In any TV crime drama or British detective movie, a group of investigators is trying to solve the law case by defining the specific features of the potential offender. It can be noticed in any episode of "Colombo." Even fantastic TV series like "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" or team Fang Gang from "Angel" deal a lot with personality identification. These skills are really useful in real life. However, if you have no idea on how to analyze one's personality, you'll be stuck in many life situations. That is why your school and college teachers often ask to write character analysis or analyze just any other subject.
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Harry Potter, Buffy Summers, Colombo, Sarah Connor, Hamlet, Othello, Thor, ... There are so many wonderful fiction and non-fiction characters to analyze!
Further, in the text, we will cover the best examples of how to write a character analysis, great ideas, structure, and most useful tips that help to write an in-depth literary analysis that works. Read the guide on formatting academic essays to gain extra credit from your tutor. The result of the efficient paper is your "A" and teacher's appreciation.
Types of Character Analysis Essays
Before writing a character analysis piece, students must observe possible types of heroes to discuss. They include:
Protagonist - the central figures in any story. The plot tells about their lives and deeds. In "Buffy" series, a protagonist would be Buffy Summers herself while Angel(us) dominates in his personal TV show.
Antagonists (often defined as villains) - the opposites of heroes who tend to change during the entire story. Thus, their nature is usually more interesting to describe. Keep in mind that each personality you choose does not have to be a human being; it can be a force of nature, animal, not a living creature, etc. In our example, Faith Lehane is one of the antagonists who switches from light side to dark after killing a human and returns to light closer to the show's culmination.
Major - these characters dominate the entire story. On the example of "Buffy," we can say Scooby Gang with its five and more members represent the majors of the show.
Minor - these characters start in a couple of episodes or book chapters. Their role can be significant in the development of other figures and entire plot. In our example, we would pick someone like Amy Madison Witch or Vampire Darla who both have an influence on the main characters of both shows.
Dynamic and static characters are two opposites. The first group keeps changing throughout the story while static heroes remain the same. Willow Rosenberg, the Witch, evolves from a shy straight school girl to the world's most powerful witch with a lesbian context; Harmony remains the same silly, naive blonde even once turned to a vampire.
Stereotypical - we believe everyone knows what a stereotype is. Jonathan represents a member of this category by being a typical high school nerd who has no friends and keeps on studying all the time.
Foils - the role of these characters is to contrast with the majors throughout the story. Faith is the opposite of Buffy, Spike is the opposite of Angel, Draco Malfoy is the opposite of Harry Potter, etc.
Three-dimensional (round) personalities. These are people with double-nature, and multiple characters in their mind are all great examples of 3-dimensonal heroes. Have you watched the movie titled "Split" with the guy who had 23 or more personalities living inside of him? That's what we mean!
Unlike round characters, there are one-dimensional (flat) ones who are boring to discuss and play an insignificant role in the story.
How to Write a Character Analysis: 8 Helpful Tips & Tricks!
Do not confuse personality analysis essay with a simple descriptive essay! This type of academic paper has several peculiar features to consider, and below we share top tips on how to write an analysis of a character.
- Mind Character Analysis Form
There is two possible analysis forms student should consider when he is ready to write such type of paper:
- A part of a literary analysis paper. It means a writer should first write the summary of the story plot, include other details, and end up with the strong character analysis.
- A separate essay that focuses on a single personality. Should the character wisely to write a powerful, interesting analysis paper (it is recommended to choose three-dimensional characters, heroes, villains, or foils).
As you can guess, the first type involves more text and more sections. Write about things like:
- Main idea
- All main heroes
- Compare & contrast
- Other elements of literary analysis
In the first case, you don't have too much space to write a detailed character analysis as you have to write about all elements equally. Thus, if your analysis essay must include more than 1000 words, and you have three literary elements to discuss, you should not write more than 200 words on each topic taking into account introduction and conclusion are always needed. These two parts figure as the summary. At the same time, there is more evidence to support your view on a particular hero.
A separate character paper is a bit less complex, and our article focuses on revealing its main rules and structure. If you are in a hurry, use the crucible character analysis example.
- Begin with the Basic Information
You should start with identifying the hero: name the original story, author, years of publishing, and write a summary. Then recall the hero to whom you wish to dedicate your analysis essay. Write some basic observations first:
- Full name and its interpretation (if any). E.g. name Angel is a short form of the evil vampire's name Angelus; Buffy is a short version of Elizabeth. The name of your target hero may have a different meaning than you expect. E.g., Faith is far from giving hope to people.
- Age - it is easier to explain the actions of different characters by taking into account their age: Dawn Summers often acts silly because she's a 15-year old kid.
- Gender (man/woman/unknown)?
