Anagnorisis Examples


Anagnorisis refers to a moment in the plot of a story or play when a character is brought from ignorance to knowledge and realizes something about him/herself, his/her situation, or something about another character. This new knowledge often leads to the resolution of the plot.

Anagnorisis often occurs in tragedies.

Examples of Anagnorisis:

Examples of Anagnorisis from Literature:

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, who has been on a journey to the wizard so that he can help her get home, realizes that the wizard does not possess the power to help her go home. Instead, she has had the power all along, as the ruby slippers are her ticket back to Kansas.

In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus' true identity is revealed, and he realizes that he has killed his father and married his mother. He gouges his own eyes out in agony.

In Macbeth, Macbeth believes that he is invincible because the witches have prophesied that he cannot be killed by anyone born of woman. Yet, on the battlefield, it is revealed that Macduff was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb (C-section). Macbeth realizes that it is Macduff who will kill him.

In the last book of the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows, Harry realizes that Professor Snape is not his antagonist. Instead, Snape, out of love for Harry's mother, has been attempting to protect Harry. This is a moment of anagnorisis for Harry and his friends.

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