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
Jabba the Hutt is a fictional character in George Lucas's space opera film saga Star Wars. Designed to be a large, slug-like alien, his appearance has been described by film critic Roger Ebert as a crossing between a toad and the Cheshire Cat.
Jabba is mentioned in the first film, A New Hope (1977), where he was referred to as a ruthless gangster who had a bounty on Han Solo, who owed him money for dumping an illegal cargo. When the film was re-released in 1997, Jabba was included in a scene that had been cut out of the original, where he had been developed by computer-generated imagery. Jabba subsequently appeared in the third film, Return of the Jedi (1983), where he was depicted using a complex animatronic puppet. He served as a minor antagonist throughout the initial series, where he was shown abusing his many cohorts, putting a bounty on Solo's head, attempting to kill Luke Skywalker, and enslaving Princess Leia Organa, who eventually kills him. In the prequel film, The Phantom Menace, Jabba features in a cameo at the start of the Boonta Eve Classic pod race.
Jabba's role in Star Wars is primarily antagonistic. He is a 600-year-old Hutt crime lord and gangster who employs a retinue of criminals, bounty hunters, smugglers, assassins, and bodyguards to operate his criminal empire. In his palace on the desert planet Tatooine he keeps a host of entertainers at his disposal: slaves, droids, and alien creatures. Jabba has a grim sense of humour, an insatiable appetite and affinities for gambling, slave girls and torture.
The character was incorporated into the Star Wars merchandising campaign that corresponded with the theatrical release of Return of the Jedi. Besides the films, Jabba the Hutt is featured in Star Wars literature and is sometimes referenced by his full name, Jabba Desilijic Tiure. Jabba the Hutt's image has since played an influential role in popular culture, particularly in the United States. The name is used as a satirical literary device and a political caricature to underscore negative qualities such as suffering from the disease morbid obesity and corruption. (read more...)
Featured television character
First Sergeant Martin Christopher Keamy is a recurring fictional character played by Kevin Durand in the fourth season and sixth season of the American ABC television series Lost. Keamy is introduced in the fifth episode of the fourth season as a crew member aboard the freighter called the Kahana that is offshore the island where most of Lost takes place. In the second half of the season, Keamy served as a primary antagonist. He is the leader of a mercenary team hired by billionaire Charles Widmore (played by Alan Dale) that is sent to the island on a mission to capture Widmore's enemy Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) from his home, then torch the island.
Unlike Lost's ensemble of characters who, according to the writers, each have good and bad intentions, the writers have said that Keamy is evil and knows it. Durand was contacted for the role after one of Lost's show runners saw him in the 2007 film 3:10 to Yuma. Like other Lost actors, Durand was not informed of his character's arc when he won the role. Throughout Durand's nine-episode stint as a guest star in the fourth season, little was revealed regarding Keamy's life prior to his arrival on the island and Durand cited this as a reason why the audience "loved to hate" his villainous character. Critics praised the writers for breaking Lost tradition and creating a seemingly heartless character, while Durand's performance and appearance were also reviewed positively. Keamy returned in the final season for a tenth appearance. (read more...)
Featured literature character
Nancy Drew is a fictional young amateur detective in various mystery series for all ages. She was created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book packaging firm. The character first appeared in 1930. The books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene.
Over the decades the character has evolved in response to changes in American culture and tastes. The books were extensively revised, beginning in 1959, largely to eliminate racist stereotypes, with arguable success. Many scholars agree that in the revision process, the heroine's original, outspoken character was toned down and made more docile, conventional, and demure. In the 1980s a new series was created, the Nancy Drew Files, which featured an older and more professional Nancy as well as romantic plots. In 2004 the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, begun in 1930, was ended and a new series, Girl Detective, was launched, with an updated version of the character who drives a hybrid electric vehicle and uses a cell phone. Illustrations of the character have also evolved over time, from portrayals of a fearless, active young woman to a fearful or passive one.
Through all these changes, the character has proved continuously popular worldwide: at least 80 million copies of the books have been sold, and the books have been translated into over 45 languages. Nancy Drew has featured in five films, two television shows, and a number of popular computer games; she also appears in a variety of merchandise sold over the world.
A cultural icon, Nancy Drew has been cited as a formative influence by a number of prominent women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush. Feminist literary critics have analyzed the character's enduring appeal, arguing variously that Nancy Drew is a mythic hero, an expression of wish fulfillment, or an embodiment of contradictory ideas about femininity. (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 Tokyo Mew Mew manga and anime series features a cast of characters designed by Mia Ikumi. The series takes place in a fictional version of Tokyo, Japan, where five adolescent girls, called Mew Mews, are infused with the DNA of endangered species to combat aliens attempting to take over the Earth. The manga series is followed by a short sequel series, Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode, which introduces a new Mew Mew and a new threat.
The Mew Mews are led by the main character, Ichigo Momomiya, whose first task is to gather the other four Mew Mews: Mint Aizawa, Lettuce Midorikawa, Pudding Fong, and Zakuro Fujiwara. As the series progresses, Ichigo goes from having a crush on Masaya Aoyama to becoming his girlfriend while trying to hide her secret double life from him. The series antagonists include three aliens, Kish, Pie, and Tart, and their leader, Deep Blue. Originally from Earth, the aliens were forced to leave long ago due to deadly environmental changes. They have returned to kill the humans, who they feel are destroying their planet, and reclaim the planet. In a la Mode, middle school student Berry Shirayuki is introduced as the sixth Mew Mew and, in the absence of Ichigo, the temporary leader of the Mew Mews. A la Mode also introduces new set of antagonists, the Saint Rose Crusaders, a group of human teenagers with various psychic abilities with a desire to create their own utopia. Led by Duke, they make several attempts to kill Berry, eventually turning the local populace against the Mew Mews.
Ikumi's initial vision for Tokyo Mew Mew was a story called Tokyo Black Cat Girl that featured a cat-girl battling alien invaders. After the story was transitioned to a more upbeat story of five female superheroes, the character designs were redone to have a lighter, more colorful feel. The main series characters were praised for being a perfect fit for the overall story, as well as for their cute appearances. The characters introduced in a la Mode were also praised for their visual appearances, but criticized as being repeats of the original series. The character Duke was also criticized for having a design reminiscent of the white supremacy group, the Ku Klux Klan. (read more...)