- Social status - write about character's work and role in community he or she is living in (unemployed heroes tend to behave more aggressively than employed ones, for example)
- Physical appearance - it is not enough to write Cordelia Chase is beautiful, and she was a Prom Queen - more details are expected! Small elements of analysis include weight, height, and clothing. They point to the main qualities of your hero. Clark Kent wears glasses and strict suits to hide his Superman nature under the mask of office nerd.
- Speech patterns. See how speech, language, the manner of voice reveals different Shakespeare's characters nature in hamlet character analysis
The primary step is to describe your hero before composing a more detailed analysis. You should have a draft where you mention how each quality influences your chosen character and, perhaps, the whole story.
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- What Would Your Interview Questions Sound Like?
Pretend that you have a chance to talk to your hero: what questions would you write down to conduct an analysis? Read the original story to find some proper quotes to answer these questions; make sure to cite every quote properly. Choose something like:
- Character's background: has Harry Potter's difficult childhood and complicated relationships with family members made him a bad person?
- Write about the way other people talk about your hero. In other words, get and share the feedback from Hermione, Ron, Draco, and Hogwarts teachers.
- Try to imagine how this character would describe his own In case such information is missing in the book, try to guess as the students do with Betty Parris, John Proctor, and other people in the crucible character analysis example.
- The analysis essay requires a short review of the relations with other people. Highlight the name of his friends and enemies (Willow, Wesley, Ron, Hermione, Leonardo) - it may tell a lot.
- Write down the ways your individual acts in different force majeure situations.
- Any good character analysis example involves these recommended questions - take the time to read outstanding examples of expert writing.
- Use Supportive Materials
We recommend using extra study materials and prepared templates to write a character analysis essay every teacher wants to see. The best way to write a perfect analysis essay is to find excellent samples online.
We also encourage you to try one of the worksheets attached. Try to keep your ideas and entire character study organized:
More Tips to Observe
Those were the main tips each student must remember when writing a character analysis essay; it is time to read the last three recommendations. Also, it is interesting to read this article to find ways to write a successful essay of any type as a part of English test.
- Find a Focus
When you write, it is critical to concentrate on something. Even though the main goal is to conduct a character's in-depth analysis, you should still define the main point of the paper. Name all features of your hero and his or her role in the story. Then, highlight only one trait that you find to be the most curious. In other words, define that one thing that made you choose this character (unless you were assigned your topic).
Here is an example of great analysis focus. Both Harry Potter and Buffy Summers have a hard mission they should accomplish by sacrificing their own lives. There is a common term used to describe such heroes as these two and Neo from "The Matrix" - The Chosen One. Write down about this trait in your character analysis.
- Body of Evidence
Present evidence from credible and up-to-date sources to support every aspect of your character analysis. As far as most of the time you will have to provide analysis of fictional character, scientific materials and academic journals won't do. Be ready to find evidence from the piece of literature you're working on. You will have to prove your awareness with the in-text citations and indirect quotes from the book or movie your hero comes from.
- It's All about Powerful Conclusion!
At the end of your character analysis essay, you need to find out whether the information you have provided throughout the text would be useful for detectives. Will they identify a character using your writing? Have you mentioned the most outstanding and important traits of your chosen person? A killer analysis essay conclusion might reveal one more aspect of your target character which would be a shock to the audience. Finally, you must write down the reasons for choosing this character out of all other alternatives.
How to Write a Character Analysis Essay
Do you wonder what to include in a character analysis paper? There are three things that make any character analysis essay specific.
Relationships: Write down the names of people with whom your target character interact most of all during the entire story development. Explain specific goals for choosing these characters to describe the target hero. On the examples of their relationships, a writer can point to the place of the chosen character in the story and explain his actions.
Author's Main Goal: When you write about the personality, it is important to specify the character's type (see the full list of types above). Write down why you think the author has created this specific character. Explain his/her role in the lives of other story heroes and entire plot; conclude with the lesson this character gives.
Organization: The structure of character analysis essay is different from the regular academic paper. If you write about specific fiction personality, there is no need to share any research findings. Follow a five-paragraph formula:
- Introduction paragraph
- Body paragraph number one
- Body paragraph number two
- Body paragraph number three
- Conclusion paragraph
An introduction must be based on the powerful thesis statement, which is the main argument in your essay. Make sure to attract attention from the opening paragraph. Involve a hook sentence, referencing the title of the chosen writing piece along with its author, and revealing the purpose of writing in a clear, concise thesis sentence. A good thesis includes at least three subtopics in the order the writer is going to write his character analysis essay: from the least to most important. The rest of the essay has a typical academic paper structure. Write an impressive conclusion which will motivate the readers to like/dislike the target personality.
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Literary courses at any level will sometimes require students to write character analysis essays. We will be delving into their conflicts and how the characters resolve them. We will be looking through the eyes of the characters and analyze their roles in the story. If you are having trouble looking through the eyes of characters in a literary piece, look no further and read on because EssayPro is here to provide a top college essay service!
