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 ?
During this supreme final rally of Danny's the audience rose to its feet and went mad.
At the time, the audience before me absorbs all my sympathy, thought, and energy.
I had been told, while I had been in Atlanta, that while many white people were going to be present to hear me speak, simply out of curiosity, and that others who would be present would be in full sympathy with me, there was a still larger element of the audience which would consist of those who were going to be present for the purpose of hearing me make a fool of myself, or, at least, of hearing me say some foolish thing so that they could say to the officials who had invited me to speak, "I told you so
The address which I delivered at Madison, before the National Educational Association, gave me a rather wide introduction in the North, and soon after that opportunities began offering themselves for me to address audiences there.
Magdalen's disguised re-appearance at the end of the act, in the character of "Lucy" -- with false hair and false eyebrows, with a bright-red complexion and patches on her cheeks, with the gayest colors flaunting in her dress, and the shrillest vivacity of voice and manner -- fairly staggered the audience.
The audience politely applauded Miss Marrable, as became the guests assembled in her father's house: and good-humoredly encouraged the remainder of the company, to help them through a task for which they were all, more or less, palpably unfit.
The whole great audience seethed and simmered like a boiling pot.
Summerlee, the veteran Professor of Comparative Anatomy, rose among the audience, a tall, thin, bitter man, with the withered aspect of a theologian.
Professor Challenger replied that he reserved such information for good reasons of his own, but would be prepared to give it with proper precautions to a committee chosen from the audience.
Peele and Greene were University men who wrote partly for Court or academic audiences, partly for the popular stage.
Again, in spite of the prolog in 'Tamburlaine,' Marlowe, in almost all his plays, and following the Elizabethan custom, does attempt scenes of humor, but he attains only to the coarse and brutal horse-play at which the English audiences had laughed for centuries in the Mystery plays and the Interludes.
The first burst of Mars's sudden dawn brought messengers from Kulan Tith, summoning us to the audience chamber where Thuvan Dihn was to receive his daughter after years of separation, and I was to be reunited with the glorious daughter of Helium after an almost unbroken separation of twelve years.
For a moment the silence of death reigned in the great audience chamber of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol.
Often as she had recited in public, she had never before faced such an audience as this, and the sight of it paralyzed her energies completely.
But suddenly, as her dilated, frightened eyes gazed out over the audience, she saw Gilbert Blythe away at the back of the room, bending forward with a smile on his face--a smile which seemed to Anne at once triumphant and taunting.