How to write a character analysis essay

How to write a character analysis essay

Do you have the knowledge on how to write a character analysis essay? If not, do not worry. This article will provide you with an enticing guideline on how to come up with a mouth-watering character analysis essay.

Have you read Hamlet’s character analysis essay or the literary analysis essay example on The Great Gatsby? These are some prominent character analysis essay examples college students go through.

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Definition of character analysis essay

What is a character analysis essay? As the name suggests, it is a piece of writing that expounds in detail the characteristics and traits of that particular character. Most of the works accredited to having characters are literature and works of art, for example, cinematography.

The main job of a character analysis essay is to equip your reader with information about the character’s identity and their role in the story. Even though your opinion and personal preferences count so much in this type of essay, it is also essential to be a creative writer.

Application of skills such as critical thinking comes in handy for you to become a great character analysis essay organizer. This is because you will need to objectively evaluate the character in a discussion based on their lived era and how political, social, and psychological aspects of life affected their relationship with others.

A character analysis essay typically incorporates behavioural aspects like the character’s way of speaking, physical appearance as described by the author, and temperamental composure. It is important to note that you assume to be the sole owner of the information regarding the character in a discussion.

There is a need for you to make a vivid description of the character. To achieve this, you should not, at any given time, assume the reader or rather the audience has read work that contains the character in question. You should have enough information regarding the character for you to handle a character analysis essay assignment effectively.

Reasons for writing a character analysis essay

Why would someone write a character analysis essay? Primarily, this type of essay aims to equip the reader with the necessary knowledge about who the character is and make the reader understand the world in which the character lives and how his role influences the plot.

On top of that, you can write a character analysis essay to meet a requirement from a department for classwork as an assignment or personal interest. While writing, you should consider the reader’s expectations. So, you need to keenly learn about the lives of the character and what readers can learn from their lives.

Since you have explicit knowledge of your audience, you must decide what parts of the plot to include in the essay regarding the character. While it is all right to assume that the readers have read the book from which you are getting your character, you must consider that there could be a part of your audience that has not yet gotten to read the book.

They have scanty if no knowledge about the character in the discussion. In that case, it will be wise to include enough background information about the character.

You should ensure there is a clear explanation regarding the characters concerning their sole purpose and roles in the story. You should also explain why the author has included some episodes about the character.

It is essential to note that the role of the fictional character in the story affects the thinking and perception of the reader. This may change their perspective or views on various aspects of life after reading your essay. In that light, you must ensure that you leave no doubts and almost no room for critiquing your work.

Daisy Buchanan is an excellent example of a character analysis essay from “Great Gatsby.” The character goes by the name Daisy, and her relationship with Jay Gatsby, the main character, is described at the beginning of the essay. A perfect description of the background information concerning these two characters developing the plot is in simple and precise language.

Types of characters

Characterization of any work of art that bases on the character’s behaviours, way of talking, actions and reactions towards other characters, and their roles in the story, among other traits. The following are some of the types of characters, along with some examples as sourced from works such as literature and cinematography:

Major characters

These are the characters categorized as main characters, and, in most cases, they start the story. They face enormous challenges throughout the story but emerge strong, or rather, they don’t die. In a story, there are either one or almost two major characters. There are two types of major characters, namely;

  • The Protagonist

 This is the good person; in most cases, they are the hero. They run the story, or the plot revolves around them. In most cases, the work of art chooses the name of the Protagonist in the work. Examples include T’challa or Black Panther in the Black Panther series, Harry James Potter in the Harry Potter stories by J.K Rowling, and Frodo from the Lord of Rings, to mention a few.

  • The antagonist

This is a flawed character, the villain. They are in constant rivalry with the Protagonist. The antagonist opposes the Protagonist by using anything with their abilities; sometimes, they could possess supernatural power, be a majestic being, or come in the form of natural control. Examples of antagonists include; Te Ka in the Moana film, Voldemort or the Dark Lord in the Harry Potter by J.K Rowling, Erick Kill monger in the Black Panther, and Bran Stark in the Game of Thrones, to mention a few.

Minor Characters

 Minor characters play a role in helping the significant characters achieve their roles by interacting with them to bring out their personalities, traits, and the plot as a whole. They are also the supporting characters since they build the Protagonist and antagonist in achieving the plot or the story.

They exist in a story to make you get a better understanding of the main character. It is important to note that the role of a minor character doesn’t make them any less critical, for, without them, the main character can’t achieve their function. With that in mind, it is also good to note that their role doesn’t make them equal to the main character.

An excellent example of a minor character playing a vital role is Darth Vader, portrayed as even more interesting than the protagonist, Luke Skywalker. To foster a better understanding of the minor characters, here are five categories.;

  • The nemesis

Who is also known as the villain, and the motive of the nemesis is typical to cause trouble and conflict with the Protagonist? For example, in the Disney animated movie Moana, a character named Te Ka is the nemesis who causes problems with Moana, some disruption to delay or hinder her from achieving her goal.

