Anticlimax Examples


Anticlimax is the term used to describe a disappointing turn of events or "let down" that occurs after tension builds in a text. In a typical plot, action rises until a climax, the point at which a character must make a decision that changes the course of action or at which events come to a head and one outcome or another is inevitable.

When a story has an anticlimax, the plot has built up, but then something disappointing or "boring" happens.

Examples of Anticlimax:

1. Tension builds in a horror movie as a young girl approaches a closed door. There is a scratching sound coming from behind the door. When she opens it, a cat comes out.

2. You are riding a roller coaster, and it begins to climb a steep hill slowly. The roller coaster reaches the top of the hill, and you brace yourself to begin a steep drop down the hill. But, the track evens out and you go straight instead of down.

3. A firefighter enters a burning house because he hears what sounds like a child crying. When he reaches the sound, all he finds is a cat, meowing loudly. When he emerges from the house, the entire family is standing there safe and sound.

Examples of Anticlimax in Literature or Film

1. In Monty Python and The Holy Grail, the film builds to a point where the Knights and the French seem about to do battle. If the Knights can get into the castle, they will get the grail, and their quest is over. But, a policeman comes and arrests King Arthur.

2. "He has seen the ravages of war, he has known natural catastrophes, he has been to singles bars." Woody Allen, "Speech to the Graduates"

3. The ending of the games in The Hunger Games is somewhat anticlimactic. Katniss and Peeta prepare to die together rather than kill each other. Just before they can eat the berries and defy the Capitol, the game-makers end the games.

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