Georges Polti’s 36 Dramatic Situations

1. Supplication 4. Vengeance Taken For Kindred Upon Kindred 7. Falling Prey to Cruelty or Misfortune 10. Abduction 13. Enmity of Kinsmen 16. Madness 19. Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognized 22. All Sacrificed for a Passion 2. Deliverance 5. Pursuit 8. Revolt 11. The Enigma 14. Rivalry of Kinsmen 17. Fatal Imprudence 20. Self-sacrificing for an Ideal 23. Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones 26. Crimes of Love 3. Crime Punished by Vengeance 6. Disaster 9. Daring Enterprise 12. Obtaining 15. Murderous Adultery 18. Involuntary Crimes of Love 21. Self-sacrifice for Kindred 24. Rivalry of Superior and Inferior 27. Discovery of the Dishonour of a Loved One 30. Ambition 33. Erroneous Judgement 36. Loss of Loved Ones

25. Adultery

28. Obstacles to Love 31. Conflict With a God 34. Remorse

29. An Enemy Loved 32. Mistaken Jealousy 35. Recovery of a Lost One 37. Mistaken Identity

1. SUPPLICATION (To humbly petition). Elements: a persecutor, a humble petitioner, and a power in authority whose decision is doubtful. A1 Fugitives imploring the powerful for help against their enemies. A2 Assistance implored for the performance of a pious duty which has been forbidden. A3 Appeals for refuge in which to die. B1 Hospitality besought by the shipwrecked. B2 Charity entreated by those cast off by their own people, whom they have disgraced. B3 Expiation: the seeking of pardon, healing or deliverance. B4 The surrender of a C1 Supplication of the powerful for those dear to the suppliant. C2 Supplication to a relative in behalf of another relative. C3 Supplication to a mother's lover, in her behalf.

corpse, or relic, solicited. 2. DELIVERANCE. Elements: an unfortunate, a threatener, a rescuer. A Appearance of a rescuer to the B1 A parent replaced on the throne by his condemned. children. B2 Rescue by friends, or by strangers grateful for benefits or hospitality. 3. CRIME PURSUED BY VENGEANCE. Elements: an avenger and a criminal. A1 The avenging of a slain parent B1 Vengeance for or ancestor. intentional injury or spoilation. A2 The avenging of a slain child or descendant. B2 Vengeance for having been despoiled during absence. A3 Vengeance for a child dishonoured. B3 Revenge for an A4 The avenging of a slain wife or attempted slaying. husband. B4 Revenge for a false A5 Vengeance for the dishonour, accusation. or the attempted dishonouring, of a wife. B5 Vengeance for violation. A6 Vengeance for a mistress slain. B6 Vengeance for having been robbed of one's own. A7 Vengeance for a slain or injured friend. B7 Revenge upon a whole sex for a deception by one. A8 Vengeance for a sister seduced. C Professional pursuit of criminals.

4. VENGEANCE TAKEN FOR KINDRED UPON KINDRED. Elements: Avenging kinsman, guilty kinsman, remembrance of the victim, a relative of both. A1 A father's death B A brother's avenged upon a death avenged mother. upon a son. A2 A mother avenged upon a father. 5. PURSUIT. Elements: Punishment and fugitive. A Fugitives from justice pursued for brigandage, political offenses, etc. B Pursued for a fault of love. C A hero struggling against a power. D A pseudo-madman struggling against an Iago-like alienist. C A father's death avenged upon a husband. D A husband's death avenged upon a father.

6. DISASTER. Elements: A vanquished power, a victorious enemy or a messenger. A1 Defeat suffered. A2 A fatherland destroyed. A3 The fall of humanity. A4 A natural catastrophe. BA monarch overthrow n. C1 Ingratitude suffered. C2 The suffering of unjust punishment or enmity. C3 An outrage suffered. 7. FALLING PREY TO CRUELTY OR MISFORTUNE. Elements: an Unfortunate; a Master or a Misfortune. A The innocent made the victim of ambitious intrigue. B The innocent despoiled by those who should protect. C1 The D The unfortunate robbed of powerful their hope. dispossessed and wretched. C2 A favourite or an intimate finds himself forgotten. 8. REVOLT. Elements: Tyrant and Conspirator. A1 A conspiracy chiefly of one individual. A2 A conspiracy of several. 9. DARING ENTERPRISE. Elements: A bold leader, an object, an adversary. A Preparations for war. B1 War. B2 Combat. C1 Carrying off a desired person or object. C2 Recapture of a desired object. D1 Adventurous expeditions. D2 Adventure undertaken for the purpose of obtaining a beloved woman. B1 Revolt of one individual, who influences and involves others. B2 A revolt of many. D1 Abandonmen t by a lover or a husband. D2 Children lost by their parents.

