AbstractElizabethan drama used a variety of introductory scenes which can be defined as inductions, provided that we distinguish their dramatic and theatrical functions. In the theatre, the induction is a dramatic device, metatheatrical and metadramatic, which emphasizes the nature of the play. Richard Hosley argues that it is “a short dramatic action introducing a full-length play, normally performed by two or more actors and creating a fictional situation different from that of the play itself.” This article contains a survey of such inductions in the English theatre with parallels in the Italian tradition. The article also contains as an appendix a detailed overview of inductions and dumbshows in English plays.
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