Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.
Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.
We begin with exposition, then it's on to rising action, we hit a complication, move on to the climax, get a reversal, kick it with some falling action, and then finally the resolution and dénouement.
A bit formulaic, sure, but you can actually track this pattern in quite a few tragedies, as well as novels, movies, and television shows. See our plot analysis of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House for Freytag in action.