10. ABDUCTION. Elements: The abductor, the abducted, the guardian. A Abduction of an unwilling woman. B Abduction of a consenting woman. C1 Recapture of the woman without the slaying of the abductor. C2 The same case, with the slaying of the ravisher. D1 Rescue of a captive friend. D2 Rescue of a child. D3 Rescue of a soul in captivity

to error. 11. THE ENIGMA. Elements: Interrogator, seeker, and problem. A Search for a person who must be found on pain of death. B1 A riddle to be solved on pain of death. B2 A riddle to be solved on pain of death, in which the riddle is proposed by the coveted woman. C1 Temptations suffered with the object of discovering his name. C2 Temptations offered with the object of ascertaining the sex. C3 Tests for the purpose of ascertaining the mental condition. 12. OBTAINING. Elements: A solicitor and an adversary who is refusing, or an arbitrator opposing parties. A Efforts to obtain an object by ruse or force. B Endeavour by means of persuasive eloquence alone. C Eloquence with an arbitrator.

13. ENMITY OF KINSMEN. Elements: A malevolent kinsman, a hated or reciprocally hating kinsman. A Hatred of siblings: A1 One sibling hated by several. A2 Reciprocal hatred between siblings. A3 Hatred between relatives for reasons of self-interest. B Hatred of parent and child: B1 Hatred of the child for the parent. B2 Mutual hatred. B3 Hatred of the parent for the child. F Infanticide. C Hatred of grandparent for grandchild.

D1 Hatred of parent-in-law for son- E Hatred of son-in-law in-law or daughter-in-law. (daughter-in-law) for D2 Hatred of two brothers-in-law mother-in-law. or sisters-in-law

14. RIVALRY OF KINSMEN. Elements: the preferred kinsman, the rejected kinsman, and the object. A1 Malicious rivalry of a sibling. A2 Malicious rivalry of two siblings. B1 Rivalry of parent and child, for C Rivalry an unmarried lover. of cousins. B2 Rivalry of parent and child, for a married lover. D Rivalry of friends.

A3 Rivalry of two B3 Case similar to the two brothers, with adultery foregoing, but in which the object

on the part of one.

is already the spouse of the parent. B4 Rivalry of parent and child.

15. MURDEROUS ADULTERY. Elements: Two adulterers, betrayed husband or wife. A1 The slaying of a husband by, or for, a paramour. A2 The slaying of a trusting lover. 16. MADNESS. Elements: Mad person and victim. A1 Kinsman slain in madness. A2 A lover slain in madness. A3 Slaying or injuring of a person not hated. 17. FATAL IMPRUDENCE. Elements: The imprudent, the victim or the object lost. A1 Imprudence the cause of one's own misfortune. A2 Imprudence the cause of one's own dishonour. B1 Curiosity the cause of one's own misfortune. B2 Loss of the possession of a loved one, through curiosity. C1 Curiosity the cause of death or misfortune to others. C2 Imprudence the cause of a relative's death. C3 Imprudence the cause of a lover's death. C4 Credulity the cause of kinsman's death. C5 Credulity the cause of misfortune. 18. Involuntary Crimes of Love. Elements: The lover, the loved, and the revealer. A1 Discovery that B1 Discovery that one has married one has married one's sibling. one's mother. B2 Discovery that one has married A2 Discovery that one's sibling, in which the crime has one has had been villainously planned by a third one's sibling as a person. lover. B3 Being upon the point of taking one's sibling, unknowingly, as a lover. C Being upon the point of violating, unknowingly , one's own child. D1 Being upon the point of committing an adultery, unknowingly. D2 Adultery committed unknowingly. B Disgrace brought upon oneself through madness. C Loss of loved ones brought about by madness. D Madness brought on by fear of hereditary insanity. B Slaying of a wife for a paramour, and in self-interest.

