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Stasis

___________, in a narrative, is a condition which is stable and is then upset by an inciting incident, with the inciting incident then creating a problem that is a key part of the plot.

Examples of stasis
Antigones brothers corpse is left outside the gates of Thebes, unburied, by order of King Creon. Everyone is afraid to bury the boys body.

Stasis example 2
A mongoose named Rikki lives happily in his burrow with his mum and dad.

Stasis example 3
A boy named Luke lives on a desert planet with his aunt and uncle, all of them farming and working together as a family.

Stasis example 4
A poor young couple lives happily together, content in their love.

Stasis example 5
A handsome boy named Narcissus rejects everyone who loves him, because he thinks no one else is good enough for him.

Stasis example 6
A Roman politician named Caesar steadily advances both in the love of the people and in the power he holds over the increasingly feeble Roman Republic.

Stasis example 7
A black admiral named Othello is a frequent guest at a Venetian noblemans house, where he strikes up an increasingly intense friendship with the noblemans daughter, Desdemona.

Stasis example 8
A fairly unattractive and somewhat overweight young man is himself attracted only to conventionally beautiful and thin young women. Although he is unable to find love or even carry on a moderately successful relationship, he refuses to look at any woman as possible dating material unless she is strikingly attractive and thin.

Be able to:
State a formal definition of stasis Cite examples previously given as examples of stasis Explain why a particular example you cite is an example of stasis Describe the stasis that proceeds the beginning of action in a literary work or film that you are familiar with

Before you can do the previous examples:


You have to understand the concept of an inciting incident What follows is the definition of inciting incident, followed by the inciting incidents that apply to the works of literature or film that you just saw cited as providing examples of stasis.

Inciting incident 1
Antigone buries Polyneices. (Antigone)

Inciting incident 2
A flood washes Rikki out of his burrow. (Rikki-tikki-tavi) Now he has a problem. What has he lost? What does he need now?

Inciting incident 2
A vast interstellar empires brutal soldiers land on a desert planet. Searching for a robot that has been sent to the stars with a princesss plea for help, the soldiers kill a young mans family, thus inadvertently alerting the knight as well as the young man to the princesss dire situation. (Star Wars) Now the young man has a problem. Things are not stable for him, and stasis has thus been disrupted. He could do various things, but in the plot of Star Wars, he chooses to help the Princess by going with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Inciting incident 3
A young wife borrows a supposedly very expensive necklace so that she can attend a party and make a good impression then loses the necklace. (The Necklace) Note that wanting to attend the party does not disturb stasis, nor would attending the party disturb it. If Mathilde had not borrowed the necklace, she would have gone to the party in her ordinary clothes and accessories. She and her husband would have had whatever experience such a party offers, and gone home lamenting poverty but not different in any important way.

Inciting incident 4
Narcissus rejects the overtures of a boy who loves him or anyway has a crush on him, and the boy prays to the gods that Narcissus himself will experience the agony of unrequited love. The gods grant his prayer. (Narcissus, from the Metamorphoses of Ovid)

Inciting incident 5
A Roman politician convinces other important men that Julius Caesar intends to make himself emperor of Rome and that he must therefore be killed. (The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, by Wm. Shakespeare) In this historical tragedy of Shakespeare, note that Julius Caesars intention to make himself emperor (an intention he may or may not have had) is NOT the inciting incident. He was moving that way all along, and that pattern of change is stasis, since nothing is getting in Caesars way. It was Cassiuss act of persuading various people that Caesar was a threat to the Republic, and that the way to deal with the threat was assassination, which led to Caesars murder and let slip the dogs of war.

Inciting incident 6
Othello, a black admiral, secretly marries the white daughter of a Venetian nobleman (Othello, by Wm. Shakespeare) You probably have not seen this play or read it (or the excellent film with Lawrence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh), but you should understand that the marriage must be followed by an attempt to destroy Othello. In other words, the marriage is an inciting incident only in a society where Othellos marriage is socially controversial, or where it at least excites a given individuals rage or envy.

Final inciting incident


A superficial young man is hypnotized to see an enormously fat woman as conventionally attractive (Shallow Hal) Note that the problems this inciting incident creates are not immediately obvious. Hal now has a large array of women whom he can seek out for romance, which enriches his life by broadening his options. However, he is not seeing these women clearly, and the things he says to the woman he falls in love with are not realistic descriptions of her body. This is a situation that cannot be sustained, and it does not provide a way for Hal to change in a fundamental way, since he is in the grip of a spell rather than growing as a person.