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Classic drama structure by Freytag: Midpoint

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The midpoint of the film is structurally a very important part. A classical play is divided into ascending (rising) and descending (falling) action, such as in "Romeo and Juliet" (cf. Freytag's triangle or curve).

In the beginning of the play Romeo and Juliet ascend towards happiness, opposing the hatred between their families. But what could two lovers do to such an intense hatred (cf. start-up sequence)? Romeo balances between his love and the family obligations. In the midpoint of the play Romeo revenges his friend Mercutio's death and kills Juliet's cousin Tybalt in a duel. For punishment Romeo has to be exiled to Mantua. After Tybalt's death the action turns into descending action, towards the inevitable, or the lovers' death. In the descending action of the tragedy the turns make the situation worse: Romeo is falsely informed of the death of Juliet and does "the right thing" based on this false information.

This classic, structural solution is evident especially in Hollywood productions, where it is easy to see the turning point placed into the middle. The film "Crying Game" is also worth seeing with its typical midpoint turning point. You can also see a clear midpoint turn in the structure of "Silence of the Lambs".


Neil Jordan: The Crying Game (1992). [us.imdb.com/Title?0104036]

Jonathan Demme: The Silence of the lambs (1991). [us.imdb.com/Title?0102926]


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