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Characterization

An actor’s interpretation of a role in the performance of dramatic literature.

Characterization or characterization is the representation of persons (or other beings or creatures) in narrative and dramatic works of art. This representation may include direct methods like the attribution of qualities in description or commentary, and indirect (or "dramatic") methods inviting readers to infer qualities from characters' actions, dialogue, or appearance. Such a personage is called a character. Character is a literary element.

Characters in theater, television, and film differ from those in novels in that an actor may interpret the writer's description and dialogue in their own unique way to add new layers and depth to a character. This can be seen when critics compare, for example, the 'Lady Macbeths' or 'Heathcliffs' of different actors. Another major difference in the drama is that it is not possible to 'go inside the character's head' in the way possible in a novel, meaning this method of character exposition is unavailable. Still, another is that in drama, a character usually can be seen and heard and need not be described.

Key Terms

character
characterization
creatures
definition
description
dialogue
drama
dramatic works art
representation persons
usage

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Characterization
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Last modified on January 3 2020
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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