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Literary and Dramatic Elements. Definitions and Examples in Romeo and Juliet. What is drama?. A story that is written to be acted for an aidience Elements include exposition, complications (rising action), climax, and resolution. What is tragedy?.

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Literary and dramatic elements

Literary and Dramatic Elements

Definitions and Examples in

Romeo and Juliet


What is drama
What is drama?

  • A story that is written to be acted for an aidience

  • Elements include exposition, complications (rising action), climax, and resolution


What is tragedy
What is tragedy?

  • A play that depicts serious and important events in which the main character(s) comes to an unhappy end

  • The character’s downfall may be caused by a character flaw or by forces that are beyond human control


What is exposition
What is exposition?

  • The beginning part of a plot that gives information about the characters and their problems or conflicts

  • How the playwright lets us know what is going on in the story


What is scene design
What is scene design?

  • Sets, lights, costumes, props, all of which bring a play to life on stage

  • Furnishings and scenery that suggest the time and place of the action


What is meter
What is meter?

  • The regular patter of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry

  • Meter provides the rhythm of a line


What is iambic pentameter
What is iambic pentameter?

  • Line of poetry that contains five iambs

  • Iambs are units of measure with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable

  • In Shakespeare, the main characters often speak in poetry and use iambic pentameter, with the “common” people speaking prose


What is blank verse
What is blank verse?

  • Poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter

  • Most of Shakespeare’s plays use blank verse, especially when the main characters are speaking

  • Contrast to prose


What is a soliloquy
What is a soliloquy?

  • A long speech in which a character who is onstage alone expresses his or her thoughts aloud

  • The audience overhears the character’s private thoughts

  • Contrast to a monologue, which is any extended speech by one person, often expressed to another person


What is an aside
What is an aside?

  • Words that are spoken by a character in a play to the audience or to another character but that are not supposed to be heard by the others on the stage

  • Often noted through stage directions (italics on text of play)


What is dialogue
What is dialogue?

  • The conversation between characters in a story or a play

  • Helps audience learn about the characters and move the plot forward


What is a couplet
What is a couplet?

  • Two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme

  • Shakespeare often uses couplets to end important speeches or a scene (signal to audience)


What is dramatic irony
What is dramatic irony?

  • When the audience knows something important that a character does not know


What is foreshadowing
What is foreshadowing?

  • The use of clues to hint at events that will occur later in the plot

  • Used to build suspense and anxiety in the audience


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