teacher_20100401_0836 - AP English Literature Terms Drama...

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AP English Literature Terms Drama Terms Notes: 1. Terms denoted with an asterisk indicate terms that are applicable to both plays and fiction. 2. An asterisk next to a term within a definition indicates that the term is defined elsewhere. Act – a major division in the action of the play, comprising one or more *scenes. A break between acts often coincides with a point at which the plot jumps ahead in time. *Antagonist – the most prominent of the characters who oppose the *protagonist or hero/heroine in a dramatic or narrative work. The antagonist is often a villain seeking to frustrate a heroine or hero; but in those works in which the protagonist is represented as evil, the antagonist will often be a virtuous or sympathetic character, as Macduff is in Macbeth. Aside – a short speech or remark spoken by a character in a drama, directed either to the audience or to another character, which by *convention is supposed to be inaudible to the other characters on stage. See also soliloquy. *Catastrophe – the final resolution or *denouement of the plot in a *tragedy, usually involving the death of the *protagonist. *Catharsis – the effect of purgation or purification achieved by tragic drama, according to Aristotle’s argument in his Poetics (4th century BC). Aristotle wrote that a *tragedy should succeed “in arousing pity and fear in such a way as to accomplish a catharsis of such emotions.” There has been much dispute about his meaning, but Aristotle seems to be rejecting Plato’s hostile view of poetry as an unhealthy emotional stimulant. His metaphor of emotional cleansing has been read as a solution to the puzzle of audiences’ pleasure or relief in witnessing the disturbing events enacted in tragedies. Another interpretation is that it is the *protagonist’s guilt that is purged, rather than the audience’s feeling of terror. Adjective: cathartic. *Character – (1) any of the persons involved in a story (sense 1). (2) The distinguishing moral qualities and personal traits of a character (sense 2). Flat character – a character (1) whose character (2) is summed up in one or two traits. Round character – a character (1) whose character (2) is complex and many-sided. Stock character – A stereotyped character: one whose nature is familiar to us from prototypes in previous fiction. Dynamic character – a character that is changed by the actions in which he or she is involved. Static character – a character that remains unchanged or little changed throughout the course of the story. *Climax – the turning point or high point in a plot’s action. *Comic Relief – the interruption of a serious work, especially a *tragedy, by a short humorous episode that relieves emotional tension. *Conflict
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This note was uploaded on 11/26/2011 for the course ENG 316K taught by Professor Kruppa during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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teacher_20100401_0836 - AP English Literature Terms Drama...

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