A foil character in a work of literature is a character who is the opposite of the main character, and the contrast helps to highlight the characteristics of the main character. Some authors have also used settings or objects as foils.
Examples of Foil Characters in Literature
1. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine and Heathcliffe can be seen a foils. They are opposites in appearance, and their lives (one privileged the other not) are foils as well.
2. In the Harry Potter Series, Harry and Voldemort are foils-one is good and the other evil.
3. In the Greek play Antigone, Antigone and her sister Ismene are foils. Antigone attempts to direct her own life and have control of her own fate, while Ismene takes the traditional role of the submissive woman.
4. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus' sister Aunt Alexandra is a foil for Atticus-preferring traditional parenting methods to Atticus' frank discussions with his children. In addition, she seems to represent the traditional place of woman in southern society, something which foils Scout's tomboyish ways.
5. In Pride and Prejudice, Lydia-the youngest, insipid sister who is a flirt-is a foil for the intelligent Elizabeth Bennett.