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September 20, 2007

The Keys to the Gate

Writing about Literature, Roberts
EL237: Writing about Literature

I know that we have read two chapters in this book however something in Chapter 5 had struck me when I read it. There has to be a dilemma in a story in order for it to work. In Hamlet, we see that there had to be a problem in order for a story (or drama) to advance. The dilemmas that plagued our "sweet prince" is clues to an overall structure of the plot. For each problem, there was another one building to it. Daniella stated that if it wasn't for these problems, Hamlet would be a pathetic one act play.

Hamlet had accepted the possible dilemmas that was put forward to him. Point to a any soliloquy and it basically states that he will do what he has to do to avenge his father. As long as we focus on the dillemas it will be only a matter of time before we can discover what is the meaning of it all.

Posted by KevinHinton at September 20, 2007 12:19 AM


I agree with everything you said. For drama to advance, you needs a series of problems. There is sort of a domino effect that keeps the forward momentum.

Posted by: Daniella Choynowski at September 20, 2007 1:14 AM

I agree. The dilemma is what drives the story onwards. It's what makes the story.

Posted by: Jennifer Prex at September 20, 2007 11:35 AM

I disagree. (Sorry, I know I'm not with the group on this one)

Yes, as Daniella said, you need a series of problems. That series of problems isn't the dilemma though - that series of problems is the plot.

Plot is controlled by conflict. As Roberts put it, "The controlling impulse in a connected pattern of causes and effects is conflict, which refers to people or circumstances that a character must face and try to overcome."

So no, it isn't the dilemma that drives the story onward, it's the plot.

Posted by: Diana Geleskie at September 20, 2007 12:42 PM

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