Talk:Stock character

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-- 02:13, 26 November 2005 (UTC)-- 02:13, 26 November 2005 (UTC)I don't think Hero and Villain are stock characters -- they're standard roles in a story, but that's a different phenomenon. Rather than roles in the story, the list of stock characters should list types of characters that saves authors descriptive work. Thus, a 'rake' is a stock character, but a hero is not. Hamlet is a stock character inasmuch as he is a revenger, but the fact that he's a hero just means that he's the protagonist/center-of-the-text. I've gone ahead and removed these entries for now, but the cut text is below if anyone wants to advocate for keeping them. -- Tom

Begin cut text:

End cut text.

  • I want to! (advocate for keeping them, I mean). I thorougly take your point and you're right in terms of role. However, I think there are stock characters here as well. If I understand you, you mean hero (role) who may be any of a variety of types (usually protagonist, sometimes not), in a variety of genres. I think there is also hero (stereotype) or (plot device) [and villain, similarly] who are stock characters. Like so many terms in the performing arts, these words are fluid (compare, e.g. ingenue (actress) and ingenue (role) and ingenue (stock character). The difference should be pointed out. Quill 05:58, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Well, I'm a bit skeptical. Maybe if the entry here makes the distinction clear on what a hero stock character is and how it differs from the role. -- Logotu 17:57, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

There are many types of heroes. It may be a heroic scientist/ mage, a rake, a spy, a champion, revenger, or someone who is being played as a pawn to fights for their own freedom. Similar with villians. Being a hero CAN influence what the character does; what they do, what limits on their actions, how they do things and their motives.

In this a deem that Stock characters can't just list hero and villian. However, I ALSO deem that a being a hero or villian DOES influence the stock character. This matter needs looking into. It may end up having to look at the lists of stock character types and deciding about them in that light, and if we have to list their very basic parts, or to make additions stating what they would do in either alignment. Corrupt one 01:04, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Is the gunslinger universally recognized enough to be stock character yet?

A gunslinger to me is just a modern variation of the old duelists with their swords. Corrupt one 01:04, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Page formatting[edit]

I think the current list format is tedious to the eye. It's very difficult to discern between to subsequent entries, as the entry name is in the same font as the whole wall of text. I'd rather see the entry names, like The California Girl or The Twins, as nth level headings, not as plain text. Example:

This is the current formatting


This is what I'd like it to be


The Angst-ridden Youth[edit]

A young male character, usually handsome and virile, but conflicted, sullen, and at odds with the establishment. Epitomized by James Dean of Rebel Without a Cause and Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye. Anakin Skywalker is such a character before transforming to Dark Lord as Darth Vader. Another example is Squall Leonhart, from the video game Final Fantasy VIII.

The Avenger[edit]

A hot-blooded young man who has had a loved one (usually a fiancée or wife) cruelly murdered and/or raped and seeks his revenge outside the law. Batman, Laertes in Hamlet and Hamlet himself, as well as Amsterdam from the film Gangs of New York, are examples of Avengers. Eric from the film The Crow is another example. Marvel's Elektra is a female version of this character. Can often be the son of a Rake (see below).

I don't mind lists in general, but this page has way too many entries to be a comfortable read. -- 07:45, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Rake entry[edit]

"Often portrayed as a heavy drinker or gambler. Also known as a rake-hell."

I recall hearing the term "rake heel." Does anyone else remember this? If it is the correct term, the article should be changed.

I.P. spread all over the place[edit]

"In the United States, courts have determined that copyright protection can not be extended to the characteristics of stock characters in a story, whether it be a book, play, or film. Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corporation, 45 F.2d 119 (2d Cir. 1930)."

That's an odd thing to have at the top, methinks. CAD6DEE2E8DAD95A 16:09, 2005 May 26 (UTC)

More Characters[edit]

Check the article List of stereotypical characters in the world of drama for more stock characters. Peter S. 12:37, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The problem is that the two ideas have become confused. Classic stock characters (the sidekick) are NOT merely modern stereotypes (Afro-American saying 'yo!' alot) but the latter have crept into this article. Quill 23:07, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Question: What is the difference between "The Warning" and "a Cassandra?" Isn't Cassandra the ur-Warning, or did I misunderstand something?

