Guide to Literary Terms

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What are static and dynamic characters?

A dynamic character is one who undergoes meaningful internal changes. A static character is one who remains the same.

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Static and Dynamic Characters

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When a character doesn’t undergo significant internal changes in a story, we refer to them as static. Internal changes might include changes in perspective, personality, or character. A dynamic character is one that evolves throughout the work and, by the end, is fundamentally altered in some way. Remember, these terms are mutually exclusive! A character must either be static or dynamic; they cannot be both or switch back and forth. It’s also important not to assume that all protagonists are dynamic, just as not all side characters are static.

Static character example:

  • Throughout Doyle’s series, Sherlock Holmes retains his quirky personality, making him a static character.

Dynamic character example:

  • Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol is a classic example of a character who undergoes major internal changes throughout the story.

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