Dialogue is the conversation that takes place among the characters. It includes all the talk, monologues, soliloquies, narration, choral odes, songs, and anything else spoken by the characters. It does not include stage directions. Enough has already been said in earlier chapters to show how important it is to study the dialogue for information about given circumstances, background story, plot, character, and idea. Yet even when the dialogue is clear about all this, it still deserves to be studied for its own sake. In addition to being the play’s primary means of communication, dialogue is also the playwright’s sole means of expression. Dialogue can be merely workmanlike or it can display a high degree of virtuosity.

Although ...

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