the central objective of a story
A Goal is that which the Protagonist of a story hopes to achieve. As such, it need not be an object. The Goal might be a state of mind or enlightenment; a feeling or attitude, a degree or kind of knowledge, desire or ability. Although it is his chief concern, the Goal which a Protagonist seeks is not necessarily a good thing for him nor is it certainly attainable. Only through the course of the story does the value and accessibility of the Goal clarify. Dramatica points out the nature of Goal that is consistent with an Author's dramatic choices, but it remains for the Author to illustrate that nature. For any given category of Goal, an unlimited number of examples might be created.