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prologue (noun) introduction to a play, a long poem, etc.
Some long poems and plays have prologues, that is, a speech or verse that introduces the theme of the poem or the play to the readers or the audiences. In a play, usually a character in it delivers the prologue. A prologue is used too with the meaning of the beginning of an important event. ‘The withdrawal of some allowances is seen as the prologue to the total withdrawal of buses.’ This means that the withdrawal of some of the buses is the beginning to the withdrawal of all buses on the route.
- Chaucer in his prologue to ‘The Canterbury Tales,’ introduces a number of pilgrims on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, and makes us understand that each one has a tale to tell.
- President Gorbachev’s Glasnost was the prologue to the abolition of the secret police in the USSR.