Falling action

Falling action is the part of a story, usually found in tragedies and short stories, following the climax and showing the effects of the climax. It leads up to the denouement (or catastrophe).Greenville College (2006). [http://www.greenville.edu/faculty/bshaw/eng201/plota.htm Plot A: The Pattern of the Action] ]

History

In his "Poetics" the Greek philosopher Aristotle put forth the idea that "'ολον δε εστιν το εχον αρχην και μεσον και τελευτην" (1450b27) ("A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end"(1450b27)).Perseus Digital Library (2006). [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Aristot.+Poet.+1450b Aristotle, "Poetics"] ] This three-part view of a plot structure (with a beginning, middle, and end) prevailed until 1863, when the German playwright and novelist Gustav Freytag wrote 'Hey alexisDie Technik des Dramas". In it, he laid out what has come to be known as Freytag's pyramid.University of South Carolina (2006). [http://home.earthlink.net/~mr.kilgore/102/handouts/bigpicture_what.htm The Big Picture] ] Under Freytag's pyramid, the plot of a story consists of five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement/catastrophe.University of Illinois: Department of English (2006). [http://www.english.uiuc.edu/lit_resources/english%20102/miscellaneous/freytag.htm Freytag’s Triangle] ]

Description

The falling action follows the climax. Therefore, it deals with the effects that the climax has on the characters. For instance, in "Oedipus Rex", by the Greek playwright Sophocles, the climax comes when Oedipus realizes that the man he killed was his father, Laius, and the woman he married was his mother, Jocasta. In the falling action, Oedipus and Jocasta deal with this revelation. Jocasta does this by killing herself and Oedipus does this by blinding himself.University of Illinois: Department of English (2006). [http://www.english.uiuc.edu/lit_resources/english%20102/miscellaneous/freytag.htm Freytag’s Triangle] ]

In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", the climax is the assassination of Caesar. After that, the falling action is the attempts of all Romans to deal with this. In their anger over Caesar's death, the people of Rome mistake Cinna the poet for Cinna the conspirator. Both the conspirators and the allies of Caesar bicker amongst themselves. The ghost of Caesar appears to Brutus.Cyber Image "The Practice" (2006). [http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/terms/2terms.html#Falling%20Action Literary Terms] ]

References

:Cuddon, J.A., ed. "The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory." 3rd ed. Penguin Books: New York, 1991.:Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." "Greek Drama". Trans. Jebb, R. C. Bantam Books: New York, 1982. 111-149.

ee also

*Dramatic structure


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