background, setting, environment, milieu, mise-en-scène mean the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs. background often refers to the circumstances or events that precede a phenomenon or development.
the shocking decision was part of the background of the riots setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms.
a militant reformer who was born into an unlikely social settingenvironment applies to all the external factors that have a formative influence on one's physical, mental, or moral development.
the kind of environment that produces juvenile delinquents milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons.
an intellectual milieu conducive to artistic experimentation mise-en-scène strongly suggests the use of properties to achieve a particular atmosphere or theatrical effect.
a gothic thriller with a carefully crafted mise-en-scène
Did you know?
In French, mise en scène literally means "the action of putting onto the stage." The term's use originated in stage drama, where it refers to the way actors and scenery props are arranged; as its usage expanded into other narrative arts, its meaning shifted. In film production, mise en scène refers to all of the elements that comprise a single shot; that includes, but is not limited to, the actors, setting, props, costumes, and lighting. The director of a play or film is called the metteur en scène—literally, "one who puts on the stage."