Depiction of a scene from Shakespeare's play Richard III
Relief of a seated poet (Menander) with masks of New Comedy, 1st century BC – early 1st century AD, Princeton University Art Museum
An ivory statuette of a Roman actor of tragedy, 1st century CE.
Stage drawing from a 15th-century vernacular morality play The Castle of Perseverance (as found in the Macro Manuscript).
Colley Cibber as the extravagant and affected Lord Foppington, "brutal, evil, and smart", in Vanbrugh's The Relapse (1696).
A scene from the drama Macbeth by Kalidasa Kalakendram in Kollam city, India
Performer playing Sugriva in the Koodiyattam form of Sanskrit theatre.
A 1958 U.S.S.R. postage stamp commemorating Guan Hanqing, one of the great Chinese dramatists, who is renowned for his "zaju" plays.

Specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on radio or television.

- Drama

500 related topics



Mask of Dionysus. Greek, Myrina, 2nd century BCE.
Scene from the tragedy Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides. Roman fresco in Pompeii.
Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) King Lear, Cordelia's Farewell
French actor Talma as Nero in Racine's ''Britannicus.

Tragedy (from the, tragōidia) is a genre of drama based on human suffering and, mainly, the terrible or sorrowful events that befall a main character.

Play (theatre)

A performance of Macbeth (2018)
An actress performs a play in front of 2 statues from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Room 21, the British Museum, London
An actor and actress performing a play in front of the Nereid Monument, Room 17, the British Museum, London

A play is a work of drama, usually consisting mostly of dialogue between characters and intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading.

Dramatic structure

Freytag's pyramid
A diagram of Silas Marner on page 58 of Selden Whitcomb's The Study of a Novel.
Kenneth Rowe's Basic Dramatic Structure from page 60 of Write That Play.
A visual representation of the three-act structure.

Dramatic structure (also known as dramaturgical structure) is the structure of a dramatic work such as a book, play, or film.


Collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage.

Greek theatre in Taormina, Sicily, Italy
A depiction of actors playing the roles of a master (right) and his slave (left) in a Greek phlyax play, circa 350/340 BCE
Mosaic depicting masked actors in a play: two women consult a "witch"
Rakshasa or the demon as depicted in Yakshagana, a form of musical dance-drama from India
Performer playing Sugriva in the Koodiyattam form of Sanskrit theatre
Public performance in Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Open Air Theatre
Rama and Shinta in Wayang Wong performance near Prambanan temple complex
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the West End. Opened in May 1663, it is the oldest theatre in London.
Billing for a British theatre in 1829
The "Little House" of the Vanemuine Theatre from 1918 in Tartu, Estonia.
Cats at the London Palladium
Theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE. Capitoline Museums, Rome
Village feast with theatre performance circa 1600
A theatre stage building in the backstage of Vienna State Opera
The rotating auditorium of the open air Pyynikki Summer Theatre in Tampere, Finland
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, c. 1821
Interior of the Teatro Colón, a modern theatre

The theatre of ancient Greece consisted of three types of drama: tragedy, comedy, and the satyr play.


Form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre − to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, a prosaic ostensible meaning.

The Parnassus (1511) by Raphael: famous poets recite alongside the nine Muses atop Mount Parnassus.
John Keats
Archibald MacLeish
Robinson Jeffers
Marianne Moore
Attic red-figure kathalos painting of Sappho from c. 470 BCE
Homer: Roman bust, based on Greek original
Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark (1876) is mainly in anapestic tetrameter.
Alexander Pushkin
The Old English epic poem Beowulf is in alliterative verse.
Divine Comedy: Dante and Beatrice see God as a point of light.
Blok's Russian poem, "Noch, ulitsa, fonar, apteka" ("Night, street, lamp, drugstore"), on a wall in Leiden
Statue of runic singer Petri Shemeikka at Kolmikulmanpuisto Park in Sortavala, Karelia
William Shakespeare
Carol Ann Duffy
Du Fu, "On Visiting the Temple of Laozi"
W. H. Auden
Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
Christine de Pizan (left)
John Wilmot
Thomas Gray
Lewis Carroll
The oldest known love poem. Sumerian terracotta tablet #2461 from Nippur, Iraq. Ur III period, 2037–2029 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul
The philosopher Confucius was influential in the developed approach to poetry and ancient music theory.
An early Chinese poetics, the Kǒngzǐ Shīlùn (孔子詩論), discussing the Shijing (Classic of Poetry)

Ancient Greek attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song, and comedy.


The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) is a canonical piece of children's literature and one of the best-selling books ever published.
A traditional Kyrgyz manaschi performing part of the Epic of Manas at a yurt camp in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan
Limestone Kish tablet from Sumer with pictographic writing; may be the earliest known writing, 3500 BC. Ashmolean Museum
Egyptian hieroglyphs with cartouches for the name "Ramesses II", from the Luxor Temple, New Kingdom
The intricate frontispiece of the Diamond Sutra from Tang dynasty China, the world's earliest dated printed book, AD 868 (British Library)
Dante, Homer and Virgil in Raphael's Parnassus fresco (1511), key figures in the Western canon
A calligram by Guillaume Apollinaire. These are a type of poem in which the written words are arranged in such a way to produce a visual image.
Sculpture in Berlin depicting a stack of books on which are inscribed the names of great German writers.
Cover of a 1921 libretto for Giordano's opera Andrea Chénier
The Library of the Palais Bourbon in Paris
Soviet poet Anna Akhmatova (1922), whose works were condemned and censored by the Stalinist authorities

Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry.


