Often times, drama has been confused with prose fiction by several people. As a student of literature, I have seen so many people confuse the two together. Sometimes they say; “it’s all the same”. The question is this true? If not, what are the differences between them? These are the question that I will attempt to answer in this essay. For the purpose of clarity and precision, It will suffice to make an overview at what literature itself is.
Literature can be seen as the collection of written works of a specific language, at a particular time, in a given culture which might be imaginative or creative in nature and is usually of specific artistic worth. Every society has its own literature but they are in different levels. Some are advanced while some are not. The basic genres of literature are drama, poetry, prose but in this essay, restriction will be on drama and prose fiction. Drama as a genre of literature is the detailed style of fiction characterized by acts. The etymology is from a Greek work which means “action” or “to do”.
On the other hand, prose fiction is also a genre of literature that deals with writings that differ in meter and rhyme to poetry. It is a form of writing that has a lot of similarity to our everyday speech. The question here is what differentiates these two genres of literature? How can we separate both when we see them? The answers to these questions are enumerated below in the following paragraphs. The first difference between drama and literature likes in the fact that drama is meant for a live performance which is directed at a live audience.
This is better portrayed in some words associated with drama such as words like play and show. On the other hand, a prose fiction is directed by the author to a single person at a time- the person reading the work. Another difference is that drama communicates in the present while prose does not. Also, in drama, the personality of the playwright is mostly hidden in the sense that there are several characters in the work while in the case of prose fiction, the author selects the character and therefore, this personality might reflect in his work.
Furthermore, in drama the actor impersonates a role while in prose fiction the character imitates the person. In the case of drama, the entire thing the playwright has in presenting the story is the dialogue while in prose fiction the dialogue is imitated language that does not carry the plot forward. Another difference in drama and prose fiction lies in the fact that in drama, in order to make the audience understand the play better, gestures are used. On the other hand, in the case of prose fiction, what the author manipulates the text in order for the reader to better understand the work.
In addition, in drama, the audience decides what mode they will be although the dramatists have an influence over the mode but they can not alter the mode. In prose fiction, the author decides the mode, setting, the character and what he wants the reader to know. Summarily, it should be noted that although these two genres of literature have sharp differences, they both come from the same family and they both serve as means of entertainment and means of communication.
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