AskDefine | Define protasis

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin protasis, from Greek προτασις, from προτεινειν ‘put forward, tender’, from προ− + τεινειν ‘stretch’.


  • /'prɒtəsɪs/


  1. the first part of a play, in which the setting and characters are introduced
    • 1922: It doubles itself in the middle of his life, reflects itself in another, repeats itself, protasis, epitasis, catastasis, catastrophe. — James Joyce, Ulysses
  2. the antecedent in a conditional sentence
    example: In, "I will be coming if this weather holds up", "this weather holds up" is the protasis

Extensive Definition

In drama, a protasis is the introductory part of a play, usually its first act. It was coined by the fourth-century Roman grammarian Aelius Donatus. He defined a play as being made up of three separate parts, the other two being epitasis and catastrophe.
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