Character (arts)

A character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, play, television series, film, or video game).[1][2][3] The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" versus "real" character may be made.[2] Derived from the ancient Greek word χαρακτήρ, the English word dates from the Restoration,[4] although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749.[5][6] From this, the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed.[6] Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person".[7] In literature, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder themes.[8] Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor.[6] Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practiced by actors or writers, has been called characterisation.[6]

A character who stands as a representative of a particular class or group of people is known as a type.[9] Types include both stock characters and those that are more fully individualised.[9] The characters in Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (1891) and August Strindberg's Miss Julie (1888), for example, are representative of specific positions in the social relations of class and gender, such that the conflicts between the characters reveal ideological conflicts.[10]

The study of a character requires an analysis of its relations with all of the other characters in the work.[11] The individual status of a character is defined through the network of oppositions (proairetic, pragmatic, linguistic, proxemic) that it forms with the other characters.[12] The relation between characters and the action of the story shifts historically, often miming shifts in society and its ideas about human individuality, self-determination, and the social order.[13]

Creation

In fiction writing, authors create dynamic characters by many methods.[1][2] Sometimes characters are conjured up from imagination; in other instances, they are created by amplifying the character trait of a real person into a new fictional creation.[1][2]

Types

Round vs. flat

In his book Aspects of the Novel, E. M. Forster defined two basic types of characters, their qualities, functions, and importance for the development of the novel: flat characters and round characters.[14] Flat characters are two-dimensional, in that they are relatively uncomplicated. By contrast, round characters are complex figures with many different characteristics, that undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.[15]

Mary Sues are characters mainly appearing in fan fiction. They are virtually devoid of flaws,[16] and are therefore considered flat characters.

Dynamic vs. static

Dynamic characters are those that change over the course of the story, while static characters remain the same throughout. An example of a popular static character in literature is Sherlock Holmes; an example of a dynamic character in literature is Ebenezer Scrooge.

Regular, recurring and guest characters

In television, a regular, main or ongoing character is a character who appears in all or a majority of episodes, or in a significant chain of episodes of the series.[17] Regular characters may be both core and secondary ones.

A recurring character often and frequently appears from time to time during the series' run.[18] Recurring characters often play major roles in more than one episode, sometimes being the main focus.

A guest character is one which acts only in a few episodes or scenes. Unlike regular characters, the guest ones do not need to be carefully incorporated into the storyline with all its ramifications: they create a piece of drama and then disappear without consequences to the narrative structure, unlike core characters, for which any significant conflict must be traced during a considerable time, which is often seen as an unjustified waste of resources.[19] There may also be a continuing or recurring guest character.[20] Sometimes a guest character may gain popularity and turn into a regular one.[21]

Classical analysis

In the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory, Poetics (c. 335 BCE), the Classical Greek philosopher Aristotle deduces that character (ethos) is one of six qualitative parts of Athenian tragedy and one of the three objects that it represents (1450a12).[22] He understands character not to denote a fictional person, but the quality of the person acting in the story and reacting to its situations (1450a5).[23] He defines character as "that which reveals decision, of whatever sort" (1450b8).[23] It is possible, therefore, to have stories that do not contain "characters" in Aristotle's sense of the word, since character necessarily involves making the ethical dispositions of those performing the action clear.[24] If, in speeches, the speaker "decides or avoids nothing at all", then those speeches "do not have character" (1450b9—11).[25] Aristotle argues for the primacy of plot (mythos) over character (ethos).[26] He writes:

But the most important of these is the structure of the incidents. For (i) tragedy is a representation not of human beings but of action and life. Happiness and unhappiness lie in action, and the end [of life] is a sort of action, not a quality; people are of a certain sort according to their characters, but happy or the opposite according to their actions. So [the actors] do not act in order to represent the characters, but they include the characters for the sake of their actions" (1450a15-23).[27]