19. SLAYING OF A KINSMAN UNRECOGNIZED. Elements: The slayer, the unrecognized victim. A1 Being upon the point of slaying a daughter unknowingly, by command of a divinity or an oracle. A2 Through political necessity. A3 Through a rivalry in love. A4 Through hatred of the lover of the unrecognized daughter. D Slaying of a mother unrecognized. E1 A parent slain unknowingly through Machiavellian advice. E2 The slaying of a parent unknowingly. E3 The insulting of a parent unknowingly. B1 Being upon the point of killing a son unknowingly. B2 Being upon the point of killing a son unknowingly, strengthened by Machiavellian instigations. B3 Being upon the point of killing a son unknowingly, intermixed with hatred of kinsmen. C Being upon the point of killing one's brother unknowingly: C1 Brothers slaying in anger. C2 A sister slaying through profession al duty.

F1 A grandparent slain unknowingly, in vengeance and through instigation. F2 A grandfather slain involuntarily. F3 A parent-in-law killed involuntarily.

G1 Involuntary killing of a loved woman. G2 Upon the point of killing a lover unrecognized. G3 Failure to rescue an unrecognized son. 20. SELF-SACRIFICING FOR AN IDEAL. Elements: The hero, the ideal, the creditor or the person or things sacrificed. A1 Sacrifice of life B1 Both love and life for the sake of sacrificed for the sake of one's word. one's faith. B2 Both love and life sacrificed for the sake of A2 Life sacrificed a cause. for the success of one's people. B3 Love sacrificed to interests of state. A3 Life sacrificed for the happiness of one's people. A4 Life sacrificed in filial piety. A5 Life sacrificed for the sake of one's faith. C Sacrifice D The ideal of of well-being honour sacrificed to duty. to the ideal of faith.

21. SELF-SACRIFICE FOR KINDRED. Elements: The hero, the kinsman, the creditor or the person or thing sacrificed. A1 Life sacrificed for that of a relative or loved one. A2 Life sacrificed for the happiness of a relative or loved one. B1 Ambition sacrificed for the happiness of a parent. B2 Ambition sacrificed for the life of a parent. C1 Love sacrificed for the sake of a parent's life. D1 Life and honor sacrificed for the life of a parent or loved one.

C2 Love sacrificed for the happiness of one's D2 Modesty child. sacrificed for the life of a relative or C3 Love sacrificed for a loved one. the happiness of a loved one. C4 Love sacrificed for the happiness of one's child, but caused by unjust laws.

22. ALL SACRIFICED FOR A PASSION. Elements: The lover, the object of the fatal passion, and the person or thing sacrificed. A1 Religious vows of chastity broken for passion. A2 A vow of purity broken. A3 Respect for a priest destroyed. A4 A future ruined by passion A5 Power ruined by a passion. A6 Ruin of mind, health, and life. A7 Passion gratified at the price of life. A8 Ruin of fortunes, lives, and honour. 23. NECESSITY OF SACRIFICING LOVED ONES. Elements: The hero, the beloved victim, and the necessity for the sacrifice. A1 Necessity for sacrificing a daughter in the public interest. A2 Duty of sacrificing her in fulfilment of a vow to God. B1 Duty of sacrificing one's child, unknown to others, under the pressure of necessity. B1 Duty of sacrificing, under the same circumstances, one's parent. B3 Duty of sacrificing, under the same circumstances, one's spouse. B Temptations (see 12) destroying the sense of duty, pity, etc. C1 Destruction of honor, fortune, and life by erotic vice. C2 The same effect produced by any other vice.

A3 duty of sacrificing B4 Duty of sacrificing a son-in-law for the public good. benefactors or loved ones to one's faith. B5 Duty of sacrificing a son-in-law for the sake of reputation. B6 Duty of contending with a brother-in-law for the public good. B7 Duty of contending with a friend. 24. RIVALRY OF SUPERIOR AND INFERIOR. Elements: The superior rival, the inferior rival, and the object. A1 Rivalry of a mortal and immortal. A2 Of two divinities of unequal power. B2 Of victor and prisoner. A3 Of a magician and an ordinary man. A4 Of conqueror and conquered. A5 Of victor and vanquished. A6 Of a master and a banished man. A7 Of usurper and subject. A8 Of suzerain king and vassal king(s). A9 Of a powerful person and upstart. A10 Of rich and poor. A11 Of an honoured man and a suspected one. A12 Rivalry of two who are almost equal. A13 Rivalry of equals, one of whom in the past has been proved guilty of adultery. A14 Of a man who is loved and one who has not the right to love. A15 Of the two (or more) successive husbands of a divorcee. C Double rivalry (A loves B, who loves C, who loves D). D Oriental rivalries (Hindu polygamy). D1 Rivalry of two immortals. B3 Of a queen and subject. B4 Of a queen and slave. B5 Of lady and servant. B6 Of a lady and a woman of humbler position. B7 Of a lady and two women of humbler class. B8 Rivalry of two who are almost equals, complicated by the abandonment of one. B9 Rivalry between the memory or an ideal (that of a superior woman) and a vassal of her own. B1 Of a sorceress and an ordinary woman.

