A character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, play, television series, film, or video game). The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" versus "real" character may be made. Derived from the ancient Greek word χαρακτήρ, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person." In literature, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder themes. Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practiced by actors or writers, has been called characterisation.
A character who stands as a representative of a particular class or group of people is known as a type. Types include both stock characters and those that are more fully individualised. The characters in Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (1891) and August Strindberg's Miss Julie (1888), for example, are representative of specific positions in the social relations of class and gender, such that the conflicts between the characters reveal ideological conflicts.
Featured film character
Captain Jack Sparrow is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series created by screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio; portrayed by Johnny Depp. He is first introduced in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). He later appears in the sequels Dead Man's Chest (2006), At World's End (2007), and On Stranger Tides (2011). Jack Sparrow was originally conceived as a supporting character. He was brought to life by Depp, who based his characterization on The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and cartoon character Pepé Le Pew. The series Pirates of the Caribbean was inspired by a Disney theme park ride, and when the ride was revamped in 2006, the character of Jack Sparrow was added to it. He also headlines The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Sparrow is also the subject of a children's book series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow, which chronicles his teenage years, and he has also appeared in several video games.
In the context of the films, Sparrow is one of the Brethren Court, the Pirate Lords of the Seven Seas. He can be treacherous and survives mostly by using wit and negotiation rather than weapons or force, preferring to flee most dangerous situations and fight only when necessary. Sparrow is introduced seeking to regain his ship, the Black Pearl, from his mutinous first mate, Hector Barbossa, and later attempts to escape his blood debt to the legendary Davy Jones while battling the East India Trading Company. (read more...)
Featured television character
Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional main character in the animated television series The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. He is voiced by actress Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Bart was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name was an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.
At ten years old, Bart is the eldest child and only son of Homer and Marge, and the brother of Lisa and Maggie. Bart's most prominent character traits are his mischievousness, rebelliousness and disrespect for authority. He has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons, including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials, and comic books; he has also inspired an entire line of merchandise.
In casting, Nancy Cartwright originally planned to audition for the role of Lisa, while Yeardley Smith tried out for Bart. Smith's voice was too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. Cartwright found that Lisa was not interesting at the time, so instead auditioned for Bart, which she thought was a better role. Hallmarks of the character include his chalkboard gags in the opening sequence; his prank calls to Moe the bartender; and his catchphrases "Eat my shorts", "¡Ay, caramba!", and "Don't have a cow, man!"
During the first two seasons of The Simpsons (1989–1991), Bart was the show's breakout character and "Bartmania" ensued. Bart Simpson T-shirts sporting various slogans and catchphrases became popular, selling at a rate of a million per day at their peak. The song "Do the Bartman" became a number one charting single and the seventh best-selling song of 1991 in the United Kingdom. Bart's rebellious attitude and pride at underachieving caused many parents and educators to cast him as a bad role model for children. A T-shirt reading "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" was banned in several public schools. Around the third season, the series started to focus more on the family as a group, although Bart remains one of the most prominent characters on the series. Time named Bart one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century, and he was named "entertainer of the year" in 1990 by Entertainment Weekly. Nancy Cartwright has won several awards for voicing Bart, including a Primetime Emmy Award in 1992 and an Annie Award in 1995. In 2000, Bart, along with the rest of his family, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (read more...)
Featured literature character
In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, Faramir is a fictional character appearing in The Lord of the Rings. He is introduced as the younger brother of Boromir of the Fellowship of the Ring and second son of Denethor II, the Steward of the realm of Gondor. The relationships between the three men are revealed over the course of the book and are elaborated in the appendices.
Faramir first enters the narrative in person in The Two Towers, where, upon meeting Frodo Baggins, he is presented with a temptation to take possession of the Ruling Ring. In The Return of the King, he led the forces of Gondor during the War of the Ring, coming near to death, and eventually succeeded his father as the Steward and won the love of Éowyn of Rohan.
In The History of The Lord of the Rings series Christopher Tolkien described that his father had not foreseen the emergence of Faramir during the writing of the book, only inventing him at the actual point of his appearance in The Two Towers. J. R. R. Tolkien noted that the introduction of Faramir had led to postponement of the book's dénouement and to further development of the background for Gondor and Rohan. Long after completing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien would write that of all characters Faramir resembles the author most, and that he had deliberately bestowed upon the character several traits of his own. (read more...)
Featured video game character
Captain Price is a major fictional character in the Call of Duty series and one of the two main protagonists, appearing as an experienced soldier and a strong leader in the series. He is somewhat compassionate, but can be rather ruthless at times. His traits and abilities has remained unchanged throughout the series even with his cockney accent. In all games, he appears with a large, iconic moustache.
Captain Price first appeared as an English soldier featured in Call of Duty and Call of Duty 2 as a member of the British Army and British SAS during World War II. He appeared again as John Price in the Modern Warfare series, where he is playable in two flashback missions in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and in the final mission of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. He is one of the three characters that appeared in all three Modern Warfare games. The others were John "Soap" MacTavish and Nikolai. In every game developed by Infinity Ward there has been a Captain Price.
It may be speculated whether it is the same Captain Price who appears in both the WW2-era games and the Modern Warfare games, set roughly 70 years apart. Rumors are made by the internet and fans alike that the Price from the Modern Warfare series is the grandson of the original Price. Price was well received by critics and fans alike, being ranked #17 in Top 50 Video Game Characters of Guinness World Records 2011 Gamers' Edition.(read more...)
Featured comics character
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), and since then has appeared in many of DC Comics’ publications. Originally referred to as "the Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "the Batman", he is additionally known as "The Caped Crusader", "The Dark Knight", "The Darknight Detective", and "The World's Greatest Detective".
In the original version of the story and the vast majority of retellings, Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American millionaire (later billionaire) playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on crime, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional American Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains such as the Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.
Batman became a very popular character soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades wore on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in the 1986 miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, by writer-artist Frank Miller, while the successes of Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman and Christopher Nolan's 2005 reboot Batman Begins also helped to reignite popular interest in the character. A cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world such as toys and video games. In May of 2011, Batman placed 2nd on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. (read more...)
The Naruto anime and manga series features an extensive cast of characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. The series takes place in a fictional universe where different countries vie for power by using ninja who can use supernatural abilities in combat. The Naruto storyline is divided into two parts, simply named Part I and Part II, with the latter taking place two-and-a-half years after the conclusion of Part I. The series' storyline follows the adventures of a group of young ninja from the village of Konohagakure.
The titular character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki, an energetic ninja who wishes to become Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. During the early part of the series, he is assigned to Team 7, during which he meets Sasuke Uchiha, a taciturn and highly skilled "genius" of the Uchiha clan; Sakura Haruno, who is infatuated with Sasuke yet has Naruto's affection; and Kakashi Hatake, the quiet and mysterious leader of the team. Over the course of the series, Naruto interacts with and befriends several of his fellow ninja in Konohagakure as well as other villages. He also encounters the series' antagonists, including Orochimaru, a former ninja of Konohagakure scheming to destroy his former home, and the elite ninja of the criminal organization Akatsuki.
While developing the series, Kishimoto created the three primary characters as a basis for the designs of the other three-person teams. He also utilized characters in other shōnen manga as references in his design of the characters, a decision that was criticized by several anime and manga publications. The characters that Kishimoto developed were however praised for incorporating many of the better aspects of previous shōnen characters, although many publications lamented the perceived lack of growth beyond such stereotypes. The visual presentation of the characters was commented on by reviewers, with praise and criticism given to Kishimoto's work in the manga and anime adaptation. (read more...)