Methodical Approach to a Literary Character

  • Mirela Šušić Assist. Prof., PhD, Department of Croatian Studies, University of Zadar, Croatia


A literary character is a structural and semantic element of the whole literary work. Depending on the point of view from which it is observed, the dominant spiritual-scientific background and the genre in which it appears, a literary character is also called a hero, character, figure, agent or actor. It is an instance of a literary text that is one of the structural elements of a literary work, but at the same time it is an independent system.The terms "literary character" and "character" are often identified, but at the same time differences are discerned in the context of the use of these terms. In this sense, the character is generally understood as a broader concept, while the character is attributed to people where a certain individuality and relative stability in change is assumed.The vagueness of the term character is conditioned by its general use in everyday speech in the ethical and psychological sense as a positive or negative definition of an individual and a description of his certain mental characteristics primarily those related to attitudes, emotional relationships and motivations. It is precisely this use of the term character in everyday speech, in the teaching of literature, that makes the term itself close and topical to students. Therefore, character as a structural part of a literary work is often imposed as a starting point for the interpretation of a literary work in the teaching of literature. However, this vagueness of the notion of character in the traditional analysis of character in literary works is reflected in the way that the characters of a literary work are often reduced to an assessment of their ethical attitude or attention is paid to whether it is a positive or negative character. In this way, the fictionality of a literary character is lost sight of as a phenomenon that exists exclusively in a literary work that only "gives" it ethical properties and psychological characteristics. Unlike traditional literary-scientific analysis, the newer science of literature in character analysis regularly focuses on the process of characterization, which has had a significant positive effect on the methodological approach to the literary character in the teaching of literature.
Oct 12, 2020
How to Cite
ŠUŠIĆ, Mirela. Methodical Approach to a Literary Character. European Journal of Language and Literature, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 3, p. 39-53, oct. 2020. ISSN 2411-4103. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 dec. 2020.