Much Ado about Nothing

Drama works of literature meant to be performed on stage or read as a performance
Plot A sequence of incidents or events of which a story is composed
Exposition sets stage for story; gives important information about plot and characterEX: The soldiers coming home from battle to MessinaBeatrice and Benedick debate, Hero and Claudio meet, Don Pedro plans to woo Hero for Claudio
Rising Action as things happen, tension risesEX: Masquerade ballDon Pedro plans to set up Beatrice and Benedick Don John’s plan to frame Hero worksArrest of Borachio and Conrade
Climax turning point; most exciting eventEX: Hero’s shunning at the wedding
Falling Action consequence of actionsEX: Hero plays deadHero’s “funeral”
Resolution all dramatic conflicts are resolvedEX: Hero & Claudio; Beatrice & Benedick married
Obligatory Scene optional; happily ever after scene, or bad guy gets what is coming to himEX: Don John arrested
Plot Twist an unexpected turn of events; must be believable and unexpected
Characters it is their story being told
Round Characters “complex”; has depth, flaws, complexities, personal problems; must be ‘real’EX: Beatrice- lighthearted woman who is proud and stubborn, fiercely passionate.
Flat Character simple, shallow, stereotypical and one-dimensional characterEX: Don John- “plain-dealing villain”
Stock standard recurring roles, such as a waitress or butlerEX: Dogberry- town fool
Major Character leads, stars
Minor Character less important, supporting roles
Dialogue The conversation of characters; the exchange of words between two or more characters; may seem natural but is skillfully rendered for a good drama; some of Shakespeare’s dialogue is in the form of poetry
Monologue An extended speech by a character which is uninterrupted; used morein classics like Cyrano de Bergerac than in modern drama; monologue supplies the introspective information of a character, that is, his/her thoughts and feelings.
Conflict draws us into the story; it creates tension and suspense and makes us root for our heroes
Three types of dramatic conflict: a. ‘man’ vs. ‘man’b. ‘man’ vs. naturec. ‘man’ vs. himself (This is a major conflict in drama; decisions have to be made!)
Action Through action, we learn about the characters and their dramatic stories; appropriate and meaningful action ultimately helps us to understand life better; next to dialogue, action is most important and meaningful to the development of the characters and to the revelation of their stories; the goal is to have maximum impact and insight with the LEAST amount of action
Theme The central concept of idea of a story; the unifying concept or unstated principle that guides the action and allows us to walk away with powerful feelings and insights into life; there may be more than one theme, especially in longer dramatic worksEX: Miscommunication and deception can either benefit or disservice
DRAMATIC CONVENTIONS Various elements of dramatic devices used in a stage production to help tell the storya. Lighting and sound effects such as mood lighting (dark is scary; or, set elements such as lighting, thunder (stormy, builds tension)b. Soliloquy – a verbal dramatic convention; a long speech addressed to no one in particular, as in the character thinking out loud**Narrative – a subset of soliloquy which is like soliloquy but differs from it in that narrative is directed at the audience; it gives exposition or background information (the Stage Manager in Wilder’s play Our Town); the chorus in classical drama is also an example of ‘narrative’; rather than being just one person, the chorus consists of a group of players who give key information about what is happening in the drama; the lines spoken by a chorus can also be sung.c. Comic relief – dialogue or action that lightens the tragic or dramatic effect by giving the audience a breather (Dogberry in Much Ado)
allusion a reference to a well,known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art.
apostrophe a literary technique in which a speaker addresses something or someone who is unable to respond within the text; Hero says in Act III: O god of love! I know he doth deserve As much as may be yield to a man…
aside a short speech delivered by an actor in a play, expressing the character’s thoughts. Traditionally, the aside is directed to the audience and is presumed to be inaudible to the other actors.
blank verse unrhymed iambic pentameter; used in Romeo and Juliet especially when a major character engages in serious dialogue (at other times, Shakespeare may use iambic pentameter in rhyming couplets or with an alternating rhyme scheme).
comic relief an amusing scene, incident, or speech introduced into serious or tragic elements, as in a play, in order to provide temporary relief from tension, or to intensify the dramatic action (Even in a comedy, there are serious interludes; Dogberry and his men provide comic contrast to the growing relationship tensions of the play)
couplet a pair of rhyming lines, usually of the same length and meter; a couplet usually expresses a single idea.
dialogue a conversation between two characters; used to reveal character and to advance the action.
direct characterization (see also indirect characterization) part of the act of creating and developing a character; in direct characterization, the author directly states a character’s traits.
