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Plot. By: Zoe, Alejandro and Anastasia. Freytag’s triangle. Beginning/Incentive Moment, presents the problem of the plot. Complication, rising action or desis is followed and leads to middle Middle (climax, crisis, reversal, peripetia )

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By: Zoe, Alejandro and Anastasia

freytag s triangle
Freytag’s triangle
  • Beginning/Incentive Moment, presents the problem of the plot.
  • Complication, rising action or desis is followed and leads to middle
  • Middle (climax, crisis, reversal, peripetia)
  • Falling action (denouement) and unraveling (lusis) happen simultaneously and lead into the end
  • The end or resolution ties up the problem presented in the beginning
general plot
  • first principal of tragedy
  • arrangement of incidents
  • Not about the story but about the way that incidents are presented
  • Depends on cause and effect
  • Plot
    • Must be a whole
    • Must be complete
    • Complexity preferred
    • Certain Magnitude

Analogy: In order for a painter to gain recognition, his pieces must be complete and seen as wholes, otherwise they will simply be unfinished pieces of art. Paintings are always of a certain size in order to be able to properly demonstrate the detail and talent of the painting which if is complex, many times gains the most praise. Aristotle saw plays the same way: If they did not have these four qualities, they would not be up to standards.

order of importance of elements in tragedy
Order of importance of elements in Tragedy
  • Plot—first principal
    • Tragedy is imitation of an action and of life
  • Character—second principal
  • Thought—third principal
  • Dictation—fourth principal
  • Song—fifth principal
  • Spectacles—sixth principal
    • Any organized thing looked at has a whole has an order of importance. For example, in a school, the most important position is the principal, followed by the vice-principal, etc.
  • Does not follow anything
  • Naturally comes after something
    • The morning is the beginning of any given day but it naturally follows the day before it.
  • Complication and Unraveling
    • Complication: beginning of action to where turning point is marked by good or bad fortune
    • Unraveling: Beginning of the change to the end

“The complication...extends from the beginning of the action to the part which marks the turning-point to good or bad fortune…the complication consists of the incidents presupposed in the drama, the seizure of the child, and then again…[the Unraveling] extends from the accusation of murder to”.


unity of plot
Unity of Plot
  • Does not consist in the unity of the hero
  • Unity centers round an action that in our sense of the word is one
  • Imitation is one when object imitated is one
  • Plot must imitate an action as a whole
    • If any part of the whole is left out plot will fall apart

Like a machine, the plot will no longer function if any of its parts are removed.

episodic plots
Episodic Plots
  • Episodes or acts succeed one another without probable or necessary sequence
  • Tragic wonder must be produced by playwright, not by incident
  • Avoid episodic plots at all costs

“Of all plots and actions the episodic are the worst”.


poet should aim at the necessary or probable
Poet should aim at the necessary or probable
  • Characters should speak and act in a given way
  • Unraveling and complication must arise out of plot as opposed to by Deus ex machina
  • Within action there must be nothing irrational

“[Most poets] imagine that Hercales was one man, the story of Hercales must also be a unity…[when homer] composed the Odyssey he did not include all the adventures of Odysseus…[he eliminated] incidents between which there was no necessary or probable connection…”


preservation of classical myths
Preservation of Classical Myths
  • Must not destroy framework of legends and classical myths
  • Poet should skillfully handle traditional material

If a costume designer is designing clothes for a movie about King Louis IV, the costume designer should keep the classical framework of Louis IV original wardrobe while still adding his or her own “spin” on it.

  • Small and enormous plays can not be beautiful
  • Sequence of events according to law of probability or necessity will admit of a change from bad fortune to good or vice versa
simplicity vs complexity
Simplicity vs. Complexity
  • Simple—when the change of fortune takes place without reversal of the situation and without recognition
  • Complex action is one in which the change is accompanied by such reversal, recognition or both.