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Writing a Character Analysis Essay | Step-by-Step Guide

I’m also going to give you a ton of examples.

This post is split into four parts for easy navigation:

  • What is a Character Analysis Essay?
  • What is the best Format to Use?
  • 11 Character Analysis Example Ideas
  • Template, Checklist and Outline for Your own Piece

character analysis essay example

In this post, I’m going to explain to you clearly and in a step-by-step way how to conduct a character analysis.

1. What is a Character Analysis Essay?

Let’s get you started with some really simple details about what a character analysis is:

  • A Quick Definition: A character analysis essay zooms-in on a character in a book, movie or even real life. It provides what we sometimes call a ‘sketch’ of a character.
  • The Purpose of a Character Analysis: The purpose of a character analysis is to reveal interesting details about the character that might contain a broader moral message about the human condition. For example, Atticus Finch is not just a lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird. Rather, he provides us with a moral message about the importance of doing what you believe is right even though you know you will likely fail.

2. What is the best Character Analysis Essay Format?

Character analysis essays do not have just one format.

However, let me offer some advice that might act as a character analysis essay outline or ‘checklist’ of possible things you could discuss:

1. Start with the Simple Details.

You can start a character analysis by providing a simple, clear description of who your character is. Look at some basic identity traits such as:

  • Race (if relevant)
  • Social class (if relevant)
  • Protagonist or Antagonist? A protagonist is the character who is our central character in the plot; the antagonist is often the protagonist’s opponent or challenger.
  • Major or minor character?

2. What are the character’s distinctive personality features?

Your character might have some really clearly identifiable character traits. It’s best to highlight in your character analysis the exact traits that this character possesses. Some common character traits include:

I recommend you take a moment to write down what you think the top 3 to 5 words are that you’d use to explain your character’s personality traits. These will be important to discuss throughout your character analysis.

Sometimes a character may start out with some personality traits, but change over the course of the text. This is quite common; and one clear example of this is Lady Macbeth she deteriorates from a cutthroat power player to a guilt ridden shell of a person roaming the halls of the castle. This dramatic character change is something that makes her very interesting, and is worthy of discussion!

3. What are the character’s key relationships?

Does your character have a close relationship with a certain person in the storyline?

You might want to discuss the character’s relationships as a part of your character analysis. These relationships may reveal some key personality traits of your character.

For example, in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Horatio is the loyal offsider to Hamlet. Through his actions in staying by Hamlet through thick and thin, we learn that he is a deeply loyal character.

Examining the character’s relationships with their friends and foes therefore is very useful for digging deeper into who this character actually is, and what personality traits they have when they are put to the test within the narrative.

4. What are the character’s motivations?

Another thing you might want to examine are the character’s motivations . What do they desire most in the world? Some common motivations for characters in stories are:

  • A simple life
  • To serve others

This list really could be endless, but I hope the above examples give you a bit of an idea of the sorts of traits to look out for. By mentioning and examining the motivations of the character, we will come closer and closer to learning exactly what moral message this character might be able to tell us.

5. What are the character’s key conflicts?

Stories tend to have a beginning, a complication, and a resolution.

The complication involves conflicts and challenges that need to be overcome. For Edmund in Narnia, it’s cowardice. For Romeo and Juliet, it’s the conflict between love and family loyalty. Here’s some other common conflicts for characters:

  • Whether to stay loyal to a friend;
  • To overcome obstacles to love;
  • To seek a way out of a challenging situation;
  • To escape war or poverty;
  • To persevere through imprisonment;
  • To overcome personal fear

Again, this list is endless.

Knowing the character’s core conflict gets us even closer to knowing the moral that the character is trying to teach us.

For example, in Romeo and Juliet, the challenge of Romeo and Juliet being together despite their families’ objections teaches us something. Personally, I believe it teaches us the importance of letting go of old grudges in order to let love bloom.

This moral lesson was taught to us through conflict: namely, the conflict that Romeo and Juliet were right in the center of.

6. What are the character’s epiphanies?

Sometimes a character has an epiphany. This often happens towards the end of the story and helps the character overcome the challenge or conflict that we discussed in the point above.

Here’s an example of an epiphany:

  • In the Lion King, Simba runs away from his tribe to live in exile. After a chance encounter with his childhood friend Nala, he has an epiphany that he has a duty to his tribe. This leads him back home to fight Scar and return freedom to Pride Rock.

Not all characters have an epiphany. But, if they do, I strongly encourage you to write about it in your character analysis.

7. Examine the moral message the character teaches us.

Finally, conclude by examining the moral message behind the character. Nearly every character has something to teach the reader. Authors put a lot of thought into creating complex characters with whom we can relate. We relate to the character and say “wow, they taught me a lesson about something!”

The lesson might be something like:

  • Money doesn’t buy happiness;
  • Loyalty to family comes above all else;
  • Love gives life meaning;
  • Honesty is always the best policy

This is the core of your character analysis essay. If you can pick out exactly what moral message the character teaches you, you’ll be well on your way to writing a strong character analysis.

Below I’m going to give you some examples to help you out. I know it can be hard to really get your head around a character, so sometimes the best thing is to look at some samples!

3. Here’s 13 Example Character Analysis Essay Ideas.

Most times when we create a character analysis, we’re exploring the deeper moral stories / aspects of humanity. Here’s some example ideas. I’ve tried to outline in less than a paragraph exactly what your key point will be about each character:

  • Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird: A character who teaches us a lesson about standing up for what’s right, even if you know you’re likely to lose.
  • Huckleberry Finn from Huckleberry Finn: A character who reveals our inner desire for freedom from the elements of society that constrain us.
  • Dudley from Harry Potter: A character whose personality tells us a cautionary tale of the perils of middle-class narcissism, parents’ desire to wrap their children in cotton wool, and the lack of discipline we perceive in contemporary childhoods.
  • Jack from Lord of the Flies: A character who represents the innate desire for power that seems to lurk not too far from the surface of the human condition. When social structures are stripped away, he quickly reverts to violence and superstition to assert control over his peers.
  • Lady Macbeth from Macbeth: Lady Macbeth teaches us a valuable lesson about the perils of contravening our own morality. She starts out a cutthroat killer but is increasingly consumed by the guilt of her own actions. While we may be able to escape full punishment from outside forces, it is the inner guilt that might eat us away to our last.
  • The Boy who Cried Wolf: The boy who cried wolf is a character whose fatal flaw is his desire for attention and adulation. His repeated attempts at gaining the attention of others leads the townspeople to no longer take him seriously, which causes him harm when he actually needs the villagers to take him seriously to save his life. He teaches us the virtue of honest and humility.
  • Nick Carraway from the Great Gatsby: Nick shows us all the inner conflict between the trappings of wealth, glamor and spectacle; and the desire for simplicity, honesty and community. He is drawn by the dazzling world of East Egg, New York, but by the end of the novel sees live in East Egg as shallow and lacking the moral depth of his former life in small town Minnesota.
  • Alice from Alice in Wonderland: In many ways, Alice represents the child within all of us. She is a character of goodwill to all and who looks upon the world (or, rather, Wonderland) with awe. Travelling with a cadre of flawed characters, she learns with them the importance of seeking strength from within.
  • The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet: Like many Shakespearian characters, the nurse’s role is both as loyal confidante to a central character and comic relief. Shakespeare uses minor characters to regale his crowd and sustain viewer interest between scenes.
  • Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Lucy represents a surprising character whose youthfulness and small stature make her an underrated character by all around her. Nonetheless, she possesses within the bravery and loyalty necessary to carry out the quest for Aslan. Lucy represents the goodness in children and, by extension, all of mankind.
  • Anne in Anne of Green Gables: Anne occupies the typical literary role of young girls in many classical novels: she represents innocence and wonder, and her contraventions of rules are seen through a prism of childhood innocence. This frames Anne not as a deviant but as a precious soul.
  • Simba from The Lion King: Simba’s story follows his struggle with growing up, embracing his destiny and duty to his family, or fleeing towards freedom and a ‘no worries’ lifestyle. Simba flees Pride Rock and goes through an existential crisis with his existentialist friends Timon and Pumba. When he runs into an old childhood friend, he realizes how shallow his new carefree life has become and reflects upon his obligation to his community back home.
  • Woody from Toy Story: Woody starts out Andy’s favorite toy, but when Andy gets a new flashier toy, Woody’s status amongst the toys falls apart. Woody’s key character challenge is to learn to be humble and inclusive living within the group. By the end of the movie, Woody realizes his duty to love and serve Andy is more important than his own status within the group.

4. Here’s an Example Template for your own Character Analysis Essay

Feel free to use this brainstorming template to get you started with your character analysis essay. I recommend filling out as many of these key points as you can, but remember sometimes you might have to skip some of these points if they’re not relevant to your character.

Once you’ve brainstormed the ideas in Table 1, follow the character analysis essay outline in Table 2 to stay on track for your character analysis essay. Do remember though that each assignment will be different and you should adjust it based on your teacher’s requirements.

Here’s Table 1, which is a brainstorming template for your character analysis essay:

And here’s Table 2, which is an example character analysis essay outline. This is for a 1500 word character analysis essay. Change the word count according to how long your essay should be:

Read Also: 39 Better Ways to Write ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay

Character analyses can be really tough. You need to know your character really well. You might even need to re-read (or watch) your book or movie a few times over to get to know the character really well.

I recommend when you re-read or re-watch the text before you write your character analysis, have the checklist I provided above handy and take notes. Then, use the essay outline I provided above to put all of those notes together into a clear and thorough final character analysis essay.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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thesis for character analysis essay

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

thesis for character analysis essay

A character analysis essay is a challenging type of essay students usually write for literature or English courses. In this article, we will explain the definition of character analysis and how to approach it. We will also touch on how to analyze characters and guide you through writing character analysis essays.

Typically, this kind of writing requires students to describe the character in the story's context. This can be fulfilled by analyzing the relationship between the character in question and other personas. Although, sometimes, giving your personal opinion and analysis of a specific character is also appropriate.

Let's explain the specifics of how to do a character analysis by getting straight to defining what is a character analysis. Our term paper writers will have you covered with a thorough guide!

What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

The character analysis definition explains the in-depth personality traits and analyzes characteristics of a certain hero. Mostly, the characters are from literature, but sometimes other art forms, such as cinematography. In a character analysis essay, your main job is to tell the reader who the character is and what role they play in the story. Therefore, despite your personal opinion and preferences, it is really important to use your critical thinking skills and be objective toward the character you are analyzing. A character analysis essay usually involves the character's relationship with others, their behavior, manner of speaking, how they look, and many other characteristics.

Although it's not a section about your job experience or education on a resume, sometimes it is appropriate to give your personal opinion and analysis of a particular character.

What Is the Purpose of a Character Analysis Essay

More than fulfilling a requirement, this type of essay mainly helps the reader understand the character and their world. One of the essential purposes of a character analysis essay is to look at the anatomy of a character in the story and dissect who they are. We must be able to study how the character was shaped and then learn from their life. 

A good example of a character for a character analysis essay is Daisy Buchanan from 'The Great Gatsby.' The essay starts off by explaining who Daisy is and how she relates to the main character, Jay Gatsby. Depending on your audience, you need to decide how much of the plot should be included. If the entire class writes an essay on Daisy Buchanan, it is logical to assume everyone has read the book. Although, if you know for certain that your audience has little to no knowledge of who she is, it is crucial to include as much background information as possible. 

After that, you must explain the character through certain situations involving her and what she said or did. Make sure to explain to the reader why you included certain episodes and how they have showcased the character. Finally, summarize everything by clearly stating the character's purpose and role in the story. 

We also highly recommend reading how to write a hook for an essay .

Still Need Help with Your Character Analysis Essay?

Different types of characters.

To make it clear how a reader learns about a character in the story, you should note that several characters are based on their behaviors, traits, and roles within a story. We have gathered some of them, along with vivid examples from famous literature and cinema pieces:

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

Types of Characters

  • Major : These are the main characters; they run the story. Regularly, there are only one or two major characters. Major characters are usually of two types: the protagonist – the good guy, and the antagonist: the bad guy or the villain. 
  • Protagonist (s) (heroes): The main character around whom most of the plot revolves. 

For example, Othello from Shakespeare's play, Frodo from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen.

  • Antagonist (s): This is the person that is in opposition to the protagonist. This is usually the villain, but it could also be a natural power, set of circumstances, majestic being, etc. 

For example, Darth Vader from the Star Wars series by George Lucas, King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, or the Wicked Queen from 'Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.'

  • Minor : These characters help tell the major character's tale by letting them interact and reveal their personalities, situations, and/or stories. They are commonly static (unchanging). The minor characters in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien would be the whole Fellowship of the ring. In their own way, each member of the Fellowship helps Frodo get the ring to Mordor; without them, the protagonist would not be a protagonist and would not be able to succeed. In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, minor characters are Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. They consistently help Harry Potter on his quests against Voldemort, and, like Frodo, he wouldn't have succeeded without them.

On top of being categorized as a protagonist, antagonist, or minor character, a character can also be dynamic, static, or foil.

  • Dynamic (changing): Very often, the main character is dynamic.
An example would also be Harry Potter from the book series by J.K. Rowling. Throughout the series, we see Harry Potter noticing his likeness to Voldemort. Nevertheless, Harry resists these traits because, unlike Voldemort, he is a good person and resists any desire to become a dark wizard.
  • Static (unchanging): Someone who does not change throughout the story is static.
A good example of a static character is Atticus Finch from “How to Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. His character and views do not change throughout the book. He is firm and steady in his beliefs despite controversial circumstances. 
  • Foils : These characters' job is to draw attention to the main character(s) to enhance the protagonist's role.
‍ A great example of a foil charact e r is Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle.

How to Analyze a Character 

While preparing to analyze your character, make sure to read the story carefully.

  • Pay attention to the situations where the character is involved, their dialogues, and their role in the plot.
  • Make sure you include information about what your character achieves on a big scale and how they influence other characters.
  • Despite the categories above, try thinking outside the box and explore your character from around.
  • Avoid general statements and being too basic. Instead, focus on exploring the complexities and details of your character(s).

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

To learn how to write a character analysis essay and gather a more profound sense of truly understanding these characters, one must completely immerse themself in the story or literary piece.

  • Take note of the setting, climax, and other important academic parts.
  • You must be able to feel and see through the characters. Observe how analysis essay writer shaped these characters into life.
  • Notice how little or how vast the character identities were described.
  • Look at the characters' morals and behaviors and how they have affected situations and other characters throughout the story.
  • Finally, observe the characters whom you find interesting. 

Meanwhile, if you need help writing a paper, leave us a message ' write my paper .'

How Do You Start a Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, 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. This will captivate the reader as there will be much information about these personas.

Read the Story

You might think that if you already have read the book, there is no need to do so again; however, now that you know the character you would like to focus on, reading it again will have plenty of benefits. It will give you an opportunity to be more precise while reading the scenes that relate directly to your character and are important for his/her analysis. While reading the book, pay attention to every tiny detail to make sure you grasp the whole array of your character's traits. 

Consider the following things:

  • What specific descriptions does the author provide for each character?

For example, when J.K. Rowling describes Harry Potter for the first time, she describes his clothes as old and oversized, his hair untidy, and his glasses as broken. It might seem just like a simple description, but she expresses compassion and pity for an orphan neglected by his only relatives. 

  • What kinds of relationships does your character have with others?

Think about how Harry builds up his friendships with others. First, he and Ron do not like Hermione because she acts like a know-it-all, but when she gets stuck in the dungeons with a horrendous troll, he rushes to save her regardless. 

  • How do the actions of the character move the plot forward?

In 'The Philosopher's Stone,' Harry is very observant of any events taking place at school. He analyzes people's actions, which builds up the plot around the stone and its importance for the magical world.

Get help with your character analysis from our experts.

Choose a Dynamic Character

Choosing a dynamic character is a great idea. This does not necessarily have to be the protagonist, but a character that undergoes many changes has grown throughout the story and is not boring and/or static. This gives you a perfect advantage to fully show the character and make your paper entertaining and engaging for the reader. If you choose a character that is not very dynamic, your essay might seem monotonous because your character will not end up doing much and will not be very involved in the story.

While you are reading, it is useful to take notes or highlight/underline any of the critical elements of the story. This will add depth to your character description(s). By providing vivid and specific examples, you connect your reader to the character, and the character comes alive in their eyes. Review your notes and formulate the main idea about your character when you're finished reading with your character in mind.

Make an initial draft while taking note of the character analysis essay outline provided by your instructor. You may follow the recommended character analysis essay format if you have not been provided with a sample.

Choose a Main Idea

While reading the story, make sure you keep track of your notes. It is a good idea to look at them, choose the ones that are the most representative of your character and find patterns. This will be your thesis. Then, you must support this idea with examples and situations involving your character. 

If your character were Jem Finch from 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, the main idea would be how his personal character is shaped through racial conflicts, social inequalities, and internal struggles between public opinion, his own views, and what is actually right. Essaypro offers you history essay help. Leave us a notice if you need to proofread, edit, or write your essay.

Character Analysis Questions

Now that you have jotted down some main concepts about your character, here is a list of questions that can help you fill in the blanks you might still have:

character analysis quesions

  • Where do the events involving your character take place?
  • What are the relationships between your character and other significant characters?
  • What is the primary change your character has gone through throughout the story?
  • What is your character's background?
  • What is your character's occupation?
  • What kind of emotions does your character go through?
  • What are your character's values?
  • What is your character's value?
  • Does your character have friends?
  • Is there a lesson your character has learned by the end of the story?
  • Does the character achieve the goals he/she has set for himself/herself?

Make a Character Analysis Essay Outline

When you're unsure how to write a character synopsis, remember that creating a literary analysis outline is one of the most critical steps. A well-constructed character analysis outline will keep your thoughts and ideas organized.

Character Analysis Essay Introduction:

Make the introduction to your paper brief and meaningful. It should hold together your entire essay and spark your audience's interest. Write a short description of the character in question. Don't forget to include a character analysis thesis statement which should make a case for the character's relevance within the narrative context.

