A cliche is a structured expression that is repeated on different occasions. This is what is known as commonplace: a trivial phrase or idea, often used in similar cases.
Clichés are obvious or stereotypes that, due to their repetition, lose their capacity for impact or surprise. It can be an oral expression, but also another type of speech: a movie scene, a photograph, etc.
An example of a cliché is the loss of memory by the protagonist of a soap opera. On numerous occasions throughout history, the authors chose this resource to generate a conflict in the plot. The heroine of the soap opera can suffer a blow to the head that causes amnesia and thus stops recognizing her loved one, to name one possibility. Faced with this situation, the gallant strives for his wife to recover, hoping that she can regain her love. The cliché usually includes a miraculous or emotional recovery.
As can be assumed from the above example, considering something to be cliché depends on the time and context. At first, the resource of making the protagonist lose her memory could be shocking. In turn, if that same device is used now in a horror movie, it may not be so obvious or predictable.
This characteristic of the cliché, which makes it so little tangible and so dependent on the social and historical context, often leads to incorrect interpretations. Just as the time and the observer affect the meaning of a cliché, or even the mere consideration of a situation as such, by taking it out of its geographical location it can happen that the cultural resources to analyze it are insufficient.
In this sense, we can say that clichés are similar to jokes: the same story can seem offensive at one time and funny at another, and in the same way it can be interpreted only in certain parts of the world, where the necessary symbols and concepts exist.
The story of someone who cheats on his partner and is discovered in a compromising situation can be a cliché in many Western countries, and even cause grace to the interlocutors, while in other parts of the world it can be an unacceptable and punishable behavior. death.
It must be taken into account that clichés can be useful to establish a connection or generate complicity with the interlocutor or the viewer / listener since they provide a framework of predictability and comfort that can be irresistible.
Precisely, given that the interlocutor has the tools to predict a cliché, this resource is sometimes sought to bring him closer to the plot, to make him relax and lower his guard and then “attack” him with some unpredictable event. Returning to the case of horror stories, this dynamic is also common today and has the purpose of making the individual think that the protagonists are safe, that the danger has already passed, and then surprise them with a new unexpected threat.
In everyday life you can also speak of a cliché to describe a situation that we consider absurdly predictable. For example, if two people are chatting about a problem that a third has and their situation is considered typical, one of them may say that it is a cliché. Just as it occurs in the art world, in this case the use of this term indicates a certain contempt for the condition of the protagonist.