  • The BFF or the sidekick

This is the Protagonist’s best friend. Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no conflict. In most cases, this relationship between a sidekick and the Protagonist ends up in a fallout. For example, in The Blacklist series, Mr Reddington, Dembe, and Mr Kaplan. A duo of the three is usually fighting, but they often come together so that Mr Reddington can achieve his mission.

  • The mentor

The character’s prominent role is to offer advice to the main character. The advice or the information passed from the mentor to the major characters is as essential to the reader or the audience as it is to the major character. An example is from Harry Potter when Dumbledore engages Harry Potter at the end of the book monologues.

He is also passing on important information that is crucial to the reader. In the Moana animation film, Maui is the mentor who has enabled Moana to achieve her mission that would see the liberation of her community. Another example is Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars movies.

  • The love interest

There comes a scenario in the works of art where character A is in love with character B, whereas the latter is not in love. This could be Juliet to Romeo in the Juliet and Romeo or Peeta to Katniss in The Hunger Games trilogy. The nature of the unreciprocated love causes conflict, which is suitable for the continuity of the plot.

  • The fool

According to William Shakespeare, a fool in a work of art is a character who dares to say things that are not so appealing to the ears of the Protagonist, but in the real sense, the Protagonist needs to hear them. Just because the character is termed a fool doesn’t mean that they are foolish.

More often than not, the fool is the wisest in the plot but is never appreciated. Only the reader realizes that the fool was making sense at the end. Look at how no one heeded to advise and signs given by Hymich in The Hunger Games trilogy or The Fool in King Lear.

Dynamic/ changing characters

In most cases, major characters are dynamic. It means that are character undergoes essential changes within the plot. The inner change could be a change in personality or a shift in attitude. The primary purpose of a change in the character is to kill boredom in the story.

Since literature is about imitating reality, watching the characters’ changes makes the story more real. This is because, in real life, people go through changes meant to make them better or even worse. The transformations undergone by the characters help lengthen the story. By making the plot move forward, so the length of the story.

In the Harry Potter series, Neville Longbottom changes. In the beginning, he is a weak character. He has little experience with magic, and as a result, it runs him into so many mishaps. In the end, he gains strength as he confidently fights the Death Eaters. He also destroys a Horcrux.

Another example is in Beauty and The Beast. While the Beast had vowed to live all his life like a wild beast, his meet-up with Belle makes him change his stance gradually. He is not only lovely to Belle but to all those who are close to her. This change leads him to become a prince. Dynamic characters are very vital in the writing of a character analysis essay.

Static/unchanging characters

These are characters in a story who undergo very little or no change at all. These characters remain constant in a story’s plot, so they do not grow. An example of a static character in a story is a man who goes hunting in the forest and undergoes significant changes after indulging in the ivory business. At the same time, his wife is home. The wife is a static character. This type of character care shows the reader how good or bad it can be to remain the same.

To make the static characters more interesting, authors ensure that the dynamic characters are used to try and change the static but fail; they attach some traits to the dynamic characters that might affect the static to make the plot more fun to read about.

 In Dickens’s Great Expectations, Joe the blacksmith is an example of a static character. A Christmas Carol by Dickens has also brought out another static character named Fred, Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew.

Character analysis

When analyzing a character, you have to start somewhere. Reading the story is the first step. The first time you go through a story lets you glimpse who the character is. It also allows you to get familiar with the environment with which a character gets to interact with.

Reading the story equips you with the relevant knowledge to decide the traits you want to conform to. Aspects to look at including the character’s dialogues with the rest of the characters, their reactions when exposed to different situations, their role in the plot of the story, and so on.

You have the advantage that the author has already built the character, so your character analysis essay should take a comprehensive coverage of information, including the character’s achievements on a big scale.

In a quest to achieve this, the character should be approached from all dimensions, avoiding making too basic or general statements. The goal of this type of analysis should always be to expound the all of the aspects of the character. It would be best if you made no assumptions regarding the nature of the character since that would interfere with the clarity of the information included in the essay.

How to write a character analysis essay

The actual writing of an eye-catching character analysis essay entails the following;

Reading the story

It would be best if you went through the story’s plot so that you understand clearly the environment within which the author has succeeded in building their different types of characters. The exposure to the themes and the stylistic devices used by the author is an excellent masterpiece to the vivid understanding to you. The literary pieces inside of the book, including the climax of the story, the setting, and the interaction with other characters, are some of the most important things when writing a character analysis essay.

These pieces expand your understanding by fully immersing you in the story. By so doing, you can think, see and feel through the characters, building your knowledge. At this stage of going through the story, you equip yourself with essential issues such as the character’s morals, behaviours, and the reactions of the characters in question as a part of their literary identities. This is where the roles of the characters are evaluated depending on how little or vast the authors have been able to expose them.

Reading the story a second or even a third time is handy. Since the author provides a character for you, now focus on dynamic characters. Focus on every detail that revolves around the character to maximize the traits and the role a character plays in the story. You should pay attention to the specific descriptions provided by the author regarding every character.