Cassandra gained the ability to see the future, but no one would ever believe her. A Warning IS believed by some people, occasionally; Cassandra's are not. In some cases a Cassandra's warning may lead to people disregarding a danger by thinking it is impossible, CAUSING the disaster the Cassandra warns them about! Corrupt one 01:05, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Fearless Leader[edit]

Is there any reason the Fearless leader isn't on here? If there's none of these categories he [it] fits in, it should be added.

On a related note, shouldn't there also be a listing for the Military Man, the stern authoritarian who ignores casualties or human compassion for the cause of victory, like Buck Turdigson in Dr. Strangelove (and perhaps, to a greater extent, Scott's depiction of Patton) or the Pogue Colonel in Full Metal Jacket? --YoungFreud 00:34, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

A Fearless leader leads its forces without fear of lose. For them it is Victory or Death. If they die, then they can't worry. However, you must ask yourself what kind of leader leads an army without caring if it is slaughtered? The only types I can think of are those who are desperate, and thinking they would be killed off if they lost, or a psychopath!

For the Military Man, I have to say I think the discrition would be more for the Military Leader. The Military Man would be a soldier who follows order regardless of anything else. They are trained and serve their army loyaly, no matter WHAT! An extream example of the Military Man would be the nazi war criminals who killed innocent people, including children, simply because, in their own words "We were obaying orders."

For the Military Leader, I would have something like "A leader of an army. he is skilled with tatics and inspires his men to follow him. He studies the enemy and leads his forces to victory. He does not lead for conquest, enjoyment or money, but because he sees it as a job that is to be done. He provides the heart for the army." Corrupt one 01:07, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


Discussion moved to a single place: Talk:List of stereotypical characters in the world of drama. mikka (t) 21:41, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Whiz kid/nerd[edit]

"# The California Girl, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl who only ate health food and loved the environment more than anything else.

  1. The nerd who was a total genius, wore geeky clothes, and was the teacher's pet.
  2. The Clumsy Hero. a good meaning person, but usually accidently destroys friend and foe alike. ie. Coop of Megas XLR"

I don't think "The nerd who was a total genius ... pet" really belongs as a separate category; after all, under Whiz kid, it says "Male whiz kids are often referred to as "geeks" or "nerds" by other characters, while their female counterparts are typically called "know-it-alls." Ergo, I don't think that that would belong as a separate category. The other two I don't really know about.

Shouldn't Mad Scientist and Evil Genius be merged? Evil Genius could be given as a variant villainous version of the Mad Scientist.

-- 01:57, 3 October 2005 (UTC) ; I forgot to add my signature earlier.

NO! A Mad Scientist can be good, or not even a genius. An Evil Genius can be cold calculating and logical. They can plan everything and let nothing stand in their way. Some do NOTHING without being sure to gain from it. A Mad Scientist is sure of results almost never. Corrupt one 02:23, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Here is a bit more about why they are different.

A Mad Scientists is separate from Evil Genius, even as a sub category. An Evil Genius does not have to be a scientist. An Evil Genius may be an expert at manipulating people and gaining power that way. There are some cases where an evil genius is a business expert and using his connections to take over the business and political worlds.