Character Analysis Essay Body:

Subdivide your body paragraphs into different ideas or areas regarding the character. Look at your professor's rubric and ensure you'll be able to tackle all the requirements. You should also be provided with questions to be answered to formulate your analysis better. The body should answer the following questions:

  • What is the character's physical appearance, personality, and background?
  • What are the conflicts the character experiences, and how did he/she overcome them?
  • What can we learn from this character?
  • What is the meaning behind the character's actions? What motivates him/her?
  • What does the character do? How does he/she treat others? Is he/she fair or unjust?
  • What does the character say? What is his/her choice of words? Does he/she have a rich vocabulary?
  • How does the character describe themself? How do others describe him/her?
  • What words do you associate with the character? Perhaps a word like 'hope,' 'bravery,' or maybe even 'freedom'?

Character Analysis Essay Conclusion:

It's time to master the secrets of how to write character analysis essay conclusions. Your ending should also hold your ideas together and shape a final analysis statement. Mention things about the character's conflicts that we could experience in real life. Additionally, you can write about how a character should've reacted to a certain situation.

Character Analysis Essay Example

Read our blogs ‘Character Analysis of Jem Finch', 'The Great Gatsby Book Through Daisy Buchanan Character,' 'Analysis of Characters in Beowulf,' or simply use these character analysis essay examples to reference your paper. You might also be interested in a synthesis essay example .

Now that you know what is character analysis, it might be time to choose a character to write about. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to type ' do my homework for me ,' you should contact our writers. You also get a free plagiarism report, formatting, and citing when  buying an essay from us!

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How To Write A Character Analysis Essay?

How to start a character analysis essay, how to write an introduction for a character analysis essay.

Adam Jason

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

thesis for character analysis essay

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How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Examples & Outline

A character analysis is an examination of the personalities and actions of protagonists and antagonists that make up a story. It discusses their role in the story, evaluates their traits, and looks at their conflicts and experiences. You might need to write this assignment in school or college. Like any other essay, your character analysis should contain an introduction, a conclusion, and a thesis.

Want to know how to write a character analysis essay? Not sure how to start? We understand. Whichever piece you choose – Lady Macbeth, A Rose for Emily, or something else, – analyzing a character for the first time might be challenging. No worries, we are here to help! In this guide by our custom writing experts, you will find a step-by-step guide, outlining and writing tips, as well as a number of character analysis examples.

  • 📔 Character Analysis Definition
  • 🧙 Types of Characters
  • 📝 Writing Guide
  • 🖥️ Formatting Tips

📑 Character Analysis Essay Examples

📔 what is a character analysis essay.

A character analysis essay is an assignment where you evaluate a character’s traits, behaviors, and motivations. It requires critical thinking and attention to detail. Unlike descriptions, analyses focus on a character’s personality and internal drives. It explains how those factors shape the narrated events.

The picture shows the definition of character analysis.

So, what you need to do is to see the characters as if they were real people who feel and act just as we do. Ensure there are no baseless assumptions and interpretations: the ideas you present should be supported by quotes from the text.

Character: Definition (Literature)

How do you define a character? It is a person, a creature, or an animal that makes up the story’s world. A character can be based on a real-life person, or it can be entirely fictional. It is someone who thinks, feels, and acts.

We use the word “character” in many different contexts. For instance, it can denote someone eccentric or worthy of our admiration. In both contexts, the term “character” means a distinctive personality. Similarly, in an analysis, your task is to show what makes a character stand out.

Characterization: Literary Definition & Examples

Characterization is the process by which a character’s personality is revealed. It presents characters’ traits, feelings, and motives to the reader. For this reason, characterization is closely connected to character analysis. It helps us to understand the characters better throughout the reading process.

Characterization can be direct and indirect .

  • Direct characterization is when the narrator directly tells the audience what the personality of a character is.
  • In contrast, indirect characterization shows things that hint at a character’s nature.

Here are some examples of direct characterization taken from Patti Smith’s Just Kids :

“But he always suppressed his real feelings, mimicking the stoic nature of his father.”

Here we see a direct description of a character. The author straightforwardly talks about Robert’s feelings. In comparison, look at the description of a woman taken from John Steinbeck’s The Snake :

“He looked around at her again. Her dark eyes seemed veiled with dust. She looked without expression at the cat’s open throat.”

These lines don’t directly reveal anything about the woman, but the reader can understand that she is cold and dangerous. It’s an indirect characterization that focuses on looks and actions to convey the message to the reader.

🧙 Types of Characters for Your Essay

When it comes to characters, they can be divided into several groups. For example, characters can be:

  • Protagonists or antagonists,
  • Static or dynamic,
  • Flat or round.

These types define how much the characters change through the course of the story and their role in it.

Character Type: Definition

In psychology, a character type is defined by a combination of personality traits that coexist in an individual. Authors incorporate different types of characters into their works to convey the message and make the story more exciting or relatable to the reader.

There are three ways to categorize a character type:

  • by archetypes,
  • by their role in the narrative,
  • by their ability to change throughout the story.

If you are about to write a character analysis essay, being familiar with character archetypes is essential. They have been categorized by a generation of writers, including the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and the American literary theorist Joseph Campbell. A lot of characters we see in today’s literary works are rooted in them.

Archetypes include the Trickster, the Ruler, the Lover, the Sage, and others. The Hero is one of the most notable archetypes. Hercules or Achilles can be good examples of heroic protagonists. They are strong and courageous; they meet challenges and save the day by helping others.

Main Character: Definition & Examples

The main character and the protagonist often get mixed up. Most narratives also have the figure of the antagonist , whose actions affect the plot and stimulate change. Let’s have a look at the similarities and differences between these types.

The main character is central in the narrative. We experience the story through their eyes. They don’t necessarily have to be protagonists, though it happens in many cases.

The crucial difference between the main character and the protagonist is that the protagonist goes through changes throughout the story. The main character, however, is there to guide the reader through the experience. Often they help to show a different, darker side of the protagonist.

To understand the difference better, let’s turn to some examples.

What’s a Static Character?

Now that we’ve learned about the main character and the protagonist, we will closely look at other types of character classifications. One of the ways to categorize a character is by their ability to change throughout the story.

A static or simple character is someone who undergoes little or no significant changes. They often exist for comedic purposes. Here are some examples:

Complex Character: Definition & Examples

Complex or dynamic characters are the opposite of static characters. Characters of this type change as the book progresses. They display different qualities, emotions, and motives. They become more complicated and interesting to the reader as the story unfolds.

Check out these examples of dynamic characters:

Other Kinds of Characters

You already know about several ways to define a type of character. Now, let’s go over some other types, starting with flat and round characters.

Similar to dynamic and static ones, round and flat characters represent two different ends of a spectrum. Round characters usually come with an in-depth background. They are traditionally protagonists, antagonists, or those close to them. In contrast, flat characters are two-dimensional, and there is not much depth to them.

For the examples, we will turn to the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Finally, here are some bonus character types for you:

  • Stock characters have a fixed set of traits and are flat. Most of the time, they exist for comical relief.
  • Symbolic characters represent a concept or a theme that goes beyond them. They can be round and flat as long as they symbolize a particular notion or phenomena.
  • Sidekick is a secondary character who supports the protagonist.
  • The love interest is someone with whom the main character is infatuated.
  • Foil is someone who’s set in contrast with the protagonist, thus putting more emphasis on the latter’s qualities.

Characterization Essay: Which Character Type to Choose

Before you start writing a paper, it essential to decide on the character you’re going to analyze. There are different types of characters in every story, so you need to choose which one suits your essay topic the best.

Usually, it’s best to choose a dynamic and round character . With static and flat ones, there may not be enough substance for you to analyze. However, some such personalities can be interesting to work with. For instance, a flat character such as Mr. Collins can be symbolic of something. Then, you can talk about how it embodies a specific idea or notion. You can also look at how they affect other characters in the story.

📝 How to Write a Character Analysis Step by Step

Now, we’re going to discuss how to write your paper step-by-step. But first, here are some pre-writing steps for you to consider:

  • Choose a character for analysis.
  • Take notes while reading;
  • Define the type of the character and their role in the story;
  • Pay attention to their descriptions and actions.

How to Analyze a Character: Description Examples

Knowing how to organize your work is an essential skill. Certain things need special attention if you are describing a character:

  • physical appearance,
  • emotional state,
  • how the character speaks,
  • behavior and personality traits,
  • relationships with other characters.

When you analyze a character, try to look at them as if they were a real-life person. You want to know their motive, learn about how they feel, and understand why they think in a certain way. Ask yourself:

  • How did the character change throughout the story (if at all)?
  • What do other characters say about them? Can their words be trusted?
  • Where is the character physically and emotionally? What brought them here?
  • What is the character ready to do to achieve their goal?

Now, let’s look at the character of Franklin from the short story Just Before the War with the Eskimos by J.D. Salinger:

Character Profile Template for Writing

When writing your essay, use this character analysis template:

The picture shows the main steps in writing a character analysis essay.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss each step in detail.

Character Analysis Outline: How to Start a Character Analysis

The beginning of your essay is its crucial part. It sets the mood and grabs the reader’s attention. There are many different ways to write a character analysis introduction, but here are the most effective ones:

  • Use a quotation. It’s a great way to make a catchy hook. If it relates to the character and reflects their nature, it can also help to set the tone for analysis. In case you are using a quotation from somewhere else, mention the source in parentheses.
  • Talk about the book or story. Mention the author, the name of the story, and the genre. Briefly describe the main events that are taking place in the story.
  • Introduce the character. State their role in the story (define whether they are a protagonist, an antagonist, etc.) Then, explain whether the character is static or dynamic. Finally, describe them in 2-3 sentences.

The final part of an introduction is a thesis statement.Read on to learn how to write one!

Character Analysis Thesis Statement & Examples

A thesis is the key component of every essay, and character analysis is not an exception. It’s crucial to develop a good and clear thesis statement that includes all the aspects of your paper. For instance, if you plan to write a 4-paragraph body, including 4 points in your thesis.

What should a character analysis thesis include? Well, try to think of any trait that the character possesses that has to do with their downfall or somehow influences the story. Think about how this trait affects the character’s relationship with others or how it contributes to their motive or aspiration.

Take a look at the following examples:

How to Write Character Analysis Paragraphs for the Main Body

The main body of your essay can include as many paragraphs as you need. In this part, you introduce the character and analyze them. We have already talked in this article about what kind of questions should be answered in these paragraphs. The most important points are:

  • Describe the character and their role within the story.
  • Give the audience an explanation of the character’s motives.
  • Show what message the author wanted to convey through this character.

Keep in mind that every paragraph should have a topic sentence that captures its main idea.

Tsukuru Tazaki’s spiritual rebirth also affects his physical appearance.

Character Analysis Conclusion: How to Write

The conclusion part of your essay summarizes all the information you have mentioned and restates the thesis. Here is some advice for your conclusion paragraph:

🖥️ Character Analysis Essay Format

Most college assignments and essays are written according to the APA or MLA format. Both styles have the same formatting, which requires:

  • a double-spaced paper with 1-inch margins,
  • a page header with page numbers flush right,
  • an 11-12-point font.

While writing an essay on characters, pay special attention to quotations. Here are some tips for APA in-text citations:

  • When you summarize or paraphrase the information, mention the author’s name and publication date in brackets. Example: According to Collins (1997.)
  • When you quote directly from the source, add the number of the page, as well. Example: “There is a view that…” (Collins, 1997, pp. 134-135.)
  • If the source includes three or more authors, use the abbreviation “et al.” after the first author’s name. Example: (Collins et al., 1997)

As for MLA format:

  • You can write the author’s name in the sentence. Example: As Collins mentions in his essay<…>.
  • You can mention the author’s name in the parentheses at the end of the sentence. Example: (Collins, J.K.)
  • The last option is to use either footnotes or endnotes.

Below you’ll find a collection of character analysis essay examples and a downloadable sample to inspire you even more.

  • The Grandmother in A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Character Analysis
  • Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman: Character Analysis
  • Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis
  • Prospero in The Tempest: Character Analysis
  • Agamemnon in the Iliad: Character Analysis
  • Lord Pococurante in Candide: Character Analysis
  • Andromache in the Iliad: Character Analysis
  • Character Analysis of the Knight from The Canterbury Tales
  • Essay on Soldier’s Home: Analysis of the Characters

Character Analysis Example (Downloadable)

Roald Dahl’s  Matilda  is one of the most famous children’s novels of the 20th century. The protagonist of this tale is Matilda Wormwood, a five and a half-year-old girl with a brilliant and lively mind that distances her from the rest of the family. Matilda’s character is particularly interesting as she has a powerful personality with extraordinary mental abilities, and she manages to overcome all the obstacles that surround her.

Character Analysis Essay Topics

  • Character analysis of Abbas from A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge .
  • Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 
  • Beowulf and Hamlet: similarity and diversity of the characters. 
  • Personal and social failures of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
  • Character analysis of Othello. 
  • Analyze the characters of Stanley and Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire . 
  • The tragedy of Mathilde Loisel from The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.
  • Character analysis of Huck Finn from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn .
  • Moral force of Kate Lipton from Double Helix by Nancy Parker.
  • Character analysis of Thorvald and Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House .
  • Discuss the character of king Creon in Antigone .
  • Analyze the personality of Lydia from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice .
  • Compare Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Describe the peculiarities of Lord Pococurante in Candide .
  • Sarty Snopes in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning : character analysis.
  • Analyze the character of Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman.
  • Personality of Nora in A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen.
  • Examine the main characters of The Yellow Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
  • Personality change of the main character in Edgar Alan Poe’s The Black Cat . 
  • Analyze the characters of E. Hemingway’s A Clean, Well-Lighted Place .
  • Describe the main characters of the novel The Overstory by Richard Powers.
  • Controversial personality of Vladek in Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman.
  • Character analysis of Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
  • Discuss the character of Creon in Oedipus the King .
  • The manipulative character of Iago in Willian Shakespeare’s Othello .
  • Analyze the characters of Nil and Kristine in A Doll’s House .
  • Eccentricity of Grendel’s character in Beowulf .
  • Describe the main characters of Four Summers by Joyce Carol Oates.
  • Examine the characters of Harold Krebs and his mother in Ernest Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home .
  • Analyze common and different traits of the characters in The Monkey’s Paw .
  • Character peculiarities of Rostam and Sohrab in Shahnameh by Ferdowsi Tousi.  
  • How does the character of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen differ from the rest of her family?  
  • The behavior and meaning of the characters in Nicholas Rowe’s The Tragedy of Jane Shore.
  • Compare the characters of Victor Frankenstein and the monster in Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley.
  • Discuss the differences of main characters in Everyday Use by Alice Walker.
  • Examine the character of Connie in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates.
  • The influence of social pressure on the characters of Chopin’s Desirée’s Baby and Sedaris’ A Modest Proposal .
  • Dynamic feminist characters of Delia and Jig in Sweat by Z. Hurston and Hills Like White Elephants by E. Hemingway.
  • Analyze the personality traits of Emily in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily . 
  • Examine the characters of The Quiet American by Graham Greene.
  • Henry ΙV by William Shakespeare : analysis of main characters.

Now you know everything necessary for writing an excellent character analysis. What character would you like to analyze? Let us know in the comments!

Further reading:

  • How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Step by Step
  • Literature Review Outline: Examples, Approaches, & Templates
  • Library Research Paper: Example & Writing Guide [2024]
  • How to Write a Critique Paper: Tips + Critique Essay Examples
  • 435 Literary Analysis Essay Topics and Prompts [2024 Upd]
  • How to Write a Literature Review: Actionable Tips & Links

❓ Character Analysis FAQ

A character analysis involves:

1. description of a character; 2. explanation of how they change throughout the story; 3. their role in the narrative; 4. relationships with other characters; 5. what idea the author wanted to convey through the character.

A character analysis creates a description that contains their most important qualities. It provides a new perspective of a character that reveals more about what it’s like to be human. It can also point to a moral or a lesson.

Literary analysis uses the technique of tracing the character development. This technique is usually used to understand the theme of the work better. Through tracing a character’s development, we can learn more about the story’s message and how it’s conveyed.

A summary paragraph in a character study should include answers to the questions “what,” “who,” “where,” and “why.” You should mention who narrates the story, where the story is set, its theme, and the message it conveys.

  • Critical Concepts: Character and Characterization: Kansas State University
  • Analyzing Novels & Short Stories: Texas A&M University
  • Guidelines for Writing a Character Analysis Essay: Tidewater Communite College
  • Literary Criticism: Thesis Examples: The University of Texas at Arlington
  • Writing a Literary Analysis Paper: Germanna Community College
  • Flat and Round Characters: Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Literature: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • How to Write a Book Analysis: Kean University
  • Elements of Literary Analysis: Alamo Colleges District
  • Defining Characterization: Read Write Think
  • APA Style: General Format: Purdue University
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Character Analysis Essay Guide: How to Write a Good Character Analysis Essay

Writing in high schools or colleges is one endless activity. And while it may be hectic and frustrating for some, to others, it is a sweet experience because essays provide opportunities for students to show their creativity.

A character analysis essay is one of the most essay types you will probably write, depending on your course. These pieces explain and expound on the characters in plays, cinemas, or other literary forms, but they all follow a similar pattern.

And if you’re looking for a guide to help you write your essay, look no further. I’ll walk you through some simple steps to write a character analysis essay.

Tips on How to Write a Good Character Analysis Essay

Writing a character analysis essay is much more than just describing a character. You must look at how that character’s actions affect the story and what it means for them.

Here are some tips on how to write a good character analysis essay.

Read the entire story

Before you start writing a character analysis, you must read the story from beginning to end. This will help you understand the characters better and give your essay more credibility and structure.

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Further, it helps you get an overall idea of what’s going on in the book or movie so that you know how much information is available about each character before writing your essay.

And even if you have ever read the story, reading it a subsequent time is still encouraged. This is because it helps you focus your mind on the characters, setting, or plot development. Generally, ensure you’re familiar with every detail of a character before beginning your essay.

