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Rivalry of superior and inferior


Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Polti's Situations > Rivalry of superior and inferior

Description | Discussion | See also


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  • The Superior Rival
  • The Inferior Rival
  • The Object of Rivalry


The Superior Rival is set against an Inferior Rival, both vying for the Object of Rivalry.



  1. Rivalry of a mortal and an immortal
  2. Rivalry of two divinities of unequal power
  3. Rivalry of a magician and an ordinary man
  4. Rivalry of conqueror and conquered
  5. Rivalry of victor and vanquished
  6. Rivalry of a master and a banished man
  7. Rivalry of suzerain king and vassal king
  8. Rivalry of a king and a noble
  9. Rivalry of a powerful person and an upstart
  10. Rivalry of rich and poor
  11. Rivalry of an honored man and a suspected one
  12. Rivalry of two who are almost equal
  13. Rivalry of equals, one of whom has in the past been guilty of adultery
  14. Rivalry of a man who is loved and one who has not the right to love
  15. Rivalry of the two successive husbands of a divorcee


  1. Rivalry of a sorceress and an ordinary woman
  2. Rivalry of a victor and a prisoner
  3. Rivalry of a queen and a subject
  4. Rivalry of a queen and a slave
  5. Rivalry of a lady and a servant
  6. Rivalry of a lady and a woman of humbler position
  7. Rivalry of two who are almost equals, complicated by the abandonment of one
  8. Rivalry between a memory and an ideal (that of a superior woman) and a vassal of her own
  9. Rivalry of mortal and immortal


  1. Double rivalry (A vs B vs C vs D)


  1. Rivalry of two immortals
  2. Rivalry of two mortals
  3. Rivalry of two lawful wives


Rivalry is a rich general theme and many different sub-situations of rivals in different contexts can be found, as indicated above. In our own lives, also, we often find rivals, ranging from those who would seek promotion against us at work to rivals for the affection of third another.

Rivalry can include elements of both envy and jealousy, which can both spill over from simple competitive respect to dislike and hatred of enemies.

When one person is superior in some way to another, then they may seem to have the upper hand and are bound to win. However the inferior rival can employ other means. If the inferior rival is bad, they may use evil subterfuge, for example discrediting or poisoning the superior rival. Where the inferior rival is good, then they may win support from others or perhaps see through the evil ways of the superior rival.

Where the object of rivalry is another person, this person is given significant power, which they can respect or abuse according to their will. They thus join in the story and may be a major character. A typical pattern is where they add their power to the inferior person, thus counterbalancing the power of the superior person. It is also easy for triangular games to ensue.

'Rivalry of superior and inferior' is the 24th of Georges Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations.

See also

Rivalry of kinsmen

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