University of Al-Qadisiya
College Of Education
Department of English
Language in Modern Drama
A Paper submitted by
Hayder Gebreen Kadhim
Assist. Professor Mithal Madlool Chellab
Drama employs language to present a story or series of events intended to be performed Drama as a literary genre is realized in performance, which is why it describes as “staged art”. As a literary form, it is designed for the theatre because characters are assigned roles and they act out their roles as the action is enacted onstage. These characters can be human beings, dead or spiritual beings, animals, or abstract qualities. Modern Drama is an adaptation, recreation and reflection of reality on stage. Generally, the word, dramatist is used for any artist who is involved in any dramatic composition either in writing or in performance. In fact, Drama is different from other genres of literature. It has unique characteristics that have come about in response to its peculiar nature. Really, it is difficult to separate drama from performance because during the stage performance of a play, drama brings life experiences realistically to the audience. It is the most concrete of all genres of literature. In drama, the characters/actors talk to among them or to themselves and react to issues according to the impulse of the moment. Drama is therefore presented in dialogue. Drama, therefore, uses language in the form of dialogue or gesture to present or to re-present an action. Characters are used to present the story. However, this paper deals with one of the basic elements of drama which makes drama unique genre that is its language.
Language: as an Element of drama
Language in drama is the particular manner of verbal expression, the diction or style of writing, or the speech or phrasing that suggests a class or profession or type of character. Language seems to be the most essential technique in the analysis of any dramatic text. It is through language that the playwright communicates his ideas; so he manipulates it to suit his intention. Language could be in form of speech, gestures or other bodily signs/symbols. Dramatic language is not just an ordinary language because the playwright is compelled to incorporate descriptions about setting, character and the overall presentation of the story through the characters. The language must therefore be very economical, vivid and expressive. For example, in George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man, the language of the play is simple, straight forward and direct. It is devoid of flamboyant imagery and symbolism. The dialogue is true to life and appropriate. All these enhance an easy understanding of the play. However, Shaw made extensive use of humor and ironies in the play. In the play there is an extensive use of imagery. The imagery help to create a mental picture of all the wars fought and won (real war and romance) to the reader. The language is simple, this makes it easy for the reader to read and understand it.1 So, in dramatic language, the dramatist must think in terms of the characteristics of the characters, their speeches, their actions and the environment in which they operate and incorporate them in language. This is important because unlike in prose for instance, where the novelist has enough time and space to describe everything and this include probing into the inner beings of the character, the dramatist relies only on dialogue to explore characters, describe incident, create environment, atmosphere and mood. This is the reason why he pays attention to the diction.2 Diction is the choice or selection of the words which forms the dialogue through which the playwright communicates his ideas to his audience. The diction could be simple or difficult. A play that has very simple diction invariably will have a simple and direct language so is said to be accessible...
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