As there are many types of poetry, dramatic poetry being one of them, there are also different types of dramatic poetry. Before we examine the various types of dramatic poetry, let us see what verse drama actually refers to.
Any drama that has been written as a verse that is intended to be spoken, counts as dramatic poetry. Poetic drama, in fact, has dominated the production of drama in the European poetic tradition: from Ancient Greeks like Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, up to Racine (French dramatist), Ben Johnson (English dramatist), and of course the superb Goethe! Dramatic poetry always brings some sort of tragedy to the foreground one way or another. But depending on the way this happens, one can identify three types of dramatic poetry: dramatic monologue, comedy, and tragedy.
Tragedy is rather the most straightforward of the three types of dramatic poetry, since any story that has an bad, unhappy end counts as such. Tragedy, on one hand, does have a storyline and does meet the criteria that make for a dramatic poem, but on the other hand, it differs from the other two types of dramatic poetry, since no one is supposed to acts them; instead, there is a narrator who describes past events through his singing. Typical examples of tragedies are Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, and “Romeo and Juliet”. Dramatic monologue, as the name suggests, involves no more than one speaker telling a story through his own eyes, and that is something that an audience should always keep in mind regarding dramatic monologue, especially when trying to determine that speaker’s reliability. Of course, the fact that there is only on speaker, does not mean that there can’t be multiple characters. Typical examples of dramatic monologues Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”, T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Captain of the 1964 Top of the Form Team”, Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”, etc. As for the last and probably the most intriguing among the three types of dramatic poetry, comedy manages to bring together the tragic with the comical element in a rather humorous and ironic manner. Comedy might either describe a rather comical and light situation is a serious-like manner, or a rather serious situation with a humorous and light tone. In both cases, however, the aim is to direct the audience’s attention to a serious/dramatic aspect of life that we as sentient moral agents need to address; the role of humor is to loosen the audience’s psychological defense mechanisms and help them understand the problem described in depth. There are many comedy writers, of course, but Aristophanes probably ranks first among them with plays like “the Acharnians”, “the Clouds”, “the Wasps”, “the Birds”, as well as other.
Now, which of the three types of dramatic poetry should be considered the best, this a debate only scholars should attempt to schedule. Our opinion, though is, that each of the three types of poetry is unique in its own way and has something different to offer to an audience.