English citations of dénouement

  1. (often used metaphorically) The conclusion or resolution of a plot.
    • 1840, Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton, The Works of Edward Bulwer Lytton (Lord Lytton), page 465:
      ALTHOUGH the details of my last chapter have somewhat retarded the progress of that dénouement with which this volume is destined to close, yet I do not think the destined reader will regret lingering over a scene in which, after years of restless enterprise and exile, he beholds the asylum which fortune had prepared for the most extraordinary character with which I have adorned these pages.
    • 1846, E A Poe, The Philosophy of Composition
      Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its denouement before anything be attempted with the pen. It is only with the denouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention.
    • 1950, Savez novinara Jugoslavije, Review of International Affairs, page 10:
      This should also be the case at the Sixth Summit in Havana although the dénouement of this particular question will certainly depend on the ratio of forces in the movement itself.
    • 1994, Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House, page IX:
      In a ‘well-made’ play, action should be organised in three sections: exposition of the central problem, alarms and excursions, dénouement. The plot should hinge on a secret or a dilemma which affects the main character; the audience is allowed only hints and glimpses of this as the play proceeds, and all is fully revealed only as the action moves towards dénouement.
    • 2003: George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, pXXXVII
      A great writer, and one very dear to me, thinks that the long episodes which interrupt the progress of the story … are artistic devices for impressing the reader with a sense of the slow movement of life; and in truth, it is only in fiction that the dénouement usually lies close to the exposition.59