A model that shows the structure of every story with only one antagonist/antagonistic.
In 1863, Gustav Freytag, a German writer, advocated a modelbased upon Aristotle's theory of tragedy. This is now called "Freytag's Pyramid," which divides a drama into five p arts, and provides function to each part. These parts are: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement.
The first phase in Freytag's pyramid is the exposition. The exposition introduces the main characters of the story, especially the main character, also known as the protagonist. It shows how the characters relate to one another, their goals and motivations, as well as their moral character.
During the exposition, the protagonist learns their main goal.
Freytag’s definition of conflict must not be confused with Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch's definition of conflict. Quiller-Couch uses the term to categorize plots into types (e.g., man vs. society). The main difference is that according to Quiller-Couch's mode of analysis, an entire story can be discussed in terms of its conflict.
Freytag's definition of conflict refers to the second act in a five-act play, a point of time in which all of the major characters have been introduced, their motives and allegiances have been made clear, and they have begun to struggle against one another.
Rising action is the second phase in Freytag's five-phase structure. It starts with a conflict, for example, the death of a character. The inciting incident is the point of the plot that begins the conflict. It is the event that catalyzes the protagonist to go into motion and to take action. Rising action involves the buildup of events until the climax.
In this phase, the protagonist understands his or her goal and begins to work toward it. Smaller problems thwart their initial success and their progress is directed primarily against these secondary obstacles.
This phase demonstrates how the protagonist overcomes these obstacles.
The climax is the turning point or highest point of the story. The protagonist makes the single big decision that defines not only the outcome of the story, but also who they are as a person. Freytag defines the climax as the third of the five dramatic phases which occupies the middle of the story.
At the beginning of this phase, the protagonist finally clears away the preliminary barriers and engages with the adversary. Usually, both the protagonist and the antagonist have a plan to win against the other as they enter this phase. For the first time, the audience sees the pair going against one another in direct or nearly direct conflict.
This struggle usually results in neither character completely winning nor losing. In most cases, each character's plan is both partially successful and partially foiled by their adversary. The central struggle between the two characters is unique in that the protagonist makes a decision which shows their moral quality, and ultimately decides their fate.
In a tragedy, the protagonist here makes a poor decision or a miscalculation that demonstrates their tragic flaw.
According to Freytag, the falling action phase consists of events that lead to the ending. Character's actions resolve the problem. In the beginning of this phase, the antagonist often has the upper hand. The protagonist has never been further from accomplishing their goal. The outcome depends on which side the protagonist has put themselves on.
In this phase, the protagonist and antagonist have solved their problems and either the protagonist or antagonist wins the conflict. The conflict officially ends.
Some stories shows what happens to the characters after the conflict ends and, or they show what happens to the characters to the future.