Noh performance at Itsukushima Shrine
World's oldest Noh stage at Miyajima
Karaori garment, Edo period, 18th century, bamboo and chrysanthemum design on red and white checkered ground
In the Noh Theatre, 1891 by Ogata Gekkō
Kanze Sakon, 1895–1939), head (sōke) of Kanze school
Noh stage. Center: shite; front right: waki; right: eight-member jiutai (chorus); rear center: four hayashi-kata (musicians); rear left: two kōken (stage hands)
Nō masks. Right: Drunken spirit (shōjō). Made of red and black lacquered wood, with red silk tying cord, by Himi Munetada (氷見宗忠). Edo period, 19th century. Left: Nakizo, representing a female deity or woman of high rank, associated with Nō plays such as Hagoromo and Ohara Miyuki. Made of lacquered and painted wood by Norinari (憲成), designed by Zoami (増阿弥). 18th–19th century.
Three pictures of the same female mask showing how the expression changes with a tilting of the head. This mask expresses different moods. In these pictures, the mask was affixed to a wall with constant lighting, and only the camera moved.
Noh mask of the hannya type. 17th or 18th century. Deemed Important Cultural Property.
A contemporary Noh theatre with indoor roofed structure
1: hashigakari. 2: kyōgen spot. 3: stage attendants. 4: stick drum. 5: hip drum. 6: shoulder drum. 7: flute. 8: chorus. 9: waki seat. 10: waki spot. 11: shite spot. 12: shite-bashira. 13: metsuke-bashira. 14: waki-bashira. 15: fue-bashira
Noh Costume (Kariginu) with Checks and Conch Shells. Edo period, 18th century, Tokyo National Museum
Hayashi-kata (noh musicians). Left to right: taiko, ōtsuzumi (hip drum), kotsuzumi (shoulder drum), flute
Okina hōnō (dedication of Noh play A Venerable Old Man) on New Year's Day

Noh (能) is a major form of classical Japanese dance-drama that has been performed since the 14th century.

Drama (film and television)

Category or genre of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone.

Gone with the Wind is a popular romance drama.
Salah Zulfikar and Naglaa Fathi in My Husband's Wife (1970)

All forms of cinema or television that involve fictional stories are forms of drama in the broader sense if their storytelling is achieved by means of actors who represent (mimesis) characters.

Ivanov (play)

Depiction of a scene from Shakespeare's play Richard III

Ivanov (Иванов: драма в четырёх действиях (Ivanov: drama in four acts); also translated as "Ivanoff") is a four-act drama by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.


Object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance, or entertainment.

This stone mask from the pre-ceramic Neolithic period dates to 7000 BC and is probably the oldest surviving mask in the world (Musée "Bible et Terre Sainte").
Papierkrattler masks at the Narrensprung 2005 Carnival parade, Ravensburg, Germany
The so-called 'Mask of Agamemnon', a 16th-century BC mask discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 at Mycenae, Greece. National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Funeral mask of K'inich Janaab' Pakal at the National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico)
Theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Mosaic, Roman mosaic, 2nd century AD
Batak mask dance at a funeral feast in the Dutch East Indies, 1930s
Masks of Cameroon
Fang mask used for the ngil ceremony, an inquisitorial search for sorcerers. Wood, Gabon, 19th century.
Asaro mudman holding mask, Papua New Guinea
Kwakwaka'wakw ritual mask (painted wood, fiber, and cord)
Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec-Aztec provenance
A Peking opera mask
Sanxingdui Bronze Mask with Protruding Eyes, Shu
Mask of Tengu
A Korean mask worn by a Talchum performer
Golden masks excavated in Kalmakareh, Lorestan, Iran. First half of first Millennium BC. National Museum of Iran.
Meteņi mumming group (Budēļi, Buduļi or Būduļi) of Zemgale and Courland regions in Latvia, 2016
A Venetian carnival mask
Three pictures of the same female noh mask showing how the expression changes with a tilting of the head. In these pictures, the mask was affixed to a wall with constant lighting, and only the camera moved.
Iranian surgical technologist with surgical mask
A white mask
Protective reusable filter mask worn by NYPD officer
A rib knit three-hole balaclava allows the wearer to protect the face against cold air or hinder recognition.
Members of Anonymous wear Guy Fawkes masks while protesting against the Church of Scientology. 2008, London.
An American footballer wearing a mask that protects his face from another player's hand.
A medieval "Mask of Shame".
Man with facepaint which simulates a half-sided mask on Halloween
Kwakwaka'wakw, Baleen Whale Mask, 19th century, Brooklyn Museum
A Cherokee ceremonial mask made of wood
Various Balinese topeng dance masks
Fools Meeting or Parade, Meßkirch, Germany
Dance Mask (Takü), 20th century, Brooklyn Museum; These full-body masks are worn for the mourning, or ónyo ("weeping"), ceremony, a multi-day ritual held approximately a year after an individual's death
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen wearing a surgical mask during the COVID-19 pandemic
Life mask of Ludwig van Beethoven, c. 1812. The Wellcome Collection, London
Life mask of Abraham Lincoln by Leonard Volk in 1860.
Mask wearing customers in downtown Budapest.

The image of juxtaposed Comedy and Tragedy masks are widely used to represent the Performing Arts, and specifically drama.