Falling action

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] ]


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] ]


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] ]


: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

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • falling action — the part of a literary plot that occurs after the climax has been reached and the conflict has been resolved. Cf. rising action. * * * …   Universalium

  • falling action — the part of a literary plot that occurs after the climax has been reached and the conflict has been resolved. Cf. rising action …   Useful english dictionary

  • falling action — noun The events of a drama after the climax (or crisis) but before the denouement (or resolution) …   Wiktionary

  • action — Synonyms and related words: accomplished fact, accomplishment, achievement, act, acta, actions, activeness, activism, activity, acts, ad hoc measure, address, adventure, aerial combat, affectation, affray, agency, air, amphibious operations,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • Falling Skies — Logo original de la série. Titre original Falling Skies Genre Science fiction Créateur(s) Robert Rodat …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Action Force — was a range of comic book characters and action figures initially based on Action Man.HistoryFirst generation (1982)First produced in 1982 by Palitoy Limited and released in two waves, the action figures were a response to falling sales of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Action Comics 1 — is a comic book that was published in April 1938 (cover dated June) by National Allied Publications, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics. Featuring the first appearance of the Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster creation Superman, it is considered the… …   Wikipedia

  • Action at Néry — Part of the Retreat from Mons Date 1 September 1914 Location Néry, Oise, northern France Result …   Wikipedia

  • Falling on a grenade — refers to the act of lying on top of a live hand grenade, usually with the intention of saving others nearby.Few soldiers have given this last full measure of devotion. For example, in World War II at Bougainville in the South Pacific, Marine… …   Wikipedia

  • Action potential — In physiology, an action potential is a short lasting event in which the electrical membrane potential of a cell rapidly rises and falls, following a consistent trajectory. Action potentials occur in several types of animal cells, called… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.