The drama is a great revealer of life.
Sensitive, responsive, eagerly welcomed everywhere, the drama, holding the mirror up to nature, by laughter and by tears reveals to mankind the world of men.
What then is tragedy? In the Elizabethan period it was assumed that a play ending in death was a tragedy, but in recent years we have come to understand that to live on is sometimes far more tragic than death.
Back through the ages of barbarism and civilization, in all tongues, we find this instinctive pleasure in the imitative action that is the very essence of all drama.
In the best farce today we start with some absurd premise as to character or situation, but if the premises be once granted we move logically enough to the ending.
Acted drama requires surrender of one's self, sympathetic absorption in the play as it develops.
But what is drama? Broadly speaking, it is whatever by imitative action rouses interest or gives pleasure.
In reading plays, however, it should always be remembered that any play, however great, loses much when not seen in action.
In all the great periods of the drama perfect freedom of choice and subject, perfect freedom of individual treatment, and an audience eager to give itself to sympathetic listening, even if instruction be involved, have brought the great results.
There is no essential difference between the material of comedy and tragedy. All depends on the point of view of the dramatist, which, by clever emphasis, he tries to make the point of view of his audience.
The instinct to impersonate produces the actor; the desire to provide pleasure by impersonations produces the playwright; the desire to provide this pleasure with adequate characterization and dialogue memorable in itself produces dramatic literature.
When the drama attains a characterization which makes the play a revelation of human conduct and a dialogue which characterizes yet pleases for itself, we reach dramatic literature.