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Character

By Theresa Brooks,2014-09-24 18:50
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    Character (arts) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art [1](such as a novel, play, or film). Derived from the ancient Greek word [2]kharaktêr, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it [3][4]became widely used after its appearance in in 1749. From this, Tom Jones[4]the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves [5]"the illusion of being a human person." In literature, characters guide

    readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder [6]themes. Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" [4]has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practised by actors [4]or writers, has been called characterisation.

    A character who stands as a representative of a particular class or group [7]of people is known as a type. Types include both stock characters and [7]those that are more fully individualised. 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 [8]characters reveal ideological conflicts.

    The study of a character requires an analysis of its relations with all [9]of the other characters in the work. The individual status of a character

    is defined through the network of oppositions (proairetic, pragmatic, [10]linguistic, proxemic) that it forms with the other characters. The relation between characters and the action of the story shifts

    historically, often miming shifts in society and its ideas about human [11]individuality, self-determination, and the social order.

    Contents

     [hide]

    ; 1 Classical analysis of character

    ; 2 Types of characters

    o 2.1 Round vs. flat

    ; 3 See also

    ; 4 Notes

    ; 5 References

    [edit] Classical analysis of character Further information: Poetics (Aristotle)

    In the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory, Poetics (c. 335 BCE),

    the Greek philosopher Aristotle deduces that character () is one of ethos

    six qualitative parts of Athenian tragedy and one of the three objects [12]that it represents (1450a12). He understands character not to denote a fictional person, but the quality of the person acting in the story and [13]reacting to its situations (1450a5). He defines character as "that which [13]reveals decision, of whatever sort" (1450b8). It is possible, therefore, to have tragedies that do not contain "characters" in Aristotle's sense of the word, since character makes the ethical dispositions of those [14]performing the action of the story clear. Aristotle argues for the [15]primacy of plot (mythos) over character (ethos). 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 [16] their actions" (1450a15-23).

    In the Poetics, Aristotle also introduced the influential tripartite division of characters in superior to the audience, inferior, or at the [17][18]same level. In the Tractatus coislinianus (which may or may not be

    by Aristotle), comedy is defined as involving three types of characters: the buffoon (bômolochus), the ironist (eirôn) and the imposter or boaster [19][20](). All three are central to Aristophanes' "Old comedy." alazôn

    By the time the Roman playwright Plautus wrote his plays, the use of [21]characters to define dramatic genres was well established. His

    Amphitryon begins with a prologue in which the speaker Mercury claims that

    since the play contains kings and gods, it cannot be a comedy and must [22]be a tragicomedy. Like much Roman comedy, it is probably translated from

an earlier Greek original, most commonly held to be Philemon's Long Night, [23]or Rhinthon's Amphitryon, both now lost.

    [edit] Types of characters

    [edit] Round vs. flat

    , E. M. Forster defined two basic types In his book Aspects of the novel

    of characters, their qualities, functions, and importance for the [24]development of the novel: flat characters and round characters. Flat

    characters are two-dimensional, in that they are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. By contrast, round characters are complex and undergo development, sometimes sufficiently [citation needed]to surprise the reader.

    [edit] See also

    ; Advertising ; Character piece ; Out of character

    character ; Character sketch ; Persona

    ; Antagonist ; Composite ; Player character

    ; Breaking character character ; Protagonist

    ; Character actor ; Costumed ; Recurring

    character character ; Character animation

    ; Character arc ; Declamatio ; Secret character

    ; Character blogging ; Focal character ; Stock character

    ; Character comedy ; Gag character ; Supporting

    ; Character dance ; Generic character

    ; Character flaw character ; Sympathetic

    ; Ghost character character ; Characterization

    ; Non-player ; Unseen character

    character

    [edit] Notes

    1. ^ 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".

    2.