What is a prologue?

A prologue is a preface that precedes a literary work.

Prologue

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Last Updated on February 25, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 128

Prologue - the opening section of a longer work. It also means the preface or introductory part of a novel, long poem, or play.

The term is from the Greek prologos formed by pro, meaning “before,” and logos, meaning “speech.”

In ancient Greek tragedy, the prologue was the...

(The entire section contains 128 words.)

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Prologue - the opening section of a longer work. It also means the preface or introductory part of a novel, long poem, or play.

The term is from the Greek prologos formed by pro, meaning “before,” and logos, meaning “speech.”

In ancient Greek tragedy, the prologue was the part of a play that set forth the subject of the drama before the chorus entered. Prologues were common in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, usually in verse—except for plays, when a chorus was used.

The most famous example of a prologue in English is Chaucer’s “General Prologue” in The Canterbury Tales. In this, Chaucer provides a background and setting for what is to follow as well as detailed sketches of the characters.

see: epilogue


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