peripeteia

peripeteia

[per-uh-pi-tahy-uh, -tee-uh]
noun
a sudden turn of events or an unexpected reversal, especially in a literary work.
Also, peripetia, peripety [puh-rip-i-tee] .


Origin:
1585–95; < Greek peripéteia sudden change, equivalent to peripet(ḗs) literally, falling round (peri- peri- + pet-, base of píptein to fall) + -eia -y3

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Collins
World English Dictionary
peripeteia, peripetia or peripety (ˌpɛrɪpɪˈtaɪə, -ˈtɪə, ˌpɛrɪpɪˈtaɪə, -ˈtɪə, pəˈrɪpətɪ)
 
n
(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)]
 
peripetia, peripetia or peripety
 
n
 
[C16: from Greek, from peri- + piptein to fall (to change suddenly, literally: to fall around)]
 
peripety, peripetia or peripety
 
n
 
[C16: from Greek, from peri- + piptein to fall (to change suddenly, literally: to fall around)]
 
peripe'teian, peripetia or peripety
 
adj
 
peripe'tian, peripetia or peripety
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

peripeteia

the turning point in a drama after which the plot moves steadily to its denouement. It is discussed by Aristotle in the Poetics as the shift of the tragic protagonist's fortune from good to bad, which is essential to the plot of a tragedy. It is often an ironic twist, as in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex when a messenger brings Oedipus news about his parents that he thinks will cheer him, but the news instead slowly brings about the awful recognition that leads to Oedipus's catastrophe

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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