chapter  IV
18 Pages

The nature of plot in drama

If we approach the play by way of plot instead of by way of character, we shall reach similar conclusions. For since character, plot, imagery, language, verbal music are only aspects of the indivisible whole which is the play, whatever we discover in one of them to be essential to the whole will reveal itself also in others. We separate them by virtue of an agreed convention. But in relation to the whole and to each other they are inseparable; each may in fact appear at times to be an aspect of another, since their territories are ultimately indivisible. And just as what drama presents to our imagination as character differs from what life presents, so is it with plot, which is not identical with a series of actual events or even with the groups of events that sometimes seem to emerge in life. Each has a similar relation to its counterpart in what we call the actual world in that in each the artist's imagination has selected from the raw material on which his inspiration worked and revealed a pattern inherent in it. And the nature of this imaginative selection is determined by the mode of the dramatist, so that in every aspect of the technique we may trace a corresponding pattern in harmony with the form of the whole to which it contributes. Each aspect of the technique, then, plays its part in revealing the dramatist's apprehension of life, but plot may fitly follow character here since they merge naturally into each other through the continuous interplay between individual character and even within a given play.