The recognition achieved by the protagonist of a tragedy, usually an understanding of, or higher wisdom gained by acknowledging his or her hamartia. This recognition usually occurs after the tragedy’s peripeteia, like Oedipus’ realizing that he murdered his father and slept with his mother. In his Anatomy of Criticism, Northrup Frye states that “Anagnorisis is not simply an awareness by the hero of what has happened to him, but the recognition of the determined shape of the life he has created for himself, with an implicit comparison to the uncreated potential life he has forsaken.”
- Frye, Northrup. Anatomy of Criticism. Updated ed. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 2000.