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Conflict with a god

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Polti's Situations > Conflict with a god

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Previous: Ambition

Next: Mistaken jealousy

 

Description

Elements

  • An Immortal
  • A Mortal

Summary

The Mortal challenges the Immortal. There are consequences.

Variants

A

  1. Struggle against a deity
  2. Strife with believers in a god

B

  1. Controversy with a deity
  2. Punishment for contempt of a god
  3. Punishment for pride before a god
  4. Presumptuous rivalry with a god
  5. Impudent rivalry with a deity

Discussion

Fighting against a god does not seem like a very good idea, yet this very principle of the inevitability of failure gives the notion a heroic edge, showing the mortal who comes into conflict as being heroically brave (or perhaps mortally stupid).

Nevertheless, if you take the god's view into account, the whole thing can take a different shape. Assuming a pantheon of gods, each may have very different reactions to challenge from a mortal. Some may be angry and smite the mortal sorely. Others may be merely amused or deeply impressed at the bravery shown.

The consequences for the Mortal may vary significantly, from death to gaining of a sought-after treasure.

Stories thus use conflict against overwhelming odds as a stage for demonstrating courage or foolhardiness (and sometimes both). As with David and Goliath, the superior power may be overcome. The hero may also be defeated but live to tell the tale, perhaps wiser from the experience.

'Conflict with a god' is the 31st of Georges Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations.

See also

 

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