Guide to Literary Terms

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Dialogue

Dialogue - is a conversation, or a literary work in the form of a conversation, that is often used to reveal characters and to advance the plot. Also, the lines spoken by a character in a play, essay, story, or novel.

The word is derived from the Greek dialogosa, meaning “conversation.” This Greek word evolved from dialegesthai, meaning “to discourse.”

Greek philosophers used dialogue as the best way to instruct their students.

In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet’s good night to Romeo is part of the dialogue:

Juliet: Tis almost morning: I would have thee gone:
And yet no further than a
wanton’s bird:
Who lets it hop a little from
her hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his
twisted gyves,
And with a silk thread plucks
it back again,
so loving - jealous...

(The entire section is 282 words.)