Direct characterization occurs when the narrator or a character directly tells the audience about a character, as in "Romeo and Juliet" when Mercutio describes his adversary Tybalt in detail. Similarly, in the short story "The Story of an Hour," the narrator directly tells the audience that "Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble." By contrast, indirect characterization shows what the character does and lets the audience infer characterization.Know More
In works of fiction, authors employ a wide variety of strategies to create and present characters to audiences. In general, authors use some combination of both direct and indirect characterization to describe characters.
Usually, if physical attributes of characters are specifically explained, then the author is using direct characterization. For example, in "Romeo and Juliet," the Nurse directly characterizes Romeo when she says, "his face be better than any man's." Similarly, when authors' narrators or characters use adjectives to describe a state of being or emotion, it is most often direct characterization, but when the emotion is portrayed through an action, it is indirect characterization. In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" the narrator tells how Mrs. Mallard's heart beats and how her breathing changes instead of saying, "she was happy" or "she was sad." Because the audience has to infer, that is an example of indirect characterization.Learn more about Literary Writing
One example of a monologue is Juliet's speech in the popular William Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet," which began "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" A monologue occurs when a single character in a play presents their thoughts out loud to the audience.Full Answer >
A grotesque character is someone who invokes both empathy and disgust. Characters such as Gollum from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" or the Quasimodo from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" are examples of grotesque characters.Full Answer >
A foil is a character who acts as the opposite to another character and consequently highlights important features of that character's personality. Some examples in literature include Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, X-Men's Professor X and Magneto, and Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.Full Answer >
A complex character is a character who has a mix of traits that come from both nature and experience, according to fiction writer Elizabeth Moon. Complex characters are more realistic than non-complex characters.Full Answer >