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September 28, 2005

Interesting to think about...

Rix, ''Was Oedipus Framed?'' -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

"Oedipus, we know, killed his own father. This is the decisive event on which the tragedy is founded, even though the murder itself lies before, or outside, the action in the play."

This academic article wasn't as hard to read as I thought it would be. I went through it slowly and re-read sentences that I didn't understand. I like this statement that Rix makes though. I'm not sure that I have ever heard of the "decisive event," but it makes sense. It's interesting to think that every story has this decisive event, and we usually don't pick that out and analyze it. We probably don't even notice it most of the time except for the fact that it is essential to the plot development.

Posted by CheraPupi at September 28, 2005 11:54 PM


I never thought of every story having a decisive event either. Something more than just the problem in the story. Also seeing Andy's comment on here I also realize that greek tragedies must have decisive events throught out them. It makes sense in that genre of story telling

Posted by: Rachel Prichard at September 29, 2005 4:17 PM

That decisive moment in dramatic terminology is called peripetia (Pear-ih-PEA-shuh). Its a turning point, or more precisely, THE turning point that makes the whole story worth telling. It involves a reversal of fortune (in tragedy, this is the noble hero coming crashing down, but in comedy it could be the final plot twist that makes everything out happy).

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 29, 2005 3:18 PM

Yes, I think that every story, whether a play or not, has a decisive action. Think about any story that you have ever written, and I guarentee that you can find the decisive action. Isn't that really interesting?

Posted by: Chera Pupi at September 29, 2005 1:57 PM

I wonder if every type of play has a decisive event? I know that Greek tragedies definatly do, but I wonder if every play has to have a turning point to keep the reader's attention.

I was thinking of all of the plays that we've read so far this semester. In a Doll's House, the decisive event was when Nora decides to leave Torvald. In Machinal, there were a few decisive events. She married her husband and she killed her husband. Those two seem pretty decisive to me. In "The Importance of Being Earnest" the decisive event was when Jack found out his identity. In "Heart in the Ground" it was when Karen told her husand that she had a child before she was married to him.

Posted by: Andy Lonigro at September 29, 2005 1:48 PM

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