Character Types

character types

A character is a real or fantastic being, endowed with certain characteristics and that is part of a story (which may or may not be based on real events).

There are different types of characters in a story, novel or any narrative work. His classification varies according to his degree of participation, the psychological characterization that the author has made, his evolution within the plot, among others.

Character is a word that comes from the Greek πρόσωπον, which means mask, alluding to those used by theater actors in ancient Greece.

Types of characters according to their participation

Depending on the relevance of their participation, the characters can be the following:

Main characters

They are the ones who actively intervene in the series of events that take place within the story. The main characters are the ones who carry out the most complex tasks and most of the story depends on their actions.

Secondary characters

They are the ones who woo the main character to perform certain actions, or they can make decisions that will be decisive for the main character.

tertiary characters

They are characters that appear in the story sporadically, or are throughout the plot but their actions are not relevant to the development of the story. Therefore, it is usual that they are also flat characters.

Types of characters according to their role

Depending on the role they play in the story, there are three types of characters.


Their presence is essential in the plot, since all the relevant events revolve around them. So much so, that if the author decides to eliminate them from the story, it would be meaningless, since it could not be supported by the rest of the characters.


It is the kind of character that expresses ideas or values ​​contrary to those of the protagonist, and its main function is to prevent him from fulfilling his objective within the plot.


They are characters who have their own challenges. However, their relevance is less than that of the protagonist and antagonist.

Types of characters according to their characterization

Depending on the complexity and detail with which the author describes the psychological traits of the characters, these can be of two types.

flat characters

They are a type of character whose psychological traits are described in a very basic way. Generally not much emphasis is placed on them because they are usually secondary or tertiary characters.

round characters

They have a greater psychological complexity. They are endowed with personality, motivations, doubts, expectations or have a past that can be unraveled explicitly or implicitly according to the wishes of the author.

Types of characters according to their evolution

Whether or not the characters show any kind of development or change in their beliefs, values ​​or psychological characteristics, they can be:


They are characters that do not reveal any significant change, especially in their psychological traits. Their convictions or ideas remain the same throughout the plot.


They are characters with psychological traits that present a visible change as the plot progresses. This change can be positive (a villain turning good) or negative (a hero turning antihero after suffering a loss).


Types of characters according to their image

Depending on the values ​​or characteristics they represent, the characters can be of two types:


These are characters that represent essential traits, values, qualities or ideas for the human being, such as beauty, love, goodness, evil, greed, war, madness, among others.


They are characters that have exaggerated psychological or physical traits, based on existing characteristics in certain groups of people, such as the embittered old man, the child abandoned in a box, the tyrannical and corrupt ruler, the boy or girl with super abilities, among others.

Character Characteristics

Depending on the type of characters in a story, novel, play or narrative text, they will have certain traits. However, there are common features in all of them:

they have a story

Whether it is described by the author or not, all the characters have a context and a reason why they are present in the plot. Even secondary and tertiary characters, who don’t seem to have much of an influence on the plot, may have their own motivations and justifications for their actions.

They have a goal

He has to carry out accurate actions that are part of a larger gear, which in most cases, has to do with helping the main character to achieve his mission, which is the central objective of the story.

They have physical and psychological traits

The description of the characters is usually more abundant and complex depending on their relevance. However, every time a character is mentioned in a story it is possible to know something about him (otherwise the reader could not know that he is present in the plot).

They have their own vocabulary

Generally, a member of royalty does not express the same as a person from the countryside. In the same way, good authors seek that each character has its own tone and vocabulary, according to the circumstances and characteristics of the characters.

Character Types


character types Characteristics
According to your participation According to your role · Protagonists 



according to its characterization · Blueprints 


according to its evolution Static 

· Dynamic

according to your picture b Archetype 


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