drama developed into class drama with upper-class ethos. It lasted beyond this period into the first decade of the 18th century. 

Comedy in the early 18th century declined into sentimentalism. It became Comedy of Manners. George Etherege was its most important exponent. From such depths the drama was rescued by Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Sheridan. 


(III) Modern Theatre: 

Features:

1) Use of picture frame stage. 

2) Actresses taking female parts. 

3) Moveable scenery designed to create a visual image for each scene.

4) Use of artificial lights. 

5) Irregular spectacle, melodrama and farce. 

6) Monopoly held by the two houses, Covent Garden and Drury Lane, for the performance of serious drama.

7) The audiences which gathered to the 19thcentury theatre had not the intelligence or the imagination of the Elizabethan audience. 

8) The danger in the 19th century theatre was that, above all, it was unrelated to the life of the time. 


Henrik Ibsen

    Ibsen was the great Norwegian dramatist of the 19th century. He dominates the modern drama. He developed modernist, realist, social and psychological dramas like The Doll’s house, Ghosts, and An Enemy of the People. They are far more subtle in stagecraft and profound in thought than anything in the modern English theatre.


G. B. Shaw:

    George Bernard Shaw was deeply influenced and affected by Ibsen’s innovative contributions and experimentation. He was the most brilliant playwrights of his times. He alone had understood the greatness of Ibsen and he was determined that his own plays should also be a vehicle for ideas. 

The responsibility of elevation of the English drama to the brilliance of the Ibsen, fell with Oscar Wilde and G. B. Shaw in the late 19th and early 20th century.


The 20th century Drama:

The 20th century showed a talent in the drama with which the 19th century could not compete. H. Granville Barker, John Galsworthy, St. John Ervine were some of the playwrights who explored contemporary problems. St. John Ervine had been associated with a group of Irish dramatists whose work was normally produced in the Abbey theatre in Dublin. Much that is best in the modern drama in English developed from this movement. One of its originators were Lady Gregory with W. B. Yeats and J. M. Synge. They were the most important dramatists of this Irish revival who used a sense of tragic irony, a violent species of humour and a rich and highly flavoured language.

  T.S. Eliot experimented with Greek tragedy in the early forties of the 20th century. Other dramatists of the modern era, John Osborne, wrote on people who grew up after the Second World War. 

Kingsley Amis wrote about frustrated, anti-establishment young people. Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger’ brought a new vitality to the theatre scene. It was more a cultural phenomenon than the work of literature. 

Other important playwrights of the modern era include Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee William, Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.


(IV) Indian Theatre:

Featurers:

i) Earliest seeds of modern Indian Drama can be found in the Sanskrit Drama. 

ii) From the first century A.D. ‘Mahabhasya’ by Patanjali provides a feasible date for the beginning of theatre in India. 

iii) ‘A Treatise on Theatre’ (Natya Shastra) by Bharat Muni is the most complete work of dramatology in the ancient world. It gives mythological account of the origin of theatre. 

iv) Modern Indian drama however, has influences from all over the world, as well as Sanskrit and Urdu traditions.

--------------------------------------------------------------


Objective Test

1) Name any four periods of History of British Drama.

Answer:- The four periods of History of British Drama are:

i) Medieval period 

ii) Renaissance period

iii) Restoration period 

iv) Victorian period


2) List the four elements of drama.

Answer:- The four elements of drama are plot, characters, theme and stage directions.  


3) State a type of drama each from any four periods of history.

Answer:- 

i) Medieval period          

:- Robin Hood, Everyman 

ii) Renaissance period           

:- Romeo and Juliet, Duchess of Malfi

iii) Restoration period   

:- All for Love, The Way of the World

iv) Victorian period        

:- The Importance of Being Earnest, A Doll’s House


4) Compare the features of a comedy and tragedy.

Answer:- 

Comedy

Tragedy

i) A comedy deals with humorous story with a happy ending.

i) The tragedy deals with a serious or darker themes with sad ending.

ii) A comedy creates laughter and fun.

ii) A tragedy creates emotions of pity and fear.

iii) A comedy depends mostly on unusual circumstances and witty dialogues

iii) In tragedy the main character mostly has a moral flaw that causes the tragic end.

iv) A Comedy uses humorous dialogues and situations to give relief

iv) A tragedy evokes pity for the characters and teach moral lesson. 


5) Define drama.

Answer:- Drama is a composition in verse or prose to be acted on the stage. It tells a story through action, costume, setting and dialogue.


.


Chapter 4: History of English Drama

Name any four periods of History of British Drama.


