AristotleAncient Greek philosopher who wrote The Poetics, which details his ideas on drama, including tragedy.
catharsisthe violent purging of the emotions experienced when encountering great drama.
De Casibus tragedyA medieval form of tragedy, named for Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium. These "tragical tales" often taught a moral lesson.
Elizabethan AgeThe time in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) in which there was immense creativity in the arts.
Globe TheaterThe "O"-shaped, open-air theater in London where many of Shakespeare's plays were originally performed.
groundlings Spectators at the Globe Theater who stood on the ground in front of the stage while watching a Shakespearean play.
iambA unit of speech that contains one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.
iambic pentameter A poetic form that consists of five iambs. Shakespeare often used this form in his plays to mimic the natural rhythms of the English language.
Lord Chamberlain's MenShakespeare's acting company, who, starting in 1603, were known as the King's Men.
Oedipus RexPlay written by the ancient Greek dramatist Sophocles. Because of its excellence, it can be studied as a prototype for great tragedy.
oracleA priestess through whom a deity or god speaks.
poetryA concentrated and heightened form of language, produced through rhythm and sound. Also known as "verse."
proseThe language of everyday, ordinary speech.
sonnetA fourteen-line poem that employs a particular rhyme scheme.
Stratford-on-Avon Village in England where Shakespeare was born in 1564. Often shortened to "Stratford."
tragedyA form of dramatic art which follows the fall, pain, and suffering of the tragic figure.
tragic figureThe main character of a tragedy; experiences a reversal of fortune and endures uncommon suffering with uncommon dignity.
verseAnother name for poetry.