Climax| Climax to a Story

Climax is a literary device in which the sequential words, clauses, phrases or sentences are organized in ascending order. In this article, readers will be able to find the climax to a story and its examples.


Originated from the late Latin word ‘Klimax’ and was first known used in mid-16th century.


It is a literary device in which sequential words, clauses, phrases, or sentences are organized in ascending order. In dramatic and non-dramatic fiction, the climax is the point at which the highest level of interest and emotional response is achieved.

It is considered a point at which the rise of action ends and the fall of action begins. In a tragedy, the climax will generally reveal the protagonist’s most significant weaknesses, and the situation will go irreparable wrong.

Common Examples of Climax:

  1. He lost his fans, friends, and family.
  2. He smiles, laughs, and roars.
  3. Look up in the sky; it is a bird! It is a plane! It is a superman!
  4. He met with the accident, became injured, and died.
  5. John earned three thousand per day; the next day, he earned five thousand and ten thousand a day.
  6. Of the people, by the people, for the people.
  7. Good to know, better to know, best to know.
  8. Feeling sad, sorrowful, and repentant.

Climax to a Story

The climax of the story is the turning point, it is the point where the main conflict reaches its peak. This is where all of your characters will be put to the test. The forces that have been driving your characters will come to a head, and they will have to make a decision that will affect their lives forever. In other words: everything needs to go wrong at once!

For example: In Romeo & Juliet, the story’s climax occurs when Romeo kills himself after thinking Juliet is dead. If he had survived that night, everything would have been okay for him and Juliet because they would still have each other. But with his death also came hers, so everything fell apart for them at once.

The climax of King Lear occurs when Lear disowns Cordelia, who remains loyal to him even after he has banished her, and Kent banishes Lear in turn. Lear then goes mad, roaming naked through the forest.

Climax Examples in Literature:

Oration of Cicero against Verres:

It is an outrage to bind a Roman citizen, to scourge him is an atrocious crime; to put him to death is almost a parricide; but to Crucify him,
what shall I call it?

In this example, the orator wishing to raise the audience’s annoyance with the heist pitch refrained from specifying the accused’s crime at once and led the way up to it in successive steps.

Lord Macaulay’s graphic description about climax:

The energy and pathos of the great orator extorted expressions of unwonted admiration even from the stern and hostile Chancellor, and for a moment seemed to pierce even the resolute heart of the defendant. The ladies in the galleries, unaccustomed to such displays of eloquence, excited by the solemnity of the occasion, and perhaps not unwilling to display their taste and sensibility, were in a state of uncontrollable emotion.

Handkerchiefs were pulled out, smelling bottles were handed round; hysterical sobs and screams were heard; and Mrs. Sheridan was carried out in a fit.”

Burke’s peroration in impeachment of Warren Hastings:

  1. I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, whose parliamentary trust he has betrayed.
  2. I impeach him in the name of our holy religion, which he has disgraced.
  3. I impeach him in the name of the English Constitution, which he has violated and broken.
  4. I impeach him in the name of the English nation whose ancient honour he has sullied.
  5. Lastly, in the name of human nature itself, in the name of both sexes, in the name of every age, in the name of every rank, I impeach the common enemy and oppressor of all.

Macaulay on Lord Bacon:

Impeached, convicted, sentenced, driven with ignominy from the presence of his Sovereign, shut out from the deliberations of his fellow nobles, loaded with debt, branded with dishonour, sinking fellow nobles, loaded with debt, branded with dishonor, sinking under the weight of years, sorrows and diseases, Bacon was Bacon still.

Purpose of Climax:

The story’s climax is used to reach the final point of excitement and enjoyment. Readers can observe the events starting from the low point, which ends at the high point. It is a valuable tool to build up a story and is sometimes considered a turning point of a story in which the rising action of something and its fall has been discussed.

Difference between Climax and Anti-Climax

The climax is the turning point of a plot that causes the story to end. The climax is the most exciting part of the story and often includes a significant event that changes everything for the protagonist. It may also be referred to as the turning point, crisis or resolution.

The anticlimax is the opposite of a climax. It’s a letdown because it takes place after an exciting moment but doesn’t have much action. Anticlimaxes are usually not as crucial as climaxes and don’t show any character or plot development growth.

Further Reading

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