Guide to Literary Terms

Start Free Trial

What is plot?

Plot is the series of events that occur in a narrative work.

Plot

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on February 25, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 184

Plot - a plan or scheme to accomplish a purpose. In literature, this is the arrangement of events to achieve an intended effect consisting of a series of carefully devised and interrelated actions that progresses through a struggle of opposing forces, called conflict, to a climax and a denouement. This is different from story or story line which is the order of events as they occur.

Writing an essay?
Get a custom outline

Our Essay Lab can help you tackle any essay assignment within seconds, whether you’re studying Macbeth or the American Revolution. Try it today!

Start an Essay

The term is taken from the French complot, meaning “conspiracy. “

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Aristotle insisted plot must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and that its events constitute a whole entity.

Homework Help

Latest answer posted August 25, 2011, 4:50 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

The plot of Miller’s The Crucible involves a group of teenage girls who are discovered dancing naked in the woods by the town minister. Knowing that the punishment for their behavior will be severe, the girls claim that they were possessed by the spirits of members of the community who are trying to initiate them into witchcraft. Because of the gravity of the accusations (witchcraft is punishable by hanging), a court is set up to determine the guilt or innocence of those accused.


Explore all literary terms.


See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Personification

Next

Poetry