A CONTEXTUAL GLOSSARY

The HyperGloss™ for Life Is A Dream

student-friendly, contextual descriptions on demand


act (Domain-specific word: arts) An act is something that is done. In a play, the story is divided into two or three main acts or parts. Life Is A Dream has three acts.

adaptation (Academic word) An adaptation is a change. If you adapt a play, you change the words and the story a little. This play is adapted from a Spanish play called La Vida es Sueño written in 1635. This adaptation is shorter, easier to read, and in English.

advice (Academic word) Giving advice means giving instruction and guidance to help someone. Clotaldo gives a lot of advice.

allegiance (Academic word) Allegiance is loyalty. You pledge allegiance to the USA in the morning, at school. That means you promise to be loyal to this country. Segismundo promises to be loyal to his father at the end of the play.

ambition (Academic word) If you have ambition, you want to be successful. Segismundo wants to be in the world achieving things and getting recognition.

anger (Everyday word) Anger is what you feel when someone treats you badly or something is not fair. Segismundo is angry because he did nothing wrong and was put in prison.

arrogant (Academic word) It is not good to be called arrogant. It means you think you are better than others, superior, and full of your own self-importance. Arrogant people do not listen to others. That is why King Basilio thought Segismundo would be a bad king.

astrologer (Domain-specific word: social studies) A person who looks at the planets, sun, and moon, and then says what will happen. Astrologers think that the position of the stars on a person's birthday affects the person's character. Most people now think this is silly.

astronomer (Domain-specific word: science) An astronomer is a scientist who studies moons, planets, and stars. Professional astronomers are very educated and typically have a doctoral degree (PhD) in physics or astronomy. They usually teach at a university and do research.

attached (Academic word) Attach means connected to or joined to. Literally, Segismundo is attached to a long chain. Figuratively, a person can be attached to an idea. King Basilio is attached to the idea that astrology is true.

Aurora (Domain-specific word: literature) Aurora is the Latin word for dawn. Aurora is the goddess of the dawn in Roman mythology. She renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun.

because (Academic word) The word “because” links a fact with a reason. Rosaura feels better because she saw how bad Segismundo’s situation is compared with hers. Rosaura feels sorry for Segismundo because his life is hard.

betray (Academic word) If someone betrays you it means they break a promise to you. Astolfo promised to marry Rosaura and then ran after Estrella. Astolfo betrayed Rosaura.

blindfold (Academic word) A blindfold is something tied around your head and over your eyes so that you cannot see.

cave (Everyday word) A cave is an opening in a hillside or rocky cliff. Bats live in caves.

chain (Everyday word) A chain is what many people wear around their neck. It is a series of connected links that are usually metal. You might have a gold chain. Segismundo’s chain is heavy and keeps him prisoner. It goes from his ankle to a heavy rock. The word can also be used to talk about the action of attaching someone or something to a chain.

character (Domain-specific word: literature) A character in a play is a person who is in the story. Actors play characters.

character (Academic word) A person's character is the way they are: If they are an honest person, they are said to have an honest "character."

companion (Everyday word) A companion is a person who goes with another person. If you do not want to be alone, ask someone to be your companion. Clarín is a companion to Rosaura.

complain (Everyday word) To complain is to tell why you are not happy. Rosaura complains about how tired she is. Clarín complains about being hungry.

confront (Academic word) To confront is to talk to someone who disagrees with you. Rosaura wants Clotaldo to confront Astolfo about the way he has treated Rosaura. King Basilio confronts his son, Segismundo, about his savage behavior. To confront something means you face it and talk about it.

confusing (Academic word) If something is not clear, it is confusing. Act Two, Scene One shows Clotaldo believing that Segismundo is confused about suddenly finding himself in a palace.

convent (Academic word) A convent is a community of people devoted to leading a strictly religious life. It is a safe and quiet place to live. Clotaldo suggests that Rosaura live in a convent where no one will know about Astolfo stealing her honor.

corpse (Everyday word) A corpse is a dead body.

cousin (Everyday word) The children of your aunts and uncles are your cousins.

crime (Everyday word) A crime is an action that is against the law. Segismundo thinks he must have committed a crime, but he does not know what he did wrong. Segismundo lives in a prison like a criminal.

decision (Academic word) A decision is a choice. Segismundo wants Clotaldo to help him make an important decision.

defended (Academic word) Defended means protected. You might defend your friend from a bully. You might defend your sister using words. Astolfo defended Clotaldo from Segismundo.

