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Shakespearean Drama. Vocabulary and Terms. Shakespeare’s Plays. 3 categories Tragedy: a play that traces the main character’s downfall Ex: Comedy: a play that ends happily and usually contains many humorous elements Ex: History: a play that chronicles the life of an English monarch

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Shakespearean Drama

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Shakespearean drama l.jpg

Shakespearean Drama

Vocabulary and Terms


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Shakespeare’s Plays

  • 3 categories

    • Tragedy: a play that traces the main character’s downfall

    • Ex:

    • Comedy: a play that ends happily and usually contains many humorous elements

    • Ex:

    • History: a play that chronicles the life of an English monarch

    • Ex:


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Tragedy and the Tragic Hero

  • Shakespeare’s tragedies are often called his “greatest plays.”

  • Every tragedy contains a “tragic hero”

    • Tragic hero: a main character who goes through a series of events that lead to his/her downfall


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Qualities of a Tragic Hero

  • Possesses importance or high rank

  • Exhibits extraordinary talents

  • Displays a tragic flaw—an error in judgment or defect in character—that leads to downfall

  • Faces downfall with courage and dignity


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Soliloquy and Aside

  • Shakespeare uses soliloquies and asides even though these are not things that are used in real life.

  • Soliloquy: a long speech given by a character while alone on stage to reveal his or her private thoughts or intentions. (monologue)

  • Aside: a character’s quiet remark to the audience or another character that no one else on stage is supposed to hear. A stage direction (often in brackets) indicates an aside


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Aside Example

Trebonius: Caesar, I will. [Aside] And so near will I be

That your best friends shall wish I had been further.

The audience is meant to hear the aside, but not Caesar.

What does the aside suggest?


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Dramatic Irony

  • Irony: the contrast between appearance and reality

  • Dramatic Irony: when the reader or audience knows something that one or more of the characters do not know.

  • EX: In Romeo and Juliet when we know Juliet is married to Romeo, but her parents do not.

  • Other examples in R and J?


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Verbal Irony

  • Verbal irony = when you say one thing and mean another (sarcasm is a type of verbal irony generally associated with a tone of voice)

  • Example = When Ms. Blea says she’s happy to see your enthusiasm when you are yawning


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Situational Irony

  • Situational irony = When the unexpected happens

  • Example – A fire station catches on fire

Last slide


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