List of stock characters

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A stock character is a dramatic or literary character representing a type in a conventional manner and recurring in many works.[1] The following list labels some of these archetypes and stereotypes, providing distinctive examples.

Character Type Description Examples
A
Absent-minded professor An absent-minded scientific genius[2] Professor Calculus, Emmett Brown, Sherman Klump
Angry Black Woman An assertive, opinionated, loud, and "sassy" black woman with a sharp tongue, often depicted as nagging and emasculating a male character[3] Sapphire in Amos 'n' Andy,[4] Wilhelmina Slater in Ugly Betty,[5] Aunt Esther
Antihero A protagonist lacking conventional heroic qualities, such as morality, courage, or idealism[6] Deadpool, Han Solo, Eddie Valiant
Author surrogate A character sharing the traits of its author or creator[7] Jon Arbuckle, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski
B
Bad boy A roguish macho Tony Stark, Gregory House, Danny Zuko
Battle-axe An old, domineering, brash and brazen woman Agnes Skinner, Thelma Harper, Marie Barone
Black knight An evil fighter antagonist Black Knight, Nathan Garrett, Darth Vader
Boy next door An average and nice guy Marty McFly, Luke Skywalker, Peter Parker
Bug-eyed monster A staple evil alien[2] Formics, Alien
C
Cat lady A woman overly concerned with her cats Crazy Cat Lady, Arabella Figg,[8] Angela Martin
Con artist A person who tricks people out of money Del Boy, Artful Dodger, Danny Ocean
Contender A competitive underdog Rocky Balboa, Lightning McQueen, Daniel LaRusso
Criminal Often a thief. Has a strange gait, slouched posture and devious facial expression. Usually wears black and white stripes. Flynn Rider, Bernie Rhodenbarr, Cash Register Thief
Crone A cruel old woman, often occult or witch-like Baba Yaga, Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent
D
Damsel in distress A noble Lady in need of rescue, traditionally from dragons Princess Peach, Princess Zelda, Daphne Blake
Dandy A young man more interested in fashion and leisure than business and politics. Prominent in Victorian writings. Dorian Gray
Dark Lady A dark, malicious or doomed woman Lady Macbeth, Miss Trunchbull, Annie Wilkes
Dark Lord An evil, very powerful, often godlike or near-immortal sorcerer Palpatine, Lord Voldemort, Thanos
E
Elderly martial arts master A wise, powerful man teaching his powerful craft to a young student, often needs to be avenged Mr. Miyagi, Ra's al Ghul, Yoda
Everyman An ordinary individual Homer Simpson, Emmet Brickowski, Tim Canterbury
F
Fall guy A scapegoat Alex Parrish, Wilmer Cook
Farmer's daughter A desirable and naive young woman, also described as being an "open-air type" and "public-spirited"[9][10] Crushinator
Femme fatale A beautiful but mischievous and traitorous woman Ruth Wonderly, Poison Ivy, Salome
Final girl A "last girl standing" in a horror film Mina Harker, Laurie Strode, Sally Hardesty
G
Gentleman thief A sophisticated and well-mannered thief Kaito Kuroba, Sly Cooper, Neal Caffrey
Girl next door An average girl with a wholesome conduct Rachel Green, Carrie Bradshaw, Bridget Jones
Grande dame French for "great lady"; a flamboyant woman, prone to extravagant and eccentric fashion; usually a stereotype of an elderly high society socialite[11][12][13][14] Constance in Gosford Park, Princess Dragomiroff in Murder on the Orient Express; Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest
H
Hag A wizened old woman, often a malicious witch Baba Yaga, Wicked Queen
Harlequin A clown or professional fool Till Eulenspiegel, Krusty the Clown
Hooker with a heart of gold A prostitute with heart and intrinsic morality Nancy, Fantine, Inara Serra
Hopeless Romantic A loving, passionate character that often finds love at first sight, is obsessive over a romantic partner, usually views life differently, very optimistic

