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Drama Terms

Terms Related to Drama (including Shakespeare-specific terms)

TermDefinition
drama a form of literature, written as a play, intended to be performed for an audience
act a division of a longer play, like a chapter in a book
scene a shorter division of a play, usually marking a change in place and/or time
setting the time and place in which the story takes place
internal conflict unresolved issues within a character’s mind, like fear, panic, guilt, or a sense of obligation
external conflict problems that exist between a character and forces outside of his/her own mind, such as nature, another character, or societal rules or expectations.
dramatic foil a character who highlights or brings out the personality traits in another character in a play because of a stark contrast between their personality traits
stage directions directions or actions in the text, usually presented in brackets and italicized, that describe the physical movements or emotional responses of the characters on stage and may note setting or physical descriptions
dialogue verbal interactions between characters—what they say to each other
protagonist the focal character(s) in a drama
antagonist the main character or force working against the protagonist
scenery stage decorations that add a sense of location and physical background to the stage
prop an object used on stage by actors to enhance the realism of a presentation
staging the act of bringing the written play to life on stage or screen
irony the effect of a dramatic contrast between what is expected and what is actually the case or what actually happens
plot the series of events of the story as they unfold in a drama
climax the point of highest dramatic suspense; usually the crisis point of story for the protagonist(s) preceded by the rising action and followed by the falling action
theme the central idea or insight about life revealed in a work of literature
symbolism the use of symbols—words, sounds, gestures, ideas, or visual images—to convey other ideas and beliefs
soliloquy a speech that a character gives to him or herself which gives the audience the impression of hearing the character’s inner thoughts
aside the dramatic term for a character turning to the audience to make a remark—unheard by the other characters
iambic pentameter ten-syllable lines of verse in which every second syllable is stressed; the rhythmic pattern sounds is best described as: da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM.
wherefore A common Shakespearean term meaning "why"
anon A common Shakespearean term meaning "soon" or "in a minute"
apothecary a druggist or pharmacist (This character shows up in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.)
Created by: MrReise