This thesis strives to improve our understanding of solar activity, specifically the behaviour of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. An investigation into the hydrodynamic evolution of a confined solar are was carried out using RHESSI, CDS, GOES and TRACE. Evidence for pre-are heating, explosive and gentle chromospheric evaporation and loop draining were observed in the data. The observations were compared to a 0-D hydrodynamic model, EBTEL, to aid interpretation. This led to the conclusion that the flare was not heated purely by non-thermal beam heating as previously believed, but also required direct heating of the plasma. An observational investigation in to the initiation mechanism of a coronal mass ejection and eruptive are was then carried out, again utilising observations from a wide range of spacecraft: MESSENGER/SAX, RHESSI, EUVI, Cor1 and Cor2. Observations provided evidence of CME triggering by internal tether-cutting and not by breakout reconnection...