A traditional three-part framework for the course of events in a narrative, usually traced back to Aristotle's Poetics (c.335 bce). Typically characterized as equilibrium–disruption–equilibrium (or balance–imbalance–balance)—a chain of events corresponding to the beginning, middle, and end of a story. The Three Act Structure commonly employed in writing for stage and screen, sometimes referred to as: exposition, complication (or conflict), and resolution or dénouement (the latter sometimes being subdivided into climax, fall, and closure). Such homeostatic structures may serve psychological functions for individuals and/or broader social functions, such as resolving tensions. This is the basic formula for mainstream classical Hollywood movies in which the storyline is given priority over everything else. See also hermeneutic code; narrative.
Subjects: Media Studies.