Key Elements in Dramatic Narratives: Aristotle's Insights

Categories: Plot

In his Poetics, Aristotle considered plot (mythos) the most important element of drama--more important than character, for example. A plot must have, Aristotle says, a beginning, middle, and an end, and the events of the plot must causally relate to one another as being either necessary or probable.


A character is a person in a narrative work of arts (such as a novel, play, or film). Derived from the ancient Greek word, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person.

" The study of a character requires an analysis of its relations with all of the other characters in the work Setting: In works of narrative (especially fictional), the setting includes the historical moment in time and geographic location in which a story takes place, and helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story. Setting has been referred to as story world or milieu to include a context (especially society) beyond the immediate surroundings of the story.

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Elements of setting may include culture, historical period, geography, and hour. Along with plot, character, theme, and style, setting is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction. Dialogue: The conversation between characters in a drama or narrative. A dialogue occurs in most works of literature. Dialogue is a literary and theatrical form consisting of a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more ("dia" means through or across) people. Its chief historical origins as narrative, philosophical or didactic device are to be found in classical Greek and Indian literature, in particular in the ancient art of rhetoric.

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Flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial back-story. In the opposite direction, a flash forward (or prolepsis) reveals events that will occur in the future. The method is used to create suspense in a story, develop a character or structuring the narration. In literature, internal analepsis is a flashback to an earlier point in the narrative; external analepsis is a flashback to before the narrative started. In movies and television, several camera techniques and special effects have evolved to alert the viewer that the action shown is from the past; for example, the edges of the picture may be deliberately blurred, photography may be jarring or choppy, or unusual coloration or sepia tone, or monochrome when most of the story is in full color.

Updated: Nov 20, 2023
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Key Elements in Dramatic Narratives: Aristotle's Insights. (2017, Feb 13). Retrieved from

Key Elements in Dramatic Narratives: Aristotle's Insights essay
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