Inciting Incident Examples
An inciting incident in literature is an event near the beginning of the plot that starts the rising action of the plot. It is an event that begins a conflict in the life of the protagonist and puts the events of the plot into motion. The inciting incident introduces the conflict in the story.
In Romeo and Juliet, the conflict begins when Romeo and Juliet meet at the masked ball and then discover that they are the other's sworn enemy.
In the Star Wars movies, the inciting incident for Luke Skywalker is when R2D2 is bought by his uncle, and the little droid transmits a message from a Princess Leia for Obi Wan. Luke travels to find Obi Wan, learns that his aunt and uncle have been killed, and thus begins his adventures as a Jedi in training with Obi Wan.
In Pride and Prejudice, the inciting incident is when Elizabeth overhears Mr. Darcy's negative opinion of her at a ball hosted by his friend, and thus begins many episodes of "pride" and "prejudice" between the two that prevent them from realizing their love for each other.
In The Most Dangerous Game, the inciting incident is when General Zaroff discusses a "game" of hunting and Rainsford realizes that Zaroff is talking about hunting people.
In the Harry Potter series, the inciting incident is when Hagrid shows up on Harry's birthday, in spite of his family's attempts to avoid the invitations from Hogwarts, and tells Harry that he is a wizard and that he will be traveling to Hogwarts.
In The Hunger Games the inciting incident is when Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place in the games. She does it to protect her sister, but it begins the events of the plot that lead to her and Peeta having to compete against the other tributes to the death.
Literary Terms Examples