Identify the character to analyze

An effective character analysis essay goes deep into detailing a specific character. And depending on your essay length, character choice will play a significant role.

If your professor requires a large word count, protagonists or antagonists are the best characters to choose from rather than minor characters. This is because the main characters have more details than the others.

However, you do not have to go for the protagonist. Instead, go for a dynamic character who undergoes several changes because it gives you more meat to write on.

Reread or rewatch the story with perspective on your character

Now that you have a clear idea of your story and what kind of character you’re writing about, it’s time to start thinking about how this character will move through space and time.

Further rereading the story with this character in mind helps you focus on them alone. Some of the questions to ask yourself in this stage include;

  • Description of the character by the author
  • What are the character’s actions?
  • What is the relationship between the character and others?
  • What are the character’s failures and successes?

Take notes identifying the central theme

As you read the story, take notes of important themes. The main theme is the story’s central idea and usually involves a problem or conflict that characters face and often resolves itself by the end of the story.

In addition, the central theme plays throughout all three acts of a play or novel, but they’re usually more apparent in Act 1 than in Acts 2 and 3 because those later acts mainly deal with plot complications and resolutions.

Outline and write the paper

Your paper consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The opening is a concise brief of the character in question and leads the reader to gain interest in reading the piece. On the other hand, the body has several sections, but it is a good idea to follow your instructor’s guidelines. At the same time, the conclusion ties everything together and summarizes your entire paper.

How Do You Analyze Characters in an Essay

Generally, analyzing a character entails identifying, determining their role, and understanding their actions. Further, you must explore their relationships with others, identify their traits, and finally identify how they evolve through the book or play.

These are six primary ways of analyzing characters in an essay. Let’s now look at each in detail.

  • Character identification

This is a significant step, and you should classify your character as static or dynamic. Additionally, you should identify if they are primary or secondary characters.

  • Role determination

After identifying the character, you should move to determine their role. If you go for the main character, it means their part is to bring out the theme, while the secondary characters’ role is to support the achievement of the theme.

  • Identify the character’s mentioned roles

Next is to identify the mentioned character roles. Some aspects to help you include why the characters are antagonists or protagonists, their first actions in the story, and how they influence the story.

  • Character’s relationships

This entails how the identified character relates with others and the significance of these relationships in the story.

  • Identify personality traits

Traits of the character emanate from their actions and relationships. They may include bravery, self-centeredness, or generosity.

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Character Analysis Essay

Writing a thesis statement for a character analysis essay entails four major steps. These are drawing a rough sketch of the characters, their main traits, role, and functions, and summing all these points into one sentence.

The thesis statement is the main idea of your paper, so it is vital to make sure that the thesis statement is specific, direct, and clear. The body paragraphs should support your thesis statement with specific examples. In other words, each body paragraph should provide support for your thesis statement.

For your statement to be effective, it must include all four mentioned parts. The first part describes the character’s appearance, actions, values, beliefs, and tendencies. It then comprises their relationship, role, and functions.

The role and function of the character will form the bulk of your thesis statement. And because the statement answers the why and how question, you should ensure you provide an entirely detailed explanation of the character’s role and functions and how it contributes to the theme and plot.

After having all these parts, it is time to sum them into one sentence.

How to Write the Introduction of a Character Analysis Essay

Writing the introduction of a character analysis essay is probably the most important because it determines if a reader will continue reading the paper or not. As such, following these steps will help you write the best introduction.

  • Start with a quote

Quotes are one of the best ways to start an introduction. However, ensure they are related to the character’s trait. For example, if the character is generous, use a quote about generosity.

  • Background information

Next is presenting the literature information. This is where you identify the character’s name, author, and title.

  • Character introduction

Your introduction should then introduce the character being analyzed. Some of the information included here include their role, whether they are protagonist, antagonist, static, or dynamic.

Further, you should have a few lines giving a general look and description of this character.

  • Have a broad assertion

This part of the introduction is the transition between the character description and the thesis statement. It also entails the central theme of the piece of literature being analyzed.

  • Thesis statement

This is the last part of your introduction. It includes your fundamental assertion and thus should be clear. You can also highlight what you will cover in your body paragraphs.

How to Write the Body Paragraphs of a Character Analysis Essay

The body of a character analysis essay is also a significant part because it gives more details about the character. Each paragraph has a topic sentence and specific examples supporting the sentence. In addition, the topic sentence supports your thesis statement.

Further, the body paragraphs are where you will develop your analysis. Each body paragraph should have a topic sentence and specific examples from the work of literature to support that topic sentence.

If possible, include quotations from the text and paraphrases of what other people have said about the character in question.

As you write this section, some of the must-answer questions include the following;

  • How does the character describe themselves?
  • How do others describe the character?
  • What does your character do, and how do they treat others?
  • What motivates the character to behave in a specific way?
  • What lessons can one learn from the character?
  • Does the character encounter conflicts, and how do they solve them?
  • What are the character’s appearance, background, and other physical features?

How to Write the Conclusion of Character Analysis Essay

This is the last part and involves three major areas; stating a summary of the entire essay, your opinions, and your thoughts and predictions. You can also note how the character is relevant in real-life situations.

Also see: How long should a conclusion be in an essay? 

Also, this is where you will elaborate on those points and explain why they are relevant to your topic. Any quotes from the source material that shows how well you understand the material being studied should also be included in this paragraph.

Further, the conclusion concludes the character’s role in the story, how they changed over time or why they were essential to the plot. You could also expand on other characters and how they relate to your character of choice.

Generally, your conclusion should have the following;

  • Give your opinion on the character as well as their role in the book or movie;
  • Mention what you have learned about this character
  • Tell how your opinion changed after reading/watching the work
  • Indicate what other people may think about this character and give your reasons why they might feel differently than you do
  • The application on day-to-day life

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

14 August, 2020

14 minutes read

Author:  Kate Smith

A character analysis essay is one of the most complicated academic assignments that students usually write for Literature or English classes. Generally, this kind of essay writing requires you to describe the character in the context of the story. This can be done through the analysis of the relationship between the major and secondary characters or through your personal opinion of a particular character.

Character Analysis

So, there is something you should learn before getting down to work. What is a character analysis and how to approach it? Let’s try to find the answers in the information below.

What is a Character Analysis?

A character analysis is a kind of essay where you examine behaviors, motivations, and actions of characters. Also, a character analysis is an in-depth assignment that makes you think critically about one or more characters and make judgements after analyzing the text. In most cases, it is used for the analysis of literary works. This form of academic writing involves personalities’ descriptions and conflicts with others they experience throughout a story. This analysis aims to provide a critical assessment of characters and build up conclusions based on the storyline. You may analyze a personality through his or her behavioral patterns or internal and external conflicts.

character analysis essay

When you’re asked to write a character analysis, you must look at that story from a different angle. How? This is not your average reading for fun. Your task is to focus on the character synopsis and everything that’s associated with the people involved in the story.

Aim of a Character Analysis

A character analysis aims to evaluate a character’s traits, their functions, and the conflicts they have to deal with throughout the story. During the analysis, you will need to think critically, ask questions, and make conclusions about the character. To make your analysis informative, you will have to go beyond available descriptions that are written by the author. To understand the meaning of every event, phrase, and action, you will have to read between the lines. Don’t be afraid of using some additional resources if you feel like knowing more about the epoch a character lives in. If you want to gain an alternative opinion about a character, do not hesitate to find out your friends’ or internet users’ thoughts. Thus, thorough research may help you develop some creative ideas that will add great value to your future paper.

General Types of Characters

You should have a deep understanding of a character before starting an in-depth analysis. While a good character has many sides, there are some standard features to be considered:

  • Protagonist: Being the main figure in a story, this character has the whole plot based on their life, actions, events, and feelings.
  • Antagonist: Being a villain in a story, this character is positioned as the opposite figure to the major hero. Their basic nature remains negative, which makes them even more interesting than the main character. An antagonist plays a significant role even in short stories.
  • Major: This character dominates the story. While they are not the main one in the story, they are involved in all the events.
  • Minor: This character appears in a story from time to time. Their role may be significant for the plot development, but then they may disappear for some time and pop up again.
  • Dynamic and static characters: The existence of these two opposite characters is determined by their reflection of each other’s specifications. While one character of a story goes through an internal or external transformation, another one may have their basic characteristics unchanged. There is a common idea that an evolving character tends to be more interesting than a static one. However, you can also analyze a static character from the perspective that they are not sympathetic, smart, or deep enough to learn their lessons. Or on the contrary, they remain strong enough and can resist the system without going under it.
  • Stereotypical: If you are familiar with stereotypes, you will know what type of character is meant here. Generally, this particular character serves as the representation of the social, national, as well as demographic background of the story.
  • Foils: The main goal of this hero in the story is to stay in contrast with main characters and a protagonist in order to highlight the features of the main character.
  • Multi-dimensional characters: This group of characters involves an unlimited number of personalities. They are one-dimensional characters in the story who usually are not particularly interesting for the reader or viewer and do not play a crucial role in the storyline.

How Do You Start a Character Analysis Essay?

Before you start writing, you may wonder how to do a character analysis. Of course, you need to select a character to describe. In some cases, your professor will give you a character to talk about. By reading a story several times, you may notice the tiniest details. Ideally, you can use a highlighter or marker to mark each spot where your character is mentioned. Here are some more details of how to start with a character analysis:

  • Take notes while reading. Take notes by highlighting every significant element of the story.
  • Introduce your character. Introduce your character by providing their detailed description.
  • Describe your character. Provide a smooth transition from the general description of your character to the point of convergence of the story.
  • Build up a thesis statement. Finish the presentation with your paper’s proposal.

Main Points of a Character Analysis

When you need to analyze one character, you can make it from the perspective of several types at once. The character’s ability to change can create an additional source of analysis. At the same time, the complex and changing personality will be more interesting for the detailed analysis. To make it easier to work with such characters, you should focus on their characteristics, namely their importance for a story, actions, events, and so on. In most cases, you have to cover three major points:

Personality

Reveal the main features of a character to provide the reader with a portrait. By adding some facts and descriptions of actions, you will enable a deeper understanding of the analyzed hero. There is no need to use some words with broad meanings like “bad,” “nice,” “honest,” etc.

Role in a story

Describe the importance of the particular character in the context of the general story. Also, you should pay attention to their actions and their ability to move the events forward.

Character development

Analyze the changes the character has gone through and what features they have now. You should focus on the progress of a person, even if it is regressive.

Character Analysis Outline

In the character analysis essay outline, you should describe two or maybe even three specific character categories. Your mission is to describe the personality of the character, their function in the story, and the value they have.

  • Describe the personality of the character. The reader gets familiar with the characters of the story through the words the characters use, the emotions they express, and the actions they take. It is quite easy to build up an opinion about the personality of a character through the prism of their outward behaviors. Eventually, you will understand that the character fits into one of the character categories mentioned above.
  • Explore the character’s role . While writing a character analysis, it is important to describe the role of that character in detail. Apart from expressing unique character traits, the character will also perform a specific function in the story. Whether it will be the major or minor role, the analysis should address all the aspects of the performed role.
  • Outline the growth and development of the character . In order to write a professional analysis, you will explain how the character matures and transforms as the plot progresses.

The majority of characters will have to go through particular transformations until the end of the story. You should pay special attention to whether the character becomes better or worse, stronger or weaker, rich or poor. Mention any areas or scenes where these transformations occur. In the story, you will recognize them from the cues like “it was then that she understood…” or “for the first time in months, he…”

Do you need a more detailed analysis of your character?

To make your analysis essay correct, you need to explore your character deeply. If you set some points you will follow in your work, you will manage to be consequential in your analysis. So here are some crucial nuances you should remember to describe the character:

You should focus on the reasons that make the character in a story to make a particular decision or take a specific action. You have an opportunity to explore the rightfulness of those actions as well as their reasonability. While you are asked to express your thoughts about certain events and feelings, you should be objective by looking beyond the cover.

Every action taken by a character can say a lot about his/her personality. You should not skip any events because it can be important for the general story and reveal some info about the character, his/her attitude to things, etc.

You should pay attention to the words the person uses because they can say a lot about their personality. Their accents and phrases may provide you with valuable information about nationality, social status, education, or even age of a character.

Descriptions

There are two major sources of the description: from other people in a story and the author. The author can provide the reader with one attitude and description of the major character, while secondary heroes in a story may describe them from their own perspective. At that point, their conclusions may be totally different, yet they’ll provide you with an understanding of the person’s nature.

The way people refer to a person also determines the features of a character. They may have nicknames or other names that will demonstrate their background and the attitude of other characters toward them. You can also define the origin as well as other important nuances.

Character Analysis Examples

By using a readymade character analysis example, you can concentrate on the creative process itself. Here are some nice examples of written character analysis based on a couple of popular stories:

https://literatureessaysamples.com/joe-gargerys-character-analysis/

http://jmendelis.blogspot.com/p/sample-character-analysis-essay.html

Popular Topics for Character Analysis

  • Hamlet Character Analysis
  • The Crucible Character Analysis
  • Macbeth Character Analysis
  • Ophelia Character Analysis
  • Iago Character Analysis
  • 12 Angry Men Character Analysis
  • The Great Gatsby Character Analysis
  • Beowulf Character Analysis
  • Lady Macbeth Character Analysis
  • Atticus Finch Character Analysis
  • Romeo Character Analysis
  • Antigone Character Analysis
  • Victor Frankenstein Character Analysis
  • Pride And Prejudice Character Analysis
  • Machinal By Sophie Treadwell Character Analysis
  • Of Mice And Men Character Analysis
  • Othello Character Analysis
  • Macduff Character Analysis
  • Lord Of The Flies Character Analysis
  • To Kill A Mockingbird Character Analysis
  • The Breakfast Club Character Analysis
  • Charlie Brown Character Analysis
  • Death Of A Salesman Character Analysis
  • Hester Prynne Character Analysis
  • Mr Darcy Character Analysis
  • Desdemona Character Analysis
  • Fahrenheit 451 Character Analysis
  • Willy Loman Character Analysis
  • A Raisin In The Sun Character Analysis
  • The Things They Carried Character Analysis
  • A Rose For Emily Character Analysis
  • Nick Carraway Character Analysis
  • Daisy Buchanan Character Analysis
  • Boo Radley Character Analysis
  • 13 Reasons Why Character Analysis
  • King Lear Character Analysis
  • Jay Gatsby Character Analysis
  • Blanche Dubois Character Analysis
  • Oedipus Character Analysis
  • Claudius Character Analysis

Tips on Writing a Character Analysis from Handmadewriting Experts

Whether you follow a character analysis template yourself or ask a professional essay writer to complete this paper for you, you should not forget the common principles of work. Luckily, Handmadewriting’s specialists always follow the standard rules for character analysis writing:

  • Support all your statements with evidence. Y ou should incorporate evidence for every single point you make, although it must be relevant to the story. By means of quotes taken from the story, you can easily support your ideas and increase your credibility.
  • Point, illustrate, and explain. The so-called PIE method is a must for character analysis writing. Make sure to make a point, integrate quotations to support it, and explain how every quote creates the point.
  • Use your own words to anchor the quote. A quotation should not be left alone in the sentence. You need to explain the eligibility of this quote and its meaning.
  • Do not overuse quotes. You are allowed to use up to 10% of quotations in an academic paper, so remember this number. If you overuse quotes, you can hardly hope for a good grade.

Are you ready to proceed with your character analysis paper? Once you learn all writing rules and tips, you will be able to finish an excellent paper before the set deadline.

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thesis for character analysis essay

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay in 7 Steps

To analyze a character in a story (whether it’s a book or film) essentially means to discuss three things:

  • What the character was like before the adventure
  • How the character responded to the inevitable challenges 
  • How the character transformed as a result of the adventure

It is very rare that a character in a story doesn’t change. An example of that would be the film The Remains of the Day where the main character never changes. That movie was a bit disappointing 🙂

The most interesting part of any story is what happens to its characters – how they transform as a result of facing difficulties in pursuit of a goal or while trying to solve a problem:

  • Rocky faces a world champion to turn from a boxing mediocrity into a respected warrior and athlete
  • Mulan helps defeat a fearsome invader to go from an awkward bride to a national heroine 
  • Harry Potter must face inner and outer demons to turn from a troubled schoolboy into a real wizard

If you were to write an essay about any of these characters, these would be some of the likely central points in your paper. And in this tutorial, I will show you how to go about the process.

I’m Tutor Phil, and without further ado, let me take you through the…

7 Steps to Writing a Character Analysis Essay

Step 1. Choose the character you will write about

You may already have a pretty good idea of which character you want to write about. Or, perhaps your instructor has given you a prompt with a pre-selected character. 

If not, here are a few tips on choosing a character.

Make sure the character gets ample time and space in the story. Don’t choose a character that barely appears in the book or movie. Pick either the main character or a secondary character who gets a lot of attention from the author. 

You can choose a protagonist or an antagonist. The protagonist is the “good” guy or gal, and the antagonist is the anti-hero. You can analyze either one because both are very important characters in the story.

Choose a character who captivates your imagination. The better your emotional connection to the character, the easier it will be to write about them. If you have more than one story to choose from, pick your favorite character from any of the stories. 

These tips will ensure that you have enough material to write an essay. And let’s pick our character for the purposes of this tutorial. 

The character I’m choosing is the Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (the animated feature). I absolutely love this animated film, and this also happens to be my favorite story ever.

The Beauty and the Beast as a story appears in many (almost all if not all) cultures of the world in one form or another. But we’ll focus on the Beast in Disney’s animated version because he’s a fascinating hero who undergoes an amazing transformation. 

Step 2. Read (or watch) the story again while taking notes

Even if you have already read the book or watched the movie, go through it again after picking your character. 

This time around, you’ll notice a lot more about this character than you did on the first reading or viewing. If it’s a movie, just watch the whole thing over while taking notes.

If it’s a long novel, you can reread only the key parts that are relevant to your character and what you might write about them. 

