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
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 18th century: from Latin, literally ‘persons of the drama’.

Pronunciation