captive audience

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captive audience

1. An audience (of a speech, performance, lecture, etc.) that is prevented from leaving and is therefore obligated to listen. Our boss made attendance at the panel discussion mandatory, thus ensuring a captive audience.
2. An audience that is enraptured by and gives the entirety of its attention to a speaker or performance. The key to maintaining a captive audience is to make sure your speech appeals to everyone present.

captive audience

Listeners or onlookers who have no choice but to attend. For example, It's a required course and, knowing he has a captive audience, the professor rambles on endlessly . This expression, first recorded in 1902, uses captive in the sense of "unable to escape."
References in classic literature ?
The one member of the audience who looked at her and listened to her coldly, was her elder sister.
here he beamed and blinked at the lecturer) "will excuse me when I say that they are necessarily both superficial and misleading, since they have to be graded to the comprehension of an ignorant audience.
I was asked now to speak to an audience composed of the wealth and culture of the white South, the representatives of my former masters.
A lady seated behind Francine interfered to good purpose by giving her a chair, which placed her out of sight of the audience.
Armed once more with the lady's opera-glass (I borrowed it and kept it without scruple), I alone, of all that vast audience, turned my back on the stage, and riveted my attention on the gallery stalls.
He shouted and roared and bobbed his shock of red wig until the audience broke out in excited applause.
The blow, and the great shout from the audience, angered him.
Professor Valentine Dorrimore, the hypnotist, had a large audience last night.
This exhibition of feeling was variously interpreted among the audience.
The audience had been growing more and more restless and unsettled, and the faces of those that sat on the platform had been betraying greater and greater dismay and consternation.
She wished she were sitting down in the audience with Diana and Jane, who seemed to be having a splendid time away at the back.
They grew frightened, sitting thus and facing their own apprehensions and a callous, tobacco-smoking audience.
But unity both of material and of atmosphere suffers not only from the diversity among the separate plays but also from the violent intrusion of the comedy and the farce which the coarse taste of the audience demanded.
Turning toward the audience, he pointed to the rear of the orchestra, yelling wildly at the same time:
First, this is an art well known to, and much practised by, our tragick poets, who seldom fail to prepare their audience for the reception of their principal characters.