English Drama Trerms

STUDY
PLAY

Terms in this set (...)

act
major division of the action of a play
antagonist
character or force against the protagonist
aside
words spoken by an actor directly to the audience which are not "heard" by the characters on stage
blocking
directed movement and placement on the stage
catastrophe
the action at the end of the tragedy the initiates the resolution or falling action
catharis
purging of feelings of pity or fear that occurs at the end of a tragedy, the audience is supposed to be inspired to lead better lives
characterization
ways that characters are revealed and developed: speech, dress, manner, actions
chorus
group of characters in drama that comment on the action without participation in it
climax
turning point in the action, point of highest intensity
comedy
characters experience reversals of fortune, usually for the better, happy ending
complication
intensification of the conflict in a play
conflict
struggle between opposing forces in a play
comic relief
use of comic scene to interrupt a succession of intensely tragic moments
costume
what characters wear, often reveals character
dialogue
conversation of characters
drama
form of literature consisting of plays
dramatic irony
irony when the audience sees a character's mistakes but the character can't
exposition
first stage of play where background information is given
falling action
the action after the climax leading to the resolution
farce
comedy designed to produce a "belly laugh" with exaggerated characters, improbable situations, verbal humor, and physical horseplay
foil
character that contrasts and parallels that main character
foreshadowing
hints of what will happen later in the play
fourth wall
imaginary wall of the box theater setting, supposedly removed to allow the audience to see
lighting
conveys mood, suggests time or season, pinpoints an action, or isolates a character
melodrama
exaggerated, sensational form of drama intended to appeal to the audience's emotions
monologue/ dramatic monologue
speech by a single character without another character's response
parody
literary form intended to mock a particular literary work or its style
pathos
quality of a play's action that stimulates the audience to feel pity for a character
plot
sequence of events, story line, including conflicts
point of view
vantage point from which the story is told: first, third-limited, third-omniscient
props
articles or objects that appear on stage during a play
proscenium
the part of the stage that is in front of the curtains
protagonist
main character
realism
drama attempting to represent life as it really is without sentimentalizing it
resolution/denouement
the sorting out or unraveling of a plot at the end of a play
rising action
set of conflicts or crises that lead up to the climax
romanticism
play that presents life as we would like it to be
satire
literary technique used to ridicule human vices or weaknesses usually using exaggeration
setting
time and place of the action
scene
division of an act, occurring when there is a change of time or place
scenery
provides a visual frame for the action
slapstick
form of low comedy, appeals through the use of violent and exaggerated physical actions
soliloquy
actor's speech heard by the audience but not other characters on stage, character thinking aloud
stage direction
dramatist's comments that provide information about dialogue, setting, and action
staging
position of actors on the stage, scenic background, props, costumes, lighting, and sound
style
the author's characteristic way of writing: words, sentences, figurative language, etc.
theme
the insight into life that the author wants to share with the reader
tone
writer's attitude towards his subject and his readers, mood
tragedy
characters experience reversals in fortune, usually worse, characters suffer, especially the hero
tragicomedy
dramas with both tragic and comic characteristics in plot, usually has two plots
tragic flaw
weakness or limitation of character which results in fall of tragic hero
tragic hero
privileged character who because of a tragic flaw suffers a fall from glory