The repetition of consonant sounds, especially at the beginning of words.
A character or force against which another character struggles.
Words spoken by an actor directly to the audience, which are not "heard" by the other characters on stage during a play.
The purging of the feelings of pity and fear that occur in the audience of tragic drama.
An imaginary person that inhabits a literary work.
The means by which writers present and reveal character.
A group of characters in Greek tragedy (and in later forms of drama), who comment on the action of a play without participation in it.
The turning point of the action in the plot of a play or story.
A type of drama in which the characters experience reversals of fortune, usually for the better.
The use of a comic scene to interrupt a succession of intensely tragic dramatic moments.
An intensification of the conflict in a story or play.
A struggle between opposing forces in a story or play, usually resolved by the end of the work.
The associations called up by a word that goes beyond its dictionary meaning.
Deus ex machina
A god who resolves the entanglements of a play by supernatural intervention.
The conversation of characters in a literary work.
The first stage of a fictional or dramatic plot, in which necessary background information is provided.
In the plot of a story or play, the action following the climax of the work that moves it towards its denouement or resolution.
An interruption of a work's chronology to describe or present an incident that occurred prior to the main time frame of a work's action.
A character who contrasts and parallels the main character in a play or story.
A metrical unit composed of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Hints of what is to come in the action of a play or a story.
A figure of speech involving exaggeration.
An unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one, as in to-DAY. See Foot.
The measured pattern of rhythmic accents in poems.
A speech by a single character without another character's response.
The voice and implied speaker of a fictional work, to be distinguished from the actual living author.
A humorous, mocking imitation of a literary work, sometimes sarcastic, but often playful and even respectful in its playful imitation.
The endowment of inanimate objects or abstract concepts with animate or living qualities.
Point of view
The angle of vision from which a story is narrated.
Articles or objects that appear on stage during a play.
The main character of a literary work.
A play on words wherein a word is used to convey two meanings at the same time.
The point at which a character understands his or her situation as it really is.
The sorting out or unraveling of a plot at the end of a play, novel, or story.
The point at which the action of the plot turns in an unexpected direction for the protagonist.
A set of conflicts and crises that constitute the part of a play's or story's plot leading up to the climax.
A literary work that criticizes human misconduct and ridicules vices, stupidities, and follies.
The time and place of a literary work that establish its context.
A figure of speech involving a comparison between unlike things using like, as, or as though.
A speech in a play that is meant to be heard by the audience but not by other characters on the stage.
A playwright's descriptive or interpretive comments that provide readers (and actors) with information about the dialogue, setting, and action of a play.
A subsidiary or subordinate or parallel plot in a play or story that coexists with the main plot.
An object or action in a literary work that means more than itself, that stands for something beyond itself.
The grammatical order of words in a sentence or line of verse or dialogue.
The idea of a literary work abstracted from its details of language, character, and action, and cast in the form of a generalization. See discussion of Dickinson's "Crumbling is not an instant's Act."
The implied attitude of a writer toward the subject and characters of a work, as, for example, Flannery O'Connor's ironic tone in her "Good Country People." See Irony.
A type of drama in which the characters experience reversals of fortune, usually for the worse. In tragedy, catastrophe and suffering await many of the characters, especially the hero. Examples include Shakespeare's Othello and Hamlet; Sophocles' Antigone and Oedipus the King, and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. See Tragic flaw and Tragic hero.
A weakness or limitation of character, resulting in the fall of the tragic hero. Othello's jealousy and too trusting nature is one example. See Tragedy and Tragic hero.
A privileged, exalted character of high repute, who, by virtue of a tragic flaw and fate, suffers a fall from glory into suffering. Sophocles' Oedipus is an example. See Tragedy and Tragic flaw.