Mr. Dwyer explains Freytag’s Pyramid
In Case We Missed This Piece of Our Education
Just found a complete wordpress site from Mr. Dwyer, English teacher at a high school in Brunswick, Maine. For those of us new to study of the short story as a genre, I’ve included here excerpts from Mr. Dwyer’s lesson on Freytag’s Pyramid, which relates to the Dramatic Arc rooted in classic Greek drama.
Dramatic structures based originally on a five-act play. Mr. Dwyer explains seven dramatic terms, summarized here with Dwyer’s text in quotes.
Exposition Background information, essential characters and the setting.
Inciting Moment “Reader understands the problem that the protagonist is confronted with.”
Dramatic Question After the reader understands the problem, the dramatic question arises concerning the welfare of the protagonist.
Rising Action The plot is complicated by related secondary conflicts or obstacles “that frustrate the protagonists’s attempt to reach his goal.”
Crisis Situation Just before the climax of the story, the reader “understands that the protagonist is about to win or lose his conflict.”
Climax Highest point of interest, a turning point marking a change, for better or worse for the protagonist. In a comedy, things get better. In a tragedy, the worst thing happens.
Falling Action The “moment of reversal after the climax,” where the conflict unravels, remaining questions are addressed, perhaps some final suspense, but nearing the conclusion of the dramatic structure of the story.
Dénouement From the Latin “to untie,” the denouement is the “unraveling or untying of the complexities of a plot.” The conclusion, where conflicts are resolved, Possibly a lesson to be observed, “creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader.”