How to write a character analysis essay

If you are good at analyzing people, writing a character analysis essay will become relatively simple for you! What do we do to understand a person and his character better? We probe, ask questions, analyze and try to understand the reasons behind particular actions. For a character analysis essay, you need to do the exact same things, however, in a very systematic and methodical manner.

The first thing to bear in mind when writing a character analysis essay is to choose a character that interests you. Begin your essay with an introduction about the character you’re analyzing and why you choose him to be the focus of your essay.  Define his or her role in the literary work that you’re referring to.  For instance, elaborate first on who he is –

  • The hero
  • The villain
  • The comedian
  • A supporting participant or
  • The catalyst character

Once you’ve completed your definition of the character in terms of his role in the literary work, begin the actual analysis by listing out his positive and negative traits. Outline his achievements or accomplishments in the main story. For example,

  • Does he succeed in taking revenge over the people who destroyed his family?
  • Has he succeeded in winning over his love?
  • Has he accomplished his life’s ambition that affects a million people in his country?

Analyze the path he adopted in reaching his milestone. Examine and evaluate if he adapted himself to the changing circumstances and demands of the various situations he faced. How did the other characters in the story feel about him? Were they comfortable with him or did they hate him? Include as many examples as possible. Remember, if later on in your career, you are required to write a term paper or a dissertation, this kind of character analysis can prove to be extremely useful to you!

Include a brief description of the character’s physical features. Did the author describe him as one of the most handsome people in the region or was he a plain looking lad? If you’ve chosen a woman to analyze, this becomes all the more important because, most often than not, the beauty or the lack of it in a woman, is one of the many attributes of her behavior.  Evaluate why and how the character behaves in the presence of others and discuss if the behavior is expected and justified. Present arguments and examples of cases where you thought the character should have conducted himself differently. Describe vividly the growth of the character – physically, emotionally, romantically, spiritually and mentally. What effect do emotions have on the character and does he maintain his poise even when he is emotionally shattered or does he lose his composure? Is this behavior expected or unexpected of a person of his status in the literary work?

Continue to ask yourself a lot of questions while writing the character analysis essay. Ask yourself and the reader if you learned something from the character. After all, one can learn something from every human being! Finally, look at essay samples in our website for more details on doing character analysis if you’re still in need of guidance.