Dramatic Conventions and The Renaissance Theater
English 10 What is Drama? Drama: literature in which plot and characters are developed through dialogue and action Dialogue: conversation between characters; critical for conveying thoughts and feelings, and every twist and turn of the plot in drama Dialect: regional speech used to emphasize a character’s roots Elements of Drama Plot: the sequence of events which move the story along; in drama these are divided into: Scenes – each scene has a different time or place Acts – scenes are grouped into acts
Stage directions: done in italic type and separated from dialogue by parentheses Provide background, ideas for setting/scenery/props Costumes, lighting, music, and sound effects Directions to actors – how they should look/move/behave Dramatic Conventions
Tragedy: a work in which the main character, or tragic hero, comes to an unhappy end
Tragic Hero: the main character of a tragedy who comes to an unhappy or miserable end Generally a person of importance (king or queen) Exhibits extraordinary abilities
Tragic Flaw: a fatal error in judgment or weakness of character, directly leads to his or her downfall Dramatic Conventions
Other Characters Antagonist (usually “the bad guy”) Foil – a character who provides a sharp contrast to another character. Grendel is a foil for Beowulf Major and minor characters Dramatic Conventions
Comic Relief: eases the intensity of the action by following a serious scene with a lighter, mildly humorous one
Catharsis: the purging (releasing) of emotions through art
Fate: destiny, an inevitable course of events Tragic Heroes are usually fated to end up the way they do Dramatic Conventions
Soliloquy: a speech that a character makes while alone on stage, reveals his or her thoughts to the audience Monologue: a speech by one actor Aside: a remark made in an undertone to the audience or another character, but that other characters on stage are not supposed to hear Dramatic Conventions
Irony: Verbal Irony: a writer or character says one thing but means another Situational Irony: a character or reader expects one thing to happen but something else actually happens Dramatic Irony: the reader knows something that a character does not know Other Important Literary Terms
Motif: a recurring word, phrase, image, object, idea, or action in a work of literature
Blank Verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter
Meter: a fixed pattern of rhythm Ex: iambic pentameter The Renaissance Theater
Could not show “reality,” so the audience had to rely heavily on its imagination.
Actors wore elaborate costumes.
Limited props -- scenery was described through the play’s language.
Act and scene divisions were added by later editors to allow for scene changes. Popular Renaissance Theaters
The Theater – 1st public theater in London The Curtain – 2nd theater built The Globe – most famous theater; owned by Shakespeare’s acting company 3 main parts of The Globe: The building (16-sided polygon) The stage The tiring house (backstage) Admission was 1 penny for general seating Renaissance London