Todorov is associated with the theory that every narrative can be broken down into 3 basic stages. Equilibrium, dis-equilibrium and new equilibrium. People usually refer to the 3 part model but he actually proposed 5 stages.
1. a state of equilibrium at the outset.
2. a disruption of the equilibrium by some action.
3. a recognition that there has been a disruption.
4. an attempt to repair the disruption.
5. a reinstatement of the equilibrium.
Another basic but vital component of most narratives is the concept of narrative enigma. These are the puzzles created within the narrative . Trying to figure out these puzzles is part of the enjoyment of watching the text. This is often done by not showing someones face or key information purposefully being hidden from the audience.
When we consider the use of stereotypes it is often evident how a binary opposition is at play. For example how we describe a stereotypical poor or working class person in broadly the opposite of how we would describe a middle class or upper class person. Scenes within dramas often reflect this idea with clashing pairs. These binary opposites are what often cause conflict or tension.
Propp argued that there are essentially 8 different character types, also known as an archetypes.
1. Villain - also known as the antagonist they are the 'bad guy' of the film and they never usually end up 'winning' or having the best outcome at the end of the film.
2. Donor - this person usually helps prepare the hero for what they have to overcome or gives them something to help them.
3. Helper - helps the hero in their quest.
4. The Princess/Prize - the hero that deserves her/it throughout the story but is unable to marry her at he beginning of the story due to whatever villain is doing to stop them.
5. The Princess and her Father- gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero, marries the hero. Propp noted that the father and the princess can be quite hard to distinguish between.
6. The Dispatcher - character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off.
7. Hero/Victim - also known as the protagonist, reacts to the donor, weds the princess.
8. False Hero/Anti Hero/Usurper- takes credit for the hero's actions or tries to marry the princess.These roles could sometimes be distributed among various characters. Also once character could do things that mean they apply to more than one role.