Humphrey Goodman, Walden Schmidt, Brian Griffin

Housewife A homely and busy mother of the protagonist family, takes care of the children and does the housework. Morticia Addams, Jane Jetson, Marge Simpson
Hotshot A reckless character known for taking risks Martin Riggs, John McClane, Agent J
I
Idiot savant A person with extraordinary but narrow intelligence and some form of social or developmental disability Forrest Gump, Raymond "Rain Man" Babbitt
Ingenue A young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome Ariel, Snow White, Dorothy Gale
J
Jock (athlete) A male athlete who is often muscular, but not very smart Flash Thompson, Nathan Scott, Luke Ward
K
Knight-errant A noble Knight on a Quest Lancelot, Aragorn, Bronn
L
Little Green Men Little humanoid extraterrestrials with green skin and antennae on their heads;[15] known familiarly in science fiction fandom as LGM The Great Gazoo
Loathly lady A woman who appears to be hideous, often cursed The Wife of Bath's Tale
Lovers Main characters who deeply and truly fall romantically in love, despite the blocking effect of other characters; often moonstruck, star-crossed lovers that are strongly fraternizing with the enemy Romeo & Juliet
M
Mad scientist An insane or highly eccentric scientist, often villainous or amoral[2][16] Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Henry Jekyll, Dr. Moreau
Magical Negro A black man with special insight or mystical powers coming to the aid of the white protagonist Uncle Remus
Mammy archetype A rotund, homely, and matronly black woman Aunt Jemima, Mammy Two Shoes, Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird
Manic Pixie Dream Girl Usually static characters who have eccentric personality quirks and are unabashedly girlish Zelda Spellman, Bo Peep
Mean Popular Girl A teenage girl who has high status at her school, but is often mean to less popular girls. Chloé Bourgeois in Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, Nina Harper in Braceface, Regina George in Mean Girls
Mary Sue An idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, often considered a stand-in for the author Wesley Crusher, Bella Swan, Rey (Star Wars)
Miles Gloriosus A boastful soldier (originally from the comic theatre of ancient Rome) Falstaff, Baron Munchausen, Buzz Lightyear
Mother's boy A man who is excessively attached to his mother Private Pike, Howard Wolowitz, Norman Bates
N
Nerd A socially-impaired, obsessive, or overly-intellectual person, often interested in doing well in school (academically and in terms of behavior) Will McKenzie, Steve Urkel, Hermione Granger
Nice guy A male character of wholesome morals, agreeable personality and usually modest means who may struggle with finding females willing to date him Dr. Watson, Alan Harper, Marty Piletti
Noble savage An idealized indigene or otherwise wild outsider with noble characteristics Chingachgook, Mowgli, Tarzan
O
Outlaw A romanticized, often charismatic or social bandit Robin Hood, Vash the Stampede, Josey Wales
P
Pantomime dame A pantomime portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag Widow Twankey, Mary Sunshine
Petrushka A Russian kind of jester
Pierrot French pantomime
Princesse lointaine A romantic love interest and beloved sweetheart and girlfriend for a Knight-errant Dulcinea, Guinevere
Psycho-biddy An embittered, usually psychotic, faded ex-celebrity Baby Jane Hudson, Norma Desmond, Joan Crawford as portrayed in Mommie Dearest
R
Redshirt An expendable character who dies soon after being introduced; this refers to characters from the original Star Trek television series, often from the security or engineering departments of the starship, who wore the red variation of the Starfleet uniform and whose purpose in the narrative was to serve as cannon fodder Stormtrooper
Rightful king A usurped, just ruler whose return or triumph restores peace Simba, King Arthur, Pastoria
S
Senex iratus A father figure and comic archetype who belongs to the alazon or impostor group in theater, manifesting himself through his rages and threats, his obsessions and his gullibility Pantalone, Arthur Spooner, Grampa Simpson
Shrew A woman given to violent, scolding, particularly nagging treatment Lois Griffin, Wilma Flintstone
Sinnekins Pairs of devilish characters who exert their perfidious influence on the main character Flotsam and Jetsam, Pain and Panic, Winged monkeys
Soubrette A character who is vain, girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish, and gossipy Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls, Poison Ivy
Southern belle A young woman of the American Old South's upper class Scarlett O'Hara, Blanche Dubois, Blanche Devereaux
Space Nazis Nazi-like antagonists in science fiction works Patterns of Force, Galactic Empire (Star Wars)
Spear carrier A minor character who appears in several scenes, but mostly in the background
Straight man A sidekick to a funny person who makes his partner look all the more ridiculous by being completely serious. Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott, David Mitchell
Superhero An unrealistically powerful hero dedicated to protecting the public[2] Thor, Shazam, Sonic the Hedgehog
Supersoldier A soldier who operates beyond human limits or abilities Captain America, Master Chief, Bloodshot
Supervillain Antithesis to the Superhero Lex Luthor, The Joker, Dr. Evil
Swashbuckler A joyful, noisy, and boastful Renaissance era swordsman or pirate D'Artagnan, Zorro, Jack Sparrow
T
Thug A man who is violent and commits a crime Bill Sikes, Francis Begbie, Biff Tannen
Tomboy A girl with boyish and/or manly behavior Merida, Mulan, Rainbow Dash
Tortured artist A character who is in constant torment due to frustrations with art and other people Brian Topp, Vincent van Gogh
Town drunk A male in a small town who is drunk more often than sober Barney Gumble, Otis Campbell, Matthew Scudder
Tragic hero A hero with a major flaw that leads to their eventual death and downfall Michael Corleone, Jay Gatsby, Randle McMurphy
Tragic mulatto A mulatto who is sad or suicidal because they fail to fit in with white or black people Judy Kovacs in the episode Are You Now or Have You Ever Been in the television series Angel, Eliza, Cassy, and Emmeline in Uncle Tom's Cabin, Peola Johnson in Imitation of Life
Tsundere A character who is initially cold (and sometimes even hostile) before gradually showing a warmer, friendlier side over time Grinch, Archie Bunker, Charlie B. Barkin
U
Übermensch[2] A (often only seemingly) perfect human being Superman, Hercules
V
Vice An allegorical evil part in medieval morality plays
Village idiot A person known locally for ignorance or stupidity; this character often turns out to be very brave and good, and sometimes underestimated (see Wise fool) Michelangelo, Bertie Wooster, Patrick Star
Villain[2] An evil character in a story Shere Khan, Keyser Söze, Doctor Eggman
W
Whisky priest A priest or ordained minister who shows clear signs of moral weakness, while at the same time teaching a higher standard Father Callahan, Elmer Gantry, Harry Powell
White hunter White big-game hunters in Africa Allan Quatermain, Kraven the Hunter
Wise fool A fool with an attribute of wisdom Puck, Goofy, Timon and Pumbaa
Wise old man An elderly character who provides wisdom to the protagonist Obi-Wan Kenobi, Albus Dumbledore, Roger Murtaugh
Y
Yokel An unsophisticated country person Trevor Philips, Cletus Spuckler, Dale Gribble
Youxia A Chinese type of the Knight-errant Fong Sai-yuk

