Caleb S.
Caleb S.

How to Conduct a Great Character Analysis - Tips and Examples

6 min read

Published on: Jul 19, 2022

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

Character Analysis

Are you tired of staring at a blank page, struggling to analyze your characters effectively? 

Well, you're not alone! Let's face it, character analysis can be a real pain in the neck, especially for students. 

But fear not, because we've got you covered. We've created a comprehensive guide to help you conduct character analysis like a pro! 

With our guide, you'll learn essential techniques and strategies to bring your characters to life and make them truly unforgettable. 

So, if you're ready to analyze, keep reading!

On This Page

Understanding Character Analysis

Character analysis is a literary technique used to understand a character's personality, behavior, and motivations. It involves closely examining the character's actions, thoughts, and relationships with other characters in the story. 

By doing so, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the character's role in the story and how they contribute to the plot's development. This helps you better analyze and interpret literature, leading to a more detailed and insightful understanding of the text. 

So, character analysis is a key component in becoming a successful student of literature.

Expert Tip

Want to get started on a literary analysis? Check out this comprehensive guide on doing a literary analysis effectively!

Studying Different Types of Characters

In literature, there are several different types of characters that serve different roles in a story. By understanding these types of characters, you can better analyze each character and their purpose in the literary narrative.

  • Protagonist: The protagonist is the main character of the story, who drives the plot forward and is typically the character with whom readers sympathize or identify.
  • Antagonist: The antagonist is the character who opposes or causes conflict for the protagonist. They can be a person, an organization, or an idea.
  • Dynamic: A dynamic character is one who undergoes significant change or growth throughout the story, often as a result of their experiences.
  • Static: A static character is one who remains unchanged throughout the story and does not undergo significant development or growth.
  • Stereotype: A stereotypical character is one who embodies common, often exaggerated, traits or characteristics associated with a particular group or identity.
  • Supporting: Supporting characters are those who serve a secondary role in the story, and often provide context or help move the plot forward.

By recognizing these different types of characters, you can develop a thorough analysis of any character.

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How To Do a Character Analysis?

Analyzing a character involves several steps that help you gain an understanding of their overall purpose in the story. 

Here are some steps to follow when conducting a character analysis:

Read the Text Thoroughly

To analyze a character, it's important to first have a solid understanding of the story they're a part of. Read the text multiple times, paying close attention to details like plot, setting, and character interactions. 

For example, in "To Kill a Mockingbird," a character analysis of Atticus Finch requires a thorough understanding of the novel's themes of racial prejudice and injustice.

Take Notes

As you read, jot down notes on the character's traits, actions, and relationships with other characters. Look for patterns in the character's behavior and interactions, and note any symbolism or metaphors used to describe the character.

For example, in "The Great Gatsby," a Jay Gatsby character analysis notes his flamboyant personality, his love for Daisy Buchanan, and the symbolism of the green light across the water.

Compose Character Analysis Questions 

After taking notes, it's important to ask questions to analyze your character from various angles. The more you know about them, the better you will be able to compose the analysis. These questions should be specific to the character and their role in the story.

Some examples of character analysis questions include:

  • What does this character want, and what motivates them to achieve it?
  • How do the character's actions and decisions impact the plot of the story?
  • What is the character's backstory, and how does it shape their current actions and beliefs?
  • How do the character's relationships with other characters influence their development?
  • How does the character respond to conflict or challenges?
  • What are the character's strengths and weaknesses, and how do they impact their actions and decisions?
  • How does the character evolve or change throughout the story, and what events or experiences lead to this change?

Identify the Character's Traits

A character's traits are the qualities and characteristics that define them. These can include physical attributes like appearance and mannerisms, as well as personality traits like kindness, arrogance, or intelligence.

For example, the Othello character analysis identifies his traits and involves analyzing his physical appearance and personality. Othello is tall, dark-skinned with a strong build and a deep voice. He is proud and noble but also prone to jealousy and can be easily manipulated, leading to his tragic downfall.

Consider the Character's Motivations

Understanding a character's motivations is key to understanding their behavior and actions in the story. Ask questions like, "What drives this character?" and "What are their goals and desires?"

For instance, in “An Inspector Calls”, Mr Birling character analysis reveals that his motivations are centered around maintaining his wealth and social status, leading him to make decisions that harm others. Understanding his motivations helps to reveal the play's central themes.

Analyze the Character's Relationships

Characters often reveal aspects of their personality through their relationships with others in the story. Look at how the character interacts with other characters and how these interactions impact the character's development throughout the story.

In "Things Fall Apart," Okonkwo character analysis shows his relationships with other characters, which reveal his fear of being perceived as weak, making this analysis an essential component of understanding his arc in the story.

Look for Symbolism

Characters are often used to represent larger themes or ideas in a story. Look for symbolism or metaphors used to describe the character, and consider how these relate to the story's larger themes and messages. 

For example, in "The Scarlet Letter," a character analysis of Hester Prynne might examine the symbolism of the scarlet letter and its impact on her relationships with other characters.

Character Analysis Examples

Not sure how to write a great character analysis essay? Check out these interesting character analysis examples and a worksheet for getting started.

Character Analysis Worksheet

Character Analysis of Joseph Andrews

Character Analysis of Hamlet

Character Analysis of Pride and Prejudice

Character Analysis of Tess of the D'urbervilles

Character Analysis of Oedipus Rex

Character Analysis of Knight in Canterbury Tales

Character Analysis of the Clerk in Canterbury Tales

Lady Macbeth Character Analysis

Character Analysis of Hedda Gabler

Character Analysis of Waiting for Godot

Character Analysis of Stephen Dedalus

Character Analysis of Macbeth

Character Analysis of Heart of Darkness

The Crucible Character Analysis

Now that you know how to perform character analysis, it's time to put what you’ve learned to the test.

However, if you're still struggling with analyzing, you can always turn to our professional essay writing to help you out.

Our team of experienced writers can craft an excellent character analysis that showcases your understanding of the characters. We offer a range of services, from writing and editing to proofreading, to ensure that your analysis is flawless.

You can also try out our AI essay writer to help you with your next character analysis assignment!

Caleb S.


Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

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