Literary Terms

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What is the definition of Falling Action?

The definition of falling action is what happens after the rising action and climax of the story’s plot have been resolved.

Falling Action

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Falling action refers to the events that occur in a narrative after the climax and before the final resolution. The falling action depicts the consequences of the climax, resolves the narrative’s tension, conflict, and suspense, and ties up the loose ends of the plot.

In Shakespeare’s plays, the fourth acts typically contain the falling action, following the third acts’ climaxes and preceding the fifth acts’ resolutions. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the fourth act describes the fallout of Caesar’s assassination in the third act. The scenes of the act move back and forth between the camps of the two factions—Antony and Octavius on one side; Brutus and Cassius on the other—as tensions mount, setting the stage for the final conflict of the fifth act.

see: rising action, climax, denouement

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