The Fictional character is defined as any person or character that appears in a work of fiction. That character can be anything: a person, an animal, an object, an alien and so on.
In most cases the name a fictional character has can be considered to be very important. Several aspects have influenced these names and different techniques were used in different steps of fictional character evolution:
- The Restoration period brought in names that did not exist in real life.
- The 18th and 19th century saw the introduction of one letter names. This had political and financial reasons behind it. Several locations in England were named after the feudal lords in the area. Publishing that name could easily have led to the lord suing the writer.
- The 19th century introduced realistic names. This was because of the need of the writer to read stories that could be true and to create sentimentalism, realism and naturalism.
- Different writers introduced different naming styles. Some have even developed methods that are studied. An example can be given in Charles Darwin’s "Dickensian" method of naming fictional characters.
Reading fictional characters
Different people will read fictional characters in a different way. Criticism has defined ways to reading them and they are:
- Symbols – One character can represent something, becoming a symbol.
- Representatives – Many writers used a fictional character as a representative of something, usually a class type or a specific group of people. Stereotypes were introduced
- Historical or Biographical references – One character can be used by the author to portray a historical or Biographical figure. Another technique is to give a fictional name to a character that resembles somebody from the author’s life or that was inspirational towards his activity.
- Words – Some critics consider that a character’s name is just a convention used and is nothing more than that.
- Patient – The method of reading a character as a patient is strongly linked with Psychoanalytic criticism. Critics that use the technique will try to analyze every psychoanalytic mean that they can to analyze the given character.
- Flat or Round Characters – Some critics believe that there are two types of characters. They are flat or round and can be characterized by complex or simple. Round characters are the ones that are complex and are characterized by numerous personality traits while the flat characters will have fewer personality traits and are much simpler.