How to Write a Character Analysis: The Best Guide

Usually, authors use various patterns to help readers better understand personalities of main characters, but never directly describe them. Readers make conclusions regarding characters independently because they understand their behaviours and motivations in their own way. Knowing how to write a character analysis is important for students because teachers require making this analysis during their studies along with original content provided by plagiarism detector.

Authors encourage students to read between the lines and give them hints to understand personages’ behaviours. However, readers should make conclusions by themselves using analysis patterns. In this article you will get to know how to write a character analysis. Using our tips you can easily conduct and write analysis of a film or a play.

Character Analysis

What Is a Character Analysis?

The definition of character analysis is as follows: it is an essay where one examines behaviours, motivations and actions of characters. This is approach is used when one needs to write analysis of literature works. This analysis involves personalities’ description and conflicts with others they experience in the course of a story. Also you can find interesting personal essay ideas on our site. The main purpose of this analysis is critical assessment of characters and making appropriate conclusions based on story outcomes. One may analyse personality by examining his or her behaviours, drivers, habits and motivations. You may consider internal and external conflicts that are typical for them. For example, if you analyze Macbeth, you should explain his behaviour and specify why he acts in this way.

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Types of Character Analysis Essays

Characters are different: good and bad, significant and insignificant. In this section we will explain what is a character analysis from the perspective of the roles played by each personage in this story:


Characters’ Description

  • Protagonist

Often protagonist is the main personage in a story. His or her major roles attracting readers’ attention and serving as main story’s drivers. They always find themselves in the middle of things and they take active part in all events. One should take this into account when required to write an analysis.

  • Antagonist

Typically, antagonist is opposed to protagonist in a story. Therefore, readers hate them as they make problems due to their conflicting nature. Conflicts in stories are often initiated by antagonists. Analysis of relationships between protagonist and antagonist takes much time when you write an analysis as these are core relationships in a narration.

  • Major

As a rule, major characters play significant roles in narration. For example, protagonists’ relatives or friends are major characters. Readers may explore relations and interactions between a protagonist and a major personage to better understand motivations.

  • Minor

As it follows from the name, minor characters play relatively small roles if compared to major characters. Quite often minor individuality are stereotypes of static ones.

  • Dynamic

Dynamic characters experience changes throughout the story. Usually, protagonist and antagonist are dynamic characters.

  • Static

Static characters stay the same during the whole narration. However, this doesn’t mean that these personages cannot be analysed. It’s possible that the reason to be static is a problem analysed in a narration.

  • Stereotypical

Often authors need to fill remaining space with stereotypical characters. In addition, these characters help create environment specific to the time of narration. For example, housewife, beggary or insane person may serve as stereotypical characters. This information may be useful when you write character analysis.

Further, we will consider how to do a character analysis in detail. Sometimes it’s difficult to categorize your personage. You shouldn’t worry about this when you start analysing because it’s quite normal. The main goal of any analysis is describing his or her personality. Your task will be easier if you make an outline.

An outline is needed to write detailed character analysis. It includes the following steps:

  • Personality’s description

One should write analysis based on information derived from a narration such as communication manner, emotions, behaviours and actions your hero shows or experiences. This helps define the category to which this personage belongs. Categorization helps better explain his or her actions and behaviours. Also, it helps write strong character analysis. These aspects are small hints you may consider in your analysis to better understand his or her motivations. By tracking their actions, moves, manners and expressions you can conduct careful examination of their personalities.

  • Define the role of a character in the story

Roles of personages in a narration are other aspects of analysis. Each character fits a specific role. It’s essential to understand whether a personage being analysed plays either major or minor role. As a rule, it’s easy to do if you read a story attentively.

  • Track process personage’s growth and development

Usually in literature, any narration is built in the way to show personages’ growth and development. Throughout the narration characters may become stronger, learn to survive in extreme conditions, build new relationships or start understanding themselves better. Teachers expect that students show personal development when they write character analysis. Aiming to reach this goal, students are encouraged to make notes not to forget something important. Also, write down turning moments and change points in a story as these events may make an impact on personages.

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How to Write a Character Analysis like a Pro

A good approach to write a character analysis essay is to keep taking notes while reading - you should record key quotes belonging to your character, key actions that define him/her, opinions of other characters about them, etc. When writing the characterization, all these notes would prove handy.

