SIX ARISTOTELIAN ELEMENTS OF A PLAY

 

1.         PLOT                         The arrangement of events or incidents on the stage.     

                                                The plot  is composed of “clearly defined problems for characters to solve.”   (Kernodle, et al 6)  Plot is to be

differentiated from Story which is a chronological detailing of events that happened on and off stage.  Events happening off stage are introduced through exposition (narrative dialogue).  The playwright must create a plot that is both credible and astonishing.

 

2.         CHARACTER          The agents of the plot.  Characters provide the

                                                motivations  (reasons) for the events of the plot.

“Vivid characters  (6) face and overcome “obstacles

that we can recognize.” (6)  They provide the vehicle for conflict.

 

3.         THEME                      The reason the playwright wrote the play.  The

                                                examination of “patterns of life” (6) can be didactic

                                                or just a slice of life.

 

4.         LANGUAGE             “Vivid characters  (6) facing and overcoming

                                                recognizable obstacles need to express themselves

                                                in “heightened language.”  (6)  Dramatic dialogue

                                                consists of two parts: narrative and dramatic.

 

5.         RHYTHM                   The heart of the play.  Plot, character, language, and

                                                spectacle all have their individual rhythms in time.

The combination of all these rhythms create the impelling force of the play leading to a final climax and

Denouement.  Rhythm creates mood.

 

6.         SPECTACLE           Everything that is seen or heard on stage.  Actors,

sets, costumes, lights and sound.  NOTE:  All plays have spectacle—some emphasize spectacle more

than others.