Aesop's Fables

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Structural Analysis of the Aesop's Fables


This wiki analyzes Aesop's Fables with a structural model of narrative called "GOTSEC model". GOTSEC stands for Goal, Obstacle, Tasks, Side-Effects and Characters. The models aims to capture the deep structure of a narrative, its core meaning [3]. It is a theoretical outcome of long term project in Interative Drama by Nicolas Szilas and colleagues (see also the IDtension narrative engine).

The GOTSEC model aims at formalizing dramatic situations, as defined by E. Souriau [2]. It considers that a dramatic situation is described as a graph containing a limited set of nodes and relations of different types[4]. Via these nodes and relations, dramatic situations are described syntactically, to provide a higher generative power.

At the core of the model is the concept of dramatic cycle. A dramatic cycle is a subpart of a graph that represents a paradox, according to Bill Nichols' approach [1]. It is formally defined as a cycle containing two half paths, one positive path and one negative path. The notion of dramatic cycle covers what is often referred as "conflict".


The 20 first Aesop's Fables (V.S. Vernon Jones English translation) have been analyzed. For each fable, we have provided:

  • The visual representation of the structural graph, possibly separated in successive situations. Please refer to the GOTSEC model to find the legend of the graphs.
  • The dramatic cycles. A dramatic cycle is coded as an ordered pair of two paths, the positive path and the negative path: (positivePath,negativePath), each path being represented itself by a tuple of nodes.


  1. Nichols, B. (1981). Ideology and the image. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
  2. Souriau, E. (1950). Les deux cent mille Situations dramatiques. Paris: Flammarion.
  3. Szilas, N., Richle, U., & Dumas, J. E. (2012). Structural Writing, a Design Principle for Interactive Drama. In D. Oyarzun, F. Peinado, R. M. Young, A. Elizalde, & G. Méndez (Eds.), 5th International Conference on International Digital Storytelling (ICIDS 2012). LNCS 7648 (Vol. 7648, pp. 72–83). Heidelberg: Springer.
  4. Szilas, N., & Richle, U. (2013). Towards a Computational Model of Dramatic Tension. In M. A. Finlayson, B. Fisseni, B. Löwe, & J. C. Meister (Eds.), 2013 Workshop on Computational Models of Narrative (Vol. 32, pp. 257–276). Dagstuhl, Germany: Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik.
  5. Szilas, N., Estupiñán, S., & Richle, U. (2016). Qualifying and quantifying interestingness in dramatic situations. In F. Nack & A. S. Gordon (Eds.), 9th International Conference on International Digital Storytelling (ICIDS 2016) (Vol. 10045, pp. 336–347). Cham: Springer.
  6. Szilas, N. (2017). Modeling and representing dramatic situations as paradoxical structures. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 32(2).