The dramatic structure of Shakespeare's plays
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A drama is a presentation of an action. Action is the connection and interweaving of details, by a controlling idea, into a work of art, possessing unity; it is the train of incident, conceived as a whole. Events in themselves are not dramatic, but must be remodeled into the relations or cause and effect by an underlying dramatic idea; then it is that the drama becomes a work of art. The plot is the form which the action takes, the abstract design or pattern which is applied to the material, life. It may be simple, complex or compound. The ancient drama consisted of a single plot; the Shakespearian drama is a complex, much more elaborate, having a main action and subordinate actions; its unity is subtler, as it is a harmony of actions, each of which blends with the others; they may be connected by common personages or links, by being constantly interwoven, by being related to the same enveloping action, by being mutually dependent, or by furnishing parallels and contrasts to each other.