Character Qualities and Traits You Can Discuss

Let me give you a list of qualities and character traits you can notice and make notes about as you’re revisiting the story. 

Keep in mind that you can choose any one of these as your main subject in the essay. In the next step, we’ll do exactly that. We’ll also pick another one or more of these as supporting ideas.

So, make sure to take notes that are relevant to any of these aspects of character because they’ll be useful to you as you write the essay. 

Aspects of a Character

  • Transformation (how the character changes)
  • Strengths and special abilities
  • Position/Status and how it changes
  • Physical appearance and traits
  • Psychological makeup
  • Role in the overall message of the story

Additional elements to jot down

Quotations. Make sure to note the exact page number or time stamp in the film because you’ll need that when citing the quotation. Dialog can often reveal clues to the inner world of the character. 

Patterns of behavior. If any of the character’s behavior repeats, that is a clue to a character quality or trait. You may notice that a certain pattern of behavior occurs in more than one character. This is a possible theme you can explore in your essay.

Changes in attitude. If the character does something that is not like their typical behavior, that’s a clue to a transformation. It is interesting to learn why this character said or did something new and different. The character may be showing courage or decisiveness. 

Example of Note-taking

Here is an example of the kind of notes I would take as I’m rewatching Beauty and the Beast :

  • The Beast starts out chronically angry. But he calms down as time progresses and he makes progress in his courtship of Belle. 
  • The Beast is extremely strong physically
  • He also proves to be generous when he gifts the library to Belle
  • He is also gentle when he learns how to dance
  • The Beast is under a magic spell (a curse)
  • He has serious anger issues
  • He seems extremely possessive
  • He has all the qualities of a prince except the human form
  • He exhibits extreme boundaries and prohibits Belle from visiting certain parts of the castle 
  • The Beast looks like some kind of a furious animal resembling a lion
  • He’s not exactly ugly. But he’s scary and intimidating. 
  • He must experience real love before the last petal falls off a rose in his secret room in order to turn back into a human being
  • The Beast has anger issues
  • He is possessive and has strong boundaries of what is permissible and what is not
  • He does not really believe that he can make the curse dispel 
  • He is easily frustrated
  • His curse came about as a result of arrogance and lack of kindness and compassion, so he has to deal with that, as well
  • The Beast must overcome himself in order to become human. Perhaps the message of the story is that in order to be a real human being, you must overcome flaws that prevent you from experiencing real love.
  • This last point sounds like a good potential main subject/idea for the essay.

Completing this step will provide you with enough ideas to write an essay of any length. 

Step 3. Choose the main and supporting aspects of the character

In this step you’re really deciding what your essay will be about. Yes, it will be about this character you’ve chosen. But now you need to narrow down your subject matter. 

If you try to write about everything about this character, your essay will seem like it’s about nothing. This is why you really want to pick your main subject, which is something about the character that is going to be the main theme of the essay.

You also want to pick several supporting (lesser) ideas that will help you discuss this character. 

A great thing about this process is that by the time you get through Step 2, you will probably already have a pretty good idea of your main and your supporting points.

Ideas begin bubbling as you take notes. You begin to notice patterns and discern the bigger and the smaller ideas. 

But this step is designed specifically for you to go over your notes and write down two things:

  • The main idea you’ll probably turn into the main point in your essay
  • Three or more supporting ideas

Here is how to do it in practice. All you need to do is create a simple bulleted list. In this list, the first one or more items will be the bigger ideas. And the second level will contain the smaller, supporting ideas. 

Let’s do it, using our example of the Beast:

  • The Beast’s role in delivering the message of the story 
  • He is under a magic spell (a curse)
  • He seems very possessive
  • He is scary
  • He is clumsy
  • He has enormous physical strength 
  • He is generous deep inside 
  • He can be gentle
  • He lacks self-confidence
  • He doubts his ability to experience love
  • He has great difficulty controlling his anger

As you complete this step, don’t worry if some of your ideas overlap among these categories or if you seem to repeat some of the points. You’ll sort it all out and get total clarity in the next step.

These first steps are really a brain dump. In Step 3, you simply sift through your initial notes and attempt to bring some order your thoughts. Don’t try to be perfect. Just do it.

Step 4. Take a stand and write down your main point

This is where you must decide on what exactly you’ll be arguing in your essay. This is why it’s probably the most important step of all. Your main point is your thesis. 

A thesis is one main idea usually expressed in one sentence. 

A thesis statement is a full statement that contains the entire argument, including the thesis and the supporting ideas. 

Here’s a short video I made to explain the distinction between a thesis and a thesis statement:

In this step, we’re just writing out the main point in one sentence. We’ll write the entire thesis statement in the next step. 

And we have everything we need to write our sample thesis. We have identified the biggest ideas and the smaller, supporting ideas in the previous step.

Now, we need to focus on the bigger ideas, choose one of them or put two of them together into one, and write it down.

Let’s do it, using our example of the Beast. 

Character Analysis Thesis Example

Let’s think aloud a little:

We have our two big ideas that we identified in the previous step:

  • The Beast’s transformation – he must conquer his own anger in order to regain the human form

These are just topics; they are only subjects. We must now turn them into one complete sentence. 

It looks like the Beast must overcome something within himself in order to be human again.  

Can we be a little more specific? We can borrow an idea or two from the supporting, smaller ideas to clarify the main point.

Well, the Beast is cursed, and to lift the curse, he must overcome himself. 

Okay, good. We’re getting there. Let’s add a little more specificity, and the thesis should come out great.

“The Beast must overcome his own anger, lack of compassion, and self-doubt in order to experience love that would lift the curse and turn him back into a human.”  

Bingo! I think we got it. This thesis is virtually flawless:

  • The subject is clear – the essay will be about the Beast
  • We know exactly what to say about him 
  • The reader now has a clear idea of the overall argument of this essay
  • This sentence summarizes this essay completely and perfectly.

And that’s exactly what a thesis for a character analysis is supposed to do. Now, we’re ready to write the introductory paragraph which will include the complete thesis statement. 

Step 5. Write the introductory paragraph

Note that a character analysis is really an expository essay. This means that the structure of a character analysis is that of an expository (or an argumentative) essay.

And here is a diagram that depicts the structure of an introductory paragraph:

thesis for character analysis essay

The first sentence is purely introductory. Its job is to pull the reader into the subject matter of the essay.

The next sentence is the main point. And we just wrote it, so we have this most important part of the paragraph ready to include in the opening paragraph.

Finally, the next one or more sentences must list the supporting points in some detail while still keeping the paragraph very general. That’s because we’ll be digging into the details in the body of the essay. But the intro paragraph should be general. 

Before we get to the introductory sentence, let’s see if we have everything we need to write the rest of the thesis statement. Do we have the supporting points?

It just so happens that our thesis contains three wonderful supporting points that we’ll explore in the essay in detail. Why three?

Well, I usually recommend having three supporting ideas that will correspond with three main sections of pretty much any argumentative paper. I call this the Power of Three:

thesis for character analysis essay

Why do I use it? Remember what we did in Steps 2 and 3? We listed all the elements of our character and enumerated all the possible ideas we could write about. 

Well, if we don’t set a limit for how many supporting ideas we’ll use, we can end up wandering forever, trying to structure this essay. 

If you go over three supporting points, then the overall structure of the essay won’t be clear to you, and you’ll waste a lot of time and effort trying to organize it.

But if you decide that you’ll have three supporting ideas – no more and no less – this makes your life so much easier. All you need to do is decide. And it’s easy – the Power of Three works!

As I was writing the main point, I already kept the Power of Three in mind because, after all, I’m the one who came up with it 🙂

I use it in almost every essay and article I write, so at this point it’s just second nature to me and will become to you as well the more you use it. 

So, what are the three supporting ideas in this essay? Here they are:

  • Lack of compassion

These are three qualities, character traits, or emotional energies which the Beast must overcome in himself in order to experience love and achieve his goal of regaining humanity.

Do you see how this works? Now that we know exactly what we mean to say in the introductory paragraph, let’s write it out.

Example of a Character Analysis Introductory Paragraph

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a story of a miraculous transformation that must be gained through hard work. The Beast must overcome his own lack of compassion, his anger, and self-doubt in order to experience love that would lift the curse and turn him back into a human. The lack of compassion caused the initial disaster, and the Beast must get in touch with his kindness and generosity to remove the root cause of the curse. He must learn to control his anger because if he doesn’t he won’t have a chance to win Belle’s heart. And he must overcome self-doubt as the final obstacle to true love because faith in love is its ultimate test.”

Let’s Examine this Paragraph

So, what have we done here? The first sentence, just like the diagram instructs, is introductory. It doesn’t state the main point – that’s the function of the next sentence, which is the thesis.

The first sentence simply pulls the reader into the essay by stating what it is about in very general terms. We could have written an intro that would be even more general. But this sentence works. 

Remember – you can actually start your essay directly with the thesis. The only reason I teach my students to include an introductory sentence is that teachers and professors expect some sort of an introduction. So, just write it.

But immediately after the intro, we need to state the thesis – the main point. And we do it perfectly well in this paragraph. We wrote this sentence in the previous step, so we know exactly what it states.

Finally, and this is part three of the paragraph, we enumerate the three supporting points that help the reader see how we plan to go about supporting the main point.

We first talk about the lack of compassion, then about the Beast’s anger, and then about his self-doubt. And guess what – that’s exactly how we’ll structure this essay. 

In fact, our thesis statement is the outline of our essay. Let’s take a look. 

Character Analysis Sample Outline

thesis for character analysis essay

As you can see, we have three main sections, each of which can be a paragraph or more, depending on how many words you need to write.

If you have to write up to about 600 words, then a five-paragraph structure will work great. If you have to write more, then each of the main sections will simply contain more than one paragraph.

But let’s keep things simple here and assume that we’re writing a five-paragraph essay of about 600 words. Then, we can distribute our word count this way:

  • Introductory paragraph (75 words)
  • Body paragraph 1 (150 words)
  • Body paragraph 2 (150 words)
  • Body paragraph 3 (150 words)
  • Conclusion (75 words) 

If we add these up, we’ll get 600 words. Now that we have our introductory paragraph that has given us the main point and the overall structure, we’re ready to write the body of the essay.

Step 6. Write the body of the analysis

The body of a character analysis essay consists of paragraphs of a particular structure. Because we know that an analysis is an argumentative essay, each body paragraph should be structured in a certain way. 

Here’s a diagram of how to structure a body paragraph:

thesis for character analysis essay

A body paragraph in an expository essay, just like the essay itself, must proceed from general to specific. 

The first sentence in a body paragraph is the lead sentence. It is the most general sentence in the paragraph. It functions just like a thesis does in an essay – it opens and summarizes the contents of the paragraph perfectly.

Then comes the next most general part of the paragraph – the explanation. Here, you should explain a process or describe how or why the point in the lead sentence is true. 

And finally, we have the most specific part of the paragraph, which is one or more examples. Examples are the most interesting and exciting part both for the writer and for the reader because they contain all the details.

Let’s write a body paragraph for our essay. We’ll pick the first body paragraph – the one about the lack of compassion in the Beast.

Character Analysis Body Paragraph Example

“Since the lack of compassion caused the witch to cast the spell, the Beast must discover kindness and generosity within himself to eliminate the root cause of the curse. His lack of kindness and compassion is his original sin. The animated movie opens with a sequence that reveals what happened to the prince that led to him losing his human form. An old woman asked for shelter from the rain, but the prince mocked her and refused her request. She then turned into a beautiful sorceress and punished him by casting a spell, condemning the prince to the form of a beast until he can experience reciprocated love. Unfortunately for him, the Beast retains the lack of compassion well into the middle of the story. He becomes enraged when he has another visitor – Belle’s father – while the weather outside is horrible. This echoes the initial refusal of shelter. He does the same with Belle when he gives her a number of prohibitions. He refuses her food and comfort unless she meets certain conditions. In other words, it looks like he has not learned a thing since the spell was cast.”

Body Paragraph Analysis

What have we done in this paragraph? First, we started with the lead sentence. The way you can write it is just by lifting it straight from the thesis statement and changing it around. 

That’s because the lead sentence is essentially an equivalent of one of the supporting points in the thesis statement. Just take that supporting point, change or expand it a little, and it will make a perfect lead sentence for a body paragraph.

Next, we provide an explanation. We explain why it is necessary for the Beast to conquer his lack of compassion. This was the reason he came under the spell. 

So, he must learn from that experience and eliminate this character trait. If he fails to do that, he’ll never gain Belle’s love and will never turn back into a human. 

Finally, we show that the Beast seemingly hasn’t learned a thing because he shows no hospitality or kindness to Belle and her father in the beginning. This means that he has a problem he must overcome. 

Once we’ve shown this, the paragraph has served its function, and we can move on to the next paragraph. 

To write the body of the essay, all we need to do is write it one body paragraph at a time, following the structure in the diagram. Once this is done, we’re ready for the final step. 

Step 7. Write the conclusion

The simplest and time-proven way to write a conclusion is to restate what you already wrote. In a sense, your conclusion is pretty much your thesis statement rewritten using different words.

Let’s write out our conclusion, and you’ll see what I mean:

“To conclude, the Beast is a prisoner of his own character flaws. His lack of kindness and compassion, his rage, and his self-doubt stand in his way of dispelling the curse and becoming human again. Early in the story, he displays each of these character flaws as if he never learned his lessons from what happened to him. And he must overcome each of these traits one by one in order to get in touch with the best in him, experience love, and achieve liberation from the terrible spell.”

As you can see, we’re not saying anything new here. We’re simply restating what has already been said in the essay. And it works in most cases. 

Some instructors will want you to do more in a conclusion. So, my advice is to approach your instructor and ask her what she prefers. This way you’ll know for sure. 

If you want to learn more ways to write conclusions, here’s a great tutorial I wrote . 

Guess what – we’re done, and I hope this was helpful! Now go ahead and write your own amazing character analysis essay.

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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How to Write a Character Analysis Essay Like a PRO

character

Mark Bradford

Have you ever wondered how to tackle a character analysis essay without breaking a sweat? Well, you're in the right place! In the realm of literature and English courses, these essays can be a bit tricky. But fear not, because, in this article, we're going to break down what character analysis is all about and show you the ropes on how to handle it.

We'll explore the nuances of character analysis, from understanding the character's context in the story to dissecting their relationships with other folks in the narrative. There's room for your personal take, too! Consider this your go-to resource, providing a thorough guide. And hey, if you ever find yourself in need of a professionally crafted essay, we've got you covered – just check out our platform, where you can pay for essays online !

thesis for character analysis essay

What Is A Character Analysis Essay?

A character analysis essay goes deep into exploring the distinctive traits of a character found in literature or sometimes in other art forms like movies. Its main purpose is to help readers understand who the character is and their role in the story. Even though you might have personal opinions, it's crucial to approach the analysis objectively, using critical thinking skills. You'll be looking at various aspects, such as how the character interacts with others, their behavior, how they speak, and even their physical appearance.

For instance, think about how Harry Potter's courage and loyalty define his character throughout the series. In a character analysis essay, you'd explore these traits and their impact on the overall narrative. It's not like writing a resume, but there are moments where you can share your personal insights into the character, like why you think a certain trait makes them memorable or how it contributes to the story.

Why Write a Character Analysis Essay?

The purpose of a character analysis essay is to provide a detailed exploration of a character's attributes and their role within a narrative. By scrutinizing their actions, thoughts, and interactions with others, readers gain insight into the character's growth or transformation over the course of the story.

Another purpose is to uncover the underlying motivations and personality traits of a character. By examining their behaviors, decisions, and relationships, the essay aims to reveal the psychological and emotional makeup of the character, providing readers with a deeper understanding of the character's role in the story.

A character analysis essay contributes to a more comprehensive interpretation of the literary work as a whole. By dissecting the characters and their significance, readers can better appreciate the author's intentions, thematic elements, and the overall impact of the characters on the narrative structure. This analysis enriches the reader's experience and allows for a more profound engagement with the text.

Types of Characters

Characters in literature come in various types, each serving a unique role in shaping the narrative. Let's explore a few common character archetypes:

  • Protagonist: The protagonist is the central character driving the story forward. Often, they face challenges or conflicts that form the core of the narrative. Examples include Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling's series or Katniss Everdeen in Suzanne Collins' 'The Hunger Games.'
  • Antagonist: The antagonist opposes the protagonist, creating conflict and tension in the story. Iconic antagonists include Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series or the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's 'The Wizard of Oz.'
  • Round characters: These characters undergo significant development and change throughout the story. An excellent example is Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol,' who transforms from a miserly figure to a generous and compassionate person.
  • Flat characters: Unlike round characters, flat characters do not undergo substantial development. They serve a specific role or function in the plot without significant change. A classic example is Shakespeare's Mercutio in 'Romeo and Juliet.'
  • Dynamic characters: Dynamic characters experience internal transformation or growth during the story. Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' is a prime example, evolving from a mysterious and enigmatic figure to a tragic character driven by love.
  • Static characters: In contrast, static characters remain unchanged throughout the narrative. Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations' is a static character, trapped in her jilted state and unable to move on.
  • Foils: Foil characters contrast with the protagonist, highlighting specific traits or characteristics. Dr. John Watson serves as a foil to Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, accentuating Holmes' exceptional deductive abilities.
  • Stock characters: These are stereotypical characters embodying conventional traits. The sidekick or the wise old mentor often falls into this category. Think of Samwise Gamgee as Frodo's loyal sidekick in J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings.'

How to Analyze a Character?

When analyzing a character, keep these tips in mind:

  • Identify the character's key traits—both physical and psychological—to understand their personality, motivations, and conflicts.
  • Analyze the character's relationships with others, considering how these interactions shape their development and reveal aspects of their personality.
  • Consider the character's role in advancing the plot and conveying the author's themes or messages.
  • If the character evolves throughout the story, track key moments that contribute to their development.
  • Identify foil characters that contrast with the one you're analyzing, providing additional insights into their traits.
  • Reflect on the author's intent in creating the character and how they contribute to the overall narrative.
  • Share your personal insights on what makes the character stand out or resonate with you.

