A happy ending is the positive, usually also happy, conclusion of any event sequence. Usually, however, a good result in dramas, films and prose is described, which is typical for trivial literature. Comedies and films are usually used for the purpose of solving conflicts, in order to initiate an effective happy ending.
The term is derived from English happy ending, which can be translated with a happy ending. Thus, the word sequence is to be interpreted as a pseudo-junkyism, which is not used in English itself and is only used in some European languages. Nevertheless, this translation provides us with a basic idea: the happy ending in artistic works [mostly in film, drama, prose].
Originally, the concept referred to the happy ending of the action in the Kinofilm, but was soon used for literary genres as well as for the happy outcome of a situation in general. The effect is usually that the corresponding work is perceived more positively by the recipient (reader, viewer), which is especially the film industry very often.
What is essential here is that the main characters (protagonists) are successful, sometimes defeating the opponent (antagonist) or finding each other happy. For example, lovers can finally be beaten a couple, baddies or bombs defused in time. In part, it is even incidental to what fate the other characters of the work endure. The critic Roger Ebert summarizes this:
Billions of people may have died, but at least the major characters have survived. […] Los Angeles is the largest city in the world, and is the largest city in the world. Thank god that Jack, Sam, Laura, Jason and Dr. Lucy Hall survive, along with Dr. Hall’s little cancer patient. (Source: rogerebert.com)
Translation: billions of people have died, but at least the main characters have survived. Los Angeles was razed to the ground by several tornadoes, New York was buried under ice and snow, the United Kingdom was shocked, and large parts of the northern hemisphere were extinguished. Thank God, Jack, Sam, Laura, Jason, Dr. Lucy Hall and the little cancer patient survived.
Happy End and Dénouement
Gustav Freytag, a German writer, published his work on the technique of drama in 1863, dividing classical drama into five parts. This outline was mainly oriented towards the plays of antiquity, and thus brought him all kinds of criticism.
According to Freytag’s theory, a dramatic work consists of exposure, an arousal with excitement, a climax with peripetia, a falling action with retardation, and a final disaster. In comedy, the solution of the conflict (happy ending) replaces the catastrophe. Both possible outputs decipher the situation in a certain way and are to be interpreted as dénouement.
The Dénouement as dissolving the conflict in classical drama
The Dénouement describes the dissolution of the conflict in classical drama. If a pair of lovers finds a film, a truth is recognized (anagnorisis), the bomb is disarmed at the last minute, a threat is banned, the murderer is taken, or the world simply saved, the conflict is resolved. Thus, the happy ending is a form of the denouement, since it ebies in these confusions.
The possible effect of the decoding could be that the viewer or reader sympathizes with the actors and is thereby left with a positive feeling. If this effect is strongly designed, the effect can quickly turn into the opposite. Since this has to be weighed, it is unclear whether the film is catastrophic or with a happy ending.
Short overview: The most important to the happy end at a glance
The happy ending is the happy ending and the positive outcome in film, drama and prose. Trivialliterature (cf fiction) of the happy ending often uses to leave the recipient (reader, audience) with a positive feeling.
Already classical drama knew the happy ending as a resolution of the conflict. in drama, this is the essential difference between tragedies and comedies: tragedies end catastrophically, comedies with a happy ending.
Note: Most of the fairy tales in the last sentence point to their happy ending. For example, a phrase á la can be found in the fairy tale “If they have not died, then they still live today” or “And they lived joyfully to their end”.