Verified Answer (291 Votes) ✓
In classical inheritance, the programmer writes a class, which defines an object. Multiple objects can be instantiated from the same class, so you have code in one place which describes several objects in your program. Classes can then be organized into a hierarchy, furthering code reuse. More general code is stored in a higher-level class, from which lower level classes inherit. This means that an object is sharing code with other objects of the same class, as well as with its parent classes.
There may not be a hard and fast rule as to why prototypal inheritance is an advantageous form of code-reuse. Code reuse itself is advantageous, and prototypal inheritance is a sensible way of going about it. You might argue that prototypal inheritance is a fairly simple model of code reuse, and that code can be heavily reused in direct ways. But classical languages are certainly able to accomplish this as well.
Sidenote: @Andrew Hedges makes a good point, that there are actually many prototypal languages. It's worth noting that these others exist, but also worth noting that none of them are anything close to mainstream. NewtonScript seemed to have some traction for a while, but died with its platform. It's also possible to extend some modern languages in ways which add prototypal capabilities.
Answer #2 (54 Votes)
A prototype-based language, does not make the distinction of classes vs objects: it simply has objects. A prototype-based language has the notion of a prototypical object, an object used as a template from which to get the initial properties for a new object. Any object can specify its own properties, either when you create it or at run time. In addition, any object can be associated as the prototype for another object, allowing the second object to share the first object's properties.
Answer #3 (32 Votes)
Prototype-based programming is a style of object-oriented programming where classes are not present, and behavior reuse (or inheritance in class-based languages) is performed by cloning existing objects that serve as prototypes.