Character Analysis Essay Outline

Here's a comprehensive outline for a character analysis essay:

I. Introduction

A. Hook: - Engage readers with a captivating quote, question, or anecdote related to the character.

B. Introduction of the character: - Provide basic information about the character, including their name, the work they appear in, and the author.

C. Thesis statement: - Present a concise thesis statement that outlines the key traits and significance of the character in the story.

II. Background and setting

A. Context: - Briefly describe the setting and context in which the character exists.

B. Introduction of other key characters: - Introduce characters who play significant roles in the character's life or influence their development.

III. Physical and psychological traits

A. Physical traits: - Detail the character's physical appearance, highlighting any distinctive features.

B. Psychological traits: - Explore the character's personality, motivations, fears, desires, and any internal conflicts.

IV. Relationships and interactions

A. Family and friends: - Analyze the character's relationships with family and friends, exploring how these dynamics shape their identity.

B. Romantic relationships (if applicable): - Examine any romantic relationships and their impact on the character's development.

C. Interaction with other characters: - Discuss key interactions with other characters, identifying conflicts or alliances.

V. Character development

A. Evolution throughout the story: - Track the character's development, identifying key moments that contribute to their growth or transformation.

B. Turning points: - Highlight significant turning points in the character's journey.

VI. Role in the plot

A. Protagonist or antagonist: - Clarify whether the character is the protagonist, antagonist, or a supporting figure.

B. Contribution to themes: - Explore how the character contributes to the overarching themes of the narrative.

VII. Symbolism

A. Symbolic representations: - Investigate whether the character embodies symbolic meanings or represents broader ideas.

VIII. Foils and contrasts

A. Identify foil characters: - Discuss any foil characters that contrast with the character under analysis.

IX. Conclusion

A. Restate thesis: - Recap the key traits and significance of the character.

B. Summary of analysis: - Provide a brief summary of the main points discussed in the essay.

C. Closing thoughts: - Conclude with final thoughts on the character's impact and significance within the narrative.

X. Personal reflection (optional)

A. Share your perspective: - Optionally, include a brief personal reflection on what makes the character memorable or significant to you.

How to Start a Character Analysis Essay?

Starting a character analysis essay is like taking a closer look at your favorite characters from books or movies. It's about understanding what makes them interesting. But how do you begin? Let's get into the details and talk about the basic steps. Whether you choose to buy an essay or tackle it yourself, knowing these will help you uncover the important aspects of those fictional characters and make your essay stand out with insights.

Explore the Story

Before diving into character analysis or poetry analysis essay , fully immerse yourself in the story. Whether it's a novel, a movie, or a TV series, pay close attention to the characters' actions, words, and how they relate to others. In George Orwell's '1984,' exploring Winston Smith's journey in a dystopian society adds depth to understanding the character. Take note of pivotal moments and the overall plot to grasp the character's role within the narrative.

Pick a Dynamic Character

Select a character who undergoes significant changes or growth. Dynamic characters provide rich material for analysis as they navigate challenges and evolve. Take Scout Finch from Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' as an example. Scout starts as an innocent child and matures through exposure to prejudice and injustice. Dynamic characters like Scout offer a wealth of material to explore, shedding light on the story's themes and the character's personal development. Focus on those who go through transformative journeys, as they often offer the most profound insights.

As you delve deeper into the story, make detailed notes about the character. Document their traits, behaviors, and key moments that shape their identity. Consider both the obvious and subtle aspects, such as speech patterns, relationships, and how they respond to challenges. For instance, in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies,' notes on Jack's descent into savagery and power struggles with Ralph provide essential insights. Organize your observations to build a comprehensive profile, serving as the foundation for your analysis.

Select a Central Theme

Identify a central theme that resonates with the character's journey. Themes can range from love and sacrifice to power and redemption. For example, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby,' the theme of the American Dream is central to Jay Gatsby's character. Understanding how the character embodies or challenges the chosen theme adds a layer of complexity to your analysis. By focusing on a central theme, you can unravel deeper meanings behind the character's actions and contribute to a more nuanced exploration in your essay.

Make Questions for Analyzing Characters

Pose thoughtful questions to guide your analysis and delve into the nuances of the character. Consider questions that touch on different aspects of their personality, motivations, and relationships. Here are some examples:

What motivates the character?

  • Explore the driving forces behind their actions and decisions.

How does the character interact with others?

  • Examine their relationships and how they contribute to the character's development.

What challenges does the character face?

  • Identify obstacles that shape the character's journey and resilience.

How does the character evolve throughout the story?

  • Track the changes in their beliefs, values, and behaviors.

What symbolic elements represent the character?

  • Look for symbols or motifs associated with the character that carry deeper meaning.

How does the character contribute to the overall themes of the story?

  • Connect the character's experiences to broader themes explored in the narrative.

What role does the character play in the resolution of conflicts?

  • Analyze their impact on the storyline's resolution and outcomes.

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

Step 1: open with a character quote.

Begin your character analysis essay by setting the stage with a relevant and impactful quote that encapsulates the essence of the character you're exploring. Choose a quote that highlights key aspects of their personality, motivations, or role in the story. For instance, if you're analyzing Sherlock Holmes, you might open with a quote like, 'Elementary, my dear Watson,' to capture Holmes' deductive prowess and confident demeanor.

Questions to consider:

  • Why did you choose this specific quote?
  • What does the quote reveal about the character's personality or mindset?
  • How does the quote connect to the broader themes of the story?
  • Does the quote foreshadow events in the character's journey?

Step 2: Give Background Info

Following the impactful quote about Sherlock Holmes ('Elementary, my dear Watson'), it's essential to give readers the background information they need. Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, known for his brilliant deductive reasoning and keen observation skills. Placing Holmes in late 19th-century London, the stories typically involve him solving intricate mysteries with his trusted companion, Dr. John Watson.

Questions to Consider:

  • How does the character's background contribute to their skills or traits?
  • What is the character's role in the story's setting?
  • Are there any notable relationships or connections that shape the character's experiences?
  • How does the character's environment influence their actions and decisions?

Step 3: Present the Character

Now that we've set the stage with the quote and background information let's take a closer look at the character. In the case of Katniss Everdeen, beyond her skills as an archer and her protective instincts, explore her internal struggles and emotional complexities. Describe how her initial reluctance to embrace a leadership role transforms as the story unfolds, making her a multidimensional character.

  • What challenges or conflicts does the character face internally and externally?
  • How do the character's relationships with others contribute to their development?
  • Are there moments that reveal vulnerability or hidden strengths in the character?
  • In what ways does the character's journey resonate with universal themes or experiences?

By presenting a comprehensive view of the character, you invite readers to connect with their humanity and understand the intricacies that make them compelling. This step forms the basis for a thorough analysis, as it captures the character's essence and sets the stage for exploring their role in the broader narrative landscape.

Character Analysis Essay Example

Here, we'll walk through a practical example to show you how to analyze a character in a story. By breaking down their traits, motivations, and journeys, we'll demonstrate the steps we discussed earlier.

If you want a tailor-made essay crafted with expertise, simply let us know by asking, ' Write an essay for me .' We'll handle the task professionally, ensuring a unique and thoughtful exploration of your chosen character. Now, get ready to explore the ins and outs of character analysis through a simple and concrete example.

Title: 'Jane Eyre: A Woman's Quest for Independence'

Introduction:

In the haunting halls of Thornfield Hall, Charlotte Brontë introduces us to Jane Eyre, a character whose indomitable spirit and unwavering independence defy the societal norms of Victorian England. 'I am no bird, and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will,' echoes Jane, setting the stage for a character analysis that delves into the complexities of her journey towards self-discovery and autonomy.

Body Paragraphs:

Jane Eyre's journey towards independence begins in the stifling confines of Lowood School. Enduring hardship and injustice, young Jane displays resilience and a thirst for knowledge. Her defiance against the oppressive system foreshadows her future pursuit of independence.

At Thornfield, Jane encounters the enigmatic Mr. Rochester. Despite their complex relationship, Jane's decision to leave Thornfield when faced with moral dilemmas showcases her commitment to maintaining personal integrity and independence.

The revelation of Jane's true identity and her unexpected inheritance doesn't sway her from her path. Instead, it provides her with the means to secure financial independence, reinforcing her determination to shape her destiny on her terms.

Brontë challenges traditional gender roles through Jane's relationship with Rochester. Despite the power imbalance, Jane asserts her equality in love, refusing to compromise her principles. This dynamic reflects Jane's unwavering commitment to maintaining her independence, even in matters of the heart.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Jane Eyre's quest for independence is a testament to her strength of character and refusal to conform to societal expectations. From her challenging early years to her pursuit of love and self-discovery, Jane's journey resonates as a timeless exploration of a woman's autonomy in the face of societal constraints. Through her trials and triumphs, Jane Eyre emerges as a literary icon, inspiring readers to embrace their independence and carve their own paths in the world.

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Step-by-Step Guide for Writing a Character Analysis Essay

writing a character analysis essay

When assigned to write a character analysis essay or paper, you are expected to examine the actions, traits, behavior, and personalities of the antagonists and protagonists in a story, poem, song, film, or novel. You have to include a discussion of the characters' experiences, conflicts, roles, traits, and appearances. It is a full essay with introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs.

Like a typical essay, when writing an essay that entails analyzing a character, you have to have a catchy sentence to grab the readers' attention at the very first paragraph-the introduction. You should also have an excellent thesis statement to announce what it is about.

If you want to know how to ace that character analysis essay or are unsure what to do next, you are in the right place.

Whether it is a character from a Movie or famous books such as Macbeth , A Rose for Emily , To Kill a Mockingbird , The Yellow Wallpaper, Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, or any other story, you came to the right place.

This ultimate guide has everything to point you in the right direction. But before anything else, let�s first focus on the basics.

What is a Character Analysis Essay?

A character analysis essay is a piece of academic assignment where you critically analyze the traits, motivations, behaviors, and encounters of a specific character or characters from a TV show, book, play, novel, short story, poem, film, or in real-life scenarios. It is also known as a character analysis paper, character essay, characterization essay, or essay about characters.

The key focus of a character analysis essay is to narrow down to a specific character and provide their sketch so that someone who has read or has not read the story can get the role the character plays.

When writing this essay, your focus is on examining the actions and personalities (characteristics and traits) of the antagonists and protagonists in a story. It encompasses a description of the roles, traits, experiences, and conflicts of the specific characters, independently or relative to others.

Instead of offering light definitions and descriptions of a character, a character analysis entails synthesizing the driving force and personality of the character in question. You critically look at how these two influence the entire story, poem, song, or play.

A character essay is a common literary writing assignment for college students pursuing English and Literature. The true success of doing a character analysis comes when you view the characters as though they are real people who act, feel, and live as we do.

Therefore, there is no room for baseless interpretations and assumptions. You need to support every idea, concept, or observation with a proper quotation, summary, or paraphrased facts from the text or other credible scholarly sources . Again, since it is not your story, you must avoid writing in the first person , despite your personal preferences and opinions � being objective when writing a characterization essay is paramount.

Purpose of Character Analysis Essay

A character analysis aims to reveal some of the most interesting details about a character that can be applied to real-life situations.

Writing a character analysis essay allows you to see through a character from the lens of the author as it entails narrowing down the character�s traits, encounters, beliefs, and behavior. 

You also get the chance to provide a sketch of the character, which can further help expound on the moral message the author is trying to pass to the audience that cares to interact with their piece of work.

A character analysis allows you to understand, contextualize, and evaluate the story from a broader perspective to determine the purpose of the story. In some stories, characters have symbolic meanings that are authors� ways of using literary devices to unmask different aspects of society. Some characters cause conflicts (i.e., the antagonists), while others play the role of progressing the story (i.e., the protagonist).

When your instructor or professor assigns you to write a characterization essay, they test whether you paid attention while reading, watching, or listening to a piece of work. It is also a strategy to assess your critical thinking depending on how best you write about the characters and the text's overall meaning.

Different Types of Characters to Consider when Writing

As you probably have learned in your literature or English class, there are several types of characters categorized based on factors such as roles, behavior, and traits in the story. Below, we explore some of these character types

1. Major characters

Major characters are the main characters that run the show or story. In most cases, you will find either one or a maximum of two major characters. A major character can either be a protagonist, otherwise known as the good guy, or an antagonist, who is the villain or bad person in the work of art or literature.

2. Protagonist characters

The protagonists are also known as the heroes, the main characters around whom the story's plot revolves.

3. Antagonist characters

The antagonists oppose the protagonist, also known as the villain. In some cases, antagonists� characters could be natural power, supernatural phenomena, or majestic beings.

4. Minor characters

The minor characters are those who help bring out the traits and personalities of the main characters. They are static and unchanging characters who maintain their stance, traits, and beliefs.

5. Dynamic/changing characters

Dynamic characters are the opposite of static characters, and they keep changing.

6. Static Characters

The static or unchanging characters are consistent in thought, behavior, allegiance, approach, and traits throughout a story, cinematography, or play. In How to Kill a Mockingbird , Atticus Finch fits the description of a static character, given he maintains his beliefs even in the most challenging situations. If you have read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, you would agree that Jim is a static character, given that his personality remains the same throughout his journey. In Hamlet, Polpnius can be described as a static character because he remains sneaky throughout the story.

A foil character brings out the protagonist's qualities because they are the exact opposite of the protagonist's character. Foils are usually the opposite of the protagonist. For example, Draco Malfoy is a foil character in Harry Porter, and another example is Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes Series.

7 Steps when writing a Character Analysis Essay

Character analysis essays follow the format and structure of a standard academic essay and have an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Before writing a character essay, you need to read the assignment promptly to understand the scope of the essay. It also helps with choosing a character or knowing what to focus on and what to leave out.

Here are some steps to follow if you want to write a successful essay on a character.

1. Read the story or novel

Assuming you have gone through the character analysis essay prompt, you have to read the story, watch the film, play, theater performance, or listen to a narration. Reading with a general mindset enables you to contextualize the piece of work. You will be able to identify the author's thesis and how they use different characters to advance the themes that support the thesis. A general perspective of the story, novel, film, or poem helps you easily identify the characters. As you read, take notes on the different characters in the story, which will help you in the second step.

2. Identify the character of interest

After you have familiarized yourself with the story, song, or film, the next step is to select your specific character of focus.

 In some cases, your instructor will likely assign a character of focus for your character analysis assignment. However, some professors will leave you the freedom to choose a character.

If this is the case, ensure that you consider a character that plays a dynamic role for you in writing a vivid character analysis paper. For example, if you are writing a character analysis essay based on Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, you can choose a character like Jim or Huck, who are both dynamic characters in the story.

To select a good character, refer to the notes you were taking as you initially read through the story or watched the film or play.

3. Re-read and Take notes

Even if you have already read the story or watched the performance, play, or film, you need to do it all over again, only that this time you will be taking notes based on your character.

With the instructions in mind, you can limit your scope, identify points quickly, and cover useful aspects when writing your analysis.

Focus on the description of your character, how the character relates to other characters, the conflicts the character faces, the struggles, wins, and failures of your character, and how the character advances through the story, film, or performance.

Taking notes while watching or reading helps you to identify rich pieces that will build up your paper. You can underline important passages or annotate important quotes.

4. Choose your thesis statement

At this stage, you are fully knowledgeable about your character and their role in your story or film. You should gather your notes and think of the main idea that links them, and the main idea that ties together these aspects is your thesis statement.

The thesis statement can be a sentence or two that tells the reader what your essay or paper is about, and it should promise the reader the purpose, scope, and direction of your paper.

An example of a good thesis statement for a character analysis is � Through Miss Maudie Atkinson�s open-mindedness, optimism, and compassion, she helps Jem and Scout better understand Atticus and their community.�

When writing your thesis, consider your character's motivations, actions, behavior, changes, and roles in the storyline. Your thesis can be aligned to a theme that your character advances.

5. Draft your essay outline

With the thesis at hand, you can now create an outline for your character analysis essay or paper. The outline will map out every section of your paper, which can help you determine your essay's flow, organization, and formatting.

Other people prefer writing an essay plan before creating an outline. We have given a template for an essay plan in this article in case it would help to simplify the pre-writing process.

The outline helps you organize your thoughts and maintain an effective flow of ideas as you write the analysis. And when writing it:

  • Have an attention-grabber as your opening statement in the character analysis essay
  • Ensure that your topic is clearly reflected in the essay title and thesis statement
  • Come up with comprehensive topic sentences
  • Organize the ideas in your essay
  • Maintain one idea per paragraph
  • Every idea in your essay must support your thesis statement

You are ready to put rubber on the road with such a solid outline. You can now comfortably write the essay. We recommend taking some break to cool your mind before beginning to write.

6.  Write the essay

The writing stage should be enjoyable if you worked hard on the pre-writing phase. As you settle down to write your character analysis essay, follow your essay outline.

Write the introduction

Have the thesis in mind and begin by writing an attention-grabbing introduction. Strategically place your essay hook, such as a rhetorical question, quote, or fact, and the introduction should enthuse the reader to read your essay beyond the first paragraph.

The introduction should also give a background of your character and their role in the story. And to intrigue your readers, even more, write a thesis statement that describes what they should expect in your character analysis paper.

If allowed, you can give an outline where you signpost the rest of your paper in the introduction so that your readers are not ambushed with ideas. 

