Guide to Literary Terms

Start Your Free Trial

Download Guide to Literary Terms Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Exposition

Exposition - a form of discourse that explains, defines, and interprets. The word is also applied to the beginning portion of a plot in which background information about the characters and situation is set forth.

The word is taken directly from the Latin exposition, meaning “a showing forth.”

Shakespeare’s Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Richard III all contain exposition. Magazine articles, editorials, and essays usually consist almost wholly of exposition.