History of Western Theatre: Greeks to Elizabethans/Genres

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Greek Comedy/Tragedy Mask

In ancient Greek Theatre, there were only three genres of theatre: Comedy, Tragedy, and Satyr Plays.

Comedies were humorous plays with happy endings. Tragedies were morose plays with sad endings. Satyr plays were satirical farce of various myths and legends.

Tragedies and comedies were two distinct dramatic styles that were never intermingled.

Satyr plays were introduced later than the other two genres and were used in the Dionysian theatre festival as comic relief between tragedies. Satyr plays were regarded higher then comedies but lesser than tragedies.