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also per·i·pe·ti·a  (pĕr′ə-pə-tē′ə, -tī′ə)
A sudden change of events or reversal of circumstances, especially in a literary work.

[Greek, from peripiptein, peripet-, to change suddenly : peri-, peri- + piptein, to fall; see pet- in Indo-European roots.]


(ˌpɛrɪpɪˈtaɪə; -ˈtɪə) or




(Theatre) (esp in drama) an abrupt turn of events or reversal of circumstances
[C16: from Greek, from peri- + piptein to fall (to change suddenly, literally: to fall around)]
ˌperipeˈteian, ˌperipeˈtian adj


or per•i•pe•ti•a

(ˌpɛr ə pɪˈtaɪ ə, -ˈti ə)

n., pl. -tei•as or -ti•as.
a sudden turn of events or an unexpected reversal, esp. in a literary work.
[1585–95; < Greek peripéteia sudden change]

peripeteia, peripetia, peripety

Literature. a sudden change in the course of events, especially in dramatic works.
See also: Drama
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.peripeteia - a sudden and unexpected change of fortune or reverse of circumstances (especially in a literary work); "a peripeteia swiftly turns a routine sequence of events into a story worth telling"
surprise - a sudden unexpected event
References in classic literature ?
Besides which, the most powerful elements of emotional: interest in Tragedy Peripeteia or Reversal of the Situation, and Recognition scenes--are parts of the plot.
His gifts for resonant dialogue, sexual frictions, graphic violence, and peripeteia have been well noted for over three decades by readers and critics who relish the extravagances of getting lost beyond the pale.
Swayed by the crowd and their expectations, Arbaces succumbs to their demands, and stumbles into a display of hubris that, even as it paints Tigranes as a tragic hero overthrown by nemesis, equally marks Arbaces himself as a tragic figure inviting his own peripeteia.
An exemplarily bad Aristotelian, he undergoes no reversal, or peripeteia, nor does he experience any recognition, or anagnorisis, the two key conceptual components of tragic experience for Aristotle.
It is Louisa, one of the loudest characters, who most craves "sensation," and this craving leads to the peripeteia in which Wentworth's parable of the nut is realized as a rather tasteless joke.
Truffaut also connects this moral reproach to a particular form of storytelling Huston is charged with overindulging: Aristotle's peripeteia, a reversal of fate that does not follow the logical, mutual development of character and action, but that is imposed arbitrarily on the story.
Historically, the first mention of moral compensation in drama can be traced to Aristotle in his Poetics while discussing peripeteia (also known as sudden reversal of fortune) as he noted the type of character and circumstance that can necessitate fear and pity to suggest that not all actions or characters can qualify for tragedy since tragedy is an imitation of action not a character, and further clarifying that:
Whereas the tragedies show how characters lose themselves because they abandon community in the wake of transgression, the so-called romances indefinitely suspend peripeteia through the purposeful and assertive restoration of society and personal relationships.
In keeping with the classical prescription for a tragic hero, Ulysses comes to consciousness of his flaw after he has fallen: this happens at the canto's end in the peripeteia of joy turning to sorrow ("Noi ci allegrammo, e tosto torne in pianto," XXVI.
However, all other peripeteia is a further insult to the woman and Mehmeti-Devaja therefore hopes that the law will be improved with amendments.
When Dimock argues that one way to imagine tragedy is "as a particular kind of irony--an irony of scale--one that arises when the gravest consequences fall where our cognitive powers are least adequate" (69), a sudden reversal Aristotle called peripeteia, we have to wonder if it is more the case of an irony of proximity (of things we obsess over but that can take away agency) than of scale.
This peripeteia occurs when Bill's refined wood-panelled academic existence is shattered by being invaded by his crude rural past, from which he has done his best to distance himself, just as studiously as he has shed his Oklahoma accent.