Here you will find a general overview of drama as a genre. You will also find links to more specialized topics and to individual works.


"Drama," Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics.



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Drama means something done. Its earliest manifestation in the European tradition is in ancient Greece. There, drama originated as a choral song in hexameter verse. The form was modified by Thespis (from whom we get thespian) around 530 BC. Thespis introduced separate actors who interacted with the chorus. The metrical interplay between actors and chorus is called the strophe and anti-strophe.

The first tragedy is said to be by Aeschylus, Persians, produced around 472 BC. It was played at the open-air festival of Dionysius in Athens next to the Acropolis.

Theater of Dionysius, Athens

The winner of the contest received a tripod, and example of which can be seen near the Stoa beneath the Acropolis.