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
Arbiter is a fictional ceremonial, religious, and political rank bestowed upon alien Covenant Elites in the Halo science fiction universe. In the 2004 video game Halo 2, the rank is given to a disgraced commander as a way to atone for his failures. Although the Arbiter is intended to die serving the Covenant leadership, the High Prophets, he survives his missions and the Prophets' subsequent betrayal of his kind. When he learns that the Prophets' plans would doom all sentient life in the galaxy to extinction, the Arbiter allies with the Covenant's enemies—humanity—and stops the ringworld Halo from being activated. The Arbiter is a playable character in Halo 2 and its 2007 sequel Halo 3; a different Arbiter appears in the 2009 real-time strategy game Halo Wars, which takes place 20 years before the events of the main trilogy.
The appearance of the Arbiter in Halo 2 and the change in perspective from the main human protagonist Master Chief to a former enemy was a plot twist Halo developer Bungie kept highly secret. The character's name was changed from "Dervish" after concerns that the name reinforced a perceived United States versus Islam allegory in the game's plot. Award-winning actor Keith David lends his voice to the character in Halo 2 and 3, while David Sobolov voices the Arbiter of Halo Wars.
The Arbiter has appeared in three series of action figures and other collectibles and marketing in addition to appearances in the games. Bungie intended the sudden point of view switch to a member of the Covenant as a plot twist that no one would have seen coming, but the character in particular and the humanization of the Covenant in general was not evenly received by critics and fans. Computer and Video Games derided the Arbiter's missions as "crap bits" in Halo 2. Conversely, IGN lamented the loss of the Arbiter's story in Halo 3 and missed the added dimension the character provided to the story. (read more...)
Featured comics character
Anarky is a fictional character appearing in books published by DC Comics. Co-created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle, he first appeared in Detective Comics #608 (November 1989), as an adversary of Batman. Introduced as Lonnie Machin, a child prodigy with knowledge of radical philosophy and driven to overthrow governments to improve social conditions, stories revolving around Anarky often focus on political and philosophical themes. The character, who is named after the philosophy of anarchism, primarily espouses anti-statism. Multiple social issues have been addressed whenever the character has appeared in print, including environmentalism, antimilitarism, economic exploitation, and political corruption. Inspired by multiple sources, early stories featuring the character often included homages to political and philosophical books, and referenced anarchist philosophers and theorists. The inspiration for the creation of the character and its early development was based in Grant's personal interest in anti-authoritarian philosophy and politics. However, when Grant himself transitioned to the philosophy of Neo-Tech, he shifted the focus of Anarky from a vehicle for socialist and populist philosophy, to rationalist, atheist, and free market-based thought.
Originally intended to only be used in the debut story in which he appeared, Grant decided to continue using Anarky as a sporadically recurring character throughout the early 90s, following positive reception by readers and Dennis O'Neil. The character experienced a brief surge in media exposure during the late '90s, beginning when Norm Breyfogle convinced Grant to produce a limited series based on the character. The 1997 spin-off series, Anarky, was received with positive reviews and sales, and later declared by Grant to be among his "career highlights". Batman: Anarky, a trade paperback collection of stories featuring the character, soon followed. This popular acclaim culminated, however, in a financially and critically unsuccessful ongoing solo series. The 1999 Anarky series, in which even Grant has expressed his distaste, was quickly canceled after eight issues, but not before sparking a minor controversy by suggesting Anarky was the biological son of the Joker.
Following the cancellation of the Anarky series, and Grant's departure from DC Comics, Anarky experienced a prolonged period of absence from DC publications, despite professional and fan interest in his return. This period of obscurity lasted approximately ten years, with three brief interruptions for minor cameo appearances in 2000, 2001, and 2005. In December 2008, Anarky reappeared in an issue of Robin authored by Fabian Nicieza, with the intention of ending this period of obscurity. The storyline drastically altered the character's presentation, prompting a series of responses by Nicieza to concerned readers. The character has since become a recurring character in issues of Red Robin, authored by Nicieza. (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...)