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Characterization: Major Characters

Characterization: Major Characters

Characterization is yet another element of literature that is exemplary of the role of literature in society. No one can divorce characters from literary works because they help significantly in driving the plot. Their actions dictate everything that happens, from the exposition to the resolution. Therefore, they play an imperative role in directing the field and helping dictate the themes and points of view. Characterization refers to a process by which individuals act according to the preferences of poets, playwrights, and novelists, seeking to reveal character traits and personalities. A character refers to a person, an animal, or a creature in a literary composition who performs the actions that the artists direct (“Character types in literature,” 2020, Para 1). The element contributes to the flow of events (plot) and the ultimate culmination in novels, poems, and plays.


Characterization: Major Characters. Literary artists endeavor to show character traits directly and indirectly. Direct characterization entails the literary artist telling the audience the fundamental nature of the characters. For instance, an author may state, “John was patient and kindhearted, and his manners endeared him to many.” Indirect characterization is exemplified by the characters defining their personality through their behavior. The methods of identifying characters indirectly are through observing their speech, thoughts, actions, looks, and the effects their actions have on other surfaces. For instance, a character is regarded as impulsive if they act without thinking about the aftermath and repercussions of their actions. If they help the poor and the sick, the audience concludes that they are kind and tender-hearted.

It is important to note that physical qualities are not character traits. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to define a character as being handsome. In any case, physical attributes are subjective; what one perceives to be appealing might be disgusting to someone else. Thus, it is imperative to consider behavior and character when assigning character traits.

Major Characters

Significant characters are essential in literary work because the plot revolves around them. Often, their decisions and actions direct the flow of events. They also help in the development of conflicts. Major characters include:

  1. Protagonist- A protagonist is a significant character from whom the literary artist majors their ideas (“Character: Definitions and examples,” 2017). Their actions are essential in the formulation of motifs and significant thematic concerns. The character stands out in the cast or character list, and they are heroes without whom the actions cease (Garcia, 2015). The protagonists are the ones who have the most contradictions, speech, and interest. Such attributes make them attract more attention and affect the behaviors of other characters (Culpeper & Fernandez-Quintanilla, 2017). In most cases, literary artists give them positive attributes. An excellent example of a protagonist is Harry porter, a boy too who J.K Rowling attaches heroic traits and positive virtues that help in improving the lives of others (“Character types in literature,” 2020).
  2. Antagonist-An antagonist is a character whose actions contradict those of the protagonist. In most cases, they fail in their endeavors because they cause problems for the central character (“Character types in literature,” 2020). They assume a negative connotation and are, in most cases, the evil villain. An excellent example of an antagonist is Lord Voldemort, a character to who J.K Rowling attaches negative attributes; he tries to kill Harry Porter (“Character: Definitions and examples,” 2017).

In conclusion, characterization is essential because it helps employ people, animals, and creatures to drive the plot and develop the themes. Report can be direct or indirect. Protagonists and antagonists are the central characters, and they help literary works have both positive and negative inclinations in the thematic concerns. Without the major characters, literary artists cannot develop their work.


Character types in literature: Writing guide. A Research Guide for Students. (2020, May 5). Retrieved November 1, 2022, from

Character: Definitions and examples. Literary Terms. (2017, September 4). Retrieved November 1, 2022, from

Culpeper, J., & Fernandez-Quintanilla, C. (2017). Fictional characterization. Pragmatics of fiction12, 93-128.

Garcia, B. B. (2015). Around the Function of Character in Literary Fiction. London: Universidad de Oxford.

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