Then there is the Evil genius type in fantasy fiction. An evil overlord who gains that power by trickery and deception, dealing with demons, evil magics, and outplanning his military opponates would not qualify as a Mad Scientist, as there is no science there at all. Corrupt one 01:08, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


Seeing "The California Girl" shows up reminds me -- I'd really like to cut back on this list. Having a generic list of "Stock characters" is not really useful, as it can grow at an incredible rate. The idea of the list at first had been to provide a few examples of what a stock character could be, not to provide an exhaustive list. There are currently several other more exhaustive lists of characters in specific genres -- I think it makes sense to move items to those lists or create new lists (e.g. "Stock characters in Cinema") but to leave this page as a discussion of the concept of stock characters in general with a *brief* (3-4 members) list left only as an example. Tom

If this is judged desirable, the fairest solution would appear to be to spin off the list of stock characters into a new article, list of stock characters. Leaving just a few of them presents the problem of which ones are chosen to be representative, and may represent the worst possible outcome. The feeling of a substantial minority of users is hostile to articles that are lists of anything, and prefers to merge any lists within articles about the concept illustrated by the list — the status quo here. I am indifferent one way or another, and will cheerfully adapt to whatever consensus preferred. I do think the text should go into a bit more detail about how stock characters are used in general, and relate them to genre conventions. Smerdis of Tlön 14:13, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
My experience of pop-culture articles like this, where everyone's trying to cram in their favourite example, is that a core article with a spun-off list article is the best way to preserve everyone's sanity, and to limit an information overload in one article. Just my 2c. RMoloney 10:21, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree. My immediate reaction on seeing "California Girl" was to respond "Hey, there's a bit of difference between California Girl and Ms. Natural..." and you can see where that would go. Also, I'm interested in the slight difference between stock characters in Euro vs. Asian portrayals, say, in classical wuxia.--Bluejay Young 20:47, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Pairings: Overheard in a chat[edit]

"The Odd Couple (strong silent hero with free-spirited buddy; snarky individualist hero with buddy who plays by the rules). Or the Mentor and the Student. The Brothers In Arms. The Adversaries. The Sworn Enemies. The Loner, the Geek, the Mild Mannered Reporter." Yeah! Pairings. --Bluejay Young 01:00, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

There are those you listed, and many more, such as the Mutt and Jeff pairing (People who work together, but are totally different in appearance and behaviour. One may be a well dressed guy in tailored cloathing, well groomed hair, slight build, and a posh accent, while the other is broad, bulky, wearing ill fitting cloathing, disheveled appearance, unpolished behavior and common, blunt speech.)

Some pairings are common enough to have their parts accepted as Stock Characters.

"The Loner, the Geek, the Mild Mannered Reporter" These are NOT pairings, as they are singulars. Corrupt one


Is Black Tapestries webcomics (and their seemingly ubiquitous character Isaac) really notable here? Seems like an attempt at viral marketing to me. Did cause quite a shock though.--Uberisaac 17:58, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Good call! Black Tapestries is apparently not notable enough for anyone to have written a page on it yet, nor for it to have garnered any mention on webcomics or on list of webcomics. Isaac does seem to fit a surprising number of descriptions on this page. In fact, searching the page thoroughly, I've found six stock characters, all of which Isaac somehow represents, and I'm just not buying it. I hereby call shenanigans on Explain how one character can be six stock characters, or I (humbly) suggest we start deleting your additions.
Feeeshboy 03:12, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Do NOT even START to consider deleting a persons additions just because they list something you have NOT read. You can only delete them AFTER you have read the comic and decided based on reading it.

I can think of how ONE person can qualify as ELEVEN different types on the list under Theophrastus in the main article. The type of person I have in mind is actually common in high society.

A shameless flatter who is very talkative, and glad to help find the faults in a rival, even if he has to fabricate some. He is insencere and without moral feeling. He has petty ambition, but he suspects everyone is like him, and out to get him. To promote himself he is arrogant and a show-off.

1)The Insincere Man (Eironeia), 2)The Flatterer (Kolakeia), 3)The Man without Moral Feeling (Aponoia), 4)The Talkative Man (Lalia), 5)The Fabricator (Logopoiia), 6)The Faultfinder (Mempsimoiria), 7)The Suspicious Man (Apistia,) 8)The Man of Petty Ambition (Mikrophilotimia), 9)The Slanderer (Kakologia), 10)The Show-Off (Alazoneia), 11)The Arrogant Man (Huperephania).

