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Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting by Brian Price

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Thirty-SixTheme

What’s It All About, Ari?

“Thought is found whenever a statement is proved to be or not to be, or a general truth enunciated.”

(Poetics, Part V)

In our first chapter on STORY, we discussed Aristotle’s list of the elements that make up a drama, and we said that in modern screenwriting terms, they become: story, character, theme, dialogue, and action.

We’ve discussed them all now—save one.

And it’s fitting that we’ve saved THEME for the end, since it, too, only gets revealed at a story’s resolution.

Aristotle refers to what we think of as a story’s theme whenever he discusses thought and moral disposition. For as we’ve noted, he maintains these distinct qualities are possessed not only by the individual characters, but also ...

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