Greek Drama Terms
Terms in this set (69)
Greek term for a character's discovery or recognition of someone or something previously unknown
A character or force in conflict with the protagonist.
A curtain hung at the back of the Elizabethan playhouse to partition off an alcove or booth. The curtain could be pulled back to reveal an alcove or cave.
A short speech made by a character to the audience which, by convention, the other characters on stage cannot hear.
An unrhymed verse form often used in writing drama, composed of ten-syllable lines accented on the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth syllables (iambic pentameter).
The feeling of emotional purgation or release that, according to Aristotle, an audience should feel after watching a tragedy.
Any person appearing in a drama or narrative.
A stereotypical character type whose behavior, qualities, or beliefs conform to familiar dramatic conventions, such as the clever servant or the braggart soldier.
A masked group that sang and danced in Greek tragedy. The _____ usually chanted in unison, offering advice and commentary on the action but rarely participating.
A type of drama intended to interest and amuse rather than to concern the audience deeply. The audience feels confident that characters will overcome any ill fortune and find happiness in the end.
Comedy of manners
Realistic, often satiric comedy concerned with the manners and conventions of high society.
Comedy that appeals to the intellect, often focusing on the pretentions, foolishness, and incongruity of human behaviour.
Comedy that lacks the intellectual appeal of high comedy, depending, instead, on boisterous buffoonery, "gags" and jokes for its comic effect.
The use of humorous characters, speeches, or scenes in an otherwise serious or tragic drama.
Deus ex machina
Latin for "a god out of the machine." In Greek drama, a mechanical device called a mechane could lower "gods" on to the stage to solve seemingly unsolvable problems of mortal characters. Also used to describe a playwright's use of a forced or improbable solution to plot complications.
Spoken interchange or conversation between two or more characters.
A playwright's choice of words or the match between language and subject matter. Also refers collectively to an actor's phrasing, enunciation, and manner of speaking.
Greek nature god of wine, mystic revelry and irrational impulse. Greek tragedy probably sprang from dramatized ritual choral celebrations in his honor.
The illusions of reality created by drama and accepted by the audience for the duration of the play.
The sense of feeling with a character (distinct from sympathy which is feeling for a character).
A final speech added to the end of a play.
Ancient term for the rising action of a plot.
The third of three parts of the verse ode sung by the chorus in a Greek drama, it follows the strophe and antistrophe.
The concluding scene, which includes the exit of all characters and the chorus, of a Greek drama.
A character who, through difference or similarity, brings out a particular aspect of another character.
Ominous hints of events to come that help to create an air of suspense in a drama.
An error or wrong act through which the fortunes of the protagonist are reversed in a tragedy.
Excessive pride or ambition. Often causes the protagonist's fall in Greek tragedy.
A poetic meter that divides a line into five parts (or feet), each part containing an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable.
The use of words to suggest a meaning that is the opposite of the literal meaning. ______ present in a literary work that gives expression to contradictory attitudes or impulses to entertain ambiguity or to maintain detatchment.
Irony present when destiny or the gods seem to be in favor of the protagonist but are actually engineering his or her downfall.
Irony present when the outcome of an event or situation is the opposite of what a character expects. (situational irony)
Irony that exists when a character's lack of complete knowledge or understanding (which the audience possesses) results in his or her fall or has tragic consequences for loved ones.
The Greek word for "imitation." Aristotle used the term to define the role of art as an imitaition of an action.
The stage setting of a play, including the use of scenery, props, and stage movement.
Didactic, late Medieval drama (flourishing in England circa 1400-1550) that uses allegory to dramatize some aspectss of the Christian moral life. Abstract qualities or entities such as Virtue, Vice, Good Deeds, Knowledge, and Death are cast as characters who discuss with the protagonist issues related to salvation and the afterlife.
A movement in 16th century Italy and 17th century France to revive and emulate classical attitudes toward art based on principles of order, harmony, unity, restrained wit, and decorum.
The often stately entrance song of the Greek chorus in Greek drama. The term also refers to the aisles on either side of the orchestra by which the chorus entered the Greek theater.
The quality of evoking pity.
A reversal of fortune, for better or for worse, for the protagonist. Used especially to describe the main character's fall in Greek tragedy.
A brief secondary drama presented to or by the characters of a play that reflects or comments the larger work.
The events of a play or narrative. The sequence and relative importance a dramatist assigns to these events.
An unexpectedly trivial or insignificant conclusion to a series of significant events; an unsatisfying resolution that often occurs in place of a conventional climax.
The outcome or conclusion of a play, usually applied specifically to tragedy denouement.
The turning point in a drama's action preceded by the rising action and followed by the falling action.
The part of the plot preceding the climax that establishes the entanglements to be untangled in the denouement.
The struggle between the protagonist and the antagonist that propels the rising action of the plot and is resolved in the denouement.
The "unknotting" of the plot's complication; the resolution of a drama's action.
A dramatic structure in which two related plots function simultaneously.
The presentation of essential information, especially about events that have occurred prior to the first scene of a play; initiates the rising action.
The events of the plot following the climax and ending in the catastrophe or resolution.
The events of the plot leading up to the climax.
A secondary plot intertwined with the main plot, often reflecting or commenting on the main plot.
In Greek drama, an introductory scene that precedes the entrance of the chorus; this had evolved into the modern introductory monologue, or prologue.
The playing space in front of the skene or scene house in Greek drama.
The main character in a drama.
Witty and pointed verbal exchanges.
Sensational tragedy popularized during the Elizabethan age that is notable for bloody plots involving such elements as murder, ghosts, insanity, and crimes of lust.
The stage house in Roman drama; the facade of the _____ was elaborately ornamented.
Tragic drama modeled on plays written by Seneca. The genre usually has five acts and features a chorus; it is notable for its thematic concern with bloodshed, revenge, and unnatural crimes.
The building or scene house in the Greek theater that probably began as a dressing room and eventually was incorporated as part of the scenery.
A speech in which an actor, usually alone on stage, utters his or her thoughts aloud, revealing personal feelings.
The eye appealing costumes and scenery in a drama.
Dialogue in which two speakers engage in a verbal duel in alternating lines.
An object, event, or action is used to suggest a meaning beyond its literal meaning.
Aristotle noted that a play's action usually occurs in one day or a little more (unity of time) and that the plot should reveal clearly ordered actions and incidents moving toward the plot's resolution (unity of action); later, neoclassical scholars added a third, (unity of place) wherein a play should occur in a single locale.
Serious drama in which a protagonist, traditionally of noble position, suffers a series of unhappy events culminating in a catastrophe such as death or spiritual breakdown.
The sense that the events of a play and the actions of the characters follow one another naturally to form one complete action. ______ is present when characters' behavior seems motivated and the work is perceived to be a connected artistic whole.
The degree to which a dramatic representation approximates an appearance of reality.
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