Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Plot in literature, theater, movies
According to Aristotle's Poetics, a plot in literature is "the arrangement of incidents" that (ideally) each follow plausibly from the other. The plot is like the chalk outline that guides the painter's brush. An example of the type of plot which follows these sorts of lines is the linear plot of development to be discerned within the pages of a bildungsroman novel.
Aristotle notes that a string of unconnected speeches, no matter how well-executed, will not have as much emotional impact as a series of tightly connected speeches delivered by imperfect speakers.
The concept of plot and the associated concept of construction of plot, emplotment , has of course developed considerably since Aristotle made these insightful observations. The episodic narrative tradition which Aristotle indicates has systematically been subverted over the intervening years, to the extent that the concept of beginning, middle, end are merely regarded as a conventional device when no other is to hand.
This is particularly true in the cinematic tradition where the folding and reversal of episodic narrative is now commonplace. Moreover, many writers and film directors, particularly those with a proclivity for the Modernist or other subsequent and derivative movements which emerged during or after the early 20th century seem more concerned that plot is an encumbrance to their artistic medium than an assistance.
Plot in printing
- Mathematics: plotting the graph of a function
- Meteorology: weather plots - isobar, isotherm, isogon, isotach, isohume, isodrosotherm
- CPU design design: plots of integrated circuits can resemble die photos .
- A small piece of planted ground, as for a garden. A cemetery provides plots for the deceased.
- A plot is a planned conspiracy. E.g.,the Babington plot, July 20 Plot or The Passover Plot.
- Epistemological historian Paul Veyne (1971: 46-47; English trans. by Min Moore-Rinvolucri 1984: 32-33) defines a plot in the following way: "Facts do not exist in isolation, in the sense that the fabric of history is what we shall call a plot, a very human and not very "scientific" mixture of material causes, aims, and chances--a slice of life, in short, that the historian cuts as he [sic] wills and in which facts have their objective connections and relative importance...the word plot has the advantage of reminding us that what the historian studies is as human as a play or a novel....then what are the facts worthy of rousing the interest of the historian? All depends on the plot chosen; a fact is interesting or uninteresting...in history as in the theater, to show everything is impossible--not because it would require too many pages, but because there is no elementary historical fact, no event worthy atom. If one ceases to see events in their plots, one is sucked into the abyss of the infintismal."
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