200 to 300 words in length State a conflict that you see present in Macbeth (please refer to the list of conflicts).Describe a key conflict in the play and how it corresponds to a character’s development.Describe two key literary techniques and elements of drama that aid in developing the conflict.Explain how the conflict identified in the play relates to human nature and the human conditionlist of literary techniques:
A reference to a recognized literary work, person, historic
event, artistic achievement, etc. that enhances the
meaning of a detail in a literary work.
The crisis or high point of tension that becomes the story’s
turning point—the point at which the outcome of the
conflict is determined.
The struggle that shapes the plot in a story.
When the reader or audience knows more about the
action than the character involved.
A profound and sudden personal discovery.
Setting and essential background information presented at
the beginning of a story or play.
A reduction in intensity following the climax in a story or
play, allowing the various complications to be worked out.
An outside source that determines human events.
Language used in a non-literal way to convey images and
Figures of speech
The main tools of figurative language; include similes and
First-person point of view
Occurs when the narrator is a character in the story and
tells the story from his or her perspective.
The description of an event that occurred prior to the
action in the story.
A technique a writer uses to hint or suggest what the
outcome of an important conflict or situation in a narrative
A distinct representation of something that can be
experienced and understood through the senses (sight,
hearing, touch, smell, and taste), or the representation of
A contradiction in words or actions. There are three types
of irony: verbal, situational, and dramatic.
Limited omniscient point of
Occurs when a narrator has access to the thoughts and
feelings of only one character in a story.
A figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made
between one object and another that is different from it.
Objective point of view
A detached point of view, evident when an external
narrator does not enter into the mind of any character in a
story but takes an objective stance, often to create a
Omniscient point of view
An all-knowing point of view, evident when an external
narrator has access to the thoughts and feelings of all the
characters in a story.
Literally, in Latin, “a mask.”
A connecting element in fiction; a sequence of interrelated,
conflicting actions and events that typically build to a
climax and bring about a resolution
Point of view
The perspective of the narrator who will present the action
to the reader.
The outcome of the action in a story or play.
Conflicts and circumstances that build to a high point of
tension in a story or play.
When the outcome in a situation is the opposite of what is
A figure of speech that compares two objects or ideas that
are not ordinarily considered to be similar, linked by using
like or as.
A lyrical musical expression, a source of emotional outlet
common in ancient communities and still influential in
An object, person, or action that conveys two meanings: its
literal meaning and something it stands for.
Third-person point of view
Occurs when the narrator tells the story using third-person
pronouns (he, she, they) to refer to the characters.
In a literary work, the speaker’s attitude toward the reader
or the subject.
When words are used to convey a meaning that is opposite
of their literal meaning.
Types of Conflicts Found in Literature
Below is a list of possible conflicts found in literature. Select each conflict to learn more. To help you
better understand each conflict and how it might be apparent, examples from popular culture have been
provided. Please also note that it is possible for a text to have more than one conflict at work. The
repeated references to conflicts in The Simpsons provide further context on how multiple conflicts might
be present in a single work. Other examples of conflict are also provided.
Click on each type of conflict to learn more.
Individual versus Individual (Kahn vs. Captain Kirk, Tom vs. Jerry) Example: Homer Simpson’s profound dislike of Ned Flanders in The Simpsons is
ENG125: Introduction to Literature
unavoidably obvious. The two men are as different as night and day. Though Ned Flanders
seems unaware that he is Homer Simpson’s antagonist, to everyone who watches, it is
obvious that Ned plays this role.
Example: One of the funniest movies about individuals opposing each other is called The
Ref, where a cat burglar gets caught in a house with a warring husband and wife. Other
members of this dysfunctional family also add to the conflict. View The Ref (1994) fan
trailer or explore the film on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).
Individual versus Nature Return
Example: One of the first episodes of The Simpsons features a hilarious scenario in which
Homer takes the family camping in the woods. Things end disastrously for Homer and Bart,
while Marge, Lisa, and Maggie successfully brave the wild. This episode has an interesting
underlying argument at work about the relationship between humans today and nature.
Example: Several books and movies show mountain climbers daring to scale the most
formidable and highest mountains on earth where they face extremely difficult climates and
terrain. These accounts are usually full of adventure, action, and hardship. Here is an
example of human versus mountain in the video Touching the Void Atheism. You may also
explore the article “Mt. Everest: Why do people keep climbing it?”
Example: Many horror films feature scary and dangerous animals. One of the most popular
movies of all time is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Watch Crows Attack the Students – The
Birds (6/11) Movie CLIP (1963) HD.
Example: One of the most famous American novels, Moby Dick, features Captain Ahab
determined to kill the large white whale that took his leg.
Individual versus Society (V for Vendetta, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1984) Return
Example: In The Simpsons, Homer has had infamously hilarious interactions with
politicians. Mayor Quimby comes across as less than effective in his work. As a figure who
represents the political system in The Simpsons universe, Quimby’s portrayal makes an
argument about the conflict between the individual and society. Additionally, the economics
of the working-class Simpson family is often framed against the wealth of Mr. Burns,
McBain, and other affluent figures.
Example: A recent movie, Belle, is about a black woman brought up free in an aristocratic
home during the years of slavery in England. The story features Belle, the protagonist, and a
young lawyer engaged in challenging and ending the slave trade. Belle’s struggle also
involves challenging social conceptions of race. Watch the Belle Trailer to explore further.
Individual versus Technology (2001: A Space Odyssey, Modern Times, The Fly) Return
Example: In The Simpsons, Homer is the safety technician at a nuclear power plant, but he is
perpetually doing extremely dangerous things. The technology itself is portrayed as
immensely complicated. Even in an animated sitcom like The Simpsons, the message about
technology and the human being in our current era is multi-layered and complicated.
Example: The best man versus technology movie ever (according to many) is The
Terminator, which tells the story of a lethal robot sent back in time to murder the mother of
the human army’s leader. View the trailer Terminator 1 Trailer 1984 or explore the Internet
Movie Database (IMDB).
Example: The novel Frankenstein can fit in this category since the monster is man-made and
seeks to destroy its creator.
Individual versus Self (John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, Gregory House in House, Homer Simpson in The
Simpsons, Hamlet in Hamlet) Return
Example: In The Simpsons, Homer Simpson is perpetually at battle with himself—his eating
habits, his drinking habits, his tendency toward laziness—you name it. He always acts
against his own best interests.
Example: In the movie American History X, Edward Norton plays a man who must confront
his prejudices, which he does when he is sent to prison for murdering another man. The
trailer, American History X – Trailer – (1998) – HQ, shows the character’s personal
transformation. You may also explore this further on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).
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