Summary
In fiction, a character is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, play, radio or television series, music, film, or video game). 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. Derived from the Ancient Greek word χαρακτήρ, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones by Henry Fielding in 1749. From this, the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. (Before this development, the term dramatis personae, naturalized in English from Latin and meaning "masks of the drama", encapsulated the notion of characters from the literal aspect of masks.) Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person". In literature, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder themes. Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practiced by actors or writers, has been called characterisation. A character who stands as a representative of a particular class or group of people is known as a type. Types include both stock characters and 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 characters reveal ideological conflicts. The study of a character requires an analysis of its relations with all of the other characters in the work. The individual status of a character is defined through the network of oppositions (proairetic, pragmatic, linguistic, proxemic) that it forms with the other characters.
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Related concepts (32)
Character (arts)
In fiction, a character is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, play, radio or television series, music, film, or video game). 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. Derived from the Ancient Greek word χαρακτήρ, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones by Henry Fielding in 1749.
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on radio or television. Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical modes ever since Aristotle's Poetics (c. 335 BC)—the earliest work of dramatic theory. The term "drama" comes from a Greek word meaning "deed" or "act" (Classical Greek: δρᾶμα, drâma), which is derived from "I do" (Classical Greek: δράω, dráō).
Theatre
Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. It is the oldest form of drama, though live theatre has now been joined by modern recorded forms.
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