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f John Clute, Peter Nicholls (1993), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Orbit, ISBN 1-85723-124-4
  3. ^ Kelley, Blair (25 September 2014). "Here's Some History Behind That 'Angry Black Woman' Riff the NY Times Tossed Around". The Root. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  4. ^ Naeemah Clark (November 10, 2013). "Find real African American women in a beauty salon, not on reality TV". Greensboro News & Record.
  5. ^ Kretsedemas, Philip (2010). "'But She's Not Black!'". Journal of African American Studies. 14 (2): 149–170. doi:10.1007/s12111-009-9116-3.
  6. ^ "American Heritage Dictionary Entry: antihero". Ahdictionary.com. 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  7. ^ Pandey, Ashish (2005). Academic Dictionary Of Fiction. Isha Books. p. 18. ISBN 8182052629.
  8. ^ Rowling, J.K. (26 June 1997). Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. United Kingdom: Bloomsbury. ISBN 0-7475-3269-9.
  9. ^ Wood, Robin (2006), Howard Hawks, Wayne State University Press, p. 30, ISBN 978-0-8143-3276-4
  10. ^ Marie-Luise Kohlke; Luisa Orza (22 October 2008). Negotiating sexual idioms: image, text, performance. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-2491-5. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  11. ^ "In search of old, grand-dame style New England hotels | United States Forum | Fodor's Travel Talk Forums". Fodors.com. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  12. ^ "Where to Stay in London - Best Hotels & Travel Guide (Condé Nast Traveller)". Cntraveller.com. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  13. ^ Bean, Kitty (2007-11-30). "Grande-dame hotels unveiling fresh faces". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  14. ^ "Toronto's Fairmont Royal York Hotel: The Grande Dame Walks Her Talk - Travel with a Purpose - Travel with a Purpose". Wanderlustandlipstick.com. 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  15. ^ Peter Graham (22 May 1998), The Planet of the Zogs, Times Educational Supplement
  16. ^ De Camp, L. Sprague (1953), Science-fiction Handbook: The Writing of Imaginative Fiction, p. 28