For the earliest eforts in literature in the language, we have the interesting epic, beowulph; if we go further back than, we have fragments of the Gospels in Gothic, the parent stem of English. drama comes much later. in the literatures of other races, drama began early. Robert Louis Stevenson noticed that young children tend to imitate the acts of their elders, and primitive races have this same urge.
before the Normans came to England, the church had thought of stage-acting as a means of appealing to the people, The masse of those days were villagers, and not literate. even if they been able to read, there were no printed bibles available for them, but only highly ornamented manuscript copies carefully preserved in the monasteries. To instruct the people, the monks threw into dramatic from some of the striking events and stories of the bible. The escape of the Israelites across the bed of the red sea, the selling of joseph into captivity, and the discovery by the pious women that christ had left the tomb, all were shown on rude platforms and with simple setting to a wondering people. The early bible dramas were called ( Miracle plays )
From this there naturally followed simple play-acting to illustrate and set out some moral lesson. little plays with this object were composed by the monks, and not necessarily taken from the Bible. The characters which they made up were not exactly human individuals, but were rather types of humanity or of qualities. A character dressed as a girl would appear in white robes, and be introduced to the audience as INNOCENCE OR PURITY, while a man with a black cloak and lined face would be announced as DISSIPATION OR VICE, then, perhaps, a disorderly and noisy character called drunkenness would be shown trying to spoil a young man's life, while another, a pleasant figure, tries to ssave him. those moral lessons were much the same ideals as cause societies to issue tracts and pamphlets to a more literate populace in our own times. The name of MORALITY PLAYS, OR MORALITIES was given to those plays. Gradually something approaching real human character began to appear in those Moralities; individuals and types were both on the stage. we still have simple plays of this nature which the church staged in England over a thousand years ago.one well known Morality, Everyman, was produced with great succes in the old Hyderabad Residencynin 1935. By a gradual process, those old dedicative plays passed into simple dramas with no teaching motive, but merely cartering for the love of fun, adventure and the marvellous which is in the breasts of all men.
Side by side with this native drama, the scholars of Oxford and Cambridge were studying the dramatic works of the ancient greeks and Romans, especially of their writers of tragedy, Aeschylus and seneca, and the writers of comedy, Aristophanes, plautus and terence , who were then regarded as supreme models for the dramatist. since the Greek drama is often alluded to as a standard, we shall profit by considering its nature. The great philosopher, Aristotle, drew up certain canons or regulations of dramatic art, which have come to be known as Aristotle's Unities.