Characterization is not something that is taught in school. It is a skill that you learn in the real world. It involves more than just the words you choose.

The tone and the mood of your writing will have an impact on your reader.

In order to write a story or novel that people find entertaining, you must be able to engage your readers in a way that makes them want to keep reading.

One of the most important ways you can do that is through characterization.

Characterization, in writing, is the act of describing a character. Sometimes it’s simple and straight forward, but more often characterization is a complex process.

It involves deciding on the character’s personality, figuring out what they look like, how they act in different situations and so forth.

What Is characterization

What Is characterization?

Characterization refers to any aspect of a character’s presentation, including appearance, speech patterns, behavior and inner qualities revealed by dialogue or action.

A character’s personality traits are their defining characteristics, and they are revealed through their actions throughout the story. If a character is brave, this will be reflected in their actions and how they deal with difficult situations.

For example, if you write about a character who likes animals but doesn’t like children, this will be shown through their words and actions throughout the plot.



What Is Characterization?

Characterization can be one of the most enjoyable parts of writing.

If you really get into the head of your characters, you can feel you’re experiencing their story with them as though you are them.

Characterization is an important part of any kind of fiction novel. Because if you know nothing about the characters in a story, then what’s the point in reading it? You may as well just pick up a non-fiction book or something else that doesn’t need characterization to be read.

Think about how many times you’ve read a book where you had no clue why any of the characters were doing what they were doing.

When characters aren’t described well enough, or when they are not brought to life at all, then it can make for a frustrating and difficult reading experience for the reader.

Characterization Examples In Literature

Ah, there is nothing quite like a good book to get you through those long boring nights. What could make those evenings even better? Good characterization, of course!

Characterization is the process of developing a literary character to define the character’s personality and attributes. Using characterization has been around since the beginning of literature.


Even though it may seem like a very simple technique, characterization can be very tricky.

It is not enough to simply describe a person as being kind or mean. Instead, the author must make the reader see that individual’s kindness or meanness.

There are several methods used in characterization examples in literature.

Some authors rely on concrete details, while others depend on psychological analysis. Some focus on descriptions, while others rely more on direct statements by characters.

But whatever method they choose, all authors need to keep certain things in mind when writing about fictional characters.

Through the use of characterization examples in literature, authors can reveal both physical and mental characteristics of their characters, allowing readers to better understand their personalities and motivations for acting and thinking as they do.

Characterization Examples In Film

We all have our favorite films and our favorite characters. Films are designed around the characters, and often the characters make a film so memorable.

The following examples of characterization in the film will help you understand how to apply characterization to your stories, plays, and scripts.

Creating a Character through Appearance

An important way to characterize a character is through appearance.

For example, in many films, the protagonists are distinctive because of their appearance. Often they look different from the rest of the crowd, or they don’t fit in with certain appearances that are common to that place or time.


Forrest Gump: Forrest’s appearance differs greatly from everyone else’s. He has an unusual face and people stare at him wherever he goes.

He even has scars on his face which add to his uniqueness. His clothing is also quite simple but distinctive.

Willy Wonka: Willy Wonka is a very eccentric man who wears bright colors, glittering clothes, and strange hats. The children notice all these things about him as they tour his chocolate factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Willy Wonka’s character is one of the most important components of this film.

What Is Direct Characterization?

Direct characterization is a technique in which the narrator directly injects his or her thoughts, comments, and sometimes feelings into the story. The narrator is like a character within the story who directs the reader’s attention to the character’s appearance, behavior, and thoughts.

In direct characterization, the narrator breaks the fourth wall and addresses to the reader. This method is useful in certain situations—for example, when a story needs to be told from a specific point of view or a particular character is important to the plot.

We can also use direct characterization for comic effect by introducing an element of humor into the story. However, direct characterization disrupts the flow of a narrative and might not always be appropriate.


When to Use Direct Characterization?

There are several situations in which using direct characterization can be an excellent tool. When direct characterization is used effectively, it can make for very clear storytelling. 

In direct characterization, the story requires that you tell it from a specific point of view, such as first-person or second-person.

For example, imagine you’re reading a first-person story from a male teen’s perspective. In this story, he describes his crush on another girl named Ellie and tells you about how she doesn’t even know he exists.

But then he tells you she has just been accepted at his top college choice. He says that he would love to go out with her, but that she probably wouldn’t be interested in someone as shy as him.

Incorporate the thoughts and musings of a character directly into the text because they are integral to the story. Or maybe you want to use direct characterization for a comic effect by introducing an element of humor into the story.

