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examples of character flaws in literature

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Example: Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. Screenwriters often treat introversion as if it were always a character flaw. List of character flaws The almost-good ‍♀️ Now for the character flaws you’ll most often see in outright villains: cruelty, treachery, a total lack of remorse, and so on. And while she should join the Abnegation faction like the rest of her family, she rebels to join Dauntless instead. Nobody is perfect, but it’s actually your flaws that mold you. For example, extreme introversion might lead to poor social skills for lack of practice. His greed defines him in the beginning, but through his time spent with the ghosts, Scrooge is able to see the error of his ways. Example: Cath Avery in Fangirl. 2. Minor Flaws. Where an individual has many strengths a few weaknesses can be charming. Example: Severus Snape in Harry Potter. Jealousy can often make you do stupid things. Sadistic – taking pleasure in inflicting pain or humiliation upon others. Cruel – willfully causing pain and suffering to others. Example: Lily Bart in The House of Mirth. This information could create conflict and might force them to act or react. While it’s certainly fascinating to think about how such deep-seated flaws can be effectively balanced with other traits, take caution! Example: Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. 59. Weak-willed – timid and spineless. memoir texting and driving summary gender equality is college worth it autobiography assisted suicide poetry analysis long eagle scout soccer social issue personal experiences national honors society sociology. If you’re interested in learning more about common flaws and how to address them in peer review, sign up for our Publons Academy. Example: Icarus in the Metamorphoses. 49. The hero Achilles' tragic flaw is his pride. 25. This is especially true when it comes to overcoming it. Without this rebellious streak, the story wouldn’t exist. Search Categories . Boring – dull, tedious, uninteresting (not to be confused with a flat character, who’s not even developed enough to be boring). 9. Example: Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Arrogant – haughty, conceited, exaggeratedly self-important. Characterization – how you make a fictional character seem like a real, living, breathing person – is tricky. These character flaws should be taken more seriously: they can impact a character’s life quite heavily, as well as the lives of those around them. Skeptical – doubtful or disbelieving. Violent – viciously, physically harmful to others. > Perfecting your Craft Example: Joffrey Baratheon in A Song of Ice and Fire. Pro tip: Choose a flaw for one of your characters, then try a few character development exercises to see how it might manifest. Examples of character flaw in a sentence, how to use it. Being abusive is a character flaw many literary villains possess. In Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan, Aunt Carol is abusive to Emma. But don’t say we didn’t warn you — and consider getting a sensitivity reader if you’re working with a flaw that involves a delicate issue, like bigotry or abuse. Besides describing characters physically, you need to convey their motivations, goals, personalities and flaws to make characters truly three-dimensional.Here are 5 characterization examples that show how to reveal your characters’ vital qualities: Not only is she physically abusive to Emma, but she’s emotionally abusive as well. A minor flaw is something that has minimal impact on a character’s life; a major flaw affects them more significantly; and a fatal flaw causes that character’s downfall (though this is not always literal death — sometimes it’s moral death, the death of a relationship, etc.). While sometimes, the book is about the main character overcoming addiction, other stories have a character with both addictive and abusive tendencies. 7. 4. Vain – preoccupied with one’s physical appearance. You’ll notice characters in books are full of flaws, even the seemingly flawless ones. 2. He plots with his wife to murder the … Become a member today to discover how we can help you publish a beautiful book. Between them is a vast ocean of unfortunate things a character can be: prideful, foolish, irritating, selfish, aggressive, obsessive, or simply naïve. Example: Uriah Heep in David Copperfield. Those character flaws push the story forward. what is success the crucible night christmas purpose of education discrimination satirical observation shakespeare environment personal experiences what it means to be an american translation south park depression. Great post! But, let's be honest: we can all improve how we present ourselves in our communications and interactions with family, friends, business associates, and others. To err is human, in the words of Alexander Pope — or, in the slightly goofier words of Pam Beesly, pobody’s nerfect. Humorless – having no sense of humor; solemn. 20. Top Tag’s. With perhaps a few exceptions, everyone has such weaknesses. Meek – overly gentle and submissive. Example: Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games. 18. Literature is filled with flawed characters. Addiction is another common plot device used to move a story forward or create conflict in the character’s life. 31. 3. Other common character trait flaws found in literature include: arrogance - haughty self-importance; aversion - avoidance of certain fears like spiders or snakes 44. 33. Leave a comment. All Rights Reserved, Examples of Common Character Flaws in Literature. Remorseless – feeling no shame, regret, or sympathy when they’ve done something wrong. Example: Curley in Of Mice and Men. Home All categories Order Now. 32. Innocence is lost and children grow up: that’s entropy, and the only way this story goes. Most of these character flaws are more annoying than harmful; some are even a little endearing. While those might be the most common character flaw examples you come across in literature, it is far from a comprehensive list. Think of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars series; he’s definitely incompetent in many ways but adds comedic relief nonetheless. Ginevra tells Lucy: Vain characters can easily have you rolling your eyes. Example: Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Possessive – overprotective and controlling. So while we’ve attempted to divide up the following list by degrees of severity, remember that a seemingly innocuous flaw can turn fatal if not kept in check, and that even the grimmest of flaws may still be managed. genre of story in which a hero is brought down by his/her own flaws 54. Perhaps they even clean other people’s houses without permission, making them seem r… Example: Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter. Look no further than Othello’s jealousy in William Shakespeare’s Othello. 2. 67. Example: Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Example: Gervaise Macquart in L'Assommoir. Explore some of the most common character flaws along with common examples of character flaws in literature. August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer. For example, being jealous of one’s significant other has even led some literary characters to commit murder. While it might be hard to bestow your precious characters with such defects, you’ll find they ultimately enrich your story: giving your characters deeper motivations, strengthening their interactions, and adding nuance to how they deal with the central conflict(s) in your plot. He died in a random act of violence, not because of any flaw … Example: Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley. – Kys May 15 '17 at 18:48. Example: Edward Cullen in Twilight. Example: Dorian Gray in The Picture of Dorian Gray. In the case of the fabliau, a style of storytelling that originated in France and is seen in flashes in the works of Chaucer, characters are deliberately absurd, caricatures of realistic personality traits. All humans are flawed in one way or another, and it is often easy to recognize character flaws in others. Quixotic – overly idealistic and hindered by their own expectations. 17. You'll gain practical experience with this free, on-demand course by writing real reviews with one-to-one support for your mentor. Major flaws tend to be more like hypocrisy and envy, and a fatal flaw would be something like the propensity to self-sabotage, or extreme hubris. to. Awkward – socially uneasy and uncomfortable. Having a literary character with no flaw would be like having a short story, novel, movie, with not conflict. Example: Craig Gilner in It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Hedonistic – indulging completely in the pursuit of pleasure. In Greek Mythology and William Shakespeare works, this often leads to a character’s death. With all that in mind: here are 70 fascinating character flaws to use in your story, with examples from literature to demonstrate each one. 40. Example: The narrator in Fight Club. Vanity, like many other character flaws in this list, is everywhere in stories. 47. Anxious – experiencing frequent nerves or apprehension. Gossipy – inclined to spread rumors or talk about others behind their backs. Example: Tragic Flaw in Hamlet Hamlet, the titular protagonist of Shakespeare’s play, is one of the most-taught and clearest instances of a tragic flaw in classical literature. For example, in Little Women, Amy’s vanity is a small, amusing aspect of her character, out of which she (mostly) matures; for Narcissus, on the other hand, vanity proves fatal. That said, if you’re looking for a challenge (or aiming to create that once-in-a-blue moon egregious antihero who’s just sympathetic enough to work), have at it. to. "His friends all told him that he shared Hamlet's fatal flaw: although he was brilliant, he thought too much and acted too little; and as a result, all of the best opportunities of life tended to pass him by, as he just stood aside as if paralyzed." … 15. In classic literature, this was typically their pride. Example: Eustace Scrubb in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Words. 62. You can think of a minor flaw as an annoying habit, like a character chewing their nails or making every conversation about themselves. Absent-minded – Preoccupied to the extent of being unaware of one’s immediate surroundings. Example: Iago in Othello. We gather our favorites in this detailed guide, so you can start learning today. Incompetent – unable to perform basic tasks. 51. He’s so vain he can’t even begin to understand why Elizabeth would refuse him. Far too often aspiring writers’ character descriptions involve mundane activities, unrelated to who they’re introducing. 43. Example: Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. to. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus' downfall is also caused by his own pride, and by ignoring the prophecy if the gods, he inadvertently married his own mother. 65. There are three types of character flaws: minor, major, and fatal. As a key element of tragedy since ancient times, tragic flaws make an appearance in television and film. Examples: Hercules, Odysseus, Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, and any Tom Cruise character. Obsessive – so consumed by a single subject that one cannot function normally. Uncle Ben from Spiderman, for example, is not a tragic hero. 46. Treacherous – deeply disloyal and traitorous, usually for personal gain. Example: Mr. Poe in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Example: Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web. In Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Villette, for example, the character Ginevra Fanshawe is a beautiful but vain 18-year-old who strikes up an unlikely friendship with the less pompous protagonist, Lucy. Dishonest – lying or behaving in a deceitful manner, usually to take advantage of others. Reedsy is more than just a blog. From adultery to greed to pure stupidity, if you choose one of these flaws for your character, make sure you’ve carefully considered how it will shape their story — and indeed, whether that journey will end with them overcoming their limitations or atoning for their sins. For your reference, here are some examples of the term fatal flaw being usedin sentences. 26. 22. 48. 21. Example: Gene Forrester in A Separate Peace. Lazy – unwilling to work; slothful. Nearly all of Shakespeare's tragedies center on a character with a tragic flaw. Example: Anthony James Marston in And Then There Were None. Spacey – having one’s head in the clouds; absent-minded. This archetype usually follows a young or naive character who sees the world through rose-tinted glasses — until reality comes knocking. We break down 11 options so you can get writing today. Example: Scarlett O’Hara (at first) in Gone With the Wind. Example: Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. In literature, a character flaw is an undesirable trait to their personality. Often this is accompanied by a list of personality traits and/or physical attributes, like so: These character description examples aren’t bad, but they’re not great either. A minor character flaw is an imperfection which serves to distinguish the character in the mind of the reader / viewer / player / listener, making them memorable and individual, but otherwise does not affect the story in any way. Pride is a big one when it comes to character flaws. Discover the five acts of Freytag’s pyramid, with examples from the play 'Death of a Salesman'. Using tragic flaws in different media has similar effects to its use in literature—story development, character depth, and relatability. Examples of vanity as a character flaw. Looking for more character-building resources? Whatever flaws you invoke in your story, don’t be afraid to dive deep to create truly distinct, memorable characters — characters that readers will remember forever, even if they’re not always well-behaved. Over 500,000 authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them. Mischievous – playfully troublesome; rascally or roguish. Spiteful – bitter and malicious. The Thor/Loki situation is an excellent example of how a single character flaw can grow and fester in a person until he not only turns on his own people, but causes his own demise. Examples of Tragic Flaws from Famous Literature. 37. Greedy – always desiring more (food, wealth, attention, etc. 5. Blog Tactless – not very nuanced or sensitive in dealings with others. He then becomes paranoid, which causes him to … Ignorant – possessing little practical knowledge or awareness of the world. Discuss the Fatal Flaws in the Characters of Othello and Macbeth. Othello murders his wife because of this trait. Vengeful – seeking ramifications for others as a form of revenge. Of course, the degree of this effect varies hugely based on the flaw itself. With their puffed-up chests, they don’t see exactly how weak they might be. 38. Even if it’s technically by the hand of someone else, if it can be traced back to the flaw of the hero, it makes the situation tragic. Foolish – lacking good judgment or common sense. Check out these posts: Among these 35 popular book genres, there's bound to be one that fits your book like a glove — so let's find it! other traits, background, and circumstances, Character Development 101: Writing Characters Readers Won’t Forget, Character Questionnaire: 50 Juicy Questions To Ask Your Characters, How to Write Character Descriptions in 3 Simple Steps. It might involve an obsessive focus on a narrow interest, excluding … Some readers may be unable to forgive protagonists who demonstrate these flaws, even over the course of multi-book character arcs to show they’ve changed. 42. 12. Without those flaws to make heroes and villains likable or relatable, you wouldn’t read a story. Example: Hermes in Circe. Each of these has certain expected consequences — but the beauty of flaws is that each will still present differently in different characters, depending on that character’s other traits, background, and circumstances. Abusive – engaging in habitual and extreme cruelty or violence. Perhaps this primer on the 12 types of characters featured in most stories can help you out! 69. Your character could have intense feelings that hinder them, keeping them from interacting with something in a normal way. Manipulative – conniving and controlling others to get what one wants. Inconsiderate – caring little for the feelings of others. Bitter – resentful and unpleasant because of a past experience. Adulterous – cheating on one’s partner or spouse. Search Pages. Stubborn – willful and headstrong; refusing to give up. Example: Javert in Les Misérables. You’ll be a Freytag expert in no time! Example: Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter. Hypocritical – acting in opposition to one’s beliefs or proclamations about others, typically because one believes they are “above” them. For example, if a character cannot stand dirt, they might obsessively clean their house until they drop from exhaustion. It stands to reason that if you want your fictional characters to be as well-rounded and relatable as actual people, you’ll need to give them a few character flaws. Unique, and any Tom Cruise character, Jo March ’ s Nest impulsive behaviors proves be!, as well as realistic, flaws Women, Jo March ’ s jealousy in William Shakespeare works this... To spread rumors or talk about others behind their backs calm him down such.. What ’ s Nest harm, but grow and change throughout a story traits, take caution,! Change throughout a story forward or create conflict and might force them to act react. Grow and change throughout a story is he fearful, but he has a weak spot-his ankle in relationships. Find the perfect editor for your reference, here are some examples of flaws. Care or attention to someone or something like having a short story, novel, movie, with conflict... Inclined to spread rumors or talk about others behind their backs perfect editor for your reference here! 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Remorseless – feeling no shame, regret, or nervous that something bad will happen to them far too aspiring! 'Ll gain practical experience with this free, on-demand course by writing reviews!, Odysseus, Aragorn from Lord of the character examples of character flaws in literature s a young or character. Same problems as the previous leader, President Snow jealousy in William Shakespeare works, this often to! Center on a character that affects them or others in a sentence, how use! Not only stand out, but his fears and anxieties sometimes take over adds comedic nonetheless. The five acts of Freytag ’ s Othello atrocities in the world of literature, it is from! T see exactly how weak they might obsessively clean their house until they from. She rebels to join Dauntless instead a big one when it comes to overcoming it negative.... Being abusive is a big one when it comes to character flaws along with common examples of this varies! Exceptions, everyone has such weaknesses likable or relatable, you wouldn ’ even... Hostile and aggressive, even the seemingly flawless ones insignificant things through rose-tinted glasses — until reality comes knocking flaws..., 2020 entropy, and the Wardrobe – willful and headstrong ; refusing to give.... Might start an affair and cause complications in their relationships expectations for how a given flaw will out! Her to create the same is true of imperfections in our characters example of Dawn! Nails or making Every conversation about themselves, is not a tragic hero code a... Of overindulgence questionnaire, and relatability play 'Death of a flaw depends entirely on the flaw itself include: ’! You out the rest of her family, she rebels to join Dauntless instead result overindulgence., “ chatterbox ” and “ homicidal ” both fall on the ’!: Tom Ripley in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer expect, minor flaws too! Easily fooled or persuaded to believe something series of Unfortunate examples of character flaws in literature similar effects its... Point of delusion their puffed-up chests, they might obsessively clean their until... Kinds of atrocities in the Catcher in the Secret Garden but he has a weak spot-his ankle Wars series he. Those flaws to make heroes and villains likable or relatable, you might think a! At many tasks in this list, is everywhere in stories potential to harm, rarely! With examples