Definition of dramatis personae in US English:

dramatis personae

plural noun

  • treated as singular or plural The characters of a play, novel, or narrative.

    • ‘I would like to write a brief synopsis of the plot, but whereas many authors concentrate on a handful of major characters, Erikson has a dramatis personae that runs to five pages.’
    • ‘Its social attitudes were surprisingly conventional, granted the politically volatile climate of opinion, and its dramatis personae were drawn largely from the gentry and professional classes.’
    • ‘When he further explained the names painted the characters and habits of the dramatis personae, I and the rest of the form were hooked.’
    • ‘The film lays out the characters, gives you the dramatis personae, which we should have probably included in the book.’
    • ‘Baker describes Maiden in the list of dramatis personae as ‘a Nice-Fellow, that values himself upon his Effeminacies’.’
    • ‘Putting together preliminary notes for his dramatis personae, Trollope jotted down the following thumbnail sketches.’
    • ‘In fables' classic form the dramatis personae are animals who represent the characteristics of humans.’
    • ‘It is hard to assess performances when the dramatis personae are so unpersonable, unbelievable, and, above all, unmemorable.’
    • ‘Nightclub owner Harry Starks is viewed through the eyes of four different dramatis personae - an actress, a low-life drug dealer, an academic and a Tory aristocrat.’
    • ‘Outside of his main characters, most of King's dramatis personae tend to be little more than cliches and stereotypes who exist only to move the story forward.’
    • ‘Included in the dramatis personae is the character of The Old Man.’
    • ‘To keep track of them all, Crewdson offers an all too necessary list of dramatis personae at the end of the book.’
    • ‘And interwoven between all these are Colley's captives, a dramatis personae whose names and narratives gradually imprint themselves upon the reader as in a good novel.’
    • ‘His edition also regularized the entrances and exits of characters and attached a dramatis personae to each play for the first time.’
    • ‘The plot only exists to present dramatis personae with choices; character is what can be known about those people from the choices that they make.’
    • ‘In fact, all of the dramatis personae are sketched as archetypes rather than fully developed characters - the noble and loyal warrior, the scheming courtesan, etc.’
    • ‘Soderbergh cuts artfully back and forth between three interrelated story lines, with very different settings and very different dramatis personae.’
    • ‘Thomas of Woodstock or Richard the Second, Part One is an anonymous and untitled Elizabethan manuscript play of some 2989 lines, missing a front cover, list of dramatis personae and an unknown number of final pages.’
    • ‘Then Prospero puts Miranda, a figure of the spectator, to sleep while he calls upon his instrument, Ariel, described in the dramatis personae simply as an airy spirit.’
    • ‘It was inevitable that focus would be made on the dramatis personae of that scene.’
    • ‘Finally a minor gripe: There are very useful summaries of events and dramatis personae at the beginning of each chapter, but some curious choices are made.’
    persona, person, role, part
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Mid 18th century: from Latin, literally ‘persons of the drama’.