definite (Academic word) Definite means fixed, clear, and sure. Segismundo comes to see that life is not always definite, not always exactly what it seems to be.

denies (Academic word) If you are denied something, you cannot have it. It means someone is refusing to give you something.

dilemma (Academic word) A dilemma is a problem that seems impossible to solve. A dilemma means choosing between two solutions that both seem like a bad idea.

disgraced (Academic word) Bad behavior leads to someone being disgraced. No one approves of a disgraced person because that person has behaved inappropriately, broken the law, and possibly hurt others. Clotaldo believes that Rosaura has been unfairly disgraced and wishes to help her put that right.

disloyal (Academic word) Disloyal is not being loyal, not being true to someone.

dispute (Academic word) A dispute is a disagreement.

dream (Everyday word) A dream includes images, thoughts, or emotions that enter your mind when you are asleep. A dream can also be something you want or wish for because it is so good. Sometimes, people have daydreams. A daydream is when you go somewhere else in your mind while you are awake.

Duke (Everyday word) A Duke is a title given to man like Astolfo who rules part of a country.

ego (Domain-specific word: social studies) The ego is the part of you that makes you you, the “I” that you talk about. Segismundo has a very big ego and is always talking about himself and how the world seems through his own eyes.

emotional (Academic word) If something is emotional, it makes you feel strongly. Saying goodbye can be emotional and can make you feel sad. A holiday can be emotional and make you feel good.

eternally (Academic word) Eternally means for ever and ever.

faithful (Academic word) A faithful person is true to you. A faithful adaptation is true to the original story. It tries to feel similar to the original and does not change the basic story.

fate (Academic word) Fate is what will happen whether you like it or not. When something happens that you don’t like, you might say, “Oh, well. It was fate.” Clarín tried to not get hurt and hid, but was hit by a random bullet. He says that this was fate and there was nothing he could have done about it.

Fate (Domain-specific word: literature) Fate in literature is sometimes seen as a kind of force or even as a character, like a god. Fate is the power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events.

feelings (Everyday word) A feeling is how something is to the touch. Feelings can also be your emotional response to a person or to a situation. Astolfo tells Rosaura he still has romantic feelings for her. Astolfo has emotional feelings for Rosaura. He is not literally touching her.

flatter (Academic word) To flatter someone is to say he is amazing when he really isn’t, for example. You pour on compliments very thick when you flatter someone.

forgiveness (Academic word) To give someone forgiveness is to say you are okay what they did wrong. King Basilio is happy that his son, Segismundo, shows forgiveness to him in the end. It means they can be happy for each other again.

free will (Domain-specific word: literature) People have always argued about how free we are to make choices. Free will is often discussed in the context of religion: “If God knows everything, how free are we to make choices?” We think we are free, but are we? This kind of discussion is a philosophical one.

generation (Academic word) A generation is about 25 years. It’s the number of years between parent and child, on average.

honor (Academic word) You honor your parents by being hard-working, polite, and grateful for all you have. An honorable person does the right thing and is truthful. Honor itself is your pride in doing the right thing and making sure you have been treated correctly. Astolfo has stolen Rosaura’s honor by making her look like a liar.

horoscope (Domain-specific word: social studies) A horoscope is a chart or diagram showing the positions of the sun, moon, planets at a specific time, such as the moment of a person's birth. The word horoscope is made from Greek words meaning "a look at the hours" (horoskopos). Very few people believe horoscopes to be true, but some people like to read them for fun.

humble (Academic word) Humble people are aware that they are not perfect and do not demand a lot of attention.

hyperlink (Domain-specific word: technology) A hyperlink allows you to click on something - like a word on a Web page - and it will take you somewhere else. It is a link between two locations on the Internet, two things on a device like a phone or computer, or two places in an e-book, like this one.

identity (Academic word) All the individual characteristics by which a person or thing is recognized adds up to an identity. Rosaura wants to keep her identity a secret from Astolfo.

illusion (Academic word) An illusion is when something looks a certain way, but is tricking you. For example, Segismundo says that life looks permanent, but it isn’t. Magicians can make you believe something happened that really did not happen.

impossible (Academic word) Impossible things are not possible. Astolfo says that Segismundo’s popularity makes it impossible for King Basilio to win the war.

inheritance (Academic word) An inheritance is what is given to you from the generation older than you. You inherit many things from your parents: you inherit their looks, their DNA, and often their opinions, too. Segismundo’s inheritance is considerable. He will inherit a kingdom, a title, and a fortune.

