Characterization • The act of creating and developing a character. Major and Minor Characters Major characters appear frequently in a story and are involved in important actions. Minor characters enter a story for a particular reason and may not be heard from again. Direct Characterization The writer tells us what we need to know about a character. Indirect Characterization The audience finds out indirectly about a character through thoughts, statements, or actions. Types or Classifications of Characters • Protagonist • Antagonist • Contagonist • The anti-hero – the struggling and imperfect protagonist who has opposite qualities from the traditional hero. The anti-hero lacks heroic qualities. Some example “opposite characteristics” include: uncertain, cowardly, deluded, apathetic, ruthless. They are often willing to kill anyone who gets in their way and are often advised by another character to develop more heroic qualities. • The anti-villain – a villain with good and redeeming qualities. It’s an attempt to humanize the bad guy. • The fallen hero – not all villains are born, some are made, and few are more tragic than the fallen hero. The cause could be one of many – the loss of a loved one, too many good deeds gone wrong, the seduction of “the dark side.” Who’s one of the first “characters” in the history of literature who is a “fallen” hero? • The Byronic hero – based on the works of the author Lord Byron, these heroes have flaws that are heavily romanticized. Their bad actions and choices are never for the sake of evil. They often are: • very physically attractive and intelligent, • brooding, depressed, and usually hurt in some way, • passionate and have their own personal morality. • Confidantesomeone in whom the central character confides, thus revealing the main character’s personality, thoughts, and intentions. The confidante does not need to be a person. • Foil - a character that is used to enhance another character through contrast. Cinderella’s grace and beauty as opposed to her nasty, selfcentered stepsisters is one clear illustration of a foil many may recall from childhood. • Anthropomorphic character – when the author creates a nonhuman character but gives the character human qualities (e.g., the stories of Beatrix Potter). This is called an anthropomorphism – or the process of anthropomorphication. It’s actually a form of personification. • Stock Character - a special kind of flat character who is instantly recognizable to most readers. Possible examples include the “ruthless businessman”, “shushing old librarian” or “dumb muscular guy.” They are not the focus nor developed in the story. Archetypal Characters • The Princess (damsel in distress) – a character who needs to be saved but cannot help her/himself. This used to always be a female character but nowadays is either male or female. • Skeptic – the cynical or sarcastic disbeliever. • Love interest every genre of story has a character that is designed for the love interest of other characters. • Sidekick – a faithful friend and supporter to the protagonist. • Guardian – a helpful teacher who exists to guide the protagonist along the way. Many More Archetypes In today’s arts, there are literally hundreds more, for example: The loner hero, the fallen mentor, the bully, the cheerleader, the gossip, the mediator, the Don Juan, the mother, the clown, the worthy opponent, the friendly enemy, the priest, the poet, the rebel, the soldier, the politician, the scholar, the hermit, the herald, the wanderer The list goes on…. Now that you know this, it’s your turn to apply these concepts to the characters we study – from here on out!