1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Drama

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DRAMA (literally “action,” from Gr. δρᾶν, act or do), the term applied to those productions of Art which imitate or, to use a more modern term, “represent” action by introducing the personages taking part in them as real, and as employed in the action itself. There are numerous varieties of the drama, differing more or less widely from one another, both as to the objects imitated and as to the means used in the process. But they all agree in the method or manner which is essential to the drama and to dramatic art, namely, imitation in the way of action. The function of all Art being to give pleasure by representation (see Fine Arts), it is clear that what is distinctive of any one branch or form must be the manner in which this function is performed by it. In the epos, for instance, the method or manner is narrative, and even when Odysseus tells of his action, he is not acting.


(A. W. W.)


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