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ELEMENTS OF DRAMA DRAMA A story written to be performed by actors in front of an audience. TRAGEDY A play in which a main character, called the tragic hero, suffers a downfall. PLAY A story that is told through the use of dialogue. ACT A major division of a play. Books have chapters Plays have Acts SCENE A part of an act in a play. Takes place in a specific setting and time. STAGE DIRECTIONS Written instructions for actors Explain: 1. How characters should look, speak, move, and behave. PROLOGUE The introduction of an act. Tells what is going to happen in the play. Dialogue Characters speaking to each other. Reveals characteristics by showing what they are thinking and feeling as they react to other characters. Monologue A long speech delivered by one character. COMIC RELIEF A short, funny episode that interrupts a serious moment. Breaks the tension after an intense scene. FOIL A character who provides a strong contrast to another character. Helps to emphasize another character’s traits or make a character look better by comparison. EX: SMART VS DUMB HAPPY VS ANGRY ASIDE A comment made by a character that is heard by the audience only (stage whisper) Function of Asides Asides are frequently used to: 1) Provide information to the audience 2) Reveal the private thoughts of characters. SOLILOQUY A long speech delivered by a character who is alone onstage. A soliloquy typically reveals the private thoughts and emotions of the character. MOOD The emotions the reader feels when reading/watching a piece of work. Excited, scared, regretful, etc. BLANK VERSE Verse written in unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter, a rhythm pattern with 5 units, or feet, each of which has an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. TRAGIC FLAW A weakness within the character of a tragic hero that causes the hero to suffer a downfall. EXTERNAL CONFLICT A character struggles against some outside force Character vs. Character, nature, society, or fate. INTERNAL CONFLICT Exists within the mind of a character who is torn between different courses of action. FORESHADOWING Clues that hint at events that will occur later in the plot. Builds suspense Prepares readers for what is to come. METAPHOR Compares two or more things not using like or as. SIMILE Comparing two things using like or as. PERSONIFICATION A figure of speech in which an animal, object, force of nature, or idea is given human qualities or characteristics. OXYMORON A combination of seemingly contradictory words. Ex: “O loving hate! . . .O heavy lightness! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep…This love feel I, that feel no love in this.” R & J FARCE A type of comedy that provokes laughter by placing characters in ridiculous situations to quickly resolve a conflict. INVERSION Reversal of the usual word order in a prose sentence or line of poetry, for emphasis or variety. SITUATIONAL IRONY Exists when the actual outcome of a situation is the opposite of what is expected. DRAMATIC IRONY Exists when the reader knows something that a character does not know. PROPS Theater slang for articles or objects used in a play or movie. (properties) PUN A humorous play on two or more meanings of the same word or on two different words with the same sound. Function of the Scene Design The scene allows the author of the play to create a sense of Setting (time and place). THEME The main idea or message of a literary work. Theme is not the subject of the work but instead is an insight about life or human nature.