Perhaps it’s best to start this chapter with a bit of fact and fiction about melodrama. First the fiction.
Over the years, the term melodrama has increasingly taken on a negative implication. It is associated with soap opera, exclusively with romantic women’s stories, and with a dramatic device best characterized as exaggeration (as opposed to realism, or a story that is simply more believable). Although all of the above has a hint of truth, each is too narrow an approach to melodrama and keeps us away from the usefulness of melodrama as a form.