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A character analysis essay is a written work in which someone analyzes and writes about a character in a particular story. This essay is often written as a class assignment, though it can also be part of a critical review or analysis of a written work. The basic purpose of this type of essay is to consider and analyze a character within a story to better understand his or her nature and purpose. This type of essay should use different aspects of characterization presented by the storyteller to reveal information about that character.
When someone writes a character analysis essay, it is meant to give the reader a greater understanding of a particular character within a written work and how he or she functions within that work. Though multiple characters can be included in such an essay, it is usually done to compare two major characters or to focus on just one character. Minor characters may not be important or featured enough in a story to warrant a full analysis, though this depends a great deal on the nature of the story and its characters.
While different formats can be used for this essay, it often includes an overview of a character and how he or she fits into a story. It usually begins with a basic analysis of the character, demonstrating that the writer understands what type of character he or she is analyzing. This can include labels like “protagonist” and “antagonist,” as well as more specific character types such as foils, dynamic and static characters, and even various archetypes common to stories. Once the overall character is established, then the analysis usually explores how that character is important to the story and its conflict.
A character analysis essay typically includes examples from the story to support the claims made within it, either through direct or indirect characterization. Direct characterization refers to specific ways a writer describes his or her characters directly, while indirect characterization refers to examples of actions or dialog made by a character to indirectly reveal information about him or her. Understanding these types of characterization is important in writing this type of analysis, as both methods are often used to reveal information about the characters. These examples can be used to support the claims or arguments made within it about a character and how he or she relates to a story.