Dramatical Terms

Dom Clark
Flashcards by Dom Clark, updated more than 1 year ago
Dom Clark
Created by Dom Clark over 5 years ago
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a list of dramatical terms.
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ALLITERATION The repetition of consonant sounds, especially at the beginning of words.
CHARECTERIZATION The means by which writers present and reveal character. Although techniques of characterization are complex, writers typically reveal characters through their speech, dress, manner, and actions.
CHORUS A group of characters in Greek tragedy (and in later forms of drama), who comment on the action of a play without participation in it. Their leader is the choragos.
CLIMAX The turning point of the action in the plot of a play or story. The climax represents the point of greatest tension in the work. The climax of John Updike's "A & P," for example, occurs when Sammy quits his job as a cashier.
COMEDY A type of drama in which the characters experience reversals of fortune, usually for the better. In comedy, things work out happily in the end. Comic drama may be either romantic--characterized by a tone of tolerance and geniality--or satiric. Satiric works offer a darker vision of human nature.
COMIC RELIEF The use of a comic scene to interrupt a succession of intensely tragic dramatic moments. The comedy of scenes offering comic relief typically parallels the tragic action that the scenes interrupt. Comic relief is lacking in Greek tragedy, but occurs regularly in Shakespeare's tragedies.
CONFLICT An intensification of the conflict in a story or play. Complication builds up, accumulates, and develops the primary or central conflict in a literary work. Frank O'Connor's story "Guests of the Nation" provides a striking example, as does Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal"
FABLE A brief story with an explicit moral provided by the author. Fables typically include animals as characters. Their most famous practitioner in the west is the ancient Greek writer Aesop, whose "The Dog and the Shadow" and "The Wolf and the Mastiff" are included in this book.
FICTION An imagined story, whether in prose, poetry, or drama.
FLASHBACK An interruption of a work's chronology to describe or present an incident that occurred prior to the main time frame of a work's action. Writers use flashbacks to complicate the sense of chronology in the plot of their works and to convey the richness of the experience of human time.
GESTURE The physical movement of a character during a play.Sometimes a playwright will be very explicit about both bodily and facial gestures, providing detailed instructions in the play's stage directions.
IMAGERY The pattern of related comparative aspects of language, particularly of images, in a literary work. Imagery of light and darkness pervade James Joyce's stories "Araby," "The Boarding House," and "The Dead." So, too, does religious imagery.
METAPHOR A comparison between essentially unlike things without an explicitly comparative word such as like or as.
NARRATOR The voice and implied speaker of a fictional work, to be distinguished from the actual living author.
ONOMATOPOEA The use of words to imitate the sounds they describe. Words such as buzz and crack are onomatopoetic. The following line from Pope's "Sound and Sense" onomatopoetically imitates in sound what it describes.
PARODY A humorous, mocking imitation of a literary work, sometimes sarcastic, but often playful and even respectful in its playful imitation. Examples include Bob McKenty's parody of Frost's "Dust of Snow" and Kenneth Koch's parody of Williams's "This is Just to Say."
PERSONIFACATION The endowment of inanimate objects or abstract concepts with animate or living qualities. An example: "The yellow leaves flaunted their color gaily in the breeze." Wordsworth's "I wandered lonely as a cloud" includes personification.
PLOT The unified structure of incidents in a literary work.
PROPS Articles or objects that appear on stage during a play. The Christmas tree in A Doll's House and Laura's collection of glass animals in The Glass Menagerie are examples.
SIMILE A figure of speech involving a comparison between unlike things using like, as, or as though. An example: "My love is like a red, red rose."
STAGE DIRECTION A playwright's descriptive or interpretive comments that provide readers (and actors) with information about the dialogue, setting, and action of a play.
STANZA The division or unit of a poem that is repeated in the same form--either with similar or identical patterns or rhyme and meter, or with variations from one stanza to another. The stanzas of Gertrude Schnackenberg's "Signs" are regular; those of Rita Dove's "Canary" are irregular.
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