Develop the body paragraphs

The body paragraph is where the real action takes place. It is where you answer the prompt, enabling your reader to find a link between your arguments and the thesis. Here, try to connect your character to the themes in the story, film, or performance. When writing the body, focus on these elements:

  • Physical Appearance of your character. Describe how your chosen character looks and relate it to their traits, behavior, and personality. For instance, if a character appears formally dressed, it could mean that they are respectful, organized, and composed. If they appear rough and ragged, like Huck, you could conclude they are troublesome.
  • Background of the character. Present the background of the character, including their history. History connects to character, personality, and personal development. Let your readers know how your character was raised, in what environment, and how these factors influence who they are.
  • Their Personality. Explore the values, beliefs, behavior, and character traits of your character. As you explain their personality, use quotes from the story, play, or film. Some personalities include composed, mindful, articulate, ambitious, assertive, vengeful, forgiving, annoying, troublesome, etc.
  • Their language. Let your readers know how your character speaks. Are they vulgar, or are they mindful of their words? Do they use formal language or slang? Also, the report of your character has an accent. Language can come in handy when connecting your character to a given culture.
  • Relationship with others. Explore how your character relates to others. The interactions make it possible to frame the character of an individual. Examine how these relationships are important in the context of your analysis.
  • Growth and transition. As you write the analysis, look at how your character develops, grows, or transitions through the story, film, or play. Examine your character's life and document how they progress as the story unfolds.

Finalize with a vivid conclusion

When all is done in the body of your character analysis, ensure that you wrap up your essay using a remarkable concluding paragraph . Here, you should restate your thesis using totally different words. You should then summarize your arguments from the body paragraphs related to the thesis. Summarize the role and personality of the character in the story. Finally, write a concluding statement that makes your analysis memorable or gets your readers thinking. The final statement could be the moral message from your character.

7. Proofread and edit the essay

When writing the first draft, we always insist on writing in raw form without bothering about other things such as grammar, spelling, or syntax. Writing is meant to achieve some flow and explore your creativity.

You need to take a break after writing to ensure that you develop an objective mindset. It could be hours or days, depending on your deadline.

Proofread your essay and edit it for grammar, spelling, and organization. Only submit an error-free paper. You can use editing software or Apps such as Ginger, Pro Writing Aid, or Hemingway editor. Besides, pass your essay through plagiarism checkers such as PlagScan to ensure that you submit a plagiarism-free character analysis essay.

Detailed Structure/Outline for Character Analysis Essay

Like a typical essay, having a character analysis essay outline or map helps you visualize the end and write a paper that comprehensively answers the assignment prompt questions. With a good outline, you have a map that will guide your writing process.

Paragraph #1: Introduction

Introduction � general comments about the character and/or novel lead you to your thesis statement (described above). Be sure you have identified the author and title of the book and the character you will be analyzing. Some questions you could address in your introduction include:

  • Why did you pick this character?
  • What do you like and/or dislike about this character?
  • Do you identify with this character on any level? Do you know someone similar to them? Explain.

Paragraphs #2 - #4 (Body Paragraphs)

Three Body Paragraphs � the topic sentence for each body paragraph includes one character trait you chose to describe your character. For example, �Atticus Finch is a man of great integrity.� Follow the topic sentence with evidence from the novel: examples from the story that support your topic sentence and at least one direct quotation from the novel in each body paragraph. Next, explain how your examples support your topic sentence and conclude each body paragraph with a summarizing �clincher� sentence to wrap up your ideas.

Paragraph #5

Conclusion � restate your thesis statement and add some final thoughts about your character and/or the novel�leave the reader in awe of your wisdom!

Character Analysis Essay Plan

If you want something that can help you outline the contents of your essay, here is a format you could use. This plan can come in handy when you are writing a last-minute essay or do not have too much time to waste writing a full outline.

Great Starter������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

Thesis Statement����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������.

Body Paragraph #1

Adjective #1���������������������������������������������������.

Example�����������������������������������������������������

Quote������������������������������������������������������.

Explanation���������������������������������������������������

Body Paragraph #2

Adjective #2���������������������������������������������������

Body Paragraph #3

Adjective #3���������������������������������������������������

Quote������������������������������������������������������

Great Finisher/conclusion�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������............

How to format Quotations in a Character Analysis Essay

A character analysis essay draws from the ideas and quotes from the story, play, or film. It is the best way to relate your character to your story, which helps contextualize your analysis. There are three approaches to formatting and framing quotes in a character analysis essay.

  • Create an intro to your quotation that helps the reader understand its meaning. This is called a �tag line.�

Example : A change in Jem�s attitude toward the Radleys is shown when Scout reports, �Less than two weeks later we found a whole package of chewing gum, which we enjoyed, the fact that everything on the Radley Place was poison having slipped Jem�s memory� (Lee, 60).

  • Double quotation marks around the entire quote; single quotation marks to show where the quotations exist already in the text.

Example: Jem�s frustration with the injustices of the world is shown in the courtroom. ?Doesn�t make it right,� said Jem stolidly. He beat his fist softly on his knee. �You just can�t convict a man on evidence like that � you can�t� (Lee, 220).

  • Changing a word or two in a quotation to clarify its meaning.

Example: Harper Lee helps her readers understand why this neighbor is so mysterious to the children of the neighborhood when she states that �Mr. Radley kept [Boo] chained to the bed most of the time� (Lee, 16).

Final Words!

Writing a character analysis essay can be easy and tough at the same time. It is tough because you must read, research, and synthesize information on a specific character and relate it to the story. This might sound like too much work but not when you apply the tips we have shared above. It is also easy in that you have to focus on one character for every essay you are writing, which means limited research compared to when writing a book critique where you have to address aspects of the entire book or a movie review where you have to focus on all characters. To succeed, ensure that you read a text or watch a play or film before planning and organizing your ideas. Besides, with so many resources online, you can never miss information that helps you to write the best character essay.

If writing is not your thing, you do not have the time, or you don�t feel like writing a character essay, you can hire our custom writing professionals to help you. They contributed to this guide and understood what it takes to write a perfect essay that meets the highest grades in the rubric.

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Gradecrest is a professional writing service that provides original model papers. We offer personalized services along with research materials for assistance purposes only. All the materials from our website should be used with proper references. See our Terms of Use Page for proper details.

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How to write a characters analysis essay

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A character analysis is a type of essay that requires you to analyze and evaluate the characteristics, traits, motivations, and decisions of a literary character. It involves closely examining such aspects as their personality, thoughts, behavior, and development. You should further explain how a character contributes to the overall meaning of the work.

When writing a character analysis essay, it is important to think critically and look beyond basic understanding of the character. For example, instead of simply describing their physical traits or explaining what happens in the plot, focus on how the characters think, feel, and interact with other characters. Examine the motivations behind their decisions and actions, as well as how they reflect a larger theme or idea in the work. 

In this blog, we will explain how to write a character analysis essay. You will find a strtucture, outline and step-by-step guidelines along with examples.

If you don’t have much time for reading, we’ve got an easy solution for you. Entrust your assignment to essay writing services by StudyCrumb and get a custom paper tailored to your specific requirements.  

What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

The main task of a character analysis essay is showing in detail key characteristics and certain person’s traits. Essay includes not just ordinary situations. It shows possible occasions for describing fictives fully and circumstantial. This type of essay helps understand how a hero will act in this or that situation, why would he do so, what were his reasons for these deeds? Analysis helps in figuring out what role a person plays in a story: great one or just secondary. Moreover, knowing the needed words of an analysis essay will enlarge students’ spoken literature.  

What Is a Purpose of Character Analysis Essay?

Main purpose of a character analysis essay is helping the reader understand who's the bad one and who is among the good guys. This helps catch the idea of the story from the beginning. Knowing how a hero acts in this or that separate case, speaks a lot about his point of view. Essay divides all characters into main and minor ones. Detailed character analysis essay helps readers understand the nature of personages from an early beginning. Very often the story has several chapters, so the reader could discover much about a certain person from his doings/opinions.  

Types of Character Using in Character Analysis Essay

While writing a character analysis essay, students have to remember two central personages: protagonist (key person) and antagonist. These are the main ones. The most striking roles are divided between them. Additional (minor) figures:  

  • confidante.

Each hero has special traits and behaviors. The round one is described as a person of passion having depth in feelings. Foil one is opposite one to positive, main one. Flat one is another side of round one: no vivid emotions, no changes while the story is being told. Use our  college essay writing service to turn in the best character analysis your instructor has ever seen.

Protagonist — The Main Character

Protagonist in character analysis essays is the main story’s hero. This is a person all situations revolve around. They are the bearer of truth, the spokesman for the author's ideas, the main drive behind the plot. They don't have to even be a positive hero. After all, there is also an antihero - a protagonist with morally ambiguous or straight-up negative traits. Protagonist is a key figure, all other personages are considered minor ones. For better understanding of the protagonist, consider these examples: Romeo and Juliet, Katniss («Hunger Games»), Harry Potter, MacBeth. You can also consider Walter White («Breaking Bad»), Dexter Morgan («Dexter») and Hannibal Lecter («The Silence of the Lambs») to be antiheroes. All these examples are dynamic.  

Antagonist — Character in the Opposite Position

Antagonist in character analysis essays is an opposite one to the protagonist. This type of character belongs to the dark side. Often, this can be a jealous, envious, bad, villain gossip person. They don't have to be the one ruining good protagonist’s plans, but they alway get in hero's way. Actually, there may even be more than one antagonist who may become hindrance for the protagonist. And if they are neutral in present, in the nearest future they will show their nature. Opposition between both protagonists and antagonists is clearly seen throughout the whole story. There is, of course, a catch. As with protagonists, there's more to know about antagonists' traits. After all, an anti-villain is also a thing! Basically it's when an antagonist has some heroic traits or can be sympathized with. One can also say that it's that type of person who has good intentions or their goal is pretty good, but their methods took a very wrong turn at some point. Othello, Captain Hook and Lord Voldemort — great antagonists’ examples. And those like John Silver, Khan («Star Trek») and Erik Lensherr («The X-Man») can be called anti-villain basically.  

Major Characters

Major characters in character analysis essays are those who create a story. They play main (and clearly - important) parts, and have key roles. They make a so-called key set of personages. They are close confidants to the protagonist. If some conflict appears, major figures are mentioned first. Robinson Crusoe is a bright example.

Minor Characters

Minor characters in character analysis essays are often called supporting. They are important, but rarely are described in the story as key ones. This kind of fictives is represented by Yoda, Samwise Gamgee, Jabba the Hutt. They don’t remarkably influence the actual plot. Why flat? Because of no vivid progression.

Dynamic Characters

Talking about dynamic characters in character analysis essays - Shrek is a fine example. He is a dynamic personage because he changes: becomes softer and opens his heart to people. Fictives like him influence the story and make changes in the course of events. Their main feature: they change and grow throughout the story, making the reader sympathize with them. Another good example: Aladdin, Merida, Simba, Anakin Skywalker.

Static Characters

Static characters in character analysis essays do not change throughout whole story. They remain the same with their thoughts and opinions. Static personages are best described with the likes of Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes. These personages are positive ones - though, unchangeable. Their points of view and tastes remain identical until a story ends.

Foils in character analysis essays are based on stereotypes and are opposite of main heroes. They have several key characteristics: they are wicked, distracted, conniving and scrooge. At the same time main personages are principled, focused, generous, and well-meaning. Foils are depressed and pessimistic, while main heroes — optimistic, kind, and good.

How to Analyze Characters in Character Analysis Essay?

While writing a character analysis essay, you should give a hero a general picture. Description has to grab appearance peculiarities and traits. Students must depict whether personage is good or bad. Are they pessimists or optimists? Do they have negative or positive thoughts? There are 3 main steps for analysis:  

  • Describing personality.
  • Determining type of protagonist.
  • Defining role in story.

To explore tiny personage’s quirks, all characteristics are taken into account. Just like in any  literary analysis essay , you will need to pay special attention to literary devices that help reveal the true nature of a character.  

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay Outline?

Character analysis essay outline includes 3 main parts: introduction, body, conclusion. Below you can find short description to understand some peculiarities:

  • Introduction should be meaningful and brief. After reading this piece, essay’s idea should be understood.
  • Main body is one that should be divided into paragraphs with described main heroes. It should give detailed answers to different questions concerning personality and appearance. Pay attention, separate paragraph depicts what we learn from hero or situation.
  • Conclusion is the one where you should draw the final line of analysis. Summarize points you've given above, loop to your thesis statement or give your reader some food for thought. Just remember that this section should be brief.

Additionally, it will be good to write how a situation changed because of main hero's influence.

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

Instruction for writing character analysis essays is based on several steps. First, read a story carefully to find a person whom you are interested in. After reading the book, students should be able to completely grasp a key idea. Next steps include:

  • choosing dynamic hero ;
  • taking notes;
  • defining main idea;
  • answering analysis questions.

Concerning last point, think over next questions:

  • What is hero's value?
  • What kind of emotions does your hero go through?
  • Does personage have a profound impact on plot?
  • What are relationships between heroes and other significant figures?

Understanding an effect that main hero has on plot, it is easy to grasp the meaning the author put in their work.

How to Begin a Character Analysis Essay?

Character analysis essay introduction is the first step to start. It should describe whole essay in miniature. It's kind of a catchy hook for readers to get interested and proceed to explore chosen book. Introduction shows a completely full story in several paragraphs. To show all necessary information, make use of the thesis statement. These are rounded with text. It is fine to describe some catchy scenes and episodes to fuel readers’ interest.  

Character Analysis Essay Body Paragraphs?

While introduction is a grand way to actually introduce the hero, character analysis essay body goal is identification of main personages features. Body should depict:

  • Hero’s personality and physical appearance.
  • Conflicts and ways of overcoming them.
  • Lessons readers should learn.
  • Meaning behind hero's actions.

Dynamic figure is key personage. Separate attention is given especially to them. Additional paragraph should describe a reader's feelings: what words are associated with a hero? Brave, modest, lucky, confident? Answers are key points to create a comprehensive description.

How to End a Character Analysis Essay?

How to write a conclusion paragraph for an essay ? Character analysis essay conclusion contains author’s point of view on course of events. Main ideas should be described shortly and clearly. Final part is a kind of review but with student's opinion. Lessons learned are described. For example, a story might teach how to live honestly, help poor people, feel merciful to others, etc. Remember that sheets’ personages teach us how to behave in real life. Many situations shown will be useful in everyday life. Hero’ deeds teach us how to cope with problems and find ways from tangled situations.  

Character Analysis Essays: Final Thoughts

A character analysis essay is used for composing lines between parallel personages. It shows the present course of events that will make sense in future. Important traits and characteristics that are depicted in the book. They have a hidden idea, some kind of lesson. Comprehensive analysis helps to understand the meaning the author wanted to shed light on. Knowing main heros’ personal characteristics helps to explain their behavior and world perception. Buy essays for college in case this assignment isn't what you wanted to do this evening.  

FAQs' for Character Analysis Essay

1. what is a good thesis statement for a character analysis essay.

Character analysis essay is saturated with essential messages. It appears at the end (in last sentence) of introductory paragraph. Its task is to inform reader about information they will get acquainted with. Every sentence has hidden meaning concerning heroes. Remember, introduction must be brief but meaningful. Student’s thesis statements should be specific — include only points that will be discussed. Good thesis statement should grab readers’ attention, make them read whole story.  

2. What kind of essay is character analysis?

A character analysis essay mostly deals with certain books’ personages, though, figures from cinematography are involved. Its task is to explain in-depth key features of personages. Antagonist and protagonist are main ones. There also exist additional ones. This kind of an essay explains behavior and state of mind. Personal traits and preferences also make up whole picture described.

3. How do you write a literary character analysis essay?

Character analysis essay demands describing chosen personage in detail. Firstly though, it is needed to determine personage’s type. Next step include turning to plot for showing examples. Students have to explain why personages decide do act that way, after all.

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How to write a critical analysis essay

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay With Examples and Tips

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  • Icon Calendar 18 May 2024
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Essay writing is an exciting and valuable academic exercise for students at all levels of learning. Basically, the practice helps in developing students’ critical thinking skills. For example, when writing a character analysis essay, students use these skills to cover a specific character’s personality and mannerisms objectively. Moreover, this type of essay aims to analyze a character in a story in such a way that readers can develop a mental picture of them. In this case, the secret of writing a good character analysis essay involves choosing a dynamic character, such as a protagonist or an antagonist. Then, another tip is to write the first draft and read it at least twice to identify and correct errors and mistakes. In turn, the final draft should reflect a perfect document. Hence, students need to learn how to write a good character analysis essay with its features.

Definition of a Character Analysis Essay

Among many different types of essays is a character analysis essay, a text that describes a particular character in a story. When writing this essay, students analyze relationships between characters in question and other characters, paying particular attention to their mannerisms. Also, these mannerisms are exemplified by their behaviors, styles of speaking, physical appearances, and many other characteristics. Even though students may offer their personal opinions when analyzing specific characters, they must employ critical thinking and be objective. In essence, what matters in a character analysis essay is factual information about a character in question. In this case, the writer’s opinion should support rather than challenge the specific traits and characteristics of a character. Hence, a student writes this type of essay when instructions require them to discuss how a particular character is shaped in a story.

How to write a character analysis essay

Types of Characters

When analyzing a character in a story, writers must first understand what kinds of characters are their subjects. Typically, there are different types of characters whose distinctions are based on particular behaviors, traits, and roles that they exemplify within a story. In turn, the main character types fall under five categories: major, minor, dynamic, static, and stoic.

1. Major Characters

In a story, major characters run a storyline, and they define a plot of this story. For example, there are two types of major characters: protagonists and antagonists. In this case, the former represents typical heroes, those characters that the audience is likely to admire. Then, the latter represents characters that take the role of a villain. Basically, the audience is likely to despise this type of character. Moreover, it is easier to spot protagonists because a story’s plot revolves around them. In literature, examples of protagonists include Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Othello from the tragedy Othello by William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. On the other hand, examples of antagonists from the literature include King Joffrey from Game of Thrones , Darth Vader from the Star Wars series by George Lucas, and the Wicked Queen from “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.”

2. Minor Characters

As opposed to major characters, minor characters do not run stories. However, they are ones that help major characters to shine through storylines. In other words, minor characters in the course of their activities help main characters to create situations and circumstances that reveal the central characters’ personalities. As explained, this personality is defined by mannerism. Then, examples of minor characters in the literature include the whole Fellowship of the Ring in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Individually, these characters help Frodo, a protagonist, to deliver the Ring to Mordor. In turn, another example of minor characters in literature is the duo Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. On several occasions, they help Harry Potter, a protagonist, in his battle against Voldemort.

