How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?


Guide for writing influential Character Analysis Essays with easy to understand instructions and compelling tips. This article includes 9 powerful steps and 4 incredible tips for helping you to write better Character Analysis essays.

When writing such an essay on a character in a play, novel or short story, there are several things that must be analyzed. From identifying the kind of character to pointing out what you like or dislike about him or her, the areas to be covered are numerous. In this article we will look at some of the most common areas of examination in a character analysis essay. The more often a writer carries out a character analysis, the easier it becomes to do over time. It is all about knowing what to look for in the character and ask why the character behaves the way he does in the different situations.


What is a character analysis essay?

A character analysis essay is more than just detailing of a personality in a book or story. It is about understanding what made the character the person they became, their experiences and influences. It is also about how and why the character interests the writer. What parallels are there in their lives or what strikes a chord of familiarity or discord with them. It is an in-depth analysis of what makes the character tick.

Instructions ( 9 Easy Steps)

1. Choose a character

When it comes to carrying out analysis and conducting intense research into a real life or fictional character, it always helps to have more than a superficial interest in them. A keen interest will help when probing the inner workings of the character. Whether it is a historical figure that you admire or a novel villain you detest, having a healthy curiosity about them will hold your attention and help the writer convey that interest in their writing. A lack of enthusiasm about the subject will surely be evident in the text. Remember that in the introduction, the writer will have to introduce this character and give reason as to why they are focusing specifically on them.

2. Define your character

There are different kinds of characters so you need to identify which category the one you have chosen fall in. There are heroes, villains, protagonists, victims, catalysts or supporting players. Catalysts are characters whose appearance or actions cause a shift in the story such as a character that is killed and as a result the hero is pushed out of his ordinary life to take up a quest for revenge. . They can also be categorized as wither major or minor players in the story. Some characters are ever changing or dynamic while other remain static or constant throughout the narrative.

Characters may also be one or three dimensional. Once dimensional characters are very shallow, there is little one is told about them. Three dimensional characters have many sides to their personalities and it may be a surprise to discover these hidden depths. A character can be defined in a combination of ways. For instance Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet can be identified as being the hero, a protagonist and ultimately a victim.

3. Analyze Your Character’s Traits

Here the writer must look at both the characters strengths and flaws in character. This is a ying yang situation. Every hero must have some weakness while every villain must have some touch of good. The writer should keep in mind that every character is essentially born innocent so he or she should identify what experiences or influences led to a villainous character to change for the worse.

4. Spot the Differences

There is usually a hidden aspect of a characters personality that conflicts with the general impression given. It is important to be very keen and identify anything that doesn’t add up. This may help to identify more characteristics of the person concerned. For instance a villain who supports charities, this may point to them being likely to turn into heroes or have a secret agenda.

5. Character Interactions

Examine the interplay of your chosen character with others. Does his or her behavior tally with the role they are supposedly playing. How do other characters treat him or her? Do some people behave differently because they have some hidden knowledge?

6. Analyze the characters psyche

Examine the characters characteristics and how they may have developed. Draw out as much information as you can about their past experiences and how this has helped shape them into the people they became. See if there are any special attachments from the past and events that have resonated throughout their lives.

7. The character and the setting

See how the characters behaviour matches up to the time period they live. Are they behaving as expected and how would a modern day person react in similar circumstance. Are their reactions and subsequent actions as expected or revolutionary for their time?

8. Character development

Here you need to analyze how the character has grown and changed, if at all, through the course of the narrative. Try to keep it chronological so that a steady development and growth of the character can be seen. Be sure to also include the physical changes in the character so that the reader can have an accurate picture in their mind’s eye of his or her appearance. What situations have led to the change and how has he or she overcome? This is a chance to show how a dynamic character manages to evolve over time or if they are in fact static and refuse to change.

9. Relate to the Character

This is an opportunity for a writer to give their opinion on whether they too would have reacted in the same way as the character if they were in the same situation. The writer also gets to give their opinion on how believable they found the character and whether they empathize or sympathize with their circumstance. They can also detail whether the character has inspired them and how so. What can the writer take away from reading about this character that would serve them him or her in their life? The writer can also detail what he would have reacted differently were he in the similar circumstances.


1. Try to learn as many different ways of classifying a character. The more ways the writer is able to define the character, the more in depth an analysis of their personality they can give.

2. The arrangement to a character analysis essay if fairly flexible meaning that the writer can opt for a different system of arranging the areas of focus on the character. The introduction and the conclusion however remain the same.

3. Remember that a character analysis essay is meant to focus on the specific character and how the plot of the story touches on them and influences their behaviour and actions. It is not about going over the entire plot of the story. The writer should be able to explain why a character reacted in a certain situation rather than detail the whole incident for the reader.


4. Provide details on a characters’ physical appearance as more often than not, this affects how people behave and react to them. This description will be useful in creating an image of what that character would have looked like if real life.

May I know your favorite Character Analysis Essays topic? I am excited to read and reply your valuable comments.

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