Aristotle suggests that works were distinguished in the first instance according to the nature of the person who created them: "the grander people represented fine actions, i.e. those of fine persons" by producing "hymns and praise-poems", while "ordinary people represented those of inferior ones" by "composing invectives" (1448b20—1449a5).[28] On this basis, a distinction between the individuals represented in tragedy and in comedy arose: tragedy, along with epic poetry, is "a representation of serious people" (1449b9—10), while comedy is "a representation of people who are rather inferior" (1449a32—33).[29]

In the Tractatus coislinianus (which may or may not be by Aristotle), Ancient Greek comedy is defined as involving three types of characters: the buffoon (bômolochus), the ironist (eirôn), and the imposter or boaster (alazôn).[30] All three are central to Aristophanes' "old comedy".[31]

By the time the Roman comic playwright Plautus wrote his plays two centuries later, the use of characters to define dramatic genres was well established.[32] His Amphitryon begins with a prologue in which Mercury claims that since the play contains kings and gods, it cannot be a comedy and must be a tragicomedy.[33]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Matthew Freeman (2016). Historicising Transmedia Storytelling: Early Twentieth-Century Transmedia Story Worlds. Routledge. pp. 31–34. ISBN 1315439506. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Maria DiBattista (2011). Novel Characters: A Genealogy. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 14–20. ISBN 1444351559. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Baldick (2001, 37) and Childs and Fowler (2006, 23). See also "character, 10b" in Trumble and Stevenson (2003, 381): "A person portrayed in a novel, a drama, etc; a part played by an actor".
  4. ^ OED "character" sense 17.a citing, inter alia, Dryden's 1679 preface to Troilus and Cressida: "The chief character or Hero in a Tragedy ... ought in prudence to be such a man, who has so much more in him of Virtue than of Vice... If Creon had been the chief character in Œdipus..."
  5. ^ Aston and Savona (1991, 34), quotation:

    [...] is first used in English to denote 'a personality in a novel or a play' in 1749 (The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, s.v.).

  6. ^ a b c d Harrison (1998, 51-2) quotation:

    Its use as 'the sum of the qualities which constitute an individual' is a mC17 development. The modern literary and theatrical sense of 'an individual created in a fictitious work' is not attested in OED until mC18: 'Whatever characters any... have for the jestsake personated... are now thrown off' (1749, Fielding, Tom Jones).

  7. ^ Pavis (1998, 47).
  8. ^ Roser, Nancy; Miriam Martinez; Charles Fuhrken; Kathleen McDonnold. "Characters as Guides to Meaning". The Reading Teacher. 6 (6): 548–559. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  9. ^ a b Baldick (2001, 265).
  10. ^ Aston and Savona (1991, 35).
  11. ^ Aston and Savona (1991, 41).
  12. ^ Elam (2002, 133).
  13. ^ Childs and Fowler (2006, 23).
  14. ^ Hoffman, Michael J; Patrick D. Murphy. Essentials of the theory of fiction (2 ed.). Duke University Press, 1996. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-8223-1823-1.
  15. ^ Forster, E.M. (1927). Aspects of the Novel.
  16. ^ Lucy Bennett, Paul Booth (2016). Seeing Fans: Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 160. ISBN 1501318470. Retrieved January 19, 2017.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  17. ^ The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts p. 40
  18. ^ Epstein, Alex (2006). Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box. Macmillan Publishers. pp. 27–28. ISBN 0-8050-8028-7.
  19. ^ Greg M. Smith, Beautiful TV: The Art and Argument of Ally McBeal, p. 147
  20. ^ Smith, p. 151
  21. ^ David Kukoff, Vault Guide to Television Writing Careers, p. 62
  22. ^ Janko (1987, 8). Aristotle defines the six qualitative elements of tragedy as "plot, character, diction, reasoning, spectacle and song" (1450a10); the three objects are plot (mythos), character (ethos), and reasoning (dianoia).
  23. ^ a b Janko (1987, 9, 84).
  24. ^ Aristotle writes: "Again, without action a tragedy cannot exist, but without characters it may. For the tragedies of most recent [poets] lack character, and in general there are many such poets" (1450a24-25); see Janko (1987, 9, 86).
  25. ^ Janko (1987, 9).
  26. ^ Aston and Savona (1991, 34) and Janko (1987, 8).
  27. ^ Janko (1987, 8).
  28. ^ Janko (1987, 5). This distinction, Aristotle argues, arises from two causes that are natural and common to all humans—the delight taken in experiencing representations and the way in which we learn through imitation (1448b4—19); see Janko (1987, 4—5).
  29. ^ Janko (1987, 6—7). Aristotle specifies that comedy does not represent all kinds of ugliness and vice, but only that which is laughable (1449a32—1449a37).
  30. ^ Carlson (1993, 23) and Janko (1987, 45, 170).
  31. ^ Janko (1987, 170).
  32. ^ Carlson (1993, 22).
  33. ^ Amphritruo, line 59.

