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28 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
drama
Designed for performance on stage.
tragedy
Representation of serious actions that lead to a disastrous end for the protagonist. Hero must be fundamentally good, fall through an unwitting error (tragic flaw) or fate, and a resolution that reconciles audience to the suffering so that the suffering is NOT senseless and irrational.
tragic flaw
A fatal weakness or ignorance in the protagonist that brings him to a bad end. Ranges from mistaken judgement to personal failing (not necessarily a moral one).
character
A person represented in a narrative or drama.
character development
How a character is introduced, revealed, and changed in a story.
irony
In language: a statement whose intended meaning is the opposite of its literal meaning. In life: a discrepancy between an expected outcome and a real outcome.
irony of fate
Discrepancy between actions and their results, between what characters deserve and what they get, between expectation and reality.
catharsis
Greek: "cleansing," "purging." In stories: passions are aroused but then purged through the course of the drama.
hubris
Excessive pride, the insolence that leads to ruin. (For the Greeks it was the opposite of moderation or rectitude.)
soliloquy
A speech by a character alone onstage in which thoughts are uttered aloud.
hero
Central character in a narrative whose virtues and vies, choices and experiences, are raised to meaningful levels. Today: principal figure in a story.
stock character
A stereotypical character that occurs frequently in literature: mad scientist, battle-scarred veteran, strong-but-silent cowboy.
plot
Particular arrangement of actions, events, and situations in a narrative. Important, crucial part of a story.
foreshadowing
In plot construction, the technique of arranging events and information in such a way that subsequent doings are prepared for, or "shadowed," beforehand.
exposition
The opening portion of a story: the scene is set, the protagonist introduced, background information.
complication
Introduction of a significant development in the central conflict between characters, initiating a rising action of a story's plot.
climax
The moment of greatest intensity in a story which almost always occurs towards the end of a work.
denouement
French: "unknotting." The resolution or conclusion of a story. The untangling of complications and a sense of completion. (An Open denouement is an ambiguous conclusion.)
comic relief
The appearance of a comic situation or character in the midst of a serious action, serving to lighten an atmosphere, balance the somber with the entertaining.
dramatic irony
When the audience understands the meaning or implications of a situation but the character does not.
parody
A mocking imitation of a literary work or style, usually for comic purposes, exaggerating distinctive features of the original.
comedy
Any work aimed at amusing an audience. Many distinct meanings throughout history. There is a nearness between tragedy and comedy.
low comedy
Jokes, slapstick, sight gags, boisterous clowning. Little intellectual content.
levels of diction
In English, three levels: Low--colloquial English (like catty, slip-up, pushy), Middle--general English (like spiteful, blunder, assertive), High--formal English (like acrimonious, miscalculation, pugnacious).
metafiction
Fiction that consciously explores its own nature as a literary creation.
point of view
Perspective from which a story is told. The relation in which the narrator stands to the story. First-person narrator, third-person narrator, participant narrator, omniscient narrator, unreliable narrator.
theater of the absurd
A postwar European genre of drama depicting the grotesquely comic plight of human beings thrown by accident into an irrational and meaningless world.
tragicomedy
A type of drama that has elements of both tragedy and comedy. Usually brings the protagonist to bring of disaster but ends happily.