In scriptwriting, a composite is a character based on more than one individual from the preceding story, usually the author. Two or more fictional characters are often combined into a single character in the course of an adaptation of a work for a different medium, as in adapting a novel in the course of authoring a screenplay for a film. A composite character may be modeled on historical or biographical figures. An amalgamation or amalgam, when used to refer to a fictional character or place, refers to one that was created by combining or is perceived to be a combination, of several other previously existing characters or locations. To emphasize the origin of their creations, authors or artists may use amalgamated names.
A composite character may be a historical character in which characteristics of several historical figures have merged to form a single amalgamated character. An example is the three Herods in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Herod the Great (Luke 1:5), Herod Antipas (Luke 3:1; 9:7-9; 13:31-33; 23:5-12), and Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1-23) are three separate historical rulers. Yet they are portrayed as a single composite character who functions in Luke-Acts “as an actualization of Satan’s desire to impede the spread of the good news though his rejection of the gospel message and through political persecution,” for example the execution of John (Luke 9:7–9), Jesus (Acts 4:24–28), James (Acts 12:1–2), and the attempted execution of Peter (Acts 12:3–5).
Composite characters are also found in apocalyptic literature, for example, the Book of Revelation. The two witnesses of Revelation 11 are an amalgamation of several character traits taken from Jeremiah, Elijah, and Moses. The composite characterization of the two witnesses represents the Christian community as a whole (the church) in their specific vocation as witnesses. ) Similarly, the beast of Revelation 13, a seven-headed monster that arises from the sea, is a composite character who combines the ferocious and frightening traits of the leopard, bear, and lion (Rev. 13:2). This composite character is usually thought to represent the Roman Empire of the first century CE. A city can also be a composite character. A case in point is the whore of Babylon in Revelation 17. The traits of a prostitute and an infamous city of the seventh and sixth centuries BCE merge to form a description of Rome of the first century CE.