 An example from Harry Potter by J.K Rowling is where she gives a vivid description of Harry Potter’s dressing. She says that his clothes were old and oversize, his hair untidy, and he broke his glasses. From a literature point of view, this description is not just a mere piece to achieve the length of the plot. Instead, it should mean to draw a point home on how our Protagonist has become after being neglected by his relatives. J.K Rowling shows pity and compassion for the boy who was left an orphan, drastically changing his life.

The second important thing to consider while at the reading stage is the relationships the character has with the rest of the characters in the plot. A perfect example from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; is where the author introduces the Protagonist, Santiago. He’s a boy who is relentlessly seeking his legend. Throughout his journey, he is with characters that help him achieve his dream. Some characters have a good influence on him, while others have a terrible impact. His is a journey that puts his patience to the test. In their quest to find gold and jewellery, he goes through tribulations but doesn’t give up. He has so much trust in the Alchemist’s words; through his interaction with the characters, he can have a happy ending with Fatima and find the treasures.

In addition, the character you choose should be able to develop the plot forward. Harry, in the Philosopher’s Stone, is a very observant character. He is keen on every detail inside his Hogwarts School of witchcraft and Wizardly. He has a talent for making a vivid analysis concerning people’s actions, which plays a significant role in the building of the plot. From his observant nature, he later realizes that Voldemort was once a student at Hogwarts, although with a different name. Through this trait, Harry has been able to move forward with the plot and throughout the Harry Potter series.

 Choosing a dynamic character

 To capture the reader’s attention, a character analysis essay writer must develop a dynamic character. While the character does not need to be a protagonist, the character of choice should play a significant role in the story. Most of the characters who play essential roles in the story’s plot are major characters. They go through many changes that make them grow throughout the story, making it enjoyable. By choosing a dynamic reader, your work becomes entreating to the reader, which is the whole idea behind writing a character analysis essay.

 Taking notes

 It is commendable that you put down crucial elements of the story anytime you are reading. This fosters memory as well as lengthening the description of the character. You could also underline a vital sentence or even make highlights regarding the character, even if it is inside the text. The primary purpose for taking notes is to bring out the character’s description in great depth. With suitable examples that bring out a vivid understanding of the concept behind the analysis of a character’s traits, there is a connection between the reader and the character. The character is brought alive to the reader.

 While reading, you are assumed to have your character in mind automatically. Therefore, you should review your notes or highlights to derive the main idea concerning the character. According to the instructions or the format, you should follow, make a rough draft to guide the writing of the whole piece. In case there is no format given by the instructor or the department that is expecting the presentation of the essay, you could follow the format recommended for writing a character analysis essay.

 Choosing the main idea

The main idea behind a character analysis is the point of reference from which you are approaching the character from. What makes the character a protagonist? What major role does the character play in the story? How do they interact with the rest of the characters throughout the novel? The main idea usually is meant to bring out the vivid traits of the character.

Generally, writing a good character analysis essay requires you to be attentive. This is how to start a character analysis essay;

  1. Introduction

Introducing a character, you should use creative words and captivating language so that the reader’s attention is held high and the urge to read more throughout the essay. The writer could use a question while introducing the character. This gives an insight into character analysis essay introduction example that you can employ in your writing.

  1. Body

This is where you can do character development. Each paragraph of the character analysis essay should bear a different idea about the character. This part is where you are supposed to answer questions like the physical appearance of the character, their background, and the conflicts that revolve around them.

Also, show how their attitudes, actions, and reactions have enabled them to build the story’s plot and why the author chose the characters’ traits to make the plot. Answering these questions brings out the character’s life to the audience and gives a comprehensive understanding of the character.

  • Conclusion

You wrap up the ideas you have brought out in the body part using a few words. Show the importance of the character profile in real life. You can also commend or criticize the character here by suggesting how the character could have reacted to a particular situation instead of how they did it.

Typical character analysis essay topics

The distribution of these topics is across all levels of education. The list below contains character analysis essay examples high school, middle school, and college students work on;

  • The Great Gatsby character analysis
  • Lady Macbeth’s character analysis
  • Hamlet character analysis
  • Death of A Salesman character analysis
  • Othello character analysis
  • Pride and Prejudice character analysis
  • Darcy’s character analysis
  • Lord Of The Flies character analysis
  • Willy Loman’s character analysis
  • Daisy Buchanan’s character analysis
  • Claudius character analysis
  • A Rose For Emily character analysis
  • 13 Reasons Why character analysis
  • Jay Gatsby’s character analysis
  • Romeo character analysis
  • The Breakfast Club character analysis
  • Machinal By Sophie Treadwell character analysis
  • 12 Angry Men character analysis
  • Iago character analysis
  • Ophelia character analysis
  • Beowulf character analysis
  • The Crucible character analysis
  • Willy Loman’s character analysis
  • The Things They Carried character analysis
  • Hester Prynne’s character analysis

Wrap up

Writing a character analysis essay requires a good language command. This is because the sole purpose of the essay is to draw the attention of your reader, who is out to get a deeper understanding of the character. Being precise and insightful is all the character essay requires to achieve the goal of coming up with the best for the audience.

Do you still have difficulty on how to write a character analysis essay? Fear not. Contact our experienced writers who will help you effectively at very affordable prices.


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