Of course, that is if they are a static character. They may change overtime, becoming other types of Stock Characters

Split Page up?[edit]

This page is getting quite long, and I feel that it does not do justice to the relationship between stock characters and genre. I suggest splitting off new pages, such as Stock Characters in Science Fiction, Stock Characters in Westerns, etc. That way, we could trim down the interminably growing list of examples of stock characters at the bottom of this page (as there really is no end to the examples that could be cited). Any thoughts? Feeeshboy 04:10, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Split Up This article is to long and hard to follow, but it is valid information. Split it up. 21:55, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the article is definitely too long. The history section on that article is also awkward to read. I suggest trimming down the history a little bit and splitting up the list of stock characters under "drama," "comedy,", and "romance" categories with only one or two examples for each listed character. Anyone agree? I'd be glad to be the one to do it. Breed Zona 01:06, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
The history is more appropriate than the list. Perhaps we should split off a "List of stock characters." Or perhaps we should give them their own articles and then refer the reader to the Category of stock characters.Goldfritha 01:34, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the history is far more pertinent than the rest of this page. Should we go for one list, or break it up in some way? I'd still ideally like to break it up by genre to both better show the connection between genres and stock characters and avoid just having another overlong page. My concern is that this is going to be entirely original research. Either way, we should do something soon, because this is getting ridiculous when someone is replacing characters from major motion pictures with characters from (various incarnations of) Final Fantasy. Wikipedia is not a soapbox to vote for your favorite book/movie/webcomic/video game, or an experiment in democracy/anarchy. I don't want to say that my examples are better than anyone else's, but this page needs a new format fast before it gets buried in more and more obscure and unnecessary examples. For now, I don't think there's any reason that a type of stock character should require more than three or four examples. Feeeshboy 03:23, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I've just done some revision on the Heroes section of the stock characters' list. Even with just that, I was taken aback by the amount of references and "filler" in there. I deleted all the references to "Watership Down," keeping only the examples that would be recognized the most, although I didn't delete any listed stock characters. The history part is informative for the most part, and it needs just a little cleaning up.

I agree with Feeeshboy that the history section should be kept on the main article and that the list of stock characters should be split up in genres before this article gets too unwieldy. Anybody care to revise the other character sections? (looks around hopefully) I'll probably split up the page tomorrow, and see how that helps. Breed Zona 04:35, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I've just done a MAJOR splitting up of the list into various lists, and also reduced each character's references to only two or three at a time; the links are near the bottom of the page. I know that I have not added the typical Category links to the bottom of these pages. Could somebody please do this? Breed Zona 17:50, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Good job with the split. 03:20, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Theophrastus characters[edit]

Which ones are the "moral types" and which are the "social types"? 03:23, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I do not know. A better resource for this would be a specific website about these characters. If you want, feel free to link to in-depth, informative websites that provide more information than this article does. Thanks for your above compliment, by the way. :) Breed Zona 03:11, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Concerns about quality of article[edit]

So I've come back to this article for a little cleaning-up. After doing a lengthy reading and correcting tenses and awkward phrases, I began to wonder if the historical information was a little too detailed. That's probably a good thing in an encyclopedia, but I think people who go to this article for just a general idea of what a stock character is, would be lost in the incredibly detailed facts and types. Since I know that the person who added this historical info clearly put a lot of time into it, I suggest that we split up this article (again) into two: one about the general idea and concept of the stock character, and the other containing the details for history/character buffs. Anyone else have an opinion on this? If no one replies within a month to this posting, I'll go ahead with the split. There's also a lack of references to certain speculative or hypothetical information. Anyone willing to do this job, since I'm not in the mood to do something like this right now? --Breed Zona 01:52, 19 November 2006 (UTC)


I have noticed that there are many areas not touched, like thieves, fighters, mages, priests, Dragons, unicorns and many others in D&D style fantasy. Then there are many other types of characters, such as the harem comedy guy, who is kind hearted and nervous around women, but surrounded by all these women who are interested in him. Then there are the women in the harem comedy as well. There are many others that need to be looked at, which do not fit any of the lists I can see at the moment. Corrupt one 03:00, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

The first bundle doesn't represent characters in their own right, just constructs for fantasy games. The rest just sound like offshoots of other stock characters. [[User::Teh_Chris]] 2:00, 3 august 2007 (UTC)

First off, the constructs have themselves become standard. I would like to know how they are different from stock characters otherwise.

Secondly, the stock characters act certain ways, which means there are only a limited number of response types, make other, less noticable, stock characters as offshoots, BUT they are STILL stock characters. As stock characters, they should be looked at, I think. Can anyone see a propblem with that? Corrupt one (talk) 23:55, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Those constructs have more to do with game mechanics than with personalities. Sure they're standardized, but they're not standardized as stock characters. They would be more at home in an article on stock RPG classes or tropes of the fantasy genre. There are actually several different stock characters each that you commonly see as thieves, fighters, mages, and priests. Dragons and unicorns aren't even characters. They're creatures. Even in games where they're races of people, that's the same as putting "human" as a stock character.
I don't see the characters from the harem comedy mentioned, though I may have overlooked them. This article seems to be organized mainly by when the characters have been formally recognized, and the lists seem to be based loosely on source as well. (Probably because if we just put what we can think of ourselves, it's original research.) If we can find some authoritative list which includes those characters and cite it, then they belong in the article. Until then, they just belong on the talk page. -- (talk) 14:28, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Parody of Stock Characters?[edit]

Can we have a segment about how stock charcters are being parodied, like the Mad Scientist and all the rest? Corrupt one (talk) 00:07, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Greek Gods[edit]

For example, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Prometheus represented the fool character as "jesters to the gods."

I'm not intimately familiar with the work of Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides but I'm pretty good with my Greek mythology and this seems rather absurd to me. None of these figures says "jester" to me, and as far as I know that role is played usually by gods like Dionysus or Pan. Am I wrong in this context? If not I'll remove this line in a day or so. Sc00baSteve (talk) 23:17, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Merge discussion[edit]

I suggest that the "In literature" section of Archetype be merged here, but a summary be written to go there, referring to Stock character as the main article.

-- TimNelson (talk) 05:30, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

It is tricky because, even though they can refer to the same things, they imply different ideas about those things. On top of that "archetype" is usually a positive term, but to call something a stock character is more neutral or even pejorative.
I agree with you that the entry under the "In literature" section of Archetype might better describe Stock Characters (it has other problems too ... no sources and some digressions (The quote "The young, flawed, and brooding antihero [Spider-Man] became the most widely imitated archetype in the superhero genre since the appearance of Superman." might be better put into a a page on the anti-hero or Spider-Man as it tells us more about those things than it gives us an understanding of stock characters or archetypes in general.)
But is there a good way to move this and still make the differences between the two things clear?
Nb99 (talk) 14:13, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
To add my "two cents" I feel that it should be noted that the rake is occasionally associated/involved with the "hooker with a heart of gold" which occasionally leads to redemption of the rake. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:00, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Usourced essays[edit]

I've just removed a couple large blocks of text which have no sources, appear to be an original essay, which only tangentially relate to stock characters. Per the discussion above, this extensive history doesn't inform the concept of stock character, and provides excrutiating detail which would need to be supported by reliable sourcing. If anyone feels that this content was particularly valuable as relating to the concept of stock character, please discuss this on the talk page, and bring some reliable sources so that the overall context and weight can be reviewed. aprock (talk) 18:39, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Stock characters are not just recurring in literature[edit]

Currently the lead says:

    A stock character is a stereotypical person whom audiences readily recognize from frequent recurrences in a particular literary tradition.

But aren't stock characters recurring in all sorts of media such as films and video games as well in contemporary society? The sentence above should hence be changed appropriatly. Could someone do that?

--Fixuture (talk) 11:33, 15 May 2016 (UTC)