This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Character flaw" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In the creation and criticism of fictional works, a character flaw or heroic flaw is a bias, limitation, imperfection, problem, personality disorder, vice, phobia, prejudice, or deficiency present in a character who may be otherwise very functional. The flaw can be a problem that directly affects the character's actions and abilities, such as a violent temper. Alternatively, it can be a simple foible or personality defect, which affects the character's motives and social interactions, but little else.

Flaws can add complexity, depth and humanity to the characters in a narrative. For example, the sheriff with a gambling addiction, the action hero who is afraid of heights, or a lead in a romantic comedy who must overcome his insecurity regarding male pattern baldness are all characters whose flaws help provide dimension. Perhaps the most widely cited and classic of character flaws is Achilles' famous heel.

In general, flaws can be categorized as minor, major, or tragic.

Minor flaw

A minor character flaw is an imperfection which serves to distinguish the character in the mind of the reader / viewer / player / listener, making them memorable and individual, but otherwise does not affect the story in any way.

Examples of this could include a noticeable scar, a thick accent or a habit such as cracking their knuckles.

Protagonists and other major characters may (and usually do) have multiple minor flaws, making them more accessible, and enabling the reader / viewer / listener to relate to the character (in the case of a sympathetic character) or otherwise influence the audience's opinions of the character.[citation needed]

Many insignificant or archetypal characters which are encountered only once or rarely are defined solely by a single minor flaw, differentiating them from the stock character or archetype that they adhere to.[citation needed]

Major flaw

A major character flaw is a much more noticeable and important hindrance which actually impairs the individual, whether physically, mentally or morally. Sometimes major flaws are not actually negative per se (such as devout religious beliefs or a rigid code of honor), but are classified as such in that they often serve to hinder or restrict the character in some way.

Examples of this type of flaw could include blindness, amnesia or greed.

Unlike minor flaws, major flaws are almost invariably important to either the character's, or the story's development.

Tragic/fatal flaw

This is a specific sort of flaw, also known as "Hamartia", which is possessed by Aristotelian tragic heros. It is a flaw which causes an otherwise noble or exceptional character to bring about their own downfall and, often, their eventual death.

Examples of this could include hubris, misplaced trust, excessive curiosity, pride and lack of self-control.

This fall usually occurs at the beginning of a story, with the story itself concentrating on the consequences or attempted redemption of the fall.

Examples

Literature

‘’Percy Jackson and the Olympians’’

Film

Television

Once Upon a Time

Gaming

References

  1. ^ Begin (2015), p. 48

Bibliography