All terms

What is an agon?

Intense mental or emotional struggle in fiction, resulting in conflict and tension.

The Agony of Conflict: Using Agon to Build Tension in Writing

In literature, agon is often used to create tension and conflict by showing intense mental or emotional struggle in characters, which can drive the plot and add depth to a story. This can come from internal conflict within a character, or from external conflicts with other characters or the world around them.

When using agon in creative writing, it's important to keep in mind that it should serve a purpose in the story and not simply be included for the sake of conflict. Developing a character's struggle and giving it depth through their reactions, thoughts, and actions can help to create a sense of empathy and connection with readers. Additionally, using agon can build tension and suspense, keeping readers engaged and invested in the story.

Grammar and language play an important role in effectively conveying the agony of conflict in writing. Using descriptive and emotive language can help to convey a character's struggle and bring the reader into their experience. Additionally, playing with syntax and sentence structure can help to build tension and create a sense of urgency in the writing.

Agon in Action: How Writers Use Conflict to Create Tension

Agon is a common literary device used to build tension and conflict in stories. Here are two examples of how it's used in literature.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the character Tom Buchanan represents external conflict that Gatsby must overcome to win the affection of Daisy. The tension between them builds throughout the novel until it ultimately leads to tragedy.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

In Morrison's Beloved, Sethe is haunted by the agon of her past as a slave and the difficult decisions she had to make to protect her children. The internal struggle between her love for her children and her guilt over her past deeds drives the plot and creates a sense of tension throughout the novel.