dramatic irony one form of irony (which portrays differences between appearance and reality, expectation and result, or meaning and intention). In dramatic irony, there is a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader or audience knows to be true. See also verbal irony and situational irony. There are many examples of irony in this comedy.
dramatic monologue a poem spoken by one person; actors speak in monologues when they have something to say which typically takes more than just a few lines of dialogue, but their lines are recited in the presence of other actors; don’t confuse monologues with soliloquies (see soliloquy below).dynamic character (see also static character),a character that develops and grows during the course of a story.
epistrophe a rhetorical device similar to anaphora (repetition of phrases, as you recall); epistrophe, however, is the repetition of a word or words at the END of two or more successive verses, clauses, or sentences: “One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well.”
figurative language & other devices (remember metaphor simile, allusion, personification, alliteration, hyperbole)
flat character (see also round character) a character that shows only one trait (a fault or a virtue).
foil a character that contrasts with another character in order to highlight or emphasize character traits; also serves to provide variety for a reader or audience which helps to sustain interest and attention
foreshadowing the use in a literary work of clues that suggest events that have yet to occur. Use of this technique helps to create suspense, keeping readers wondering and speculating about what will happen next.
hyperbole an obvious exaggeration, used for effect, like saying you have to “wait an eternity” for lunch, or “I could sleep for a year!”
indirect characterization (see also direct characterization) part of the act of creating and developing a character; in indirect characterization, an author tells what a character looks like, does, and says, and how other characters react to him or her. It is up to the reader to draw conclusions about the character based on this indirect information.
malapropism author’s deliberate use of a word for humorous effect; seen frequently in the diaglogues of Dogberry, Verges, and the watchmen who deliberately misuse words in their attempts to use elevated language; in Act III, scene iii, the second watchman wants to use words discovered and treachery but instead says: “Call up the right master constable. We have here recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth.”
metonymy the use of a related item to stand for the thing being discussed; in Act V, scene i, Leonato used the phrase flesh and blood in a figurative manner to stand as symbols of human nature; this commonly used metonymy has obvious origins in the Bible. I pray thee peace. I will be flesh and blood; For there was never yet philosopher That could endure the toothache patiently, However they have writ the style of gods And made a push at chance and sufferance.
motivation a reason that explains, or partially explains, why a character thinks, feels, acts, or behaves in a certain way. Motivation results from a combination of the character’s personality and the situation he or she must deal with.
oxymoron two seemingly contradictory (opposite in meaning) words are used together for effect: “poor little rich girl”; “deafening silence”; “cruel kindness.” In Act IV, scene i, Claudio says: ….But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! Farewell Thou pure impiety and impious purity!
paradox A statement that seems contradictory or absurd but is actually valid or true. For example, look at the saying “We must sometimes be cruel in order to be kind.”
pun the humorous use of a word or phrase to emphasize or suggest its different meanings; the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words; Dogberry says: “…The most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.” The word ‘steal’ is means both rob and sneak (for humrous effect).
rhetorical question the answer is obvious; meant to provoke thought or inspire emotion; in Act IV, scene i, Claudio denounces Hero at the altar: Leonato, stand I here? Is this the prince? Is this the prince’s brother? Is this face Hero’s? Are our eyes our own?
round character (see also flat character) a character who shows many different traits—faults as well as virtues.
situational irony one form of irony (which portrays differences between appearance and reality, expectation and result, or meaning and intention). In situational irony, an event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience.
soliloquy a long speech expressing the thoughts of a character alone on the stage.
sonnet a fourteen,lined poem written in iambic pentameter; sonnets and other forms of Renaissance songs are often embedded into drama for various effects (advance the plot, reveal an emotion, point out an ‘absurdity,’ foreshadow an event, emphasize a theme…)stage directions,Notes included in a drama to describe how the work is to be performed or staged. These directions are written in italics and are not spoken aloud. They describe sets, lighting, sound effect, and appearance, personalities and movements of characters; in Shakespearean play, some of the stage directions are implied in the dialogue of the actors
static character (see also dynamic character) a character that does not change.
tragedy a work of literature, especially a play, that results in a catastrophe for the main character. The disaster could be a result of a “flaw” in the character (excessive greed, for instance), or the cause can be some evil in society. The purpose of tragedy is not only to arouse fear and pity in the audience, but also, in some cases, to convey the sense of the grandeur and nobility of the human spirit.
verbal irony one form of irony (which portrays differences between appearance and reality, expectation and result, or meaning and intention). In verbal irony, words are used to suggest the opposite of what is meant.