SOLUTION

The periods of History of British Drama are as follows:

  1. The Medieval Period

  2. The Renaissance Period

  3. The Restoration Period

  4. The Victorian Period

  5. The Modern Period

  6. The Postmodern Era.


List the four elements of drama.


SOLUTION

The elements of drama are plot, characters, characterization, dialogue, stage directions, conflict, and theme.



State a type of drama each from any four periods of history.


SOLUTION

The periods of the history of British Drama are each well known for their characteristic plays. These are of the following types:

  1. Medieval Period: Didactic plays, Mystery plays, Miracle plays, Cycle plays, Morality plays.

  2. Renaissance Period: Tragic – Comedy, Melancholy, Revenge plays.

  3. Restoration Period: Heroic drama, Pathetic drama, Restoration drama, Restoration comedy.

  4. Victorian Period: All types of plays.

  5. Modern Period: Stream of consciousness, Absurd plays, Poetic drama, Radio drama.

  6. Post-Modern Era: Almost all types of dramas, Kitchen sink drama.



Compare the features of a comedy and tragedy.


SOLUTION

Comedy and Tragedy differ from each other in the following ways:

 

 

Comedy

Tragedy

a.

Theme

A Comedy deals with lighter themes like happiness, fun, laughter, etc.

A Tragedy deals with the darker themes of pain, death, etc.

b.

Response

A Comedy seeks to evoke laughter.

A Tragedy seeks to induce emotions of pity and fear in the audience.

c.

Plot

A Comedy relies on unusual circumstances and witty dialogues.

In a Tragedy, the main character usually has a moral flaw that causes the central tragic event.



State the difference between poetry and drama.


SOLUTION

Drama is a medium of expression through performance based on a script. This script is written in the form of dialogues. On the other hand, poetry language is expressed in rhythm and metre.



State the difference between drama and novel.


SOLUTION

Drama is a medium of expression through performance based on a script. While the script of a drama is written in the form of dialogues, a story or novel is written in a narrative form, i.e., in a manner that is similar to telling a story.



Define drama.


SOLUTION

Drama is a creative work in verse or prose that aims to tell a story through action, costume, setting as well as dialogue and is typically performed in a theatre.



Explain the term plot.


SOLUTION

The plot is the series of events that take place during the course of the play. It is like the plan or scheme of the play. It has a beginning, middle, and an end.



Differentiate between characters and characterization.


SOLUTION

While the characters of a drama are the personalities that the actors must play, characterization refers to the understanding of the unique qualities of the actors and gaining insight into who they are, and establishing connections with them.



Enlist a few reasons for watching a drama live on the stage.


SOLUTION

Some of the reasons for watching a drama live on stage are:

  1. Each performance is unique: Unlike watching a movie on the screen, each performance differs from the next, even when the same play is being performed. This is because the emotions of the actors, their gestures, dialogue delivery, etc. can never be exactly the same for every performance.

  2. The audience is a part of the performance: The reaction of the audience may directly influence the actors and as a result, they might change or modify their performance. Thus, the audience is a crucial part of each performance.

  3. It is an experience in reality: Unlike a movie screen, everything that happens on stage seems more real. Because the performance unfolds before our very eyes, there is a greater connection to the characters and story as compared to watching it on a screen.

  4. Every aspect is visible: In a live performance, the audience can choose to focus on whatever aspect of the drama that they like, no matter how minor. This is because the entire setting is visible to them at the same time, unlike a movie screen, in which the character or frame to be shown to the audience is pre decided.



11th Standard English Yuvakbharati Balbharati Solutions for  Maharashtra State Board

FYJC English Latest Syllabus 2020 - 2021

Chapter 1.1: Being Neighborly

Chapter 1.2: On To The Summit : We Reach The Top

Chapter 1.3: The Call of the Soil

Chapter 1.4: Pillars of Democracy

Chapter 1.5: Mrs. Adis

Chapter 1.6: Tiger Hills

Chapter 2.1: Cherry Tree

Chapter 2.2: The Sower

Chapter 2.3: There is Another Sky

Chapter 2.4: Upon Westminster Bridge

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Chapter 2.6: The Planners

Chapter 3.1: Expansion of Ideas

Chapter 3.2: Blog Writing

Chapter 3.3: E-mails

Chapter 3.4: Interview

Chapter 3.5: Film Review

Chapter 3.6: The Art of Compering

Chapter 4.1: History of English Drama

Chapter 4.2: The Rising of the Moon

Chapter 4.3: Extracts of Drama - (A) A Midsummer - Night's Dream

Chapter 4.3: Extracts of Drama - (B) An Enemy of the People


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