D2 Of two mortals. D3 Of two lawful wives. 25. ADULTERY. Elements: A deceived husband or wife and two adulterers. A A mistress betrayed: A1 For a young woman . A2 For a young wife. A3 For a girl. B A wife betrayed: B1 For a slave, who does not love in return. B2 For debauchery. B3 For a married woman. B4 With the intention of bigamy. B5 For a young girl, who does not love in return. B6 A wife envied by a young girl who is in love with her husband. B7 By a courtesan. B8 Rivalry between a lawful wife who is antipathetic and a mistress who is congenial. B9 Between a generous wife and an impassioned girl. C1 An antagonistic husband sacrificed for a congenial lover. C2 A husband, believed to be lost, D1 Vengeance of a deceived spouse. D2 Jealousy sacrificed out of E A spouse persecuted by a rejected rival.

forgotten for a rival. C3 A commonplace husband sacrificed for a sympathetic lover. C4 A good husband betrayed for an inferior rival. C5 For a grotesque rival. C6 For an odious rival. C7 For a commonplace rival, by a perverse wife. C8 For a less handsome, but useful rival.

pity. D3 Jealousy sacrificed for the sake of a cause.

26. CRIMES OF LOVE. Elements: The lover and the betrayed. A1 A mother in love with her son. A2 A daughter in love with her father. A3 Violation of a daughter by her father. B1 A woman enamoured of C1 A man becomes her stepson. the lover of his sister-in-law. B2 A woman and her stepson enamoured of C2 The man alone each other. becomes enamoured of his sister-in-law. B3 A woman being the mistress, at the same time, of a father and son, both of C3 A brother and whom accept the situation. sister in love with each other. D1 A man enamoured of another man, who yields. D2 A woman enamoured of a bull.

27. DISCOVERY OF THE DISHONOR OF A LOVED ONE. Elements: The discoverer and the guilty one. A1 Discovery of a parent's shame. A2 Discovery of one's child's dishonour. A3 Discovery of a sibling's shame or dishonour. B1 Discovery of C Discovery D1 Duty of punishing dishonour in the family that one's child one's child who is a of one's fiancee. is an assassin. traitor to country. B2 Discovery that one's wife has been violated before marriage. B3 Discovery that one's wife has been violated since the marriage. B4 Discovery that one's spouse previously committed a fault. B5 Discovery that D2 Duty of punishing one's sibling who is a traitor to his party. D2 Duty of punishing a child condemned under a law which the parent has made. D3 Duty of punishing one's child believed to be guilty. D4 Duty of sacrificing, to fulfill a vow of tyrannicide, a father

one's spouse has formerly been a prostitute. B6 Discovery of dishonour on the part of a lover. B7 Discovery that one's mistress, formerly a prostitute, has returned to her old life. B8 Discovery that one's lover is a scoundrel. B9 The same discovery concerning a so-called king. B10 The same discovery concerning one's spouse. B11 The discovery that one's lover is specifically weakened.

until then unknown. D5 Duty of punishing a sibling who is an assassin. D6 Duty of punishing one's mother to avenge one's father.

28. OBSTACLES TO LOVE. Elements: Two lovers and an obstacle. A1 Marriage prevented by inequality of rank. A2 Inequality of fortune an impediment to marriage. D1 A free union E Free union impeded by impeded by the the incompatibility of opposition of relatives. temper of the lovers. D2 Family affection disturbed by the parents-in-law. 29. AN ENEMY LOVED. Elements: The beloved enemy, the lover, and the hater. A The loved one hated by the kinsman of the lover. A1 The lover pursued by the brothers of his B1 The lover is the slayer of the father of his beloved. B2 The beloved is the slayer of the father of the beloved. B3 The beloved is the slayer of the brother B Marriage prevented by enemies and contingent obstacles. C1 Marriage forbidden on account of one partner's previous betrothal to another. C2 The same case, complicated by an imaginary marriage of the beloved object. F Love

beloved. A2 The lover hated by the family of his beloved. A3 The lover is the child of a man hated by the kinsmen of his beloved. A4 The beloved is an enemy of the party of the woman who loves him.

of her lover. B4 The beloved is the slayer of the husband of the woman who loves him, but who has previously sworn to avenge that husband. B5 The same case, except that a lover, instead of a husband, has been slain. B6 The beloved is the slayer of a kinsman of the woman who loves him. B7 The beloved is the daughter of the slayer of her lover's father.

