With exams coming up, I thought I’d do another post on how to analyse unseen texts. This time, how to analyse form, language and structure in drama texts/plays. Hopefully these will give you an idea of what to look out for when analysing a text for the first time.
What type of play is it, e.g. morality, mystery, tragedy, comedy, melodrama, naturalistic, etc. - What does this say about the text?
Consider the audience – How would it be received to audiences today? How would it have been received to audiences of the time?
Analyse the language – Is it colloquial, dramatic, etc.? What does this suggest?
Consider actions within the text, e.g. singing, dancing, music – What effect does this have?
Does the text include similes and metaphors?
Is there any personification or pathetic fallacy?
Is there any repetition? Does this create tension, or add force to an argument?
Is there any symbolism? What does this imply?
Consider the setting – What does it suggest about the play’s aim?
Analyse the sentences, and the sentence length – Are they long? Or are they short and dramatic? Do they create tension?
Are there any monologues or soliloquys? Why has the playwright done this? What effect does this create?
Tone – Is it ironic, comedic, satire?
Are there any biblical references? Or does a certain theme stand out to you? Why do you think the playwright has done this?
Tense – Past, present or future?
Consider characterisation – Use of names? What do the character’s personalities and attitudes suggest?
Character’s speech patterns – Is the speech cyclical and repetitive? How does it show emotion?
Analyse the stage directions – How do they add to the mood and atmosphere?
Does the text have a dramatic opening or ending? What does this imply?
Does it have a pivotal movement? – A crucial or significant event which creates a change in the text?
Is there any juxtaposition or contrast within the text?
Are there any symbols and motifs?
Analyse the character’s actions – Consider the use of props and stage directions
Look at the interactions between characters – Consider when they enter and exit the stage, and their language to each other, what does this suggest?
Consider how many characters are on stage at any one time? Is there only one person? What effect does this create?
These are just some ideas that I use to analyse to drama texts. Feel free to comment below if you’d like to add some of your own. I hope this helped you, and I wish you the best of luck with your exams!
Note: This picture belongs to Wix.