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What are dramatic devices in English?

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Quick Answer

A dramatic device is any technique that a playwright uses to make a literary work more interesting and create a special effect on the audience. Irony, foreshadowing, paradox and the aside are some examples of dramatic devices.

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Full Answer

Dramatic devices create a particular mood or emphasize points in storytelling. An irony, for instance, is a situation in which the words and actions of the characters in a literary work carry a different meaning for the audience than they do for the characters. As a result, the audience has a greater knowledge of events or individuals than the characters.

Writers use foreshadowing to provide the audience with an advance hint of an event that will happen later in the story. The purpose of foreshadowing is to add dramatic tension to a story or make odd events more credible as the writer hints at what might happen in the future.

A paradox is another example of a dramatic device. It refers to a statement that appears to be ridiculous or self-contradictory, but might actually be valid. It is often used to create a humorous effect on the audience because it is silly.

An aside is a speech or short comment that characters deliver directly to the audience or to themselves while the other actors are either not on the stage or apparently cannot listen to the deliverer. The purpose of aside is to reveal the characters’ thoughts. It is important to distinguish between aside and soliloquy. Whereas an aside expresses hidden secrets or judgments, a soliloquy reveals inner motives or internal conflict going on in the character’s mind. A soliloquy is longer than an aside.

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