Using direct characterization for any of these reasons is permissible, but it’s important not to overdo it, as it could disrupt the flow of your narrative. If you plan on using direct characterization throughout your piece, make sure your voice is strong enough to carry the entire story and that you don’t end up repeating yourself too much through multiple characterizations.

Characterization In Hamlet

Characterization is important in all genres of literature but is especially important in a play because much of the characterization occurs when characters speak or act rather than through physical description. 

In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, he used characterization to develop his characters. This allows authors to create realistic characters through their description and also allows readers (and audiences) to relate to the characters in a story.

Hamlet is probably Shakespeare’s most well-known play, which tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who returns home from studying at Wittenberg University to find that his uncle Claudius have murdered his father. Claudius has married Hamlet’s mother Gertrude and now claims the throne and title of King of Denmark for himself.

Because of some conflict with his mother and stepfather about whether he should punish them for their crimes, Hamlet ruminates over what course of action he should take throughout the play until it ends with one of the most famous soliloquies in English literature.

Characterization In The Duchess Of Malfi

The Duchess of Malfi is a play that is permeated with themes of evil and corruption. It has many instances of characterization, especially in the Duchess’s character, who is the central figure in the play.

The author revealed her characteristics through their use of characterization techniques. The characteristics revealed she is not a very pleasant character, but one that is evil and corrupt. 

The tone used by Webster in his writing is dark and gloomy. This tone reflects the mood of the play as it is very unnatural and disturbing to read. 

It presents a world where there are no redeeming qualities and nothing good comes out of anything that happens.

The atmosphere created by his creation of this “dark and gloomy” tone is a key aspect that allows us to understand more about the characters and their motivations for behaving in such an unnatural way. 

Characterization also played a vital role in revealing more about the main character, Lucretia, and also about her husband Ferdinand and brother Antonio.

Webster uses characterization to reveal the true nature of these characters through their dialogue, their actions, what they speak about or discuss, and also how they react to certain situations or events that happen throughout the play.

Characterization In The Great Gatsby

The novel The Great Gatsby is a masterpiece of characterization. 

  1. Scott Fitzgerald used several tools to develop the characters in his novel. He uses symbols, imagery, and a variety of literary devices to give the reader insight into his characters.

He used characterization to present both the major and minor characters in his novel. Fitzgerald showed the main character, Jay Gatsby, through imagery and symbolism.

Fitzgerald also described Gatsby’s mansion as “a little box of a house” (Fitzgerald 9). This description shows that Gatsby is very poor and only has enough money to buy a small house.


Another way Fitzgerald portrayed Jay Gatsby is through symbolism. 

The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock represents Gatsby’s dream that one day he will be reunited with Daisy, who he has loved since they were teenagers. During his high school years, he was in love with her, but she married Tom Buchanan instead. 

Another symbol used by Fitzgerald is the “Valley of Ashes”, which represents the moral decay of society during the 1920s (Horvath).

Best Uses Of Characterization In Film History

The best characters in film history are the ones that teach us something about ourselves. 

Sometimes, it’s a trait we already have. Sometimes, it’s a flaw we wish we didn’t. And sometimes, it’s a lesson that we need to learn before moving on with our lives.

Truly prominent characters are more than just names and descriptions on a page. They’re people we have grown to love or hate. We remember their actions and words long after the story ends.

Characterization is one of the most important elements in storytelling, and “The Abyss” (1989) is one of the films that has some of the best examples of characterization in film history.

The Abyss (1989)

The Abyss is a sci-fi/horror movie about an underwater research station where scientists are studying some alien life forms that have been discovered at the bottom of the ocean.

It stars Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn as three members of the research team who go down to investigate what’s happened to their colleagues on the station.

The film has many memorable scenes and performances; however, none is more impressive than Biehn’s portrayal of Lieutenant Coffey, a true anti-hero who sacrifices himself to save his friends and the world above water from nuclear devastation at the bottom of the ocean.

Why Do Writers Use Characterization?

Why is it that writers use characterization in their works? One of the main reasons writers use characterization is because they want you to relate to their characters, and also be able to imagine yourself as the character. Writers need to create a connection between the reader and their work.

If a writer wants their work to be successful, then they have to have a clear picture of the characters in their head, along with knowledge about how the character will act when a specific situation arises. 


Characterization is one way for writers to create an image of each of the characters in their work, whether it be from a narrative point of view (short story, novel), a dramatic point of view (drama), or an epic point of view (epic).

Writers can also choose points of view such as first-person or third-person. Using characterization helps them get across the message they want to deliver easily.

They can show what side the character is on by describing their actions, thoughts, and feelings through carefully crafted words. When writing character development, writers make sure that they describe physical attributes that are consistent with the specific mood they want to convey through the story.