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Reversal

 

Disciplines > StorytellingStory Devices > Reversal

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Create a reversal of some kind in the story, for example the reversal of fortunes of a major character, perhaps going from bad luck to good luck or vice versa.

The change may also include a change in character, such as when as a person realizes something and becomes nicer or nastier.

Example

A character loses love, job and home. Then a romantic partner appears and things get better.

The sorcerer's apprentice makes a choice between good and evil magic.

A poor person wins the lottery.

Discussion

Reversal in a story provides a change that may be unexpected and which allows the story to be extended as 'part 2' is described.

The reversal was described by Aristotle in his Poetics as Peripeteia. He said that this should occur when the audience does not expect it to happen. He described it as 'a change by which the action veers round to its opposite, subject always to our rule of probability or necessity'. He considered that a good tragedy included Anagnorisis that leads to Peripeteia.

The word Peripety is also used and often describes a sudden change based on intellect and logic.

See also

Fold, Twist Ending, Discovery

 

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