MYP International English:
Drama Terminology
Act: a major division of a
Allusion: a reference in
literature to a person, event, or
literary work
action of a drama, especially a
classical tragedy, following the
climax and containing a resolution
of the plot.
Character: a person or thing in a story
– Antagonist - is the person or thing working against the
– Dynamic – one that undergoes some type of change because of
the action in the plot
– Flat – embodies one or two qualities, ideas, or traits that can be
readily accessible to readers (could be stereotypes “dumb blonde”
or “evil stepmother”)
– Main – central character to the story/protagonist
– Minor - less important character in a literary work, but still is
needed for explanation or development of plot
– Protagonist – central character who engages the reader’s
interest and empathy
– Round – display inconsistencies and internal conflicts found in
most real people
– Static – one that doesn’t change throughout the work, reader’s
knowledge of character does not grow
– Tragic hero – has the potential for greatness but is doomed to
fail; trapped in a situation that cannot be won; makes some sort of
tragic flaw, this causes fall from greatness; still wins a moral
victory and spirit lives on
Characterization: creation of characters for a play or story
Direct – telling the audience/reader exactly what you want them to know about
the characters (Killer is a really mean guy.)
Indirect – Showing the reader the character instead of telling the audience
about the character
Chorus: the repetition of a line or phrase of a
poem at regular intervals, especially at the end
of a stanza
Climax: high point of story; is the turning point,
and usually the most intense point in the story
Comedy: literature with a love story at its core.
The basic plot often develops as follows: an old,
established society tries to prevent the formation
of a new one (the union of a young couple). The
young couple succeeds in the end. Human
errors or problems may appear humorous
Conflict: the problem or struggle in a story that
triggers the action. There are five basic types:
person vs. person, person vs. society, person vs.
self, person vs. nature, and person vs. fate/God
Connotation: creating associations while also
using explicit definitions
Crisis: a high point in the conflict that leads to the
turning point or climax
Denotation: dictionary definition
Dialogue: the conversation carried on by the
characters in a literary work
Epiphany: in fiction, when a character suddenly
experiences a deep realization about himself or
herself; a truth which is grasped in an ordinary rather
than a melodramatic moment
Exposition: writing or speaking that sets forth or
explains; detailed explanation
Flashback: going back to an earlier time in a story
for the purpose of making something present
Foil: character in a work whose behavior and
values contrast with those of another character
in order to highlight the distinctive temperament
of that character (usually the protagonist)
Foreshadowing: to be a sign of something to
come; indicate or suggest before hand
Gesture: anything done or said to convey a state
of mind, intention, etc.; often something said or
done merely for effect of as a formality
Imagery: the words or phrases a writer selects to
create a certain picture in the reader’s mind,
usually based on sensory detail
Irony: combination of circumstances or a result
that is opposite of what is or might be expected
or considered appropriate
Dramatic – where the reader/audience sees a
character’s mistakes or misunderstandings, but
the character does not
Situational – there is a great difference between
the purpose of a particular action and the result
Verbal – where the writer says one thing and
means another
Metaphor: a figure of speech containing an
implied comparison, in which a word or phrase
ordinarily and primarily used of one is applied to
another (all the world’s a stage)
Paradox: a statement that seems contrary to
common sense, yet may, in fact, be true
Plot: the action or sequence of events in a story;
contains 5 basic elements: exposition, rising
action, climax, falling action, and denouement
Point of View: the vantage point from which the
story is told
• 1st person – where a central character or another minor
character tells the story using “I”
• 3rd person – where a voice outside of the story tells the
story using “he” or “she” to describe the characters and
• Limited/Objective
• Omniscient – having infinite knowledge; knowing all things;
usually in 3rd person
Repetition: the act of repeating something over
and over again
Satire: a literary work in which vices, follies,
stupidities, abuses, etc. are held up to ridicule
and contempt
Scene: a division of a play, usually part of an act,
in which conventionally the action is continuous
and in a single place
Simile: a comparison of two unlike things in which
a word of companion (like or as) is used
Soliloquy: speech delivered by a character when
he/she is alone on stage
Symbol: person, place, thing, or event used to
represent something else
Theme: the statement about life a particular work
is trying to get across
Tone: the overall feeling, or effect, created by a
writer’s words. May be serious, mock-serious,
humorous, or satirical
Tragedy: a serious play or drama typically dealing
with the problems of a central character, leading
to an unhappy or disastrous ending