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As a denouement (περιπέτεια of give a wiki .: "sudden envelope, unexpected misfortune / happiness"; in the drama "caused by sudden change of the node") is called a folding the fortune / misfortune or the decisive turning point in the fate of a man.

Peripetie is first used as a concept of tragedy theory in Aristotle 's Poetics : Peripetie is a certain type of change in the course of action. Its occurrence is a characteristic of the best, most effective form of tragedy. The term is later expanded to include genres other than tragedy. Peripetia in this broad sense is a reversal of action that initiates the catastrophe or the solution to the problem. The turnaround should, if possible, result from the action itself, not be of supernatural origin and also not come from outside.

In the classic drama ( rule drama ), which is built up in five acts , the peripetia is usually the content of the third act, in three acts it occurs at the end of the second or at the beginning of the third act. It represents the climax and thus the general turn within the plot in which the problems formed in the first two acts begin to be solved. In Schiller's Die Räuber , Karl's storyline describes the idyllic scene on the Danube (2nd scene, 3rd act) as peripetia, because there he sees the meaning of his revolution against the existing social structures behind his love for Amalia for the first time. Peripetia has a particularly strong effect when it is combined with an anagnorisis , the sudden recognition of a person or a situation.

Paul Heyse defined the turning point as the so-called falcon motif as an essential feature of every novella .

In the film , this concept is called the plot point .


  • Wolfgang Jahnke: Anagnorisis and Peripetie. Studies on the transformation of the essence of western drama . Dissertation, University of Cologne 1955.
  • Wolf G. Schmidt: "Parodied Peripetie" or "The end point is already behind us". Transformations of the tragedy model in the theater of the absurd . In: Daniel Fulda, Thorsten Valk (Hrsg.): Die Tragödie der Moderne. Genre history, cultural theory, diagnosis of epochs (classic and modern; vol. 2). De Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-023290-5 , pp. 259-278.

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Wiktionary: Peripetie  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations