Figures that make the story roll.
Character (KARE-ec-ter): a person who is responsible for the thoughts and actions within a story, poem, or other literature. Characters are extremely important because they are the medium through which a reader interacts with a piece of literature. Every character has his or her own personality, which a creative author uses to assist in forming the plot of a story or creating a mood. The different attitudes, mannerisms, and even appearances of characters can greatly influence the other major elements in a literary work, such as theme, setting, and tone. With this understanding of the character, a reader can become more aware of other aspects of literature, such as symbolism, giving the reader a more complete understanding of the work. The character is one of the most important tools available to the author. In the ballad "Edward," for instance, the character himself sets the tone of the ballad within the first stanza. After reading the first few stanzas, one learns that Edward has murdered his father and is very distraught. His attitude changes to disgust and finally to despair when he realizes the consequences he must face for his actions. An example of the attitudes and personalities of characters determining the theme is also seen in the book of Genesis. The proud personality of Cain and the humble personality of Abel help create the conflict for this story. Cain and Abel were brothers, possibly twins, who displayed intense sibling rivalry. God was not pleased with Cain's offerings, but found pleasure in Abel's offerings. Provoked by God's displeasure with him, Cain murdered his own brother out of jealousy.
- copied from uncp.edu .