References

  • Aston, Elaine, and George Savona. 1991. Theatre as Sign-System: A Semiotics of Text and Performance. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-04932-6.
  • Baldick, Chris. 2001. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP. ISBN 0-19-280118-X.
  • Burke, Kenneth. 1945. A Grammar of Motives. California edition. Berkeley: U of California P, 1969. ISBN 0-520-01544-4.
  • Carlson, Marvin. 1993. Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey from the Greeks to the Present. Expanded ed. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-8154-3.
  • Childs, Peter, and Roger Fowler. 2006. The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-34017-9.
  • Eco, Umberto. 2009. On the ontology of fictional characters: A semiotic approach. Sign Systems Studies 37(1/2): 82–98.
  • Elam, Keir. 2002. The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. 2nd edition. New Accents Ser. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28018-4. Originally published in 1980.
  • Goring, Rosemary, ed. 1994. Larousse Dictionary of Literary Characters. Edinburgh and New York: Larousse. ISBN 0-7523-0001-6.
  • Harrison, Martin. 1998. The Language of Theatre. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-87830-087-2.
  • Hodgson, Terry. 1988. The Batsford Dictionary of Drama. London: Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-4694-3.
  • Janko, Richard, trans. 1987. Poetics with Tractatus Coislinianus, Reconstruction of Poetics II and the Fragments of the On Poets. By Aristotle. Cambridge: Hackett. ISBN 0-87220-033-7.
  • McGovern, Una, ed. 2004. Dictionary of Literary Characters. Edinburgh: Chambers. ISBN 0-550-10127-6.
  • Pavis, Patrice. 1998. Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis. Trans. Christine Shantz. Toronto and Buffalo: U of Toronto P. ISBN 0-8020-8163-0.
  • Pringle, David. 1987. Imaginary People: A Who's Who of Modern Fictional Characters. London: Grafton. ISBN 0-246-12968-9.
  • Rayner, Alice. 1994. To Act, To Do, To Perform: Drama and the Phenomenology of Action. Theater: Theory/Text/Performance Ser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-10537-X.
  • Trumble, William R, and Angus Stevenson, ed. 2002. Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford UP. ISBN 0-19-860575-7..
  • [1] Paisley Livingston & Andrea Sauchelli, 'Philosophical Perspectives on Fictional Characters', New Literary History, 42, 2 (2011), pp. 337–60.
Archetype

The concept of an archetype appears in areas relating to behavior, historical psychological theory, and literary analysis. An archetype can be:

a statement, pattern of behavior, or prototype (model) which other statements, patterns of behavior, and objects copy or emulate. (Frequently used informal synonyms for this usage include "standard example", "basic example", and the longer form "archetypal example". Mathematical archetypes often appear as "canonical examples".)

a Platonic philosophical idea referring to pure forms which embody the fundamental characteristics of a thing in Platonism

a collectively-inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., that is universally present, in individual psyches, as in Jungian psychology

a constantly recurring symbol or motif in literature, painting, or mythology (this usage of the term draws from both comparative anthropology and from Jungian archetypal theory). In various seemingly unrelated cases in classic storytelling, media, etc., characters or ideas sharing similar traits recur.

