Conflict Definition in Literature


Conflict Definition in Literature

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Conflict Definition in Literature

Conflict Definition in Literature

Conflict Definition in Literature

Definition of Conflict:

In literature, conflict is a fundamental element that arises from the struggle between opposing forces, providing the narrative with tension, drama, and the driving force for plot development. This clash can manifest in various forms, involving characters, ideas, values, or external circumstances, and it catalyzes the unfolding events within a story.

Types of Conflict:

Internal Conflict:

Definition: Internal conflict occurs within the mind of a character, involving a struggle with opposing desires, emotions, beliefs, or moral dilemmas.

Example: The protagonist grappling with a decision between personal desires and a sense of moral responsibility.

External Conflict:

Definition: External conflict involves a struggle between a character and an external force, such as another character, nature, society, or situation.

Example: A protagonist facing an antagonist, a hero confronting the challenges of a treacherous environment, or a character resisting societal norms.

Man vs. Man:

Definition: This classic external conflict pits one character against another, often embodying opposing values, goals, or interests.

Example: The rivalry between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty in Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.

Man vs. Nature:

Definition: External conflict where a character contends with natural forces, elements, or environmental challenges.

Example: The struggle for survival against harsh weather conditions in Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.”

Man vs. Society:

Definition: External conflict involving a character’s resistance to societal norms, expectations, or injustices.

Example: The protagonist challenging societal conventions in George Orwell’s “1984.”

Man vs. Technology:

Definition: External conflict where characters confront challenges posed by technological advancements or artificial intelligence.

Example: The ethical dilemmas and consequences of artificial intelligence in Isaac Asimov’s science fiction works.

Function of Conflict in Literature:

Advancing the Plot: Conflict propels the narrative forward, providing a series of challenges and obstacles that characters must overcome, creating a dynamic and engaging plot.

Character Development: The struggles characters face in conflicts reveal their strengths, weaknesses, and growth, contributing to their overall development and complexity.

Thematic Exploration: Conflict allows authors to explore and convey themes such as power, morality, justice, and the human condition, providing depth and substance to the narrative.

Reader Engagement: Tension arising from conflict captivates readers, evoking emotional responses and investment in the characters’ journeys.


Conflict, as an elemental force in literature, mirrors the complexities of human existence. Through the clash of opposing forces, stories unfold, characters evolve, and themes are explored, offering readers a compelling and resonant exploration of the struggles that define the human experience. 0 0 0.  Conflict Definition in Literature

Conflict Definition in Literature

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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