As Aristotle termed plot, it is constituted, in a narrative or dramatic work, by its actions and events, as they are performed with the aim of achieving particular artistic and emotional effects.
In simple words, it means that the characters perform certain actions in the course of the story that depicts their character in the work, and in this process these characters facilitate the plot development of a story.
Therefore, according to the various research paper writings, plot and characters are said to be interdependent concepts. The students of literature tend to sometimes confuse story and plot,
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which are different concepts and thus they must remember this while working on their assignments so that they can complete it without requiring any assignment help usa.
As for a story, it is a bare synopsis, a summary of the events that happen. Only when we try to link these events, specifying the motivations behind them, that a synopsis for a plot is ready.
There are various forms of plot depending upon the purpose the story is trying to serve- some may be tragic, others comic, satire, romance or some other genre.
Each of the types exhibit a diversity in their plot patterns and can be represented either in prose or in verse, either as drama or as narrative. In the field of literary criticism,
there are various terms that are used in distinguishing the component elements of plot as well as in helping to discriminate between the types of plots and characters, in both narrative and dramatic literature. The terms are as follows:
- Protagonist– He or she is the chief character of the plot, on whom the interest centers. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet is the protagonist of the play. Similarly, in Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Scarlett O’Hara is the protagonist.
- Antagonist- This character is the opponent to the protagonist and pitted against him. In the same play Hamlet, King Claudius is the antagonist. In cases where the antagonist is evil, or capable of cruel or criminal actions he or she is called a villain. The antagonist sometimes may be the fate whom the protagonist is pitted against. Sometimes the circumstances that stand between him and his goal tend to act as an obstacle. For example, in Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, the chief conflict is between the opposing values or desires in the protagonist’s own temperament.
- Foil- This is the character in a work who serves to highlight the distinctive temperament of the protagonist. The best probable example of such a character can be found in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice where compliant Jane Bennet serves as a foil to her strong-willed sister Elizabeth Bennet.
- Intrigue- If a character initiates a scheme which depends upon the gullibility or ignorance of a person or persons against whom it is directed, for its success, it is known as intrigue. Most of the Restoration dramas like William Congreve’s Way of the World and William Wycherley’s The Country Wife, depended upon this intrigue for the success of the play. In fact, Iago is a villain who intrigues Cassio and Othello in Shakespeare’s tragedy.
- Suspense- As the plot goes on, it arouses certain expectations into the audience, about the future course of events as well as the following actions. Therefore, the readers come up to think that the play will follow a set pattern in order to satisfy what the dramatist declared as his purpose. But the dramatist employs the technique of suspense in order to declare to the reader that there is no certainty as to the course of events that go around the character. In fact, this suspense sometimes results in surprise for the reader, when the course of events is absolutely changed, against the expectations of the reader. The interplay of surprise and suspense is a prime source of vitality in a traditional plot. Mostly in realistic works, the most effective element of surprise is one that has resulted from the course of events that have already happened but what the reader thought, would turn out in a different way. Then we have the term known as the surprise ending which results from the deliberate attempt of the author to conceal certain facts about the character or events, which later he establishes as mere coincidence. O. Henry’s short stories are perfect examples of such types of manipulated endings. Dramatic irony is one such kind of suspenseful expectation, when the audience or readers foresee the incoming triumph or disaster, but the character does not.
- Unity of action- A plot is said to be following this unity in cases when the reader gets the apprehension of a complete and ordered structure of actions that are directed towards the intended effect. In such a case none of the incidents or the component parts are said to be nonfunctional . Aristotle, with respect to the unity, said that here all the parts are connected together and the removal of one may result in dislocation of the whole plot. He also said that a unified plot does not mean that the entire action revolves around the single character. Nevertheless, many picaresque novels such as Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, have held the attention of the readers while being represented in the episodic form.
Plot later gave way to subplots which together constituted the double plot concept, which some research paper writings suggest not to be foreseen by Aristotle.
Elizabethan dramas were a prominent example of this concept. Whereas the plot is the main story, the subplot is the secondary story that serves to broaden the perspective of the reader with respect to the main story. A prominent example of the use of this technique can be King Lear by William Shakespeare.
All the terms that have been mentioned above, themselves denote the importance of the plot in any narrative or dramatic work. These terms are sufficient enough to further provide assignment help to the students, who may further supplement it by adding examples from their own readings.