Does Aristotle’s schema of the elements of tragedy have any relevance today? Comment.

4.2. The theatrical genre has been compared, from the classical theories of Plato and Aristotle, with other genres, and is distinguished from them because it imitates presenting the same characters in action and without the appearance of the narrator. Thus, the theater establishes a special communication situation that Mª Carmen Bobes Naves (Semiology of the dramatic work, 1997), describes as “a complex communication process”, because it has more broadcasters (author-director-actors) and receptors (individual reader, collective spectator) than other genres, and because the director’s competencies have changed historically, socially and ideologically. It refers to the aspect of the theater that the old poetics characterized as pure imitation, without narrative elements. This situation affects the form of the dramatic text, which in principle is written to be read only by the actors and the director, for which Bobes Naves distinguishes:

– the literary text

– the spectacular text (the stage directions, the didascalias contained in the dialogue, and the same dialogues as they go on stage with demands for verbal (tone, timbre and rhythm), kinésicas (gestures and mime) and proxemics (distances and movements of the characters ).


In the study of theater as a literary genre, it is important to describe the different theatrical manifestations, both those forms traditionally considered as dramatic genres, and which are associated with authentic forms of manifestation of the dramatic, that is, tragedy and comedy. , like the one of the subgenres or proper forms of a particular history of a literature.

Aristotle, Lukács, Kayser or Staiger characterize tragedy and comedy as fundamental classes of dramatic poetry; while in the histories of literature (or theater) can be found descriptions of subgenres or specific dramatic forms corresponding to different periods, impossible to reduce to a typology. Tadeusz Kowzan describes the thematic variety of the seventeen centuries of European theater existence. And in Spain, Francisco Ruiz Ramón (History of Spanish Theater, 1967) speaks of subgenres as different as comedies, farces, tragicomedies, tragedies, hors d’oeuvres, national drama of the Golden Age, drama of unjust power, comedy of love, heroic drama- national, biblical dramas, historical drama, mythological drama, auto sacramental, Moratinian comedy, romantic drama, “high comedy”, sainete … Others, like Á. Valbuena Prat (1930) speaks of comedies of magic or miracles, comedies of captives, national heroic theater, comedies of character and morals; and classifies the sacramental autos of Calderón in philosophical and theological, mythological, Old Testament, New Testament, historical-legendary, circumstances.

As for the generic structures of the theater, we must distinguish between the literary text and the representation, duality that, perhaps, is the one that most hinders the understanding of the theatrical genre, because, although the drama can be updated with reading, its real realization takes place in the representation, and this is external to the literary system, strictly understood.

5.1. Petr Bogatyrev (“Les signes du théâtre”, 1938), speaks of a combination of different codes in the theatrical representation, such as costumes, actor’s gestures or decoration, which inform, for example, of the social situation of a character .

5.2. Roland Barthes (Essais critiques, 1964) talks about the multiplicity of information that is received in the dramatic spectacle from the set, costumes, lighting, gestures or music, and calls this phenomenon informational polyphony or thickness of signs, what constitutes the theatricality, which Barthes defines as the theater minus the text, is a thickness of signs and sensations that is constructed in the scene from the written argument.

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  1. 2017

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