Fiddler on the Roof - Act 1, Prologue Summary & Analysis

Joseph Stein
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Act 1, Prologue Summary

The story begins outside Tevye's house, with a fiddler seated on the roof. Tevye addresses the audience, explaining that they are all as precarious as a fiddler on the roof, trying to stay up without breaking their necks. Why do they stay? It is because this small village is their home, and they keep their balance through tradition. They have traditions for every piece of their lives, such as always covering their heads and wearing a prayer shawl, which shows their constant devotion to God. Tevye tells the audience that he has no idea how the traditions began, but because of those traditions, everyone knows what part they play in life.

The village breaks into song about the types of parts each person plays in the village—mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. Then Tevye begins introducing various individuals in the village.

The matchmaker speaks to someone...

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This section contains 519 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Fiddler on the Roof Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Fiddler on the Roof from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.