What is panorama and scene, plot, climax, symbolism?  I also need the meanings of conclusion, theory of credibility and illusion, theory of decorum, theory of fictionality. Thank you.

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is quite a list you've got here. It would help to know if this is in reference to theater or literature, but let's see if we can at least make a dent in the whole. Starting with panorama and scene, we'll say the panorama is to scene what a banana tree is to a banana. Random House Dictionary and American Heritage Dictionary (at Dictionary.com) define panorama, as it may pertain to literary works, as the unfolding of individual parts that make up one continuous event. The "event" in reference to literary works would, of course, be the whole work or a part or chapter thereof. This whole event, this panorama, is made up of individual parts called scenes (banana tree [whole panorama] to banana [an individual part]). A scene in a play is a technical term identifying a subdivision of an act: acts are normally comprised of three or more scenes. In literature, a scene would designate a unified portion of a section of text. For example, in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, in the section where Elizabeth re-encouters Mr. Darcy, the scene in which Elizabeth leaves Pemberley and stands at the bridge is followed by the scene in which a horseman rides up.

Plot is a structured format in which the conflict of a story is presented, complicated, brought to crisis and resolved. Conflict is the chief element of plot: plot exists for framing conflict. Another element of plot is the inciting force, that which triggers, or incites, the conflict. Climax, yet another element of plot is the key moment at which the ultimate crisis occurs and the hero or heroine acts decisively to initiate the final outcome. Often it is the point of greatest emotion but this is not necessarily so, therefore emotionality is not a defining concept in climax. While it may be the most emotional moment, climax is defined as the moment at which the final results are determined. For instance, in a story about people trying to survive, there may be one medicinal remedy and two people who need it. The heroine may, in a quiet moment while alone in the infirmary, decide that the other person needs to survive more than she herself does and so quietly give herself a lethal does of a different medicine. This moment is devoid of heightened emotion; the heroine is acting altruistically and logically without observable emotion. Nonetheless it is the climax of the story; it is the point at which the final outcome is determine: the other person will live.

Symbolism is the use of symbols. Symbols are readily recognized objects, places or ideas, etc. that stand for more complex objects, places, ideas, etc. For example, the Himalaya mountains may stand for spirituality because monks live in the Himalayas. Or the Himalaya may also stand for purity because they are high up above the rest of the world and surrounded by pure air. Using symbols in plays and literature reduces complex ideas that would take a long time to explain to simple images or words, which insures that a literary experience remains more like a literary experience than a lecture in Philosophy 101. Symbols are also used because readers and audiences think more about symbols than about lectures, which draws the reader or audience more deeply into the literature or play provoking them to reach conclusions through their own thought. One symbol you are familiar with is the red cross on a white flag representing the Red Cross organization which is a complex international charitable organization devoted to rescuing and giving medical aid to people in times of war, famine, catastrophe, etc. The symbol says all that without all those words....