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Verse drama and dramatic verse


Verse drama is any drama written as verse to be spoken; another possible general term is poetic drama. For a very long period, verse drama was the dominant form of drama in Europe (and was also important in non-European cultures). Greek tragedy and Racine's plays are written in verse, as is almost all of Shakespeare's drama, Ben Jonson, John Fletcher and others like Goethe's Faust.

Verse drama is particularly associated with the seriousness of tragedy, providing an artistic reason to write in this form, as well as the practical one that verse lines are easier for the actors to memorize exactly. In the second half of the twentieth century verse drama fell almost completely out of fashion with dramatists writing in English (the plays of Christopher Fry and T. S. Eliot being possibly the end of a long tradition).

Dramatic verse occurs in a dramatic work, such as a play, composed in poetic form. The tradition of dramatic verse extends at least as far back as ancient Greece.

The English Renaissance saw the height of dramatic verse in the English-speaking world, with playwrights such as Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare developing new techniques, both for dramatic structure and poetic form. Though a few plays, such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, feature extended passages of rhymed verse, the majority of dramatic verse is composed as blank verse; there are also passages of prose.



  • Denis Donoghue (1959), The Third Voice: Modern British and American Verse Drama
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Wikipedia

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