AskDefine | Define denouement

Dictionary Definition



1 the outcome of a complex sequence of events
2 the final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work

User Contributed Dictionary



    • 2005: Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril
      The denouement is the moment when all of the knots of a story are untied, [...] But the denouement should not be confused with the end of a story.

Extensive Definition

In literature, a dénouement (IPA:/deˈnuːmɑ̃/) consists of a series of events that follow a dramatic or narrative's climax, thus serving as the conclusion of the story. Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader. Etymologically, the French word dénouement is derived from the Old French word denoer, "to untie", from nodus, Latin for "knot." Simply put, a dénouement is the unraveling or untying of the complexities of a plot.
Also, the dénouement is the events after the climax and the "Falling Action" occur. Though similar, "Falling Action" is a completely different topic.
A classic example of dénouement is the final scene of Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It : couples marry, an evildoer repents, two disguised characters are revealed for all to see, and a ruler is restored to power.
The book, The Penultimate Peril, the twelfth installment of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, heavily features dénouement as a plot point e.g. the character of Dewey Denouement, and the Hotel Denouement. The Penultimate Peril was the penultimate volume in the Series of Unfortunate Events.
There are works which have no dénouement, mainly due to a quick surprise ending (such as Lord of the Flies).
denouement in German: Dénouement
denouement in French: Dénouement
denouement in Galician: Desenlace

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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