Talk:Dramatic structure

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8 act? isn't it 5?[edit]

"Renaissance dramatists revived the use of the 8-act structure."? Where does this come from? Is it maybe a typo? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.99.143.20 (talk) 09:21, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Break out Freytag[edit]

Right now, this article implies that five act structure is pervasive. I'm considering moving the Freytag analysis and example to five act structure and then writing a parallel version to explain three act structure (neither of which exist as of this writing). This article would then be a respository for all types of dramatic structures, including the 12-part structure of Greek epics and other non-English storytelling. Thoughts? --Tysto 20:54, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

great idea -D

agreed. much more needed here. this seems to take the leading convention of dramatic structure and substitute it for the whole, not particularly helpful if you wanted to survey the analyses that have been done (rather than rehash the unattributed highschool freytag). (though it was useful to learn that it was freytag's analysis ...) -R.


-I support this idea. Also, you may want to include a link to the various standard plots. Not that they're strictly related, just that folks looking for that information will likely pass through here. Great work on the article so far!! Anjin 21:49, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with the above comments. The problem only arises, I believe, because the opening statement identifies Freytag's five parts with five 'acts'. Ibsen's four-act structures, for example, often follow the pattern as sketched here. I recommend that instead of fragmenting into different articles, the main principles of traditional dramatic structure are introduced at the beginning and a subsequent section offers a declension of types and variants. DionysosProteus 23:57, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

There is some confusion here created by the attribution to Freytag of terms and concepts that he didn't actually use. For instance, he referred to the first section of a drama as the "Introduction" (Einleitung), not as the "Exposition." This is an important distinction, because the Introduction may contain elements that are not necessarily expository, such as a Keynote scene (einleitenden Akkord, or "introductory chord"), and exposition can occur anywhere in the drama, as is pointed out in the article. Freytag also did not equate the five parts of a drama with the five acts of a play except in a very loose sense. He in fact included a separate discussion of act structure in his book, explaining how the five parts are typically distributed in a play of one, five, or three acts. Joachim57 (talk) 16:27, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Joachim57 et al ... This page does not represent "Freytag's pyramid," per se, so much as the simplifications, modifications, and accretions to that model that were made in the course of the 20th C. I would argue that the page needs a fundamental rewrite by someone who knows what they're talking about ... Who is not, unfortunately, me. As it stands, it is quite inaccurate. For example, Freytag's concept of the "climax" is not simply a reversal in fortune -- it primarily has to do with a shift in the interaction between the protagonist's will and what Freytag calls the "counter-play" which opposes it ... A much more subtle and somewhat more peculiar notion than what's given here. This looks less like Freytag's Pyramid than Syd Field's. -- NostalgicModernist 76.24.24.7 (talk) 13:59, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Based on the above comments and my reading of the article, there are two problems. First, this is not an article about Dramatic Structure, but about Freytag's view of dramatic structure and, second, it is based not on Freytag directly but upon modern simplifications and accretions to the theory. My view would be that this article should be titled 'Freytag's Dramatic Structure', or that at the very least Aristotle's view should be given similar weight in the article. Martin Turner (talk) 18:12, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Dénouement, resolution, or catastrophe[edit]

Under "Dénouement, resolution, or catastrophe", there is a half-completed reference but I have no idea what it's referencing so I can't fix it. --Kitsunegami (talk) 02:27, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

I added a 'dubious' tag to the assertion that, "More modern works may have no dénouement, because of a quick or surprise ending." I wasn't sure whether to tag it 'dubious' or 'citation needed.' There's certainly no citation provided, and it seems that finding one would be impossible because of the gross generalization and the word 'may.' There might be one for studio produced Hollywood movies, but referencing every medium of storytelling would be a tall order. In any case, I think that line could use work. There's also the problem that this appears in the "Freytag's Analysis" section. Is this part of what Freytag said, or should it be in a different section? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.24.218.69 (talk) 20:26, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Another obvious point is that ancient works "may" have no dénouement also, making the comment pointless. Anonywiki (talk) 20:59, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Freytag Pyramid Misinterpretation[edit]

Freytag's theory of plot, dramatic structure, etc., proposes that plot is a two-dimensional structure of a pyramid shape. The five acts, or one, three, or more parts, as the case may be, comprise the slopes of the pyramid, and does not per se include flat wings appended to each end of the pyramid's base. However, many are the narratives which miss the central functions of an exposition act -- that is, introduce and build receiver effect, tension's emotional charge, and that otherwise entail emotionally flat appended wings.