3. Dynamic, Static, and Stoic Characters

Dynamic characters are those characters that change the course of a story in certain respects. In many cases, a protagonist is a dynamic character. Moreover, an example in the literature is Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling’s book series, who notices that he is similar to Voldemort in many ways throughout a storyline. Nevertheless, he resists “dark” traits that define Voldemort because he is a good person. As such, he resists any temptation to become a dark wizard. On the other hand, static characters never change in a story. Also, an excellent example in the literature is Atticus Finch from “How to Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Despite finding himself in controversial circumstances, he remains firm in character and worldview throughout a story. Further on, stoic characters draw attention to the main character(s), and their role in a story is to fortify the protagonist’s role and image. In turn, a great example of a stoic character in literature is Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is the starting step in writing a critical analysis essay. In essence, this step involves planning how to go about writing. Basically, a student reads a story, chooses a character, defines a topic, prepares ideas, and considers the audience and its needs. In this case, the essence of preparation is that it enables students to “get it right” from the beginning. Moreover, it is by preparing that students take into consideration requirements and seek clarification as necessary.

A. Reading a Story

In most instances, instructors guide students on which story to read and a character to analyze. However, if such guidance is not provided, a student should – as a matter of priority – choose a story and a character in this story to write about. About a story, writers should read it at least twice to have a good understanding of a plot and each character’s role.

B. Choosing a Character

The standard practice is that a character analysis essay focuses on major characters (protagonist and antagonist) as subjects of analysis. However, as indicated, an instructor may require students to analyze a specific character. In this case, instructions can require students to explore how a minor character enhances a major character’s image in a story. Also, the writer’s issue is to identify characters for analysis and read all about them in an assigned story.

C. Defining a Topic

Like any essay, a character analysis essay should have a topic. Basically, even though the goal is to analyze a specific character, writers must have a topic that underscores their work. When defining a topic, students may follow the instructor’s prompt or develop their own approach. Ultimately, a character analysis essay topic should align with the paper’s goal, which is to analyze a specific character.

D. Preparing Ideas

Typically, students get ideas about their work as soon as they read prompt requirements given by their instructors. When writing a character analysis essay, a student should generate ideas after reading instructions and reading through them. However, it is the latter exercise that serves as the foundation of ideas for writing a text. Indeed, this aspect exemplifies the essence of a character analysis essay, focusing on how a character emerges from a story. As discussed, a character can only be a protagonist, antagonist, minor, dynamic, or stoic. Understanding where characters fit helps a writer to generate ideas about effects of their roles in a story. Here, students should apply critical thinking to dissect characters objectively.

E. Considering an Audience

Every form of writing has an audience – readers that writers have in mind when writing their texts. In essay writing, the main audience is the instructor. However, in an application essay for college, the audience is the admission board of a college or university. Since instructors determine the quality of a character analysis essay, students should consider their requirements. Ideally, these requirements reflect what instructors, as the audience, need regarding a character analysis essay.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

The second step in writing a character analysis essay is setting the stage for the actual writing of a text. Here, students engage in several activities, including finding credible sources, making notes, creating an essay outline, and creating an annotated bibliography. As an academic text, a character analysis essay should satisfy all academic writing conventions, including backing up claims and arguments with evidence. Although a learner can write about a character in a story by simply reading a story, a character analysis reflects an in-depth discussion about a specific character. Hence, students should write about what others (scholars) have said about a story and a character.

A. Finding Sources

Reliable sources are external texts that writers rely on to find evidence supporting what they intend to write. Basically, when writers make claims or observations when composing a text, they must back it up with evidence to avoid making what they write seems like a personal opinion. Notably, subjective opinion is not encouraged in academic writing, unless writers are using it objectively. Moreover, the only way that students can demonstrate that their essays are free of bias is by providing evidence for their claims, arguments, opinions, and observations. In turn, this evidence comes from external academic sources – books and journal articles.

B. Making Notes

After finding sources, a student should read through them while making notes. Basically, these notes should be relevant to a task at hand. Therefore, when authors of a character analysis essay find sources pertinent to their mission, they should make notes as they read through them and write down what they find interesting about their characters. Given that the task at hand involves analyzing a character in question, students’ notes should reflect a deeper understanding of this character, such as what others say about their manner of speaking or effect in a story.

C. Creating an Outline and an Annotated Bibliography

Like any other academic text, such as a research paper, a term paper, a Master’s thesis, or a dissertation, essays have outlines that provide a structure. Typically, this outline involves having three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. When writing a character analysis essay, a student should stick to this essay structure. Then, an annotated bibliography summarizes study sources that writers intend to use to get evidence that backs up their claims and arguments. Although it is not needed in an essay, students who write a character analysis essay can develop one based on credible sources that they identified in the second step of essay writing. In this case, annotated bibliographies would provide quick access to evidence that learners need to strengthen their papers.

Step 3: Actual Writing of a Character Analysis Essay

After preparing and setting the stage, authors of a character analysis essay begin the actual writing of a paper. Here, students begin with the first draft, which provides an opportunity to organize thoughts, make mistakes, come up with new ideas, find new sources that back them up, and alter a critical analysis essay outline. Basically, this stage is about putting everything together to develop an essay that addresses the instructor’s requirements.

A. Writing a First Draft of a Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, students are likely to make numerous spelling and grammatical errors and other mistakes, such as inconsistent arguments and illogical conclusions. As such, writing the first draft provides writers with this allowance since they would have an opportunity to perfect their work. Nonetheless, the first draft’s content should mirror the expected work, which is dissecting a character’s personality. 

Step 4: Wrapping Up

After writing the first draft of a character analysis essay, students must read and reread their work to identify all mistakes and errors. As discussed above, the chances of the first draft having spelling and grammatical errors, illogical conclusions, and inconsistent arguments are high. In turn, this fourth step in writing a character analysis essay provides students with an opportunity to perfect their work. Here, learners revise and edit the first draft to eliminate all errors and mistakes and ensure that their papers reflect a format of an academic text in all aspects. Also, body paragraphs should have topic and concluding sentences, transitions, and right formatting. Additionally, writers should subject their work to peer review and then write the final draft.

A. Revising and Editing the First Draft

The purpose of reading the first draft at least twice is to identify all errors and mistakes, as explained above. Basically, once writers note them down, they should revise their papers accordingly, ensuring that all inconsistencies are corrected. Moreover, students should edit all spelling and grammatical mistakes to give a written document to look like a professional appeal.

B. Topic Sentences

The first statement that a student writes in every paragraph in the main text (body) should reflect a topic sentence. Basically, this sentence aims to introduce a single idea that a writer intends to develop in a paragraph. By considering a character analysis essay, this idea can be a claim or an observation about a subject under analysis. In this case, the standard practice is that a single idea that a writer expresses in a topic sentence should align with a paper’s thesis statement, as it is developed in the introduction part of a character analysis essay.

C. Concluding Sentences

While a topic sentence introduces a paragraph, a concluding sentence brings it to a close. For example, a reason why a student writes a concluding sentence is to finalize an intended message captured in a section. As such, it provides the writer’s concluding thoughts about a topic sentence and how it advances a thesis statement. Also, the content that comes between topic sentences and concluding sentences reinforces a sandwich rule: making a claim, backing it up with supporting facts, elaborating on it, and indicating its relevance in a context of a thesis.

D. Transitions

In writing a character analysis essay, students need to create a document with a natural flow from a beginning to an end. Basically, the aspect that enhances this flow is the use of transitions, which involve words and phrases, like “consequently,” “hence,” “thus,” “nonetheless,” “as such,” and “put differently.” In this case, a writer can use these words and phrases in any part of a text. However, using them in the main text is more appropriate as it is where writers need to create linkages between claims, evidence, and elaborations. Hence, transitions make such connections flawless and logical.

E. Formatting

When writing an academic text, it is critical for students to observe all academic writing rules. For example, one of these rules is writing a character analysis essay according to assigned rules that guide a paper format that learners are using to write their work. In this case, the main paper formats are APA 7, MLA 9, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian, all of which differ in certain ways. For instance, they all have different requirements for citations and paragraph formation. Therefore, when writing a character analysis essay, a student should format a paper according to the appropriate writing format. Although learners may observe this rule when writing the first draft, they should certainly do so when creating the final draft.

F. Peer Reviewing

When writing a character analysis essay, students should ensure that their work is of high quality. Basically, what makes an academic text of high quality is peer review, which means subjecting a written work to a critical review by a friend, tutor, or mentor. For example, journal articles are regarded as peer-reviewed scholarly sources for a simple reason that they have been reviewed and made perfect. In turn, this perfection entails ensuring the absence of errors and mistakes and the use of credible and reliable sources.

Step 5: Writing a Final Draft of a Character Analysis Essay

The final draft represents the final work of a student in writing a character analysis essay. Basically, it is a document that students hand over to the audience by way of submission or publication. As such, writers must ensure that their texts are of the highest standard to eliminate the possibility of attracting penalties, such as a low grade or lousy review, in case they publish their work on online platforms. Also, to be clear that what students have is of the highest quality, they should read and reread their papers. In turn, it is the only way in which they can be sure that there are no errors or mistakes.

Simple Outline Example of a Character Analysis Essay

As indicated in the previous section, students should take time and create an outline for their work when writing an essay. This outline comprises three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion as below.

I. Introduction Paragraph II. Body Section (this part may include several paragraphs) III. Conclusion Paragraph

While most academic texts follow this outline, some papers differ on features that writers address in each section. Basically, when writing a character analysis essay, students should ensure that the introduction section highlights its thesis. In turn, this statement guides the entire writing, meaning that it is the central claim or idea in a paper. In body paragraphs, writers should ensure that topic sentences open each paragraph while concluding sentences end them. Moreover, learners should ensure sufficient and appropriate use of transitions and observance of a sandwich rule. In the conclusion section, students should restate the thesis and summarize the paper’s main points.

How Students Know That They Write a Character Analysis Essay

Generally, the purpose of a character analysis essay is to provide an in-depth analysis of a specific character. As such, writers know that they write a character analysis essay if their texts describe a given character’s personality and mannerisms. In turn, the latter entails how a character in question behaves, speaks, looks like (physical features), and their familial and social relationships, as it is covered in a story.

How a Character Analysis Essay Differs From Other Papers

When it comes to an outline, a character analysis essay is similar to other types of papers. However, regarding the content, this type of essay differs from other papers significantly. For example, an argumentative essay focuses on making the writer’s argument acceptable to the audience, meaning that the content revolves around the writer’s perspective regarding an issue. In contrast, a character analysis essay focuses on providing the audience with a detailed picture of a specific character in a story, meaning that the content revolves around a subject (character). In an informative essay, the writer’s goal is to educate the audience about a topic or an issue, meaning that the content revolves around explaining concepts relating to a specific theme in question. Therefore, the point of difference between a character analysis essay and other essay types is content more than structure.

Easy Strategies for Writing Each Section of a Character Analysis Essay

When it comes to the introduction, authors of a character analysis essay should provide a hook, which can be a statement, quote, or a joke. Basically, a hook sentence aims to grab the reader’s attention and make them interested in reading the entire paper. Then, if students know how to write a hook, they provide a brief background of a text after it. Also, it is where they introduce a story and a character under investigation. In turn, writers should conclude this section with a thesis, thus outlining the purpose of writing. About the main text (body), if learners are familiar with the rules of how to write a topic sentence, they begin each paragraph with it, which establishes a claim. Further on, the feature that follows is evidence (supporting facts) and then an explanation. As a result, the last element is a concluding sentence. 

1. Paying an Attention

Based on the above information, it is evident that authors of a character analysis essay must pay attention to several things. In the introduction, writers should pay attention to the thesis, and, in the body paragraphs, they should follow a sandwich rule. Basically, this rule reinforces the claim-evidence-explanation approach. In the conclusion section, students should pay attention to the main points’ summary to make sure no new information is captured in this paragraph. Additionally, learners should ensure that they provide closing remarks, which emphasize their objective opinions about subjects matter.

2. Major Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Besides spelling, grammatical and other mistakes, writers of essays make other mistakes, leading to the fact that their work becomes less than high-quality. In writing a character analysis essay, one mistake that students make is to focus on a single aspect, such as personality, thereby undermining the subject’s full image. In this case, the solution to this mistake for a writer is to focus on the character’s mannerisms – behavior, speaking style, and appearance. Then, another mistake that learners make is to focus on aspects that do not advance an in-depth analysis of a subject, such as a story’s plot. In turn, the solution to this mistake for students is to focus on the subject’s roles in a plot’s context.

An Example of Writing a Character Analysis Essay

Topic: Frodo and His Heroic Weakness

I. Sample Introduction of a Character Analysis Essay

In literature, characters play an essential role in enhancing the plot of a story. Basically, they do this through their actions, behaviors, relationships, and other aspects of personality. Moreover, their mannerisms define who they are within the context of a story. In The Lord of the Ring , J.R.R. Tolkien captures a heroic conscience that characterizes human existence. Then, the author reveals the destructive power of greed and envy, mainly where promises are concerned. Nonetheless, Tolkien shows how friendship and courage overcome these vices. At the center of a story , The Lord of the Ring, is Frodo Baggins, a protagonist, who, despite undergoing a series of challenging adventures, emerges as a hero.

II. Example of a Body in a Character Analysis Essay

A. frodo as a hero.

Tolkien develops Frodo as a young hobbit with a remarkable character. As a ring-bearer of a fellowship, Frodo has the Ring that belongs to Sauron, the Lord of the Rings. As such, Sauron is an antagonist in a story. For example, he is “a dark lord who lost the one Ring that held much of his power” (Tolkien, 2003, p. 54). Then, the author describes the Ring as precious and powerful enough to enslave Middle Earth. While everybody is scared of the Ring and no one wants to lead its destruction, Frodo courageously overcomes such fear. Despite a myth that absolute evil and frightening dark forces are likely to victimize anyone who attempts to destroy the Ring, the young hobbit is keen to prove everybody wrong. In turn, it is the anger toward myths and oppressions that they seemed to cause people that motivate Frodo to act to restore safety in Middle Earth. 

B. Frodo’s Weakness

The first indication of Frodo’s inexperience comes when he faces his initial challenges in his quest. Basically, how he deals with them reveals his weak points. For example, when Frodo delays his departure from the Shire, in spite of the urgency of the task ahead, he comes out as an indecisive character (Tolkien, 2003). Although a protagonist has common sense, he lacks wisdom, which is evident when he chooses to face the Old Forest’s dangers. Besides getting himself into harm’s way, Frodo also endangers the lives of his friends. In this case, he comes out as a fool in Bree when he draws unnecessary attention to himself. At Weathertop, the main character gives in to the temptation of putting on the Ring, thus exposing himself to an attack by the Ringwraiths (Tolkien, 2003). Despite all these shortcomings, Frodo survives the dangers of his own mistakes and those of his quest. Moreover, the novel attributes this success to the fact that hobbits are tougher than they look and can endure hardships. More importantly, Frodo himself is not interested in possessing the Ring, which makes him avoid the dark forces it represents. In this respect, he emerges as a hero in the end.

III. Conclusion Example of a Character Analysis Essay

Frodo’s adventure in The Lord of the Ring is a selfless quest to bring good to society despite powerful myths that undermine people’s courage to act when needed. In this case, Tolkien describes specific events that characterize the protagonist’s quest to destroy Sauron’s Ring. Moreover, what is clear is that Frodo is a courageous hobbit who refuses to be defined by his weaknesses. Eventually, his actions display his heroic character, one that defies all odds against him. In turn, a lesson from a story is that people do not need to be perfect to be heroes, but they need to aspire to do what is right.

Arthur, S. (2003). Walking with Frodo: A devotional journey through the Lord of the Rings . Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Summing Up on How to Write a Good Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, students must understand that this type of paper is different from all others. While an argumentative essay focuses on convincing the audience about an issue, a character analysis essay covers telling the audience about a specific character’s personality and mannerisms within the context of a story’s plot. As such, it also differs from an informative essay that focuses on educating the audience about a topic or an issue. Nonetheless, all these essays assume the same outline, which entails three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. In turn, when writing a character analysis essay, a student must note the following tips:

  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Read a story.
  • If there is no instruction about a character, choose a dynamic character, who is either a protagonist or antagonist.
  • Reread a story and make notes that are specific to a chosen character.
  • Develop a thesis statement.
  • Draft an outline.
  • Write the first draft.
  • Read and reread the first draft to identify and correct errors and mistakes.
  • Subject the first draft to a peer review.
  • Write the final draft.
  • Read and reread the final draft.

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Start Writing a Character Analysis Essay

Characters are the cornerstones of stories in the broad world of literature; they are individuals with unique intricacies, motivations, and travels. But taking characters at their value only goes so far in revealing their significance. Exploring character analysis in depth reveals a wealth of knowledge that enhances reading and promotes a comprehensive comprehension of the story’s overall structure. In this article, we set out to discover the fundamentals of a character analysis essay , delving into its definition, significance, and constituent parts.

Understand Character Analysis Essay

What is a character analysis essay? Character analysis is a critical process that involves examining the traits, motivations, and development of characters in a literary work. It goes beyond mere observation, requiring readers to delve into the intricacies of characters’ personalities, actions, and relationships. Characters serve as conduits through which readers explore the depths of human nature, embodying universal themes and aspects of behavior. 

Characters analysis offers profound insights into the human condition and enhances comprehension by enabling readers to grasp the underlying messages, themes, and conflicts within a story. Character analysis fosters critical thinking by encouraging readers to interpret evidence, form connections, and form informed opinions about the text.

Key components of the character analysis essay include personality traits, character development, motivations and goals, relationships, and symbolism and archetypes. Personality traits provide insights into the character’s strengths, weaknesses, virtues, and flaws, while character development examines how the character evolves and changes throughout the story. Understanding these components enhances the reading experience and instills a deeper appreciation for the artistry of storytelling. 

