Character most often refers to the people in a story or work of literature. Sometimes, the characters are not people-they are animals or other figures and beings.
Writers develop their plots and storylines around characters. Characters experience conflicts and events that cause the plot to develop. Characters experience conflict with each other, with natural forces, and conflict within. The plot develops as the characters face these conflicts and eventually resolve the conflict.
Characters in stories can be well-developed, major characters or minor characters. Characters can be round, which means the author has developed the character as a "well-rounded" person or figure. Characters can also be flat, meaning that they are not very well-developed and are part of the story to demonstrate a specific point or to show the reader something about a main character. Characters can also be static, meaning they do not change as a result of the events of the story, or they can be dynamic, meaning they change as a result of the events of the story.
Examples of Characters from Literature
Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a round character who is also dynamic. Through the course of the story, she recognizes that while she has been focused on Mr. Darcy's prideful attitude, her own pride has caused her to develop such a prejudice against him that she almost misses out on the love of her life.
Romeo and Juliet are two of the most popular characters in literature. In Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, these two young lovers seek to overcome their families' hatred and be together. Their misguided actions lead to their deaths, but also to the end of their families' feud.
Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is another famous character in literature. Scrooge is a dynamic character, who changes as a result of the visit of three spirits (Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future), who help him to remember the spirit of the Christmas season.
Literary Terms Examples