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Freytag describes a drama is divided into five distinct sections or acts – namely

  • The exposition

  • Rising action

  • Climax (or turning point)

  • Falling action

  • Deanouement or Resolution

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Freytag’s analysis of dramatic structure is commonly dipicted by the use of a visual diagram or shematic known as Freytag’s Pyramid.


In the exposition phase, the background information that is needed to appreciate the storyline is set out for the viewer. The set and characters (claymation characters for example ) that the student has made in the set building phase of the stop motion animation project are introduced.

At the end of the exposition phase, we are introduced to the inciting event or moment.   This is the event in the story without which there would be no storyline. This  “inciting moment”  lays the foundation for the rest of the story in motion beginning with the second action, the rising action phase.


During the rising action phase, the basic conflict is complicated by the introduction of related secondary conflicts, including various obstacles that frustrate the main characters' attempt to reach their goal. Secondary conflicts can include adversaries of lesser importance than the story’s antagonist, who may work with the antagonist or separately, by and for themselves.


The third act is that of the climax, or turning point, which marks a change, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s affairs. If the story is a comedy, things will have gone badly for the protagonist up to this point; now, the tide, so to speak, will turn, and things will begin to go well for him or her. If the story is a tragedy, the opposite state of affairs will ensue, with things going from good to bad for the protagonist.


During the falling action, the conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist unravels, with the protagonist winning or losing against the antagonist. The falling action might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt.

Although Freytags pyramid analysis of dramatic structure is based on five-act plays, it can be applied (sometimes in a modified manner) to short stories and novels ( and animation ) just as well.

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