CHARACTERIZATION II. ANALYSIS II. CHARACTERIZATION.
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Foil: character who serves as a contrast to another, usually in such a way as to work to the advantage of the leading character. The foil may help to illuminate the protagonist’s positive qualities by demonstrating his own negative attributes, thus providing a clear and understandable contrast for the reader
Confidant: often used in drama, is a character to whom the protagonist reveals his inner thoughts; he becomes a convenient device for the protagonist to speak his thoughts without addressing them to the audience in form of a soliloquy
Finally, in almost all stories and plays there are background characters that populate the scene. Ordinarily, these are of no special interest, unless, as a mass, they assume an active role.
Julius Caesar: the mob listens to and supports Bartus, but then, after Antony’s famous, emotional, and persuasive speech, changes and calls for the head of the Brutus.
Ways an author develops Char.
1. By what the character says and how he says it (dialogue)
2. By what he does (action)
3. By physical description
4. By psychological description
5. By probing what a character thinks or feels
6. By what others say about him
7. By his environment
Clearly the reader should be alert to the actions of a character since this is the author’s way of showing, not telling, what his personality is like
A character who either takes pleasure in the suffering of others or loses control and causes pain, such as the narrator in Poe’s “The Black Cat” is seen as evil and evokes little sympathy
Yet, surface appearances must be questioned. For example, in one scene of Melville’s Benito Cereno, Babo appears to be a faithful servant shaving Don Benito in the presence of Captain Delano, the visiting captain aboard ship. In reality, Babo, with razor in hand, is actually terrorizing Don Benito in order to keep him silent
At times the appearance may be taken as a clue to a character’s real nature. The Prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales consistently includes descriptions of physical details and dress, usually understood to be details that indicate the latest fashion of the era
What a Character Says
What a character says is one of the most revealing aspects of characterization.
How does he say his words? What are his habits of speech? His tone? Does the occasion color the tone? (Read examples).
* Notes from binder on Suggestions for Writing About Characters *