Suppose, however, that we have tragic circumstance not justified by the characterization of the figures concerned. For instance, in some play on Cleopatra the special scenes may move us even if they do not put before us a character whose willfulness and exacting love seem great enough to bring about the final catastrophe. Then what have we? Melodrama in the broadest sense of the word. Melodrama in this sense of plays insufficiently motivated in characterization has existed from the beginning of drama. Technically, the word came into England early in the nineteenth century to designate an importation from France of sensational scenes with frequent musical accompaniment. As this particular combination disappeared, the name remained for plays of sensational incident and inadequate characterization.

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