The creation of a figurative constellation helps to understand the connections and ratios of the figures in a text. In the figure constellation, therefore, all social relations (friendships or degree of dependency) and psychological or even mental relationships of the characters are held. The figure constellation shows how the figures are connected to one another in dramatic or epic texts and stand together.
Typically, we focus on the most important characters of the action and not on all the characters of the work. This means that the center of the configuration (constellation) is the main character (protagonist) and their connections to other figures (deuteragonists) of the text.
Note: The figure constellation can, of course, also take into account all the characters of a drama or epic text. It is important, however, to work out the central figures in detail.
Example: Figure constellation in Little Red Riding Hood
To illustrate what is written, we would like to present a simple example of such a configuration. We chose the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.
We chose the fairy tale because the acting figures are very straightforward and most people are familiar with the content. In the text only five persons appear: namely, Little Red Riding Hood herself, her mother and grandmother, the evil wolf, and at the very end a huntsman frees the devoured and takes them out of the belly of the wolf.
It is important that the main figure is at the center of the figure constellation and we unfold it around the figure. If we want to put these relations of affinity and simple concatenation on the paper, this could look something like this.
We see on this graphic the actors of the text and their relationship to one another. It should be noted that the figurative constellation can be decorated by us, so that important events of the action are also found in their place (eating, liberating, visiting, imposing, warning). However, this is not a must, but in hindsight can be extremely practical.
Note: A whole novel is, of course, much more complex and confused. Only the most important actions in the figure constellation should be represented, and the relations and relationships of the characters should be increased.
Example: Figurine constellation in Woyzeck
Let us look at another example. This is a little more complex than the previous one and is intended to depict and reconstruct the relationship braid in Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck.
The configuration of the most important characters is indicated by the above diagram. Compared to the previous figure constellation, the connections between the individual figures are more complex, whereby not even all the actors in the graph have been taken into account.
Note: In regard to Woyzeck, we have considered a further aspect in the figure constellation, namely, the respective dependencies of the figures among themselves. In the configuration, we can focus on various topics (dependencies, affairs or other things).
When is the figure constellation suitable?
The character configuration is useful if we want to get an overview of the respective text and we would like to continue to work on it or to analyze it further after the first reading.
It can be helpful to decipher the individual connections and show them clearly in the case of very confused action strings. Basically, the whole thing is meaningful, in order to have an overview at a later stage and thus not lose sight of the relationships or dependencies of the respective figures.
Tip: In addition, the constellation’s consistency can be helpful if we want to make a characterization, a description of the person, a role biography, or even a short description in connection with an epic or dramatic text.
The most important thing about the figuration constellation at a glance
This method can help us to grasp the links between the actors and the relationship fabric in an epic or dramatic text.
Furthermore, the constellation of figures can serve as a basis for numerous other types of fixtures and is a common method of science to visualize texts.
It can not only represent the relationships of the actors, but also set a thematic focus.
On the graphical level there are no settings for the configuration. What is important is that the characters are joined together. Everything else is left to us.