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The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti to categorize every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance.

Related Articles: Conflict

The 36 Situations[]

  1. Supplication
    • a Persecutor; a Supplicant; a Power in authority, whose decision is doubtful.
  2. Deliverance
    • an Unfortunate; a Threatener; a Rescuer
  3. Crime pursued by vengeance
    • a Criminal; an Avenger
  4. Vengeance taken for kin upon kin
    • Guilty Kinsman; an Avenging Kinsman; remembrance of the Victim, a relative of both
  5. Pursuit
    • Punishment; a Fugitive
  6. Disaster
    • a Vanquished Power; a Victorious Enemy or a Messenger
  7. Falling prey to cruelty/misfortune
    • an Unfortunate; a Master or a Misfortune
  8. Revolt
    • a Tyrant; a Conspirator
  9. Daring enterprise
    • a Bold Leader; an Object; an Adversary
  10. Abduction
    • an Abductor; the Abducted; a Guardian
  11. The enigma
    • a Problem; an Interrogator; a Seeker
  12. Obtaining
    • (a Solicitor & an Adversary who is refusing) or (an Arbitrator & Opposing Parties)
  13. Enmity of kin
    • a Malevolent Kinsman; a Hated or a reciprocally-hating Kinsman
  14. Rivalry of kin
    • the Preferred Kinsman; the Rejected Kinsman; the Object of Rivalry
  15. Murderous adultery
    • two Adulterers; a Betrayed Spouse
  16. Madness
    • a Madman; a Victim
  17. Fatal imprudence
    • the Imprudent; a Victim or an Object Lost
  18. Involuntary crimes of love
    • a Lover; a Beloved; a Revealer
  19. Slaying of kin unrecognized
    • the Slayer; an Unrecognized Victim
  20. Self-sacrifice for an ideal
    • a Hero; an Ideal; a Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed
  21. Self-sacrifice for kin
    • a Hero; a Kinsman; a Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed
  22. All sacrificed for passion
    • a Lover; an Object of fatal Passion; the Person/Thing sacrificed
  23. Necessity of sacrificing loved ones
    • a Hero; a Beloved Victim; the Necessity for the Sacrifice
  24. Rivalry of superior vs. inferior
    • a Superior Rival; an Inferior Rival; the Object of Rivalry
  25. Adultery
    • two Adulterers; a Deceived Spouse
  26. Crimes of love
    • a Lover; the Beloved
  27. Discovery of the dishonour of a loved one
    • a Discoverer; the Guilty One
  28. Obstacles to love
    • two Lovers; an Obstacle
  29. An enemy loved
    • a Lover; the Beloved Enemy; the Hater
  30. Ambition
    • an Ambitious Person; a Thing Coveted; an Adversary
  31. Conflict with a god
    • a Mortal; an Immortal
  32. Mistaken jealousy
    • a Jealous One; an Object of whose Possession He is Jealous; a Supposed Accomplice; a Cause or an Author of the Mistake
  33. Erroneous judgement
    • a Mistaken One; a Victim of the Mistake; a Cause or Author of the Mistake; the Guilty One
  34. Remorse
    • a Culprit; a Victim or the Sin; an Interrogator
  35. Recovery of a lost one
    • a Seeker; the One Found
  36. Loss of loved ones
    • a Kinsman Slain; a Kinsman Spectator; an Executioner

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