The pyramid as drawn for this article and as well presented across present-day narrative theory culture erroneously interprets exposition act's, Freytag labeled introduction act, functions and misrepresents the Freytag Pyramid as presented by Freytag (Freytag, Gustav. Freytag's Technique of the Drama. Elias J. MacEwan, trans. 1900: pg. 115. Freytag's idealized shape is a pyramid sans wing appendages.

The Freytag shape is a Cartesian graphed depiction of emotional y axis effect (tension) over causation and the story elapsed time movement axis x.

The exposition act's function, for example, is to set out the main dramatic complication wanting satisfaction, the conflict forces' stakes and possible complication outcomes in polar opposition, and the emotional tone attitude of the whole, alluded to in Freytag and Aristotle's works. Not as generally presently perceived, exposition as bland backstory and other emotionally bland summary and explanation blocks, exposition develops emotional disequilibrium while setting out complication, conflict, and tone, emotionally relevant themselves, whether or not a backstory, a foreword, a preface, a prologue, a prelude, or an in medias res start.

After all else is said and done, kept in doubt as long as necessary, after a rising action act, a climax act, and a falling action act, a denouement act then sets out the outcome of the main dramatic complication and restores receiver effect to a new-normal emotional equilibrium. HeardMind (talk) 23:45, 5 December 2016 (UTC) heardMind

You are correct in that the diagram does not correspond exactly to Freytag's diagram of his pyramid form. If there is a diagram available which matches that of Freytag, it should probably replace the diagram currently in the article. However, the explanation in the Freytag's analysis section is correct. Freytag's diagram is an oversimplification, and the diagram with wings is a popular diagram which is also an oversimplification but is similar to that of Freytag. In The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner, there are diagrams of the Fichtean curve on pages 187 and 188 which are also similar to Freytag's diagram but are arguably more accurate representations of actual plots. — Anita5192 (talk) 01:34, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Inarguably, Johann Gottlieb Fichte predates Gustav Freytag, probably introduced his structural schematic prior to Freytag. If Freytag is derivative of Fichte, so be it; at least Freytag contributed new knowledge to extant dramatic theory, even if derivative of Fichte.

However, Fichte concerned Kantian philosophy, moral arts and sciences, and matters of consciousness therein, which Gardner notes parallel drama's social function "(All true suspense, we have said, is a dramatic representation of the anguish of moral choice.)" (pg. 187); and Fichte sources are currently inaccessible.

Gardner could have cited a primary Fichte source, though doesn't, though does explicate the Fichtean Curve somewhat. Freytag more deeply does explicate the pyramid shape and dramatic function and more exactly concerns drama. Plus, a secondary Freytag source excerpted from the primary source does contain the original pyramid image with labels and translated text as presented by Freytag. http://www.briantriber.com/WritingSamples/Freytag_Drama/Freytag_11_Ch2_P2.html

Both Freytag and Fichte shapes are more or less identical; that is, idealized triangle-like shapes, plus Fitche's realized oppositional forces distortions example, and both suit the "Dramatic Structure" article.

Freytag does allude an idealized shape only represents gross criteria and that the pyramid in actual application is much more jagged than smooth.

And the eight parts (not eight acts) Freytag labels and explicates are suggested by the subtitle of the above cited excerpt: "FIVE PARTS AND THREE CRISES OF THE DRAMA." Introduction, Rise, Climax, Return or Fall, and Catastrophe; and three scenic effects, the exciting moment or force, the tragic moment or force, and the moment or force of the last suspense. Chapter II, "THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE DRAMA." PART 2. Gustav Freytag. Notably, the Freytag work is widely accessible for study and the Fichte is not at present.

In any case, at present, dramatic structure theory only at best examines a two-dimensional shape. Clearly, a third dimension influences and is influenced by the two explicated axes of causation and tension. No one yet has brought that possibility forth for rigorous peer review nor is such research anywhere on the discussion horizon.

Clues to that added dimension are extant within Aristotle's Poetics and Freytag's Drama Technique and other analytical texts across the drama theory canon. However, that is original research and inappropriate to Wikipedia's publication guidelines.HeardMind (talk) 04:59, 6 December 2016 (UTC)heardMind

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