Character Analysis Questions

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The following questions are borrowed from a drama exercise. It can be very helpful to analyze a literary character as if you had to play that character on stage. Answer as many of the following questions as you can. You must find accurate answers to the first six questions. Then write the answers to at least ten more of the questions in your critical reading journal. Where possible, find specific evidence in the text to support your answers and write down short quotes with page #s.

  1. When does my character live? Past, present or future?

  2. Where does my character live? In the country, the city, the suburbs…?

  3. What is the socioeconomic background of my character?

  4. Does my character work? If so, at what?

  5. What is a typical day for my character like?

  6. Who lives with my character and what are their relationships?

  1. Who else heavily influences my character?

  2. Is my character very religious, political, or otherwise a member or some kind?

  3. What is my character’s biggest life goal?

  4. What is my character’s biggest goal within the play?

  5. How does my character’s motivation change from the beginning of the play to the end?

  6. What is the primary emotion my character has throughout this piece?

  7. What other emotions are affecting my character underneath that emotion?

  8. Does my character have mental or emotional difficulties, illnesses or tics?

  9. What kind of self-esteem does my character have?

  10. How does my character relate to the outside world?

  11. What props or scenic elements does my character relate to within the play?

  12. How do those props/scenic elements develop my character?

  13. What emotion should the audience feel toward my character? Sympathy, hate, friendly?

  14. In the beginning of the play, what do we discover about my character?

  15. In the middle of the play, how does my character grow and change?

  16. At the end of the play, what will happen to my character?

  17. What information about my character has been cut out of the piece for IE performance?

  18. How can I add the elements of that information in my performance?

  19. How important is my character to the action of the play as a whole?

  20. When does my character help the plot along and how?

  21. What is the most important element to my character: family, love, or career?

  22. How old is my character? What major historical events have they lived through?

  23. Does my character have children? How does (s)he feel about them?

  24. Is my character manipulating or being manipulated by anyone?

  25. Does my character have a hidden agenda or a deep secret?

  26. Who are they hiding this from? Another character? The audience?

  27. How strong are my character’s emotions in this piece? Pure hatred? Mild lust?

  28. What is my character’s greatest fear?

  29. What is my character’s greatest accomplishment?

  30. What is my character’s motivation in each unit of the piece? Does it coincide with or conflict with other character’s motivations in those units?

  31. Does my character have their wants achieved at the end of the play?

  32. If not, will my character ever have those wants achieved?

  33. What person or fictional character does my character most remind me of?

  34. If I met my character, how would I react to them?

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