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Rhetorical Gadgets: Anagnorisis

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Gadget: Anagnorisis (pronounced anag-no-ree-sis)

Origin: From the Greek ἀναγνώρισις (anagnorisis), that means “recognition”.

In plain English: A second of perception in a play, film or story when a personality – often the protagonist – makes an essential discovery and strikes from ignorance to consciousness.


  • Anagnorisis is the “Aha!” second and often takes place at a pivotal level within the story.
  • It’s typically a robust, emotional turning level for the viewers.
  • The perception drives a change within the story, from destructive to constructive or vice versa.


  • Anagnorisis is just like an epiphany, which is a sudden realization.
  • It will probably happen in the midst of a narrative or on the finish.
  • There will be a couple of anagnorisis in a narrative.
  • Two or extra characters can expertise an anagnorisis on the similar time.
  • Aristotle thought of anagnorisis to be vital in Classical Greek tragedies akin to Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. In that play, the anagnorisis happens when Oedipus (the principle character) learns that he has unwittingly killed his father and married his mom.
  • The character experiencing an anagnorisis may understand one thing about himself, his state of affairs, or one thing about one other character.
  • When telling a private story, anagnorisis is a robust approach to make the story – and the purpose behind the story – memorable for the viewers.

Examples (Spoiler alert! Film plots revealed beneath.)

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout (Mary Badham) realizes that Boo Radley (Robert Duvall) was good and had protected her.


In The Princess Bride, Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) realizes that the particular person whom she thought was the Dread Pirate Roberts is definitely her real love Westley (Cary Elwes).


In Struggle Membership, Jack (Ed Norton) realizes that he’s the identical particular person as Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).


In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) realizes that Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) was good and was defending him all alongside.


In Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) and Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) understand that Freddie is homosexual.



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