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Literary Term Quiz – Drama

Act
a major division in the action of the play, comprising of one or more scenes

Antagonist
the most prominent of the characters who oppose the protagonist or hero(ine) in a dramatic or narrative work.

Aside
a short speech or remark spoken by a character in a drama, directed either to the audience or to another character, which by convention is supposed to be inaudible to the other characters on stage

Catastrophe
the final resolution or denouement of the plot in a tragedy, usually involving the death of the protagonist

Catharsis
the effect of purgation or purification achieved by tragic drama, according to Aristotle’s argument

Character
any of the persons involved in a story, or the distinguishing moral qualities and personal traits thereof

Climax
the turning point or high point in a plot’s action

Comic Relief
the interruption of a serious work, especially a tragedy, by a short humorous episode that relieves emotional tension

Conflict
a clash of actions, desires, ideas, or goals in the plot of a story

Crisis
the point in the plot where the the protagonist’s situation changes for the better or the worse.

Foil
a character whose qualities or actions serve to emphasize those of the protagonist by providing a strong contrast with them

Monologue
an extended speech uttered by one speaker, either to others or as if alone

Hubris
the Greek word for “insolence” or “affront”, applied to the arrogance or pride of the protagonist by providing a strong contrast with them

Protagonist
The central character in a story.

Narrator
the teller of a story

in medias res
“in the middle of things” the technique of beginning a story in the middle of the action

Scene
a subdivision of an act or of a play not divided into acts

Setting
the general locale, time in history, or social milieu in which the action of a literary work takes place

deus ex machina
“God from the machine” – the resolution of a plot by use of a highly improbable chance coincidence or artificial device that solves some difficult problem or crisis

Villian
the principal evil character in a play or story

Turning Point
a decisive point in the plot of a play or story, upon which the outcome of the remaining action depends

Tragic Flaw
the defect of character that brings about the protagonist’s downfall in a tragedy

Tragedy
a type of drama in which the protagonist, a person of unusual moral or intellectual stature or outstanding abilities, suffers a fall in fortune due to some error of judgment or flaw in his or her nature

Soliloquy
a dramatic speech uttered by one character speaking aloud while alone on stage, or while under the impression of being alone

Plot
the careful arrangement by an author of incidents in a narrative to achieve a desired effect

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