Climax vs. Resolution

by Aubree
(California)

Hello, I just read your Plot Development: Climax, Resolution, and Main Character article and I have a question about something (obviously). So I was wondering, if in a story the main character sacrifices herself, would this be considered the climax or the resolution? Because it is the resolution of her life but it is the point in the story where she has to make a decision which will affect the outcome.


Response: It rather depends on whether the story ends with the sacrifice, or whether the sacrifice leads to the ultimate resolution of the story goal.

If the sacrifice determines decisively whether the story goal is achieved, then it is the climax. This would be rather like Romeo & Juliet, in which the lovers' deaths lead to a resolution to end the feud between the two families - which is the real story goal.

On the other hand, you could have a tragedy in which the climax results in a decisive failure to achieve the story goal, a consequence of which is that the heroine decides to sacrifice her life.

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