Table Of Contents
What is a Character Analysis Essay?
In a deeper sense, this is a type of essay which requires an understanding of the character in question. These kinds of essays are usually to understand protagonists and antagonists in any literary piece. One of the aims would be to make a profile and analyze characters well.
What Is The Purpose
More than to fulfill a requirement, this type of essay mainly helps us understand the character and the world he/she lives in. One of the important purposes of this essay is to look at the anatomy of a character in the story and dissect who he/she is. We must be able to study how the character was shaped and then learn from their life.
Different Types Of Characters
- Protagonists (heroes): The main character around whom most of the plot revolves.
- Antagonists: This is a person that is against the protagonist. This is usually the villain but could be also a natural power, set of circumstances, majestic being, etc.
- Major: These are the main characters. They run the story. Regularly there are only one or two major characters.
- Dynamic (changing)
- Static (unchanging)
- Minor: These are the figures who help tell the major character’s tale by letting them interact and reveal their personalities, situations, stories. They are commonly static (unchanging).
- Foils: These are the people whose job is to contrast with the major character.
How to Write it?
Of course to go into the deeper sense, and to truly understand these characters, one must immerse oneself in the story or literary piece. Take note of the setting, climax, and other important literary parts. You must be able to feel and see through the characters. Observe how the writer shaped these characters into life. Notice how little or how vast the identities of the characters were described. Look at the characters’ morals and behavior and how it affects situations and other characters in the story. Observe characters whom you find interesting.
How to start?
First, you have to choose a character you’d like to write about. Sometimes, a character will be readily assigned to you. It’s wise to consider characters who play a dynamic role in the story. It will captivate the reader since there is tons of information about these characters.
Read The Story
Even if you’ve already heard or read this story before, you will probably need to read it again. It will definitely help you notice something new that you’ve missed before. Keep in mind or highlight every place that your character appears.
Consider the following things:
- What specific descriptions does the author provide for each character?
- What kinds of relationship does your character have with others?
- How do the actions of the character move the plot forward?
While you are reading, take notes or highlight/underline all important elements of the story. That will add depth when describing your character.When you’re finished reading with your character in mind, review your notes, and formulate the main idea about a character. Make an initial draft while taking note of the character analysis essay outline provided by your instructor. If you’re not provided with a sample, you may follow this format:
Make An Outline
This step can be considered as one of the most important steps in writing. A well-constructed outline will keep your thoughts and ideas organized.
Make an introduction of your paper brief and meaningful. It should hold together your whole essay and should spark interest in people. Write a short description of the character in question.
Subdivide your body paragraphs into different ideas or areas to be considered regarding the character. Look at your professor’s rubric and make sure that you’ll be able to tackle the things required. You should also be provided with questions to be answered to better formulate your analysis. The body should answer the following questions:
- What is the character’s physical appearance, personality, and background?
- What were the conflicts that the character experienced and how did he/she overcome them?
- What can we learn from this character?
Your conclusion should also hold together your ideas and should shape a final analysis statement. Mention things about the character’s conflicts which we can experience in real life. Also, you can write about how a character that should’ve reacted to a certain situation.
Character Analysis Essay Example
There are many character analysis essay examples available online. Study how authors of these essays wrote about different characters. Go on and search for character analysis about Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, and the Crucible. Look at how conflicts are resolved by characters. Consider things to learn about the characters and take note if any of the characters reflect something in you. A character analysis essay is more than looking into the character but also looking into the character’s personality, actions, and decisions that speak to you.
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Tutor Clement, from EssayPro
Often, a character analysis will help you understand the work as a whole better. When a teacher assigns you a character to analyze, they are essentially asking you to understand the character’s role in the novel. Discuss the character’s intentions. Sometimes, in some works, the intentions of the character may be blurry. A good example of those cases is Iago from Othello. Your job, in this case, will be to analyze Iago’s intentions (why did he want to kill Othello) and then support it with evidence from the text. Like all analysis, having a strong argument, in this case, is very important. You do not necessarily have to believe that your argument is true, but if you can support it then stick with your initial idea. If you are assigned a prompt that states something along the lines of “analyze a character’s influence on the work as a whole”, then this question is calling for a character analysis. Ask yourself questions along the way like: what would I do in their place. This will help develop a deeper sense of empathy with the character and thus help you analyze them better. Good luck!
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We can provide you a character analysis essay sample which you can use as a guide for your essay. Our expert writers will help you choose a character which you can write on. We can also help you synthesize an analysis. If you have a hectic schedule and you find it hard to look for a good time to sit and write about your essay, don't hesitate to use our online writing service. If you have already written an essay and want it checked, just reach us, and we’ll edit your work for a higher grade you deserve.
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