How to use Melodrama
The main purpose of melodrama is to play with the audience’s emotions—so, its goal is to trigger a reaction to extreme emotions that the characters themselves have, whether it is great loss, complete happiness, overwhelming sadness, thrilling triumph, or crushing defeat. Melodrama allows writers to put characters in whatever extreme situation they want because their intentional is not to be realistic, but to be dramatic. The following are several factors that essentially all melodramas should have:
- Stereotypical or one-dimensional characters, usually the following: a hero and a heroine (each with loyal helpers), a villain and villain’s sidekick.
- Events and occurrences that are out of the ordinary but still occur frequently
- Extreme loss or hardship for characters
- Struggles of good versus evil
- Highly emotional situations
- Impossible odds that characters somehow overcome
Finally, melodramas almost always have a happy ending—mainly because it is the most satisfying outcome for the audience.
When to use Melodrama
When you exaggerate the features of a regular drama, melodrama is the result. Simply put, authors and artists use melodrama when they want to be melodramatic—as genre of fiction, it lets them develop plots that are clearly unrealistic, but capturing and extraordinarily emotional for the audience. Because melodramas feature extreme situations and such intense emotions, they’re mostly geared towards adult audiences. Nowadays, its strongest presence is in film and television, and is mostly inactive in modern English literature.