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Senior Member
"The situation develops into a crisis with Bernard’s unauthorised[j1] interview, but a solution is found thanks to the Press Officer’s mediation and Sir Humphrey’s strategy (“peripeteia”), and order is eventually restored."

Concerning the above excerpt and the word "peripeteia" - how can I make it work? The problem is that I am wholly unfamiliar with the term "peripeteia", and don't know what words "go well with it".
(peripeteia : a sudden or unexpected reversal of circumstances or situation especially in a literary work)

Now, I'll do a little guessing, but I reckon it's unlikely that I nail it:

Could one say that Sir Humphrey/Press officer "by a stroke of peripeteia restore order"? Can they, via their strategies, have Peripeteia "occur"? "come about"?
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is not a word I am familiar with either, but I feel like exploring it a little - if only because of my love of the context:)

    Sir Humphrey's pragmatic way of dealing with some of Jim Hacker's bizarre notions was to cave in at the moment when it became clear that resistance was futile. He would then behave as if there had never been any disagreement - a bit of elegant retrospective rationalisation.

    It seems to me, from the definition and a little looking around, that the peripeteia is the moment in the fictional history when Sir Humphrey defuses the tension between Jim Hacker and himself simply by changing his mind. His actions create the perpeteia, they are not in themselves the peripeteia.

    So it seems to me that "by a stroke of peripeteia" would not be quite riight "in a moment of peripeteia" perhaps? Could they restore order through a carefully engineered peripeteia?

    As I will almost certainly have forgotten this word again by the morning, it probably doesn't matter a great deal:D
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