Aristotle spoke of a certain number of arts, but it’s not like he invented the “muses.” To him, theatre had two main “genres”, comedy and tragedy. There were similar arts, such as “epics”, which also told stories.
To summarize, a tragedy had a great man falling from a great height, and a sad ending, and a comedy had someone come from nowhere and achieve a happy ending. The other “rules” of genres were merely conventions or expectations. (When I’ve used the words “rules” in the past, I usually meant conventions.)
The DK book of Shakespeare also includes histories, romances, and “problem comedies”. Shakespeare himself spoke of Tragicomedies and other hybrids, but they were basically three genres of history, tragedy, and comedy. Continue reading What is a genre? (film, theatre, music)