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Freytag's Pyramid. The Structure of Plot. Freytag's Pyramid. Plot the author’s arrangement of incidents in the story Freytag’s Pyramid a diagram of the structure of a five-act tragedy, given by Gustav Freytag

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The structure of plot

Freytag's Pyramid

The Structure of Plot


Freytag's Pyramid

  • Plot

    • the author’s arrangement of incidents in the story

  • Freytag’s Pyramid

    • a diagram of the structure of a five-act tragedy, given by Gustav Freytag

    • widely accepted (and sometimes adapted) as a means of analyzing the structure of many kinds of fiction in addition to drama.


The pyramid is made up of seven steps – four phases and three moments from beginning to end.


Stage 1 three moments from beginning to end.

  • Exposition

    • the introductory material, which often creates the tone. Gives the setting, introduces the characters, and supplies other facts necessary for understanding


Stage 2 three moments from beginning to end.

  • Inciting Moment

    • the event or force that sets in motion the rising action of a work of fiction. Also called the precipitating incident, exciting force or narrative hook.


Stage 3 three moments from beginning to end.

  • Rising Action

    • the part of the dramatic action that has to do with the complication of the action. Begins with the inciting moment, gains interest or power as the opposing groups/ideas come into conflict, and proceeds to the climax. It can also be called the complication.


Stage 4 three moments from beginning to end.

  • Climax

    • the turning point in the action, the crisis at which the rising action reverses and becomes the falling action. Sometimes called the reversal.


Stage 5 three moments from beginning to end.

  • Falling Action

    • the second half of the dramatic plot. It follows the climax and often exhibits the winding down of the climax.


Stage 6 three moments from beginning to end.

  • Resolution

    • the end of the falling action and the solution of the conflict. The resolution is not always a happy ending.


Stage 7 three moments from beginning to end.

  • Denouement

    • involves not only the resolution of the conflict but an explanation of all the secrets and misunderstandings connected with the plot; the tying up of loose ends, exposure of a villain, clearing up a mistaken identity, reuniting characters, etc.


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