What is Prologue? Definition, Examples & Its Purposes

15 September 2023 / Team Fun English Course

You may have found a prologue in your favorite novel or drama. But what is prologue for? Is it important?

In this article, you will understand all about the prologue and understand its importance. So, let’s scroll through.

Prologue: The ‘Front Gate’ of a Story

Definition of prologue

“In a world of wizards and witches, there lived a boy named Harry Potter. He was an orphan, living with his cruel relatives, the Dursleys.

On his eleventh birthday, Harry learned that he was a wizard and that his parents had been killed by the evil Lord Voldemort. Harry was invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he would learn to control his powers and face Voldemort once again.”

Are you familiar with that story? Yes, it is about Harry Potter, one of this era’s most famous movie characters.

Before we continue, note that Harry Potter does not originally have a prologue. The paragraph above is just an example of a prologue that will hopefully help you understand what a prologue is.

You can think of a prologue as an introduction to the story. It gives you clearer information or context of the story you are about to indulge.

For example, upon reading the paragraph, you will see that Harry Potter is an important character in the story. Moreover, you will also learn that the antagonist is named Lord Voldemort, whom Harry will encounter later in the story.

Why is it called prologue?

The word originally comes from ‘prologos’. It is a Greek word that means ‘before the word’.

You can see prologues in various works, such as novels, poems, or drama scripts. However, they are most likely non-fiction.

Then, how long is a prologue? 

The length of the prologue varies, and it highly depends on the story’s creator. However, it is usually shorter than other chapters. Sometimes, a prologue only contains a few paragraphs, even though it could also be multiple pages.

Purpose of Prologue

Purpose of prologue

What is prologue for? Is it important? These are a few purposes of prologues;

  • Prologues give you context, information, or background related to the plot. It will help you understand the main themes or major events that will occur in the story.
  • Prologues give you a glimpse of the tone or mood of the story. Therefore, it acts like a ‘teaser’ of the genre of the story.
  • A prologue lets you know the viewpoint of the characters. Sometimes, a prologue does not even give you the main character’s viewpoint, but it will still have a high importance in the story.

Prologue vs. Epilogue and Preface

Prologue vs Epilogue

After learning about the prologue, you may confuse it with similar concepts, such as epilogue or preface. What is the difference between them all? Here is the explanation.


The epilogue is oftentimes called the opposite of the prologue. Even though they sound similar, they carry a different purpose.

While the prologue gives you a glimpse of the story at the beginning of a work, the epilogue closes it up. It gives some kind of resolution, closure, or ending of the story.


Both the epilogue and preface are placed at the beginning of a work. However, instead of giving you a clearer context of the story, a preface tells you how the work comes into being.

Typically, in the preface, the creator tells you the process of book-writing, its method, or even the intention. It gives you a chance to see the effort of the author.

Want to Write an Engaging Prologue?

How to write a prologue

Are you a story maker or aiming to be one in the future? You may need to learn to write a prologue. Not just any prologue, but an engaging one. Therefore you need to understand your grammar, enrich your vocabulary, and sharpen your writing skills.

Let Fun English Course help you with that.

Now that you understand what is prologue, it is time to awe your future readers by writing a beautiful piece. With years of experience and various programs to choose from, Fun English Course will assist you to get the level of English proficiency that you desire. So, call us now, and see it for yourself.

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