Definition of Resolution

The literary device resolution means the unfolding or solution of a complicated issue in a story. Technically, resolution is also known as a denouement. Most of the instances of resolution are presented in the final parts or chapters of a story. It mostly follows the climax.

In certain mystery novels, climax and resolution may occur simultaneously. However, in other forms of literature, resolution takes place at the end of the story. Considering that it ends a story, resolution is an integral part of the conflict of the story.

Examples of Resolution from Literature

Example #1

Capulet: O brother Montague, give me thy hand.
This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more
Can I demand…
Montague: But I can give thee more,
For I will raise her statue in pure gold,
That whiles Verona by that name is known,…
As that of true and faithful Juliet…
Capulet: As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie,
Poor sacrifices of our enmity…..
Prince: A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head….

(Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)

This is the final dialogue which takes place between Lord Capulet and Lord Montague. Seeing their beloved children, Romeo and Juliet, committing suicide for love, both the heads of the family regret their long enmity. Now both of them agree to end the dispute between their tribes to avoid and future tragedy.

Example #2

“They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together…..”

(The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Concluding the story “The Great Gatsby,” Nick makes his mind to return to Minnesota as an escape from the rich people. He knows that the rich people are engaged in morally worthless activities. That is why he is convinced that people in Gatsby’s circle are unfaithful.

Example #3

“…..That’s all I’m going to tell about. I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I’m supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don’t feel like it. I really don’t. That stuff doesn’t interest me too much right now….. I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it’s a stupid question…..”

(The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger)

The resolution in this story takes place in the final part of the novel. Holden, the protagonist, while living in a psychiatric facility, recounts the story. He provides readers with the details of his future plans. He informs us that he will go back home and attend school, meet his parents but only after enjoying the ride of a merry-go-round in Phoebe.

Example #4

Gentleman: One that gives out himself Prince Florizel/ Son of Polixenes, with his princess, she/ The fairest I have yet beheld, desires access…
Leontes: What with him? he comes not/ Like to his father’s greatness: his approach,…
Florizel: Most royal sir, from thence; from him, whose daughter
His tears proclaim’d his, parting with her: thence/ A prosperous south-wind friendly, we have cross’d…
Leontes: My lord, Is this the daughter of a king? … His tears proclaim’d his, parting with her: thence…
Leontes: My lord, Is this the daughter of a king…”

(The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare)

In these extracted lines from “The Winter’s Tale”, the resolution occurs when Polixenes follows Florizel and Perdita to Sicily. After he finds out the true identity of Paulina, Polixenes and Leontes reconcile and both the families become happy. Leontes is also reunited with his family and discovers that Hermoin is alive.

Function of Resolution in Literature

The resolution is the final solution in literature. Almost all the genres of storytelling make use of resolution to end a story. Actually, resolution is required to wrap up a story, and it comes after the climax. Following a heart-racing and anxiety-triggering climax, resolution gives audiences the opportunity to relax. It brings all disturbing conflicts in order and helps the central theme of the movie or novel to resonate. Its function of resolving the problem has made it highly significant. The story would be a disaster if the resolution is presented poorly.

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