What Is A Denouement?

What Is A Denouement?

In this post, we ask: What is a denouement?

What Is A Denouement?

A denouement is a word from French and it means ‘untying’.

It is the final part of a work of fiction where strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved. The denouement occurs after the climax of the plot. Secrets are revealed and loose ends tied up.

Only use a denouement if it adds to your story, or if your plot requires one.

Three Examples of Effective Denouements

  1. Romeo and Juliet: The climax is the death of Romeo and Juliet. The denouement comes when the families find their bodies and they are told their deaths are a result of the family feud.
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird: The climax of the story is the attack on Scout. The denouement includes the Sheriff and Atticus trying to cover up Boo Radley’s stabbing of Bob Ewell, and Jem coming to terms with the injustice of the trial.
  3. The Silence Of The Lambs: The climax is the capture of Buffalo Bill. The denouement is Hannibal’s phone call to Clarice Starling telling her he’s having a friend for dinner.

If you need to make sure that your readers understand a point, use this. It allows you to show the final outcome of a plot, when something is decided and you need to make it clear.

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. The Sense Of An Ending – How To End Your Book
  2. 7 Extremely Good Reasons To Write The Ending First
  3. The Importance of Inciting Moments
  4. The 2 Types Of Inciting Moments
Posted on: 11th January 2013