[Latin exposition ‘setting forth’]
1. In modern rhetoric, discourse which is intended to inform an audience about something or to explain it to them (see also informational communication; information function). One of the four rhetorical modes of discourse identified by Brooks and Warren as fulfilling basic human communicative purposes (see also argument; description; narration).
2. The first phase in classical narrative structure, presenting circumstances preceding the action of the narrative.
3. In drama, a kind of writing where characters talk about the plot: for example, in crime dramas this may take the form of a police briefing where officers are told about the case they have to solve. This kind of writing is sometimes necessary but is often undramatic: screenwriters, for example, are advised to avoid lengthy or explicit exposition.