Character (arts)

In fiction, 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]


In fiction writing, authors create dynamic characters by many methods. 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]

Other Languages
العربية: شخصية خيالية
azərbaycanca: Personaj
català: Personatge
español: Personaje
Esperanto: Fikciulo
galego: Personaxe
한국어: 등장인물
hrvatski: Izmišljeni lik
Bahasa Indonesia: Karakter (seni)
עברית: דמות
ქართული: პერსონაჟი
қазақша: Кейіпкер
Kiswahili: Wahusika
lietuvių: Veikėjas
македонски: Измислен лик
Bahasa Melayu: Watak cereka
Nederlands: Personage
нохчийн: Персонаж
norsk: Rollefigur
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਪਾਤਰ (ਕਲਾ)
română: Personaj fictiv
русский: Персонаж
Simple English: Fictional character
slovenščina: Izmišljena oseba
српски / srpski: Измишљени лик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Fiktivni lik
svenska: Rollfigur
тоҷикӣ: Персонаж
українська: Персонаж
Tiếng Việt: Nhân vật
中文: 角色