Meaning of Anagnorisis


Anagnorisis is associated with an act of recognition. It is a resource of rhetoric that leads a character to discover and recognize his identity or the identity of a third party, an event that modifies his subsequent behavior. Anagnorisis is also linked to what happens when two characters meet again after a long time.

Anagnorisis can be said to be the transition from ignorance to truth: a fact that was hidden from the character’s eyes suddenly comes to light. Revelation alters the way of thinking of the individual in question and his actions, thereby changing the course of history.

Anagnorisis was first described by Aristotle. The Greek philosopher argued that, in classical tragedy, the moment of peripecia was the key instance for anagnorisis. In this context, we understand peripecia a circumstance or fact that is characterized by bringing to the reader certain facts related to a particular story or character, and this is found in many works of various genres.

Returning to Aristotle’s theory, he claimed that in the event, the hero accessed the truth and experienced the consequences of such knowledge. The plot, from then on, was adjusted to this new vision of the protagonist.

Anagnorisis can be found in various classic accounts of world history. An example occurs in the Odyssey. In Ulysses’ return to Ithaca, the different characters gradually recognize him. The last to assume the revelation is Penelope, Ulises’ wife, who makes him carry out a test with the aim of ratifying his identity.

Anagnorisis is a resource frequently found in Greek comedy, with which we can place ourselves at least four centuries before the birth of Christ. For example, it is common to find in the comedies of the Greek Menander, as well as those who imitated him to create works in Latin, many characters who have suffered abandonment by their mothers when they were young to leave them in the care of families of a social class more low.

This decision when creating the story makes it difficult to unite these characters with people of the nobility, and it is not until the anagnorisis takes place that the false walls that distance them from their loved ones can tear down. In order for the characters to discover their true origin, it is possible to use an endless number of resources, such as a birthmark or a precious object that the mother left her when she abandoned it, such as an earring or a bracelet.

We can also appreciate the agnórisis in a large number of Spanish plays, both in the Baroque theater, as the chivalric novel or the romantic drama. William Shakespeare also took advantage of this resource in some of his dramas, especially in tragedies; In this particular case, access to truth by the characters does not lead to solving problems in a positive way, but the stories often end badly.

Much closer in time, the main character of “Fight Club” (work translated as “The Fight Club” or “The Fight Club “) experiences anagnorisis when he discovers that Tyler Durden is his other self (ie, Durden does not exist but is himself).

In video games of genres such as adventure and RPG, anagnorisis is also very common, and marks a turning point in which an apparently common character discovers that the future of his land depends, for example.