instincts (Academic word) Instincts enable or cause people or creatures to do certain things almost without thinking. A cat has an instinct to clean itself.

intruders (Academic word) An intruder is a person who goes somewhere without being invited. Intruders are not welcome.

jailer (Everyday word) A person who is charge of looking after people in prison. Clotaldo is Segismundo’s jailer.

journey (Academic word) A journey is going from one place to another. Rosaura’s journey starts in Russia and ends in Warsaw, Poland.

locket (Everyday word) A locket is a necklace with a small part hanging from it that opens and closes. A picture of a loved one can be placed in a locket. Astolfo had a picture of Rosaura in his locket.

loyalty (Academic word) Loyalty is devotion, faithfulness, and commitment. As Rosaura’s father, Clotaldo’s loyalty is with his daughter.

meanwhile (Academic word) This word is used to give the idea of two things going on at the same time. First, you describe one thing, then you say “meanwhile,” and describe the second. For example: The Polish people believed Segismundo was dead; meanwhile, he lived in a cave.

mercy (Academic word) Mercy is the ability to show kindness to someone, especially someone who has done the wrong thing. Being kind and forgiving is strong. Clotaldo tells Segismundo to show his strength by showing mercy and kindness towards an old man.

mountainous (Domain-specific word: social studies) If there a lot of mountains around, the land is mountainous. It is hard to walk. The mountains that Rosaura and Clarín climbed are real and called the Carpathian Mountains.

native (Academic word) Astolfo was born in Russia. Russia is his native country. A "native" of a place is someone who was born there.

nephew (Everyday word) If your brother or sister has a male child, he will be your nephew.

niece (Everyday word) If your brother or sister has a female child, she will be your niece.

opportunity (Academic word) An opportunity is having the chance to do something. Rosaura tells Clotaldo it is good to do a favor, that he has the opportunity to do a favor for her. We all have the opportunity to say something kind today.

palace (Everyday word) A palace is the official home of a royal family. Palaces are grand and large.

Pallas Athena (Domain-specific word: literature) Pallas Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, and inspiration.

peer (Academic word) A peer is someone who is the about same age, rank, and social class as you. Astolfo is Segismundo’s peer. Astolfo is a duke. Segismundo is a prince.

philosopher (Domain-specific word: literature) A philosopher is a thoughtful person who thinks long and hard about deep questions of right and wrong and about the right way to live.

physical (Academic word) Physical action is something you do with your body, like running.

plotting (Academic word) Plotting means making plans with someone, usually in secret.

Poland (Domain-specific word: social studies) Poland is a real country in the middle of Europe. The capital city is Warsaw.

popular (Academic word) Popular means that lots of people like you. At the end of the play, Segismundo is popular with the Polish people because they do not want a Russian king for Poland.

portrait (Academic word) A portrait is the picture of a person’s face. You can also paint a portrait with words, meaning you describe someone or something so well that people can imagine the image.

potion (Domain-specific word: literature) A potion is a drink, and the word is often used in fairy tales to describe a magic, sometimes dangerous drink.

predict (Academic word) To predict is to say what will happen in the future.

pride (Academic word) Pride can be good or bad. A certain amount of pride, or self-respect, is good. If you take pride in your work, that is good. If you are too proud of yourself, that can be off-putting. Segismundo has too much pride, then he learns to be more humble.

prisoner (Everyday word) A person held by force. Segismundo is a prisoner.

privileges (Academic word) Privileges are rights and advantages. A bird can go anywhere. Segismundo does not have that advantage or privilege.

promptly (Academic word) Promptly means quickly. Doing something promptly means doing it right away.

radiant (Academic word) Radiant is an adjective that means sending out rays of light, being bright and shining. People who are happy and healthy are said to be radiant.

random (Academic word) Random means unpredictable and unexpected. Clarín is shot by a random bullet. No one tried to shoot him. It was a horrible accident, but he was near a battlefield.

recognize (Academic word) To recognize someone is to know who he or she is. Rosaura is afraid that Astolfo will recognize her before she is ready to confront him.

reputation (Academic word) Your reputation is what others think of you. People will think badly of Rosaura if she said she was going to marry Astolfo and then doesn’t. She does not want a bad reputation because a man cheated and lied to her.

resolve (Academic word) To resolve a problem means to solve it, to put things right. Clotaldo wants to help Rosaura take actions to resolve her problems.

respect (Academic word) Having respect means that you appreciate others and admire them. King Basilio is shocked at how little respect Segismundo has at first.

responsible (Academic word) Being responsible for something means you are in control of something or someone, that you have agreed to do something. Clotaldo agreed to educate Segismundo and is responsible for making sure that happens.

revenge (Academic word) Getting revenge means punishing someone for what they did to you. Segismundo wants revenge on the people who held him prisoner for years.

