Different Types of Drama in Literature

types of drama

Different Types of Drama in Literature

What are the significant types of drama in Literature? Drama has types and sub-types. What are they? Kindly find out the kinds of drama in this article.

Drama is a genre of Literature that creates or recreates a human experience through ‘acting,’ the representation of human action.

It can occur on a built stage, motor park, and village square or on a village pathway in the case of communal celebrations and displays.

Drama has types, each representing a distinct form of performance and features.

Types of Drama

There are three types of drama: comedy, tragedy and tragic-comedy. Other sub-types of drama are a farce, melodrama, satire, history play, monodrama or monologue, closet drama, mime/pantomime/dumb show, realistic drama, thesis, or problem play.

Below are the explanations of the listed types of drama:


Comedy is a lighthearted play that ridicules or satirizes the characters’ follies, instigating laughter while the events lead to a happy ending.

The main feature of comedy is humor; the sub-forms are farce, parody, and satire.

Examples include Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, Kobina Sekyi’s The Blinkards, and Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer.


This form of drama is usually regarded as the opposite of comedy because it is a drama whose atmosphere is often severe and tense, with an unhappy ending often involving death.

In tragedy, the protagonist, who is often a highly-placed personality, is entangled in a struggle or conflict that leads to his ruin or disappointment.

We are, however, sad that he is ruined in the end because of their heroic qualities (king, queen, prince, princess, admirable fellows, etc.).

Tragedy often teaches a moral.

The most crucial feature of tragedy is the sadness, pathos, or depth of feeling, which the play can evoke and purge us of our emotions.

In other words, after watching a tragedy, we should become sober and reflect on our lives, knowing that the character’s fate could have been ours.

Examples are Macbeth by William Shakespeare, King Emene by Zulu Sofola, and Kurunmi by Ola Rotimi.


It is a play that combines elements of tragedy and comedy; it has a serious tone and a series of tense moments, but events in the play end on a note of relief.

An excellent example of a tragic-comedy is The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.

Domestic Tragedy

Domestic tragedy is another form of tragedy. It retains all the basic elements of tragedy but differs in its setting and characterization.

In this form of tragedy, the main characters are middle-class people, and their downfall takes place within a family relationship.

In the classical form of tragedy discussed earlier, the characters are great personalities like kings, generals, and princes, whereas in a domestic tragedy, the characters are ordinary folk.


This type of drama is characterized by broad visual effects, fast-moving action, and funny little things.

It has stock characters whose actions (escapades) lead them to the brink of disaster, but they never really get into catastrophe.

These stock characters are regular characters whose roles may have been described by the names they bear.

In farce, believability is sacrificed while laughter and hilarity enjoy more prominence. Like comedy, this is also a lighthearted play that ends happily for everybody.

Examples of farce are The Comedy of Errors by Williams Shakespeare, The Wizard of Law by Zulu Sofola, and Holding Talks by Ola Rotimi.


This is another lighthearted comic play in which the nature of the action challenges credibility. It highlights suspense and romantic sentiment, with characters usually clearly good or bad.

Belief is downplayed to create excitement, sensation, and shock in the audience.

As its name implies, this form of drama often uses a musical background to underscore or heighten the emotional tone of a scene. Often, when the credibility of tragedy is stretched, the result is melodrama.

Benard Shaw’s Arms and the Man, and Christopher Marlow’s The Jew of Malta are good examples.

History Play

It is a play based on historical records. It is also known as Chronicle play.

Ola Rotimi’s Kiriji War and Ovorannmwen Nogbaisi and Williams Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar are helpful examples to cite.

Other sub-types of drama are closet drama, mine, satire, realistic drama, etc.

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