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Introduction to Theatre Online Course

Dr. Eric W. Trumbull, Professor, Theatre/Speech

Last revision date: January 4, 2008

 

The Last Four Parts of a Play:

 

Objectives for this lesson:

Students will examine:

the last four of Aristotle's Six Parts of a Tragedy

the nature of thought, language, music, and spectacle in drama and theatre

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Aristotle's Six Parts of a Tragedy

1. Plot
2. Character
3. Thought (theme, idea)
4. Diction (Language)
5. Music (sound)
6. Spectacle

3.THOUGHT:

        • idea, theme ("the me") of the play.
        • often allegorical or symbolic
        • sometimes direct, sometimes indirect.

Plays may often be written about an idea, but the playwright will probably focus more on plot and character to get idea across -- plays are seldom about an idea.

In production, directors seldom try to direct the idea--it is the other values that will get the idea across (tho' sometimes the idea will not be obvious / overt).

 

4. DICTION / LANGUAGE:

Language is used to:

depart information, reveal characters, characterize, direct attention, reveal themes and ideas, establish mood / tone, establish tempo / rhythm appropriate to character (again, "decorum" had nobility speak poetry, peasants speaking prose).

 

5. MUSIC / SONG:

The sound of the dialog, etc. musicality, rhythm, pace, etc.
helps establish mood, characterize, lend variety, pleasurable.

 

6. SPECTACLE

The most immediate element

--appropriate and distinctive (but perhaps least important for the "drama / play").

 

These Six Parts of a Tragedy (a play) have acted as a guideline for theorists and practitioners for years.

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Important terms:

theme

dialog

music

spectacle

 

Next Section: Types of Drama

 

 

This page and all linked pages in this directory are copyrighted Eric W. Trumbull, 1998-2008

Last revision date: January 4, 2008