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4. Reconnaissance: Villain seeks something

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Propp's Morphology of the Folk Tale > 4. Reconnaissance: Villain seeks something

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Previous: 3. Violation of interdiction

Next: 5. Delivery: The villain gains information

 

Description

Symbol: e (epsilon)

The villain now makes an active attempt at reconnaissance, for example searching for something valuable or trying to actively capture someone.

They may speak with a member of the family who innocently divulges information or perhaps realizes that something is up and backs away in terror.

They may also seek to meet the hero, perhaps knowing already the hero is special in some way.

Example

In Star Wars, Darth Vader searches for the missing escape pod.

Discussion

The introduction of the villain adds early tension to the story, particularly when they are found close to the previously-supposedly safe family or community environment. The eloquence or power of the villain may also add tension and we may want to shout at their targets to take care.

When it is not known that the person is the true villain, we may still be prodded into suspicions by the actions of an unknown stranger. Sometimes this uncertainty may be used as a false trigger, for example where the shady character is actually a helper in disguise.

See also

 

Previous: 3. Violation of interdiction

Next: 5. Delivery: The villain gains information

 

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