Selecting the Character

What is a character analysis selection process? Selecting a character for analysis is crucial for crafting a compelling and insightful essay about a character . Some tips to guide in choosing the most suitable character include considering their significance, complexity, contrasts, personal interest, availability of textual evidence, and relevance.

Choosing a character integral to the plot is essential for conducting a meaningful character analysis essay that sheds light on the central themes and conflicts of the story. Characters are the driving force behind the plot, shaping events and conflicts that unfold within the story. Analyzing a character central to the plot allows for a deeper understanding of the story’s progression and thematic significance. They often embody the central themes and motifs of the narrative, allowing readers to uncover deeper layers of symbolism embedded within the text.

Analyzing a character central to the plot provides context for understanding the motivations, conflicts, and relationships that drive the narrative forward. Characters who play pivotal roles in the plot are often more compelling and memorable to readers, engaging them deeper and encouraging deeper engagement with the text.

Analyzing a character that resonates with the writer on a personal level can greatly enhance the depth and authenticity of the analysis. The benefits of choosing a character that resonates with the writer include emotional investment, empathy and understanding, authenticity, and insightful reflection.

Emotional investment allows for a deeper level of engagement with the text, fueling the passion for the analysis and inspiring insightful observations. Empathy and understanding enable readers to empathize with the character’s experiences, motivations, and struggles, leading to a more nuanced analysis. 

Authenticity lends authenticity to the analysis, as it reflects genuine thoughts and feelings about the character. Insightful reflection prompts insights into one’s own experiences, beliefs, and values, enriching the analysis and adding depth to understanding both the character and oneself.

By choosing an essay about a character that resonates with the writer personally, one can infuse their analysis with authenticity, empathy, and emotional depth, resulting in a more compelling and insightful exploration of the text.

Gathering Evidence

Character analysis is a crucial process in understanding a character’s personality and behavior. To learn how to write a character analysis essay correctly, it is essential to gather textual evidence, such as close reading, note-taking, annotation, character profiles, comparative analysis, and archetypal analysis. These methods help extract relevant information from the text, providing a foundation for your analysis.

Archetypal analysis can explore how the character embodies archetypal traits or roles commonly found in literature, such as the hero, villain, mentor, or trickster. By carefully identifying and documenting the various traits exhibited by the character, you can develop a nuanced understanding of their personality and behavior.

Supporting details play a crucial role in bolstering your character analysis essay , providing concrete evidence to support your interpretations and arguments. To effectively utilize specific examples from the text to support your analysis, select relevant examples that directly relate to the traits, motivations, and actions you are analyzing.

Provide context by introducing each example with a brief explanation or summary of its significance within the larger narrative. Analyze the example in detail, pointing out specific details or language choices that illuminate the character’s traits or motivations. Incorporate quotations from the text whenever possible, using quotation marks to indicate the exact words spoken or written by the character.

When analyzing supporting details, consider multiple perspectives: Acknowledge alternative interpretations and perspectives, but provide reasons why your analysis is the most valid or persuasive. By effectively utilizing specific examples from the text to support your character analysis essay , you can strengthen your arguments and provide readers with a deeper understanding of the character’s role within the story.

Character Analysis Essay Outline

Let’s have a look at the character analysis essay outline and how to write it perfectly.

  • Start with a hook or question about the character.
  • Provide background information and the thesis statement.
  • Describe the character’s role, appearance, and initial impressions.
  • Identify and discuss the primary traits of the character.
  • Explore the character’s desires, fears, and motivations.
  • Analyze the character’s evolution throughout the story.
  • Discuss key events or turning points that shape the character’s development.
  • Examine the character’s interactions with other characters.
  • Discuss the character’s role in the plot.
  • Explore how the character embodies or reflects the story’s themes and symbols.
  • Analyze how the character’s actions affect the plot’s progression.
  • Provide specific quotes or passages from the text.
  • Illustrate key character traits with examples of their actions or dialogue.
  • Interpret symbols or imagery associated with the character.
  • Restate the thesis.
  • Recap key points
  • End with a thought-provoking statement.

By following this outline for a character analysis essay , you can structure your essay effectively, providing a comprehensive analysis of the chosen character while engaging the reader from start to finish.

Character Analysis Essay Structure

Character analysis essay format typically follows a three-part format: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The introduction serves to introduce the character being analysed and provide context for the analysis. Create a compelling introduction, start with a hook, write background information, and introduce the thesis statement. End the introduction with a clear and concise statement that outlines the purpose and focus of the essay. This will set the stage for a compelling and engaging character analysis essay.

The body paragraphs delve into the analysis of the character, each focusing on a specific aspect or trait. Each essay paragraph should begin with a topic sentence, followed by supporting evidence from the text and an analysis that explores the significance of the evidence in relation to the character’s development and role in the story. Organizing the analysis into coherent paragraphs is essential for presenting a logical and persuasive argument. 

The conclusion of the character analysis essay summarises the analysis’s main points and reinforces the character’s significance within the narrative. It restates the thesis statement in different words, provides a brief recap of the main arguments presented in the essay, and offers final insights or reflections on the character’s importance and impact on the story.

By following these guidelines, you can craft a conclusion that reinforces the significance of the character and provides a satisfying conclusion to the essay.

Process of Analyzing a Character

Character Development:

  • Initial Impression: Discuss the character’s introduction and personality traits.
  • Growth and Change: Analyze how the character evolves and changes over the story.
  • Internal Conflict: Explore internal struggles or conflicts the character faces.
  • Relationships: Examine the character’s relationships with other characters and how they evolve.
  • Resolution: Evaluate the character’s development at the end of the story.

Motivations and Actions:

  • Identify Core Motivations: Understand what drives the character to act and the underlying reasons behind their behavior.
  • External Influences: Analyze the external factors that influence the character’s motivations and actions.
  • Internal Conflicts: Explore any internal conflicts or contradictions within the character that influence their motivations and actions.
  • Character Consistency: Evaluate the consistency of the character’s motivations and actions throughout the text.
  • Consequences of Actions: Discuss the consequences of the character’s actions and decisions within the narrative.

Impact on the Narrative:

  • Plot Development: Examine the character’s role in advancing the plot and driving the story forward.
  • Theme Exploration: Analyze how the character embodies or reflects the story’s central themes and motifs.
  • Symbolic Significance: Explore any symbolic significance associated with the character and their role in the story.
  • Influence on Other Characters: Discuss how their relationships, actions, and decisions impact the development and behavior of other characters.
  • Resolution and Conclusion: Evaluate the character’s ultimate role in the resolution and conclusion of the story.

By discussing what is character analysis significance in shaping the story, you can provide a comprehensive analysis of their role and impact within the narrative, highlighting their contribution to the overall meaning and interpretation of the text.

Polishing and Refining

Proofreading is an important step in the editing process, ensuring your writing is free from errors and effectively communicates your ideas. To correct errors in grammar, punctuation, and syntax, take a break, read aloud, use editing tools, focus on one element at a time, print and review, and seek feedback from peers or instructors.

Polishing involves refining language, strengthening arguments, and enhancing the overall clarity and coherence of your work. Techniques for polishing your writing include clarifying your thesis, tightening your writing, strengthening your arguments, enhancing transitions, checking for consistency in tone, style, and formatting, and proofreading carefully.

Afterthoughts on Character Analysis Essay

A profound character analysis essay offers a profound understanding of the human psyche, storytelling, and the timeless relevance of literature. By examining character traits, motivations, and impact on the narrative, students gain a deeper understanding of universal themes, conflicts, and complexities of the human experience.

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Shifting Identities and Moral Ambiguity: a Character Analysis of ‘The Great Gatsby’

This essay about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” explores the complexities of identity and morality against the backdrop of the 1920s Jazz Age. It analyzes key characters like Jay Gatsby, who embodies the American Dream’s promise and pitfalls, and Daisy Buchanan, whose superficial nature reflects her era’s values. The narrative also considers Tom Buchanan’s crude honesty and Nick Carraway’s evolving moral perspective, framing the novel as a critique of luxury, deception, and societal expectations, with enduring relevance to today’s moral complexities.

How it works

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel, “The Great Gatsby,” delves deeply into the intricacies of shifting identities and the obscure boundaries of ethical clarity, presenting a nuanced examination of American society in the 1920s. Dubbed the Jazz Age by Fitzgerald, this era was characterized by post-war prosperity and an expanding consumer culture, aspects that are intricately portrayed through the novel’s complex characters.

The protagonist, Jay Gatsby, personifies both the promise and the illusion of the American Dream. Born James Gatz, he transforms himself from a poor young man into a wealthy enigma, driven by his love for Daisy Buchanan.

This metamorphosis, fueled by his quest for self-made prosperity, illustrates his commitment to success as well as his disconnection from the actual world.

Gatsby’s ethical ambiguity is suggested through his obscure wealth, possibly derived from illegal activities like bootlegging, alongside his associations with questionable figures such as Meyer Wolfsheim, who is rumored to have fixed the World Series. His charisma and generosity serve as a veneer over his manipulative tendencies, which are aimed at winning Daisy’s affection to fulfill his idealized visions, blending allure with moral compromise.

Daisy Buchanan also captures the unstable nature of personal identity and ethical vagueness. Idolized by Gatsby as a symbol of purity and achievement, Daisy’s actual persona reflects her era and social class—charming yet shallow, fickle, and self-centered. Her decision to remain with her husband Tom, despite her feelings for Gatsby, underscores her emphasis on social security over passionate involvement, revealing her survival strategies in a materialistic society.

Tom Buchanan epitomizes the staunch values of the upper class. Crude and openly bigoted, Tom unabashedly pursues his own interests and biases. His frank acknowledgment of his moral shortcomings creates a paradox; he is both repellent and fascinatingly candid, unlike other characters who hide behind pretenses.

Nick Carraway, the narrator, acts as the ethical gauge of the story, transitioning from a detached spectator to an engaged participant. His view of Gatsby moves from admiration to disenchantment as he uncovers the superficiality beneath the allure, revealing the moral decay. Nick’s transformation—initially claiming moral superiority, then admitting his own role in the moral decline—reflects the broader critique of the elusive American Dream within the narrative.

By portraying characters who navigate a landscape filled with luxury and deception, “The Great Gatsby” offers a critique of the societal values of the 1920s, exploring the conflict between true self and social expectation, and between moral integrity and ethical uncertainty. The novel remains a poignant reflection on the pursuit of the American Dream and its effects on personal identity, with implications that still resonate with the ethical complexities of modern society.

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Hamlet — Hamlet Character Analysis

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Hamlet Character Analysis

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Published: Mar 19, 2024

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Introduction, motivations and ambivalence, identity and madness, morality and conscience, impact on the narrative.

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thesis for character analysis essay

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  1. Writing a Character Analysis Essay

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  2. Character Analysis Thesis Examples

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  3. 2 Character Analysis Essay Examples with Character

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  4. Character Analysis Thesis Statement Organizer by Empathic English Teacher

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  5. FREE 7+ Analysis Essay Examples in PDF

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  6. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay in Simple Steps

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  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Character Analysis Paper

    Step 4. Formulate your thesis in one sentence. State your observations and then give your reasoning. Tidewater Community College suggests the following character analysis thesis about Sherwood Anderson's "Death in the Woods:" "Mrs. Jack Grimes is a woman who has been denied any love or tenderness; she exists only to be used.". In this ...

  2. Writing a Character Analysis Essay

    Character analysis essays do not have just one format. However, let me offer some advice that might act as a character analysis essay outline or 'checklist' of possible things you could discuss: 1. Start with the Simple Details. You can start a character analysis by providing a simple, clear description of who your character is.

  3. How to Write a Character Analysis: Outline, Examples

    A character analysis essay is a challenging type of essay students usually write for literature or English courses. In this article, we will explain the definition of character analysis and how to approach it. ... Don't forget to include a character analysis thesis statement which should make a case for the character's relevance within the ...

  4. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Examples & Outline

    A thesis is the key component of every essay, and character analysis is not an exception. It's crucial to develop a good and clear thesis statement that includes all the aspects of your paper. For instance, if you plan to write a 4-paragraph body, including 4 points in your thesis. What should a character analysis thesis include?

  5. How to Write a Character Analysis: Tips and Examples from Literature

    Introduction: Introduce the character you are writing about using a good hook to get your reader curious. Body: In this section, use a few paragraphs to describe the character's traits, their role, and the transformation they undergo (you could write one paragraph for each of the sections outlined above). Conclusion: Summarize your essay in ...

  6. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

    4.2 Decide on what character to choose. 4.3 Outline your essay. 4.4 Define the main idea. 4.5 Make notes while reading. 4.6 Compose a list of questions. 5 Character Analysis Essay Example. Writing can be as interesting as communicating. You can provide your thoughts and in-depth analysis of a character you like.

  7. PDF TCC Writing Center: Character Analysis Essay

    Guidelines for Writing a Character Analysis Essay. Characters are the essence of a work of fiction. Fictional characters are portrayed through the characters' actions and reactions as well as other characters' actions and reactions to them. You develop a character by telling the reader about that character, what he is doing or thinking.

  8. Character Analysis Essay Guide: How to Write a Good ...

    How to Write the Body Paragraphs of a Character Analysis Essay. The body of a character analysis essay is also a significant part because it gives more details about the character. Each paragraph has a topic sentence and specific examples supporting the sentence. In addition, the topic sentence supports your thesis statement.

  9. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay in Simple Steps

    If you're wondering how to get started writing a character analysis essay, look no further. Follow our simple steps to create an in-depth character analysis! ... One thesis statement for an analysis of Romeo could be: When faced with adversity, Romeo has the tenacity to overcome an array of obstacles and still be with his one true love. He ...

  10. Character Analysis Essay: Outline, Topics and Writing Tips

    A character analysis is a kind of essay where you examine behaviors, motivations, and actions of characters. Also, a character analysis is an in-depth assignment that makes you think critically about one or more characters and make judgements after analyzing the text. In most cases, it is used for the analysis of literary works.

  11. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay in 7 Steps

    And that's exactly what a thesis for a character analysis is supposed to do. Now, we're ready to write the introductory paragraph which will include the complete thesis statement. Step 5. Write the introductory paragraph. Note that a character analysis is really an expository essay.

  12. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: A Comprehensive Guide

    Step 1: Choose Your Individual for Analysis. Character evaluation is the first step to a great analysis. The role or persona you choose for your analysis is crucial to its success. Primary characters are sometimes easier to write since they have well-defined personalities, and their motivations may be evident.

  13. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay Like a PRO

    Conclusion. A. Restate thesis: - Recap the key traits and significance of the character. B. Summary of analysis: - Provide a brief summary of the main points discussed in the essay. C. Closing thoughts: - Conclude with final thoughts on the character's impact and significance within the narrative.

  14. PDF Dutchess Community College—Writing Center Character Analysis

    of what is to come. Don't merely call the essay "character analysis." How about: "All But Sloth: Salieri's Six Deadly Sins" or "The Two Faces of Salieri" or "Us and Them: Division and Derision in Billy's War" Sample Character Analysis Thesis Statements: Write out a topic/purpose/thesis after listing a few defining adjectives about your ...

  15. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

    2 Character analysis essay writing step 1 - identify character type. 3 Character analysis essay writing step 2 - describe the character. 4 Character analysis essay writing step 3 - conflict. 5 Character analysis essay structure. 6 Character analysis essay writing tips.

  16. Character Analysis Essay

    When writing your thesis, consider your character's motivations, actions, behavior, changes, and roles in the storyline. Your thesis can be aligned to a theme that your character advances. 5. Draft your essay outline. With the thesis at hand, you can now create an outline for your character analysis essay or paper.

  17. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

    Table of contents. Step 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices. Step 2: Coming up with a thesis. Step 3: Writing a title and introduction. Step 4: Writing the body of the essay. Step 5: Writing a conclusion. Other interesting articles.

  18. Character Analysis Essay: Definition, Writing Steps & Examples

    A character analysis is a type of essay that requires you to analyze and evaluate the characteristics, traits, motivations, and decisions of a literary character. It involves closely examining such aspects as their personality, thoughts, behavior, and development. You should further explain how a character contributes to the overall meaning of the work.

  19. How to Write a Character Analysis That Works

    A character analysis can take two forms: A character analysis as part of a literary analysis paper. An entire essay that focuses on the analysis of a single character. Analyzing a character as part of a literature analysis means, of course, that you won't be able to include as many details about the character. Writing an analysis as an entire ...

  20. How to Write a Character Analysis Essay With Examples and Tips

    Step 2: Setting Up the Stage. The second step in writing a character analysis essay is setting the stage for the actual writing of a text. Here, students engage in several activities, including finding credible sources, making notes, creating an essay outline, and creating an annotated bibliography.

  21. 2 Character Analysis Essay Examples With Character

    Character analysis essay example #1: Character Analysis of Anders in Bullet in the Brain, a Book by Tobias Wolff. The first essay is a brief analysis. It focuses on how readers see the character of Anders in the short story "Bullet in the Brain" develops. *Click images below to enlarge. In the above character analysis essay example, I noted ...

  22. Character Analysis Essay: Key Secrets of a Successful Paper

    The conclusion of the character analysis essay summarises the analysis's main points and reinforces the character's significance within the narrative. It restates the thesis statement in different words, provides a brief recap of the main arguments presented in the essay, and offers final insights or reflections on the character's ...

  23. Shifting Identities and Moral Ambiguity: A Character Analysis of 'The

    This essay about F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" explores the complexities of identity and morality against the backdrop of the 1920s Jazz Age. It analyzes key characters like Jay Gatsby, who embodies the American Dream's promise and pitfalls, and Daisy Buchanan, whose superficial nature reflects her era's values.

  24. Hamlet Character Analysis: [Essay Example], 612 words

    Hamlet is a character driven by conflicting motivations, which adds depth and complexity to his portrayal. From the very beginning of the play, we see Hamlet's ambivalence towards his role as the avenger of his father's murder. While he is initially driven by a sense of duty to his father, he also expresses doubt and uncertainty about his ...