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Dramatic Terms List
Terms in this set (20)
A major division in a play. An act can be subdivided into scenes.
A character or force against which another character struggles.
Words spoken by an actor directly to the audience, but are not "heard" by the other characters on stage during a play.
A dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.
Literally the action of untying. A denouement (or resolution) is the final outcome of the main complication in a play. Usually the denouement occurs AFTER the climax (the turning point or "crisis"). It is sometimes referred to as the explanation or outcome of a drama that reveals all the secrets and misunderstandings connected to the plot.
Deus ex machina (god from the machine)
When an external source resolves the entanglements of a play by supernatural intervention.
The conversation of characters in a literary work.
style of speaking or writing determined by the choice of words by a speaker or a writer. Diction can, reveal character, imply attitudes, convey action, identify theme, and suggest values.
Usually spoken by a main character at the end of a play, the epilogue concludes the play and is often an apology for the play - or a request for applause
a secondary character whose situation often parallels that of the main character while his/her behavior or response or character contrasts with that of the main character, throwing light on that specific character's specific temperment.
Foreshadowing (also known as Chekhov's Gun)
A literary technique that introduces an apparently irrelevant element early in a story; its significance becomes clear later in the story.
The imaginary wall that separates the spectator/audience from the action taking place on stage. If the audience is addressed directly, this is referred to as "breaking the fourth wall".
The physical movement of a character during a play. Gesture is used to reveal character, and may include facial expressions as well as movements of other parts of an actor's body.
a (long) speech by a single character without another character's response.
The action or a set of introductory speeches before the first act. Here a single character's monologue or a dialogue between two actors would establish the play's background events.
The main character of a literary work.
A traditional segment in a play. Scenes are used to indicate a change in time, a change in location, provides a jump from one subplot to another, introduces new characters, rearrange the actors on stage. Scenes make up an act.
A speech meant to be heard by the audience, but not by other characters on the stage (as opposed to a monologue which addresses someone who does not respond). In a soliloquy only the audience can hear the private thoughts of the characters.
A playwright's descriptive or interpretive comments that provide readers (and actors) with information about the dialogue, setting, and action of a play.
A type of drama in which the characters experience a reversal of fortune, usually for the worse. In tragedy, suffering awaits many of the characters especially the hero.
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