Barbara P
Barbara P

Character Analysis - Outline, Writing Steps, and Examples

7 min read

Published on: Feb 9, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 28, 2022

Character Analysis

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Writing a character analysis essay and need help with it? A character analysis is different from reviewing a book or analyzing a novel or drama at large. This kind of literary analysis focuses on a single character and discusses its strengths and weaknesses.

It is a specific kind of assignment, and high-school and college students often get these in their literature class. The students who are majoring in English Literature have to analyze different characters.

These kinds of essays are based on critical analyses of different characters of the chosen work. Despite being different, these could also be difficult as the student has to add relevant quotes and details. However, this helps in increasing the work’s credibility and makes it better.

Here is a step-by-step guide for writing a character analysis essay.

Character Analysis Definition

‘What is a character analysis essay?’ By definition, a character analysis is the identification and explanation of the main traits of a character. Thus, the character analysis essay is based on the analysis and breakdown of a chosen character. This character could be a part of a novel, a drama, and even poetry.

In a character analysis essay, the student chooses a character to analyze and explains how it has shaped the entire story.

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What Does Character Analysis Mean?

Character analysis means picking up subtle hints about the personality of a character. It is not always direct. The writers often leave hints about different characters, and the students have to pick up and identify them.

Often, these hints are scattered throughout the story, and the reader needs to be mindful of them. This also includes reading between the lines and finding those clues that are not stated or mentioned directly.

Sometimes, some events and details seem insignificant and pointless. But as you read the story and join the dots, those events start making sense. Therefore, you must keep notes about those events.

Purpose of a Character Analysis Essay

Character analysis is important because it helps the readers understand the characters better. In addition, it is a good practice for the students. Many of them would be aspiring literature researchers, and analyzing the characters will add depth to the explanation.

The student will understand how to ask relevant and important questions, identify subtle character traits and draw conclusions.

How to do a Character Analysis?

Analyzing a character could be a fun activity as you get a chance to know a character better. However, working on this kind of essay is rather different. You will have to understand the personality of the character to write a good analysis.

Here are some important things that you must consider when doing a character analysis.

  • Inspiration - Why are you analyzing the character? How does the character behave? What are the reasons the character behaves that way?

    What influences the choices of the character? Are their actions ethical, impulsive, or selfish?

  • Actions - What are the actions of the character? How do they affect other characters and people around them? Are their actions evil or mindful of others? The character’s actions say a lot about his personality.
  • Choice of Words - How do they talk? What kind of words and vocabulary do they use? Do they sound educated? Do they use slang or specific kinds of phrases?

    These words help the readers know more about the character. Pay attention to them. The practice will also help you in real life as you will be able to analyze the people you meet.

  • Character Descriptions - How do the characters explain that specific character? How does the character identify and describe himself? These descriptions will help you in understanding the personality of the character.
  • Names of the Characters - The name and title of the name also explain both the minor and major characters. What kind of imagery does the name depict? It will help in assuming the personality traits of the character.

    Noticing these details will help the process of analyzing the character, easy and quick.

How to Write a Character Analysis?

There are several different characters in the story, novel, and drama. These characters are different from each other, and they signify a specific part of the story. These characters could be good, bad, insignificant, and some even represent a societal stereotype.

All of these characters come together to form the story’s plot. Here are the kinds of characters that you usually find in a literary work.

Protagonist - Positive Character
It is usually the main character of the play or novel. This character makes the story move forward and should be interesting.
Antagonist - Negative Character
This is also the main character that everyone hates. They create conflict and problems for the main and positive characters.
Major and Main Character
This character plays a large role in the entire story, and a major part of the plot revolves around him.
Minor Character
These characters play a small and insignificant role in the story. They appear and reappear in the story
Dynamic or Round Character
A dynamic character often changes with time and keeps the story revolving.
Static Character
These characters stay the same all along the story.
These types of characters are used to fill the space. This includes a boring housewife, a geek, and a nosy neighbor.

How to Make the Character Analysis Outline?

When doing the character study, you will notice that they will fall in one given category. This is because your goal for writing the essay is to analyze the character. And the kind of role it has played in the story.

Here are the important things that you must include in the outline.

  • Discuss the Personality of the Character

    The readers know the characters through the words they use. Therefore, when analyzing the character, the reader must read through and between the words and lines.

    The reader could do it by analyzing the character’s speech and the kinds of words they use.

    As the story progresses, it leaves hints here and there for readers to find on their own. These include things like how others describe them or what they do in certain situations and some details from their perspective.

  • Discuss the Role of the Character

    Each character should have a defined role in the story. The more personality traits he has, and unique ones at that, will help define his category - be it antagonist or protagonist.

  • Summarize the Development of the Character

    Character growth is an important part of the analysis. Identify and discuss how the character developed in the course of the story and how the character matured.

    The characters go through a series of changes throughout the story and when analyzing the character, discussing this progression is important.

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Sample Character Analysis Outline

Like other essays, the character analysis essay also has three sections, including an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. Below is a sample character analysis outline.

1. Introduction - A good and strong essay introduction will give your entire essay a proper shape and outline. Apart from this, it will keep your readers glued to your essay. When writing one, describe the character and his important traits in brief.

2. Main Body - This is where most of the information will go. The key points and information added in the introduction will be divided into several sections. They will be explained in the main essay body. Usually, this section has three body paragraphs, but you can add more if you have more ideas to add here.

This section should explain the following things.

  • Physical attribute of the character
  • Conflicts that the character faces and the way he overcomes them
  • Key takeaways and moral value of the character

You can add other details also and can use relevant quotes to emphasize your main points.

3. Conclusion - It is the last part of the essay and will summarize the entire essay. Restate the thesis here and make it strong and long-lasting. Do not add the same details again but add summarized data to accentuate your main idea.

Moreover, do not introduce or add new details here and add it as a closure rather than an ice-breaker.

Character Analysis Examples

Are you looking for some helpful character analysis examples? Below are examples of some important literary characters.

Writing a character analysis essay could be fun as you get a chance to know more about the characters. However, if you need help with it, then working with a professional essay writing help like will save you time and help you learn better.

Hire a professional writer now!

Frequently Asked Question

What are the 5 methods of characterization?

The five methods of characterization are:

  1. Physical description
  2. Inner thoughts
  3. Speech
  4. Action
  5. Reactions
Barbara P


Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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