Soap Opera Vs. Drama

Difference Between Drama and Soap Opera


Soap Opera, a serialized radio or television drama, so named from the fact that many such programs originally were sponsored by soap companies. Also called “soaps” and sometimes “suds,” dramas of this kind usually are performed on daytime commercial programs, five afternoons a week. They tend to portray domestic situations, often with sentimental or melodramatic treatment. The term soap opera is now in fact commonly used to describe any situation with melodramatic elements.

Although trouble—domestic and personal—has always been a staple of soap operas, the nature of the problems dealt with has changed with the times. Latter-day soapland confronts such former taboos as adultery and divorce, rape, abortion, illegitimacy, and homosexuality. In accounting for the enduring popularity of the soap opera, commentators cite not only the writing, directing, and acting but also the adaptability of the genre. Old characters can be eliminated and new ones created virtually seamlessly, and story lines can be easily adjusted to address contemporary topics and concerns. In addition, soap operas are important to the theater and television industries, as they provide a steady source of jobs and experience for actors, technicians, writers, and others in the entertainment industry. Many major stars acted in soap operas at the start of their careers, including Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Ellen Burstyn, Hal Holbrook, Susan Sarandon, and Kathleen Turner.


Drama, a form of literature intended for performance by actors. In general the subject matter is narrative in character and, in the type of story traditionally considered suitable for presentation on the stage, the interplay of opposing elements usually results in a conflict. In European drama the phases of this situation are generally depicted in a sequence of scenes arranged so that each is the consequence of the preceding, until the conflicting elements reach a point of climax, after which the conflict is resolved and the play ends. This principle of design, sometimes attributed to Sophocles, corresponds with the general norms of storytelling in Europe. In Asia acceptable modes of narrative are simpler. Eastern plays are often tissues of episodes connected chiefly by the presence of the principal characters, without any special terminal principle.


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