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A drama that ends in
catastrophe—most often death—
for the main characters.
Tragic Hero
 The protagonist, or central character—
the one with whom audiences identify
 Usually falls or dies because of a
character flaw or a cruel twist of fate
 Often has a high rank or status; shows
strength while facing his or her destiny
Is a character whose personality
and attitude contrast sharply with
those of another character
Highlights both characters’
traits—for example, a timid
character can make a talkative
one seem even chattier
Is a speech given by a character
alone on stage
Lets the audience know what the
character is thinking or feeling
Is a character’s remark, either to
the audience or to another
character, that others on stage do
not hear
Reveals the character’s private
Dramatic Irony
 Is when the audience knows more
than the characters—for example,
the audience is aware of Romeo and
Juliet’s tragic demise long before
characters face it
 Helps build suspense
Comic Relief
Is a humorous scene or speech
intended to lighten the mood
Serves to heighten the
seriousness of the main action by
An indirect reference to a
famous person, place, event, or
literary work.
Stage Directions
Instructions that are usually
printed in italic type
Serve as a guide to directors, set
and lighting designers,
performers, and readers
A joke that comes from a play on
A disrespectful or scornfully
abusive remark or action.
Shakespearean examples: biting
one’s thumb at another is like
flipping someone off
A special kind of concise
paradox that brings together two
contradictory terms (i.e. “loving
A lyric poem of 14 lines,
commonly written in iambic
The Shakespearean, or
Elizabethan, sonnet consists of
three quatrains, or four-line
units, and a final couplet.