Russia (Domain-specific word: social studies) In the 1600s it was a small area called Muscovy. Today, Russia is the 9th most populated country in the world. Moscow is the capital. It’s the largest country in the world in terms of area.

Russian (Domain-specific word: social studies) Something or someone from Russia. Rosaura comes from Russia. Rosaura is Russian.

sapphire (Domain-specific word: science) It is a gemstone that is very blue and very hard.

savage (Academic word) Savage means cruel, wild, and uncivilized. Wild animals are savage.

scene (Domain-specific word: arts) A scene is a small section of a play. In this play there are three acts, then each act is divided into scenes.

self-respecting (Academic word) Being self-respecting means treating yourself well.

shooting stars (Domain-specific word: science) The visible streak of light from a meteoroid, heated as it enters a planet's atmosphere, and the glowing particles that it sheds in its wake is called a meteor, or a "shooting star" or "falling star". A shooting star is very bright and your eyes naturally follow it. That’s what Astolfo says Estrella’s eyes are like.

silk (Domain-specific word: science) Silk is a very fine soft fabric produced by a silkworm. Silk clothes are delicate and expensive.

sincere (Academic word) A sincere person is open and honest. You can trust a sincere person. Estrella is honestly happy to be Segismundo’s wife. She did not trust Astolfo.

situation (Academic word) A situation is all things that add to where you are, how you are feeling, and what you are doing. Rosaura’s situation is dangerous at the beginning of the play. She’s in the mountains, dressed as a man, and angry.

sparing (Academic word) Sparing means saving. Clotaldo spares Rosaura’s life. Segismundo spares King Basilio's life.

storm (Everyday word) A storm is bad weather that can include rain, high winds, snow, hail, thunder, and lighting.

surrender (Academic word) Surrender means to give up. You can surrender an object, like a sword. You can also surrender hope.

sympathy (Academic word) Having sympathy for someone means you understand their situation and their feelings. Rosaura feels sympathy for Segismundo because she feels lonely and angry, too.

temporary (Academic word) Temporary describes something that only lasts for a short time. The opposite of temporary is permanent or eternal. Segismundo comes to see that life is temporary.

Thales (Domain-specific word: literature) Thales was the first philosopher in the Greek tradition. He was born in 24 B.C. He rejected the practice of explaining the world with myths and was therefore a scientist. Thales used geometry to solve problems such as calculating the height of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore. He is credited with the first use of deductive reasoning applied to geometry, by deriving four corollaries to Thales’ Theorem. As a result, he has been called the first true mathematician.

therefore (Academic word) Therefore means “as a result.”

traitor (Academic word) A traitor is someone you cannot trust. Segismundo thought he could trust Clotaldo, but he found out that Clotaldo had not been telling him the whole truth. Segismundo called Clotaldo a traitor in Act Two, Scene One. A traitor betrays.

tranquilizing (Academic word) A tranquilizing effect is one that makes you sleepy.

traveler (Everyday word) A traveler is a person who is on a journey from one place to another.

trespass (Academic word) To trespass is to go somewhere you are not allowed to go. Clotaldo catches Rosaura and Clarín trespassing in Segismundo’s cave. No one was allowed to see Segismundo.

tutor (Everyday word) A tutor is a teacher, usually one-on-one.

until (Academic word) Until means up to the time when something happens. We dream until we wake up. It is night until the dawn.

value (Academic word) The value of something might be its price or what someone thinks it is worth. A person can also have value in lots of different ways.

vanity (Academic word) If you are too pleased with yourself and always admiring yourself, you are vain. Vanity is not attractive. Both Segismundo and Astolfo show some vanity.

vulgar (Academic word) Vulgar means crude, in bad taste, rude, and inappropriate.

Warsaw (Domain-specific word: social studies) Warsaw is the capital of the country called Poland. This country has been in many wars.

widower (Everyday word) King Basilio is a widower because his wife died. A woman whose husband dies is a widow.


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