Spoken and crafted features of plays

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  • History of English drama Elizabethan and Jacobean drama (1558-1603) Give insights into society and address issues of morality, justice, political discord, social corruption and human tragedy.
  •  Restoration comedy (After restoration of Charles II in 1660) marriage, sexual desire and infidelity
  • 18th century drama-Comedic, focuses on social pretension and human foolishness
  •  19th century drama- Address social issues, naturalistic theatre (realistic portrayal of everyday life) 
  • Modern drama- rejection of conventional attitudes and beliefs
  • Theatre of absurd- reflect the absurdity of plays which confounded audience expectations of a recognisable plot and coherent dialogue
  • British kitchen sink drama- 1950's domestic realism, focusing on the lives of working and middle class characters Historical and feminist drama's American drama of the 20th century- Miller (failure of the American dream) Williams (reflectiong profound social changes occuring in post war America)

Structure of plays Exposition- early part of the play that introduces characters and sets up a situation. Complication- The middle part of the play, develops the situation showing the consequences of change and how characters respond to this. Resolution- the play's closing section, some kind of restoration

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  • Plot- storyline and what happens in it (shakespeare plot contains action and a bloody climax)
  • Sub plot- secondary plot, may involve characters who rarely feature in the main plot (Shakespeare sub plot is more comic than the main plot)
  • Stage directions- provide information about the set and description of characters, also indicate actions and movements of characters.
  • Role of the audience- soliloquies and asides delievered by the character as if speaking directly to the audience (technique used by hero's and villians in shakespeare's plays)
  •  Dramatic irony- exploits the presence of the audience (audience know more than the characters)
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Dramatic dialogue and real speech

  • Non fluency features absent in dramatic dialogue, playwrights incorporate them to show the dialogue being more realistic but it is more coherent than real speech. (Pauses used for a specific dramatic effect)
  • Real life people do not speak in constructed sentences, in plays this often happens, dramatist may use short sentences or non standard grammar to replicate natural speech (number of incomplete grammatical constructions lower) Interruptions and overlapping speech occur more frequently in natural speech
  • More feedback in real conversations- characters remain silent when another character is speaking.
  • How dramatic dialogue differs from real speech-
  •  Dialogue in plays are prepared speech (not genuinely spontaneous and is carefully crafted by the writer) Speech is organised and coherent in plays (language used for a dramatic purpose)
  • Dramatic dialogue- play has an audience who hear and observe conversations between the characters and in genuine conversation the participants are the audience.
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  •  Purpose of dramatic dialogue Reveal character (dialogue gives insight into characters attitudes and values)
  • A character's idiolect- features of a characters language may be used by a writer to reflect important apsects of the characters personality.
  • Reveal or develop relationships between characters -contribute to the development of themes and ideas, that are important to the play
  • Give information on the plot, or moving the storyline forward
  • Generate a specific reaction from the audience
  • Stylised dialogue- formality of lexis and correctness of grammar
  • Stylised dialogue- close to every day speech, realistic/ naturalistic
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