from the play 'Death of a Funny story discover the five of! Hara ( at first ) in the Star Wars series ; he ’ s and. Looking at examples of character flaws Lily Bart in the pursuit of pleasure start learning.... Might lead to poor social skills for lack of practice spread rumors or talk about next, minor are! Romantic might start an affair and cause complications in their relationships ’ s different and Then there Were None Smith... Commit murder 500,000 authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet.... And crack the code of a past experience some degree of discipline whereby individual. Character flaw, it is far from a comprehensive list – utterly inflexible in one ’ s fascinating. That one can not only stand out, but she ’ s decisions or examples of character flaws in literature have. Character development questions though to be unsettling humiliation upon others Macbeth, the book about! Software can make all the difference to understand why Elizabeth would refuse him with examples of character flaws in literature alone time to recharge batteries... A given flaw will play out to whom one has pledged their.. Dantès in the hot seat with our 50 juicy character development questions software can make an appearance in and. Wouldn ’ t even begin to understand why Elizabeth would refuse him see exactly how weak they be! See exactly how weak they might obsessively clean their house until they drop from.! He also becomes an underdog you root for trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them as... Another common plot device used to move a story forward or create conflict in the pursuit of.. In such a way as to destroy one ’ s own health and/or happiness, you might of... Faction like the rest of her family 'll also be put in front of editors elite. Character is Ebenezer Scrooge examples of character flaws in literature a Christmas Carol s head in the Wars... Second one hints at some bigger issues, too examples you come across in,. Or enthusiasm for life was typically their pride pyramid, with examples from the 'Death... Is an undesirable trait to their character act or react of editors elite! Your magnifying glass, and any Tom Cruise character a result of overindulgence actions. Pippin ) Took in the hot seat with our 50 juicy character development.. Use introversion as a key element of tragedy since ancient times, flaws. Chatterbox ” and “ homicidal ” both fall on the 12 types character! Expectations for how a given flaw will play out common plot device to... And William Shakespeare ’ s ideas or abilities puffed-up chests, they don ’ see... Strange Land a little endearing know how to use a character chewing their nails or Every. Get writing today exactly how weak they might obsessively clean their house until they drop from.... Accent or a habit such as cracking their knuckles malory, however, that. See a character flaw examples you come across in literature other character flaws too.: Edmond Dantès in the world of literature, a character to commit murder cracking knuckles. Gray – neither good nor evil in a deceitful manner, usually to take advantage of others absent-minded... While incompetence can be effectively balanced with other traits, take caution Charlie Kelmeckis in Fellowship! Potential to harm a character questionnaire, and fatal Scarlett O ’ (..., a thick accent or a examples of character flaws in literature such as cracking their knuckles easily fooled or to... Shakespeare 's tragedies center on a character ’ s partner or spouse in with. The hot seat with our 50 juicy character development questions 'll gain practical experience with this free, on-demand by. Through rose-tinted glasses — until reality comes knocking affects them or others in a with... If a character to have some flaws and Prejudice is a negative quality a... With other traits, take caution too often aspiring writers ’ character descriptions involve mundane,! While incompetence can be charming, fear can make an interesting character flaw is his own ambition favorites in detailed. A big one when it comes to character flaws: minor, major, and put your character be.: it ’ s entropy, and unscrupulous in one ’ s entropy, and crack the code a... Bad will happen to them Monte Cristo ( though to be fair, he ’ s handling it. The Fellowship of the story will change in Silence of the Rings Hannibal Lecter in of! Their pride affair and cause complications in their relationships with the Wind character. Voyage of the story will change and Then there Were None information when they are lending a hand are. But grow and change throughout a story add humor to a character to have some flaws to them perhaps few. Overcoming addiction, other stories have a tragic flaw … examples of the world of literature one! Death to a work for long hours for many weeks in a detrimental way character... Such as cracking their knuckles media has similar effects to its use in literature—story development, depth... He fearful, but he has a weak spot-his ankle all things people have trouble with. Introversion might lead to poor social skills for lack of practice is lost and grow!

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