Characterization

Characterization or characterisation is the representation of persons (or other beings or creatures) in narrative and dramatic works of art. This representation may include direct methods like the attribution of qualities in description or commentary, and indirect (or "dramatic") methods inviting readers to infer qualities from characters' actions, dialogue, or appearance. Such a personage is called a character. Character is a literary element.

Fiction

Fiction broadly refers to any narrative that is derived from the imagination—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact. It can also refer, more narrowly, to narratives written only in prose (the novel and short story), and is often used as a synonym for the novel.

Hollywood Treasure

Hollywood Treasure is an American, reality television series that began airing on SyFy, October 27, 2010, which follows a Hollywood, California-based appraiser named Joe Maddalena and his team as they track down, appraise and help auction off valuable film, television, and pop culture memorabilia.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park is an American science fiction media franchise centered on a disastrous attempt to create a theme park of cloned dinosaurs. It began in 1990 when Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment bought the rights to the novel by Michael Crichton before it was even published.

The book was successful, as was Steven Spielberg's 1993 film adaptation, which led to four sequels, although only the first two films were based on the novels. Numerous video games based on the franchise have been created by various software developers since the release of the 1993 film. Since 1996, several water rides based on the series have been opened at various Universal theme parks.

The Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 25, 2011, in North America. The first film was re-released in 3D on April 5, 2013.The fourth film, Jurassic World, was initially scheduled to be released in the summer of 2005, but was delayed numerous times and was ultimately released in June 2015. It became the first film to gross over $500 million worldwide in its opening weekend, and grossed over $1.6 billion through the course of its theatrical run, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of all time. It was also the second highest-grossing film of 2015. When adjusted for monetary inflation, this film is the second highest grossing in the franchise after Jurassic Park. An animated film, Lego Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape, was released in October 2016 with the home media release of Jurassic World, alongside a short film, Employee Safety Video. Two other interactive Lego short films, Lego Jurassic World: Rescue Blue/Escape the Indoraptor, were also released in 2018, followed by an animated special, Lego Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit, which aired on NBC later that year.

A fifth film, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, was released in June 2018. The film grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the third Jurassic film to pass the billion dollar mark. It is the third highest-grossing film of 2018 and the 12th highest-grossing film of all time. A sixth film, tentatively titled Jurassic World 3, is scheduled to be released on June 11, 2021. As of 2000, the franchise had generated $5 billion in revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.In 2018, the first film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Jurassic Park (film)

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen. The first installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, it is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton and a screenplay written by Crichton and David Koepp. The film is set on the fictional island of Isla Nublar, located off Central America's Pacific Coast near Costa Rica. There billionaire philanthropist John Hammond and a small team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park of de-extinct dinosaurs. When industrial sabotage leads to a catastrophic shutdown of the park's power facilities and security precautions, a small group of visitors, and Hammond's grandchildren, struggle to survive and escape the perilous island.

Before Crichton's novel was published, four studios put in bids for its film rights. With the backing of Universal Studios, Spielberg acquired the rights for $1.5 million before its publication in 1990; Crichton was hired for an additional $500,000 to adapt the novel for the screen. Koepp wrote the final draft, which left out much of the novel's exposition and violence and made numerous changes to the characters. Filming took place in California and Hawaii between August and November 1992, and post-production rolled until May 1993, supervised by Spielberg in Poland as he filmed Schindler's List.