When writing a character analysis it’s important to have several things in mind. Individuality’s analysis helps better understand his or her personality and behaviours. Here we listed several useful tips helping write character analysis outline:

  • Motivations

Aiming to understand motivations you may ask and answer questions. The examples of questions: What are the reasons that stimulate actions observed in a story? Why a personage made this choice? Did an individuality behave ethically? What was the dilemma for this personage? By asking these questions you can understand underlying reasons for characters’ specific behaviours. Revealing motivations help write character analysis of high quality.

  • Actions

On this stage you may analyse how a personage acts, how the actions of this personage affect other personages, what he or she did right or wrong, etc. The actions and behaviours describe personalities and lifestyles best. Sometimes actions can be controversial showing inward struggle or conflict. By examining inward controversies one can reveal reasons for these behaviours or actions. Hence, actions, motivations and behaviours are tightly interlinked. Showing these interlinks in a story is essential. Analysis of actions helps write comprehensive essay.

  • The way characters talk

In what ways a personage expresses his or her emotions? Does his or her manner of talking differ when he or she is talking to different persons? Did he or she receive good education? Which phrases this character uses? Authors depict characters using words while pictures are not always available. So, it’s not difficult to imagine them. You should be attentive and notice details. When describing communication manner one may write good analysis essay or write good hooks for essays.

  • Description of characters by other characters

You can understand more about the character you’re describing by analyzing interactions of this character with others. You should examine how other individualities describe the character you analyse, do personal perception of self coincide with characterization given by others and which descriptions are honest, emotional or judgemental.

  • Consider given names and nicknames

The name of a novel can tell a lot about its summary. The names “The Little Prince” or “Mad Max” convey the meaning of a story. You can make assumptions about them based on these names.

These steps will help show how to analyze a character.
Next step is to structure your analytical paper correctly. As well as in other essays, introduction, body and conclusion form structure of a character analysis essay. Now let’s consider how to write a well-structure essay.

  • Introduction

The main function of introductory section is attracting readers’ attention. One may ask a question or make a statement to reach this goal. Write thesis statement in the beginning of your essay. Also, in this part you can include the description of a character you’re going to analyse to evoke readers’ interest. Try to capture their attention from the first lines by finding a provocative statement. This will immediately increase readers’ interest to your essay.

  • Body

Body is a central part of your essay. You should address physical attributes of the personage you’re describing, his or her personality and background in this part of essay. Also, you may describe conflicts faced by this person in the course of the story, how he or she overcomes this conflict and which obstacles hampered him or her to overcome these obstacles. Write what lessons readers can learn from life and adventures of this personage and key takeaways from this story.

  • Conclusion

This section summarizes results of each essay paragraph. You can make your essay stronger if you restate your thesis. Also, in this section you should write important findings. By providing summaries of several points placed in the body section with examples, you can enhance your conclusion.

Read also: How to Title an Essay Properly

Specific Aspects of Character Analysis Essay

Specific aspects involve relationships, author’s goal and organization. Let’s consider these aspects.

  • Relationships

When you write your analysis, select several people with whom an analysed personage interacts more often if compared to others. Further, you need to write why you selected these people to describe your hero. You can also show how personality of your hero becomes apparent in relations with others. It would be nice to explain why he or she did so and whether his or her actions towards others are explain why he or she did so and whether his or her actions towards others are fair. You can use compare and contrast approach to better describe his or her behaviours and actions. This will enhance your analysis immensely.

  • Author's Goal

In this section you can explain why author created this personage and what he or she wanted to show to readers. You will need to give detailed explanations about the type of personage, identify his or her role in a story and lessons learned from this story.

  • Structure

As we already mentioned above, structure of personage analysis essay is similar to structure of any other essay. Place your main argument in introduction and then justify your opinion by providing justification in the story development. A strong conclusion will help readers accept your opinion regarding personality you’re analysing.


Here we presented several tips for story analysis. With the help of our tips you can analyse any personage of a novel or a movie. These tips can be used both by high school and college students. A brief synopsis will make your task easier. By following our recommendations you can receive high grades in school. If you conduct this analysis for the first time, you will need several days to make a plan and outline main points. So, don’t hesitate and start your analysis right now! Don’t lose your time and try to enjoy this process.

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