Character form and function.

As we keep moving deeper into the logistics of story/storytelling through semiotics, denotation/connotation and now character archetypes, forms, functions and so on, I can say I have learnt a lot and have begun to look at the world around me with a more analytical lens. Its funny because of course, we humans apply traits and characteristics that we identify with to inanimate and natural objects all the time…yet it only dawned on me through these classes that even natural disasters and inanimate objects could be seen as protagonists or antagonists…it all depends on whether or not the story is about them, or if they’re deterring said protagonist from their mission! archetype-circle_figure2

After today, I have learnt a lot more about characters and have discovered new jargon in accordance to this. An archetype is basically a reoccurring type of character in a story. this could be the hero or the villain archetype. It was Carl Jung who identified a series of archetypes then proposed to argue that they are ways in which we come to understand ourselves as people in the world or environment we live within, as well as our own personal growth. This makes a lot of sense to me, because we naturally do enjoy telling stories; sharing our experiences through linguistic and creative means.

Characters come in many various forms! I also never considered people in films playing their human characters as a ‘highly designed object’. This is probably because on the denotive surface they just look like a human playing human character. This is true, but of course, they are most definitely intricate design objects made to serve the purpose of telling and developing a story. This could be in many various forms such as how they’re dressed to where they live, how they interact with other characters, what their dialogue is and so on. Cinematography also comes into play with story and character development too. Sometimes characters ‘break the fourth wall’, and interact with their audience on a personal level, such as with Deadpool. The character is aware of themselves and that they are being watched. Pretty neat!

Today I learnt that the protagonist isn’t always the good guy; its just who the story is really about and is following. Therefore the antagonist isn’t always the bad guy; it is simply whatever is obstructing the protagonist from their main goal. I learnt some new character attributes called: Flat/Rounded and Static/Dynamic. A flat character only carries one or two notable traits but a rounded character is more personalised. Rounded characters often have background information and we know how they have grown and will continue to see growth occur. Static characters personalities will not change much or at all throughout the story, while a dynamic characters will. Their personality would change according to some kind of issue faced or lesson learnt etc. This is all so interesting and very useful info to know about!

Now knowing a lot more, I can start to carefully consider how I may want to create characters of my own in the future. Now I have the know-how into how I can create characters that could have a positive influence within society for many demographics of people (we watched a TED Talk about female characters in film which I enjoyed).


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