The dinosaurs were created with groundbreaking computer-generated imagery by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs built by Stan Winston's team. To showcase the film's sound design, which included a mixture of various animal noises for the dinosaur roars, Spielberg invested in the creation of DTS, a company specializing in digital surround sound formats. Following an extensive $65 million marketing campaign, which included licensing deals with 100 companies, Jurassic Park premiered on June 9, 1993, at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., and was released on June 11 in the United States. It went on to gross over $914 million worldwide in its original theatrical run becoming the highest-grossing film of 1993 and the highest-grossing film ever at the time, a record held until the release of Titanic in 1997. It was well received by critics, who praised its special effects, John Williams' musical score, and Spielberg's direction. Following its 3D re-release in 2013 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Jurassic Park became the seventeenth film in history to surpass $1 billion in ticket sales.

The film won more than twenty awards, including three Academy Awards for its technical achievements in visual effects and sound design. Jurassic Park is considered a landmark in the development of computer-generated imagery and animatronic visual effects and was followed by four commercially successful sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Jurassic Park III (2001), Jurassic World (2015) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), with a fifth sequel, currently titled Jurassic World 3, scheduled for a 2021 release.

In 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Matt Winston

Matthew "Matt" Winston is an American actor, the son of special effects artist Stan Winston.

Prince Armory

Founded by American leatherworker and artist Samuel Lee (November 9, 1984), Prince Armory's work has been featured in commercials, and Broadway tours, and is popular among comic book fans on the internet.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, also popularly known as "Santa's ninth reindeer", is a 20th century reindeer created by Robert Lewis May. Rudolph is usually depicted as the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve, though he is a young buck who has only adolescent antlers and a glowing red nose. Though he receives ridicule for it, the luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through harsh winter weather.

Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward, the department store.The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, LP and has been adapted and shaped in numerous forms including a popular song, the iconic 1964 television special and sequels, and a feature film and sequel. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, LP. In many countries, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore. 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of the character and the 50th anniversary of the television special. A series of postage stamps featuring Rudolph was issued by the United States Postal Service on November 6, 2014.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV special)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a 1964 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Videocraft International, Ltd. (later known as Rankin/Bass Productions) and currently distributed by Universal Television. It first aired Sunday, December 6, 1964, on the NBC television network in the United States, and was sponsored by General Electric under the umbrella title of The General Electric Fantasy Hour. The special was based on the Johnny Marks song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" which was itself based on the poem of the same name written in 1939 by Marks' brother-in-law, Robert L. May. Since 1972, the special has aired on CBS; the network unveiled a high-definition, digitally remastered version of the program in 2005. As with A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph no longer airs just once annually, but several times during the Christmas and holiday season on CBS. Unlike other holiday specials that also air on several cable channels (including Freeform), Rudolph airs only on CBS. It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest continuously running Christmas TV special in history. 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the television special and a series of postage stamps featuring Rudolph were issued by the United States Postal Service on November 6, 2014.

Stan Winston

Stanley "Stan" Winston (April 7, 1946 – June 15, 2008) was an American television and film special make-up effects creator. He was best known for his work in the Terminator series, the first three Jurassic Park films, Aliens, the first two Predator films, Inspector Gadget, Iron Man and Edward Scissorhands. He won four Academy Awards for his work.

Winston, a frequent collaborator with director James Cameron, owned several effects studios, including Stan Winston Digital. The established areas of expertise for Winston were in makeup, puppets and practical effects, but he had recently expanded his studio to encompass digital effects as well.

Steve Johnson (special effects artist)

Steve Johnson (born Steven Marcus Jacobs; February 7, 1960) is an American special effects artist whose career has spanned more than thirty years. His work has appeared in over 200 films, countless television shows, theme parks, commercials, and music videos. Some of his best-known creations include "Slimer" for Ghostbusters, the alien seductress "Sil" for Species, the multi-tentacled "Doc Ock" for Spider-Man 2, and Robin Williams' robotics for Bicentennial Man.

Text types

Text types in literature form the basic styles of writing. Factual texts merely seek to inform, whereas literary texts seek to entertain or otherwise engage the reader by using creative language and imagery. There are many aspects to literary writing, and many ways to analyse it, but four basic categories are descriptive, narrative, expository, and argumentative.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.