Dénouement

In literature, a dénouement (IPA:IPA|/deˈnuːmɑ̃/) consists of a series of events that follow the climax of a drama or narrative, and thus serves as the conclusion of the story. Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader. Etymologically, the French word "dénouement" is derived from the Old French word "denoer", "to untie", and from "nodus", Latin for "knot." Simply put, dénouement is the unraveling or untying of the complexities of a plot.

The dénouement comprises events after the climax and the falling action (which should not be confused with dénouement).

A good example of dénouement is the final scene of Shakespeare’s comedy "As You Like It": couples marry, an evildoer repents, two disguised characters are revealed for all to see, and a ruler is restored to power. Many of Shakespeare's dramas end in this manner, as do other classical plays. Indeed, dénouement is considered part of the classical dramatic structure.

"The Penultimate Peril," the twelfth and second-last book in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, heavily emphasizes dénouement as a plot point e.g. the character Dewey Denouement, the Hotel Denouement.

Some works have no dénouement, often because of a quick or surprise ending (e.g. "Lord of the Flies").

ee also

*Catastrophe
*Detective denouement
*Dramatic structure
*Peripeteia
*Slice of Life Story


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  • dénouement — [ denumɑ̃ ] n. m. VAR. dénoûment • 1580 desnouement de la langue; de dénouer 1 ♦ (1636) Ce qui termine, dénoue une intrigue, une action théâtrale (cf. Le nœud de l action). ⇒ achèvement, conclusion, épilogue, 1. fin, solution, terme. Dénouement… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Denouement — Dénouement Théâtre Par catégories Personnalités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • denouement — Denouement. s. m. v. Se dit de ce qui demesle, de ce qui developpe le noeud d une piece de Theatre. Le denouëment de cette piece est heureux, est naturel. le denouëment de cette piece ne vaut rien. Il se dit aussi figurement, En parlant d affaire …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • denouement — I noun apodosis, climax, close, closing, closure, completion, conclusion, consummation, denouement, determination, development, disclosure, disentanglement, dissolution, end, ending, epilogue, eventuation, fait accompli, final happening, final… …   Law dictionary

  • dénouement — I index cessation (termination) II index denouement Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • denouement — 1752, from Fr. dénouement an untying (of plot), from dénouer untie (O.Fr. desnouer) from des un , out (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + nouer to tie, knot, from L. nodus a knot, from PIE *ned to bind, tie (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • denouement —    , dénouement    (day noo MANH) [French: an untying or unraveling] In a novel or drama, the final untangling of a complicated plot, or the moment in the story at which such a resolution takes place. More generally, the outcome of a perplexing… …   Dictionary of foreign words and phrases

  • denouement — or dénouement [dā΄no͞o män′] n. [Fr < dénouer, to untie < dé (L dis ), from, out + nouer, to tie < L nodare, to knot < nodus, a knot: see NODE] 1. the outcome, solution, unraveling, or clarification of a plot in a drama, story, etc. 2 …   English World dictionary

  • Dénouement — (franz., spr. numāng), Entwickelung, Lösung eines Knotens, namentlich im Drama …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Dénouement — (frz., spr. numáng), Entwicklung, Lösung eines Knotens (bes. im Drama) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • denouement — meaning ‘the final unravelling of a plot in a story, etc.’, is usually printed in roman type without an accent …   Modern English usage

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