What is it?
Dramatic structure is the idea that storytelling follows a set pattern, in order to create drama.
The most popular theory is that described by German writer Gustav Freytag (1816-1895). He based his theory on studies of Greek and Shakespearean works, ultimately coming to identify an arc consisting of five core parts.
|Exposition||Exposition is the opening of the drama in which the basic premises are laid out. This includes an introduction to the characters, their motivations, and the setting.|
|Rising Action||The characters and story begin to evolve into drama, often triggered by an action or event. Emotions, danger, ambitions, and potential consequences grow.|
|Climax||The rising action meets its height. Circumstances cannot continue as before, and so a conflict, realisation, or declaration must occur. The original circumstances in the exposition are lost.|
|Falling Action||The after-effects of the climax begin to change the landscape of the story. More drama may occur, but the fate of those involved is already becoming clear.|
|Dénouement||The story arc ends as characters and setting reach their final positions, often in happiness or tragedy. However, a ‘twist’ may be added to make the audience question all that has gone before.|