Shakespearean Terms – With Examples {Much Ado About Nothing}

comedy1 A drama that has a happy ending, usually involving marriages between the unmarried characters, and a tone and style that is more light-hearted.Example: MAAN is a ____!
tragedy1 A drama that depicts serious and important events that cause suffering and distress, as well as an unhappy or violent ending for the protagonist.Example: Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet are ____.
soliloquy1 When a character converses with himself/herself by expressing thoughts aloud while alone on stage.Example: {line where Benedick finds out that beatrice loves him–talks w himself in shock onstage}
dramatic irony1 When the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader but unknown to characters in the play.Example: Don John’s scheme making it seem like Hero is cheating on Claudio with a man named Borachio on the night before the wedding–Characters think she is cheating–Audience knows Hero is innocent.
foil1 A character who is used as a contrast to another character; this contrast highlights or sets off the personality traits of both characters.Example: Loud Beatrice vs. Quiet & Sweet Hero
comic relief 2 Humor that lessens or offsets the seriousness of the plot.Example: Dogberry and the watchmen in the scene where the plan against Hero is acted (or just Dogberry in general)
pun 2 A play on the multiple meanings of a word, or a play on two words that sound alike but have different meanings.Example: Much Ado About NOTHING–noting-taking note of
malapropism 2 The mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding word, often with an unintentionally amusing effect.Example: Dogberry speaking
oxymoron 2 Two contradictory ideas or words placed side by side (“pure impiety”… “impious purity”).Example: [Claudio] “most foul, most fair {beautiful} (105)” {Talking about Hero}
prose 2 Written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without the metrical structure often found in poetry.Example: Any writing from any book that is not written as a poem–when the lines are very long on the page. (parts of MAAN)
blank verse 3 Verse without rhyme written in iambic pentameter.Example: But fare the well, most foul, most fair, farewell
iambic pentameter 3 A line of verse with five metrical feet, each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable. (Example: “Two households, both alike in dignity.”)—Poetry not proseExample: What(1) fire(2) \ is(3) in(4) \ mine(5) ears(6)? \ Can(7) this(8) \ be(9) true(10)?
quatrain 3 A stanza consisting of four rhymed or unrhymed lines.Example: {beatrice’s line where she finds out that benedick loves her.}
couplet 3 Two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme; couplets often signal a character’s exit or the end of a scene.Example: [line where hero speaks to Ursula about love and Beatrice overhears –then the two exit] {hero}
sonnet 3 A poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, typically having ten syllables per line. (An Elizabethan or Shakespearean sonnet has the following rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg). {contains iambic pentameter}Example: Line spoken by Beatrice on pg. 71 –where she expresses her feelings of surprise when she finds out that Benedick loves her and decides to return his love.