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Dynamic/ Round Character

This is a character that changes according to the course of events in the story. He may or may not be the protagonist or the hero. In most cases, he grows from innocence to maturity or from ignorance to knowledge, so he is consistently alert to his environment with its attendant problem and reacts accordingly. He is found almost everywhere in the story. In his own unique way, he participates actively as much as possible in the course of the action. He seems to have no special alignment to any group but tries not to lose his credibility or acceptability.

Static/Flat/Stock Character

Here the character is complex and does not change in any basic way in the course of the story. He is presented in outline and without much individualization. He is usually stable and is said to be static because he retains essentially the same outlook, attitudes, values and dispositions from the beginning of the story to the end of the story. He is the opposite of the round character but lakes complexity in term of presentation. He is presented with a few and broad strokes. In most cases his activities are easily recognizable, so, his actions can be predicted. Such values and attitudes may be positive or negative depending on the playwright’s intention. He can be a minor or major  character as long as he is hardly transformed as the events of the story unfold. Stock characters are character types “that recur repeatedly…”(Abram 163) in dramatic composition “and so are recognizable as part of the conventions of the form.” Character types are created by playwrights to represent particular individuals in the society. They could be professionals, ethnic groups, tribes or nationalities. They therefore act and behave in accordance with the dictates of the person(s) they represent.

Discovering a Character

You identify a character in a play through what he does, what he says, what other people say about him and what the playwright says about him as contained in the stage–direction. In describing a character, you are expected to give in details, his physical attributes and his moral, psychological and social disposition. A character’s action helps to define  his personality and his behavior in any given circumstance or situation.

It also provides clues to the kind of person he is. Whatever a character says also helps to reveal his inner disposition. However, before you can draw a valid conclusion about a character’s personality from his words, you must consider in addition to the words themselves, the character’s mood, the situation/circumstance, his relationship to the person about or to whom he is speaking and the consistency between his words and his action.

Characterization is a very important aspect of dramatic technique. It is through it that the dramatist presents his story. A good story can only be really good and interesting if appropriate characters are created to tell the story through their actions. The playwright tries to create characters that are as close as possible to reality. He ensures that the characters are consistent and are properly motivated.


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