It is an important part in a novel. Sir Walter Scott says that the readers “laugh with Fielding” and “weep with Richardson” to give an acknowledgement of difference between two types of characterization. According to E.M. Forster there are two types of characters in novel. They are flat character and round character.

Flat characters centre round a single idea or a quality. The flat character is sometimes called a type of character that has no complexity and depth; it does not develop through the situation. Dickens’s characters are type or flat characters; as for example Bounderby in ‘Hard Times’, Micawber in David Copperfield. Flat character represents a particular trait or peculiarity. A flat character is easily recognizable. But a flat character may be delightful in a comedy but dull in a tragedy because a flat character may amuse us but cannot move us.

Round characters are capable of surprising readers in a convincing way. He is shown in-depth and complexity. Round characters grow and change in course of time. E.M. Forster believes that though Jane Austen’s characters which are usually round are smaller than Dickens’s. Generally tragic characters are round characters, George Eliot’s Adam in the novel Adam Bede, Hardy’s Clym and Eustacia in the novel the Return of the Native, etc. 

Based on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Old Man Heads by Vikram Roy © Copyright 2012

Static characters are those characters that do not change essentially in course of a novel, narrative or play. Either they are good or may be evil throughout the story. In contrast to static characters, there are dynamic characters that change in course of the story. Static characters are generally flat characters while dynamic characters are round characters.

Stock character in a fiction represents a universally recognized type. A stock character is a familiar figure that appears regularly in certain literary forms. These include character types such as the brave soldier, cunning servant, nagging wife, jealous husband etc. In the nineteenth century melodrama, there are stock characters like the imperiled heroine, her gallant brave savior, and the satanic villain. The private eye in detective stories is a stock character. E.S. Gardner’s Perry Mason, the lawyer detective is an example of a central stock character in works such as the Case of the Sulky Girl (1933).


With love and hugs!

Vikram Roy


Hi, I am Vikram, a friend of you! I would like to take this opportunity of personally welcoming you to my blog! You can read my book “The Alchemist A Mystery In Three Acts” Available now on : Always love, Vikram Roy

22 responses »

  1. Good analysis, Vikram. Like your drawing.

  2. And I suppose there are strategic characters that make the twists and turns take place by action or inaction whether they are main characters or not. .

    • VIKRAM ROY says:

      Carl, strategic characters or dynamic characters or round characters that develop through the twists! Specially in tragedy the main characters are emotionally attached and change their motive! Heros or heroines, who build emotion with audience that make the twists!

  3. Wonderful information.

  4. granbee says:

    What a great analysis of some of the most common types of characters in fiction,Vikram. Such a wonderful scholar are you!

  5. I never analyzed characters like that, but how fascinating!

  6. Zishaan 'ZuZu' Shafi says:

    Interesting Post! It shows how like life, literature needs a variety of types of people to make things interesting! 🙂

  7. Pete Armetta says:

    Thought provoking, thank you for posting!

  8. alarmingman says:

    I am personally very interested in the dynamics of character development and interaction so I found your post very enlightening. I’m in the process of fleshing out a character right now – not sure where he sits in the spectrum, though. You can find him here – via alarmingman
    Thank you

  9. michael says:

    Just wanted to say you’re a terrific artist–in many ways.

  10. ashasuparna says:

    Personally, I like villains. 😛

  11. Harbans says:

    Nicely worded with vivid descriptions. Characters differ as humans differ.
    Also, thank you very much for visiting my blog and liking my poem.

  12. elmediat says:

    Good post. Well done presentation of concepts. Liked your sketch. The stock character can lead into an analysis of stereotypes and archetypes.

  13. maryamchahine says:

    Thanks for the explanation…..very helpful information.

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