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Modern Drama Modern drama began by turning toward realism and away from the fantasy of nineteenth-century melodrama and farce Realism gave rise to various innovations that served to express the dramatists vision of what reality is These attempts to be more real than real can be called expressionism Realism and expressionism are the two dominant modes of drama in the twentieth century One focuses on the external details of everyday life while the other focuses on the mind and feelings and tries to show how human beings perceive the world The word drama comes from the Greek word dran which means to do or to act Besides being traditionally literary the drama is a theatrical form Dramatist do not usually write with the purpose of communicating directly to the reader as do fiction writers poets and essayists Instead dramatists ask people of the theater-actors and actresses directors set designers and others- to assist them in communicating to the audience Good dramatists are aware of the resources and limitations of their medium They recognize that they must tell their stories in a different way from novelists Dramatists attempt to construct meaningful works in two ways by the precise and evocative use of words and by careful attention to basic structure The Greek philosopher Aristotle in writing a treatise based on the plays of his time the fifth century BC defined drama as an imitation of an action a definition which has become the basis for most subsequent dramatic criticism To take the last word first by action Aristotle meant not merely activity or exertion but rather the direction the play moves in the closely related series of events that give the play its momentum A
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