The melodrama , in the Western Theater, refers to a type of drama Sentimental which has a plot unlikely that refers to the vicissitudes suffered by virtuosos at the hands of villains , but ends happily with the triumphant virtue . With common characters like the noble hero , the heroine suffering and villain cold – blooded melodrama it is not focused on the development of the character but in a series of sensational incidents and a spectacular setting in scene. In the field of music, melodrama refers to the spoken lines for a musical accompaniment .


What is melodrama?

Melodrama is a genre that consists of a work in which music plays a very important role and intervenes in each of the most dramatic moments in order to express feelings and emotions .

  • Definition
  • features
  • History
  • Melodrama in the cinema
  • The melodrama in the theater
  • Melodrama at the opera
  • Melodrama on the radio
  • Melodrama on television
  • How is it different from the drama
  • Examples


Melodrama is considered by experts as one of the most extensive and representative genres in many countries worldwide. We understand as melodrama the literary or film work in which it is sought to move in a very easy way the sensitivity that the spectator public may have through the exaggeration of the sentimental aspects, sadness and pain .



Among the main characteristics that we can observe in melodrama we mention the following:

  • In this type of genre there is an exaggeration of the emotions and the dramatic intensity that its characters experience.
  • It has a large number of gestures and facial expressions to represent a story that is considered tragic .
  • Different childhood fantasies and dreams can occur in adults.
  • In this type of work, the person who observes it performs a catharsis and feels compassion for the things he sees represented.
  • All the characters have and fulfill a specific role within the play.
  • The character who represents the pain is unstable and expresses his feelings more than the other actors.
  • It generally occurs in a struggle between good and evil .


The melodramatic play is generally considered to have developed in France as a result of the impact of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Pygmalion on a society torn by political and social upheaval and exposed to the influences of English Gothic . The pioneer and main exponent of the French melodrama of the 18th century with its music , song and spectacular effects was Guilbert de Pixérécourt. His Coelina, was translated as A Tale of Mystery by Thomas Holcroft and established the new genre in England. However, melodrama was not entirely new to England but the restrictions of the law had prevented combining drama with music , song and dance .

During the nineteenth century, the music and singing were gradually eliminated. As technical developments in the theater made greater realism possible , more emphasis was placed on the spectacular – for example, snowstorms, shipwrecks, battles, train accidents, conflagrations, earthquakes, and horse racing.

With the increasing sophistication of the theater at the beginning of the twentieth century, the theatrical melodrama declined in popularity . However, it was a vigorous form, in adventure film series until the appearance of sound. The exaggerated gestures , dramatic chases , emotional scenes , simple flat characters, and impossible situations were revived and parodied. Melodrama constitutes a good part of contemporary television drama .

Melodrama in the cinema

In cinema, melodrama provides a number of different meanings . At one time, the term was used to refer to adventure and action films , later it was used to address a certain female audience . At present, it refers to films that have a fairly heavy emotional charge for the viewer, or a strong or emotionally charged moral charge . They are films full of drama that seek to get as close as possible to realism to achieve a more human meaning and connotation .

The melodrama in the theater

In the theater it emerged as a genre in the year 1800 . The term was used to define a more complex stage show that began after the French Revolution . At that time pantomimes , machines , combat scenes and many dances were used for the construction of the staging , thus building a dramatic theme sometimes alternated with tragedy and comedy . It was considered the main theatrical and literary genre of the 19th century

Melodrama at the opera

As for the opera, it is known that it began to be used in this area around the year 1774 . It is used with the aim of being able to give greater importance to the characters that act in a play, whether good or bad, through music . It is a type of drama where words and music are presented successively by means of a musical phrase.

Melodrama on the radio

With the evolution of art, radio also evolved. One of the main thrusts that this type of communication medium had was through melodrama , which was represented mainly through radio soap operas , which in some places were known as serials . It was seen as a cultural production that looks for everyday situations using musical backgrounds to produce an effect on the public of exaggerated sentimentality .

Melodrama on television

On television we can find it in series , movies and soap operas . It is applied to any type of work then that has an audiovisual format and where the emotions that the viewer has are influenced by means of music . In this area, it has been given a derogatory meaning, which is why its use has been decreasing every day.

How is it different from the drama

In general , the characters who act in a drama do so for clear and concrete reasons , the emotions they express are not so exaggerated and some people will not feel fully identified with the feelings that the actors try to express, although they do their actions and the reason for acting in a certain way are understood. In the case of melodrama , the actors exaggerate all the feelings and tears in order to provoke sensations in the spectatorsEven the actors may not act coherently since they are guided by their impulses and their emotions .



  • The Great Gatsby
  • Discovering Forrester
  • The million dollar hotel
  • I’ll be by your side
  • The same love, the same rain

Theater plays

  • The wet
  • La Celestina
  • Romeo and Juliet

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