30. AMBITION. Elements: An ambitious person, a thing coveted, and an adversary. A1 Ambition watched and guarded against by a kinsman or patriot friend or by a brother. A2 By a relative or person under obligation. A3 By partisans. 31. CONFLICT WITH A GOD. Elements: A mortal and an immortal. A1 Struggle against a deity. A2 Strife with the believers in a god. B1 Controversy with a deity. B2 Punishment for contempt of a god. B3 Punishment for pride before a god. B4 Presumptuous rivalry with a god. B5 Imprudent rivalry with a deity. 32. MISTAKEN JEALOUSY. Elements: The jealous one, the object of whose possession he is jealous, the supposed accomplice, and the cause or the author of the mistake. A1 The mistake originates in the suspicious mind of the jealous one. A2 Mistaken jealousy B1 Jealousy suggested by a C1 Reciprocal jealousy traitor who is moved by suggested to husband and hatred. wife by a rival. B2 Jealousy suggested by a C2 Jealousy suggested to traitor who is moved by the husband by a dismissed B Rebellious ambition (akin to #8). C1 Ambition and covetousness heaping crime upon crime. C2 Parricidal ambition.

aroused by a fatal chance. A3 Mistaken jealousy of a love which is purely platonic. A4 baseless jealousy aroused by malicious rumours.



B3 Jealousy suggested by a C3 Jealousy suggested to traitor who is moved by the husband by a woman jealousy and self-interest. who is in love with him. C4 Jealousy suggested to the wife by a scorned rival. C5 Jealousy suggested to a happy lover by the deceived husband.

33. ERRONEOUS JUDGEMENT. Elements: The mistaken one, the victim of the mistake, the cause or author of the mistake, and the guilty person. A1 Suspicion where faith is necessary. A2 False suspicion. A3 False suspicion (in which the jealousy is not without reason) of a mistress. A4 False suspicions aroused by the a misunderstood attitude of a loved one. A4 False suspicions aroused by indifference. B1 False suspicions drawn upon oneself to save a friend. B2 False suspicions fall upon the innocent. B3 False suspicions fall upon the innocent spouse of the guilty one. B4 False suspicions fall upon an innocent but guilty-intentioned. B5 False suspicions fall upon an innocent who believes themselves guilty. B6 A witness to a crime, in the interests of loved one, lets accusation fall upon the innocent. D1 False suspicion thrown by the real culprit upon one of his enemies. D2 False suspicion thrown by the real culprit upon the second victim against which he has plotted from the beginning.

C1 The accusation is allowed to fall upon an enemy. C2 The error is provoked by the enemy.

C3 The mistake is directed against the victim by her brother. D3 False suspicion thrown upon a rival. D4 False suspicion thrown upon an innocent because he has refused to be an accomplice. D5 False suspicion thrown by a deserted mistress upon a lover who left her because he would not deceive her husband. D6 Struggle to rehabilitate oneself and to avenge a judicial error purposely caused. 34. REMORSE. Elements: The culprit, the victim or the sin, and the interrogator.

A1 Remorse for an unknown crime. A2 Remorse for a parricide. A3 Remorse for an assassination. A4 Remorse for a judicial murder. A5 Remorse for the murder of husband or wife.

B1 Remorse for a fault of love. B2 Remorse for an adultery.

35. RECOVERY OF A LOST ONE. Elements: The seeker and the one found. A Recovery of a lost one. 36. LOSS OF LOVED ONES. Elements: A kinsman slain, a kinsman spectator, and an executioner. A1 Witnessing the slaying of kinsmen while powerless to prevent it. A2 Helping to bring misfortune upon one's people through professional secrecy. C Learning of the death of a kinsman or ally. 37. MISTAKEN IDENTITY. A Thinking someone is rich when he's poor. B The wrong man caught in the web of fear. C Schizophrenia. D Relapse into primitive baseness, through despair on learning of the death of a loved one. B Divining the death of a loved one.