Characters in literature can serve a number of functions. For example, they can be used as plot devices and minor characters that provide a humorous narrative or serve to connect shorter pieces of fiction together. They may also have a more major role in the story, becoming central to the plot itself in some cases. Even though each function is unique, there are still certain types of characters that exist across multiple genres and functions
Characters in literature can be flat or round. They serve several purposes, and they often have specific traits. While they may not have the same traits as the protagonist, they do help the story flow. They can act as a guide for the main character. The purpose of a story’s main character is to guide readers. Having various types of characters in the story will help the story make sense of the plot. You’ll also want to give them different roles, and this will help your characters become more memorable.
Whether a character is a hero, villain, or sidekick, these types of characters have different functions. Their main role is to guide the protagonist toward their goal. However, some characters serve more than one purpose.
By reading through this list of common character types, you’ll get a better sense of the different roles that characters fill. There are tons of other character types out there in the literature, but here are some commonly seen ones to get you started.
1) Hero – A protagonist is the central figure in a story and makes up the hero archetype. In many cases, an entire piece of literature will be focused on just one hero seeking to obtain their goal. For example, The Odyssey by Homer is a collection of tales about Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan War. Although there are many minor characters who appear throughout the story, it is primarily focused on the hero.
2) Damsel in Distress – In a lot of stories, there’s some sort of individual that needs to be saved or protected (think Cinderella). This character type is often referred to as a damsel in distress. Sometimes these characters don’t have to be purely female because males can also fit this role. Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare’s Macbeth is such an example.
3) Mentor/Guide – The mentor/guide archetype has appeared in literature for centuries. Mentors are often older characters that guide the main character through their journey. They can also be figures of wisdom and knowledge themselves. As a reader or viewer, you will often see the mentor become injured or killed right before the hero succeeds in his quest.
4) Sidekick – The sidekick is a very common character archetype seen in literature and film. Sidekicks are usually much more minor than the main characters and often share a friendship with them. Usually, they don’t contribute to the story as much as the hero does, but they can still aid him when needed.
5) Love Interest: Another common type of character is the love interest. This is a character that the protagonist desires. Sometimes, the protagonist and the romantic interest are in a love triangle, and the romance between the two characters becomes the primary focus of the story. Some examples of love interests include Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
Each type serves an important role in the story, and they help the plot flow logically to its end. As a result, each type of character is important in the story. Once you have a clear understanding of the different types of characters in literature, you’ll be able to better evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a particular type. So, go read some books and find out more about your favorite literary works!
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