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Literature focus: elements of drama and literary techniques

A division within play, much like chapters of a novel

Lines that are spoken by a character directly to audience

Cast of the characters
A list of characters presented before the action begins

A person or group of people who act as a narrator, commentator, or general audience to the action of the play

A humorous work of drama

Conversation between two or more characters

A work of literature designed to be performed in front of an audience

A character who is nearly opposite of another character; the purpose of a foil is to reveal a stark contrast between the two characters, often the protagonist and antagonist

A long speech spoken by a character to himself, another character, or to the audience

A division of an act into smaller parts

Thoughts spoken aloud by a character when he/she is alone, or thinks he/ she is alone

Stage directions
Italicized comments that identify parts of the setting or the use of props or costumes, give further information about a character, or provide background information; in Shakespeare’s plays, stage directions can also appear in brackets, parenthesis, and/ or half-brackets

A serious work of drama in which the hero suffers catastrophe or serious misfortune, usually because of his own actions

Tragic hero
A protagonist with a fatal flaw which eventually leads to his demise

Repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words or stressed syllables

A literary reference to a well know work of art, music, history or literature.

Blank verse
Non-rhyming poetry, usually written in iambic pentameter. Most of Shakespeare’s plays are written in this form, which is very close to normal speech rhythms and patterns.

Comic relief
In a tragedy, a break in the seriousness for a moment of comedy or silliness

Double entendre
A word or phrase with one or more meaning, usually when the second meaning is risqué

Dramatic irony
When the audience or reader knows something that the characters in the story don’t know

A substitution or a more pleasant expression for one whose meaning may come across as rude or offensive

Figurative language
Writing or speech that isn’t meant to be taken literally and compares dissimilar objects. It includes metaphors, similes, personification, and hyperbole

Hints of events to occur later in a story

A unit in poetry consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable


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