Dramatic Literature Terms

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Last updated: May 2, 2019

aside
a line spoken by an actor to the audience but not intended for others on the stage

monologue
a (usually long) dramatic speech by a single actor given to more than one or many characters on stage

soliloquy
in drama, a character speaks alone on stage to allow his/her thoughts and ideas to be conveyed to the audience

dramatic foil
a character who highlights the traits of another character through contrast

tragedy
a type of serious drama that usually ends in disaster for the main character

dramatic irony
occurs when another character(s) and/or the audience know more than one or more characters on stage about what is happening

metaphor
a figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else

epilogue
a speech in which an actor addresses the audience at the end of the play

prologue
a speech at the beginning of the play that usually introduces the subject matter of the drama

tragic hero
main character in a tragedy suffers the downfall, has one major flaw

simile
description comparing two unlike things but with “like” or “as”

round characters
many personality traits like Romeo’s rounded personality

flat characters
one dimensional like the servants

iambic pentameter
ten syllable lines in which every second syllable is stressed

scene
the smaller unit of a drama

forshadowing
the use of clues that hint to what is coming

stage direction
the notes and additional information on the page of the play to help set the scene

theme
the universal lesson or big idea/lesson that the author wanted the audience to learn.

end rhyme
when the last word of the line is a rhyme scheme

blank verse
iambic pentameter with no end rhyme

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