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List of stock characters
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A stock character is a dramatic or literary character representing a generic type in a conventional, simplified manner and recurring in many fictional works.[1] The following list labels some of these stereotypes and provides examples. Some character archetypes, the more universal foundations of fictional characters, are also listed. Some characters that were first introduced as fully fleshed-out characters become subsequently used as stock characters in other works (e.g., the Ebenezer Scrooge character from A Christmas Carol, upon whom the miserly Scrooge type is based). Some stock characters incorporate more than one stock character; for example, a bard may also be a wisecracking jester. Some of the stock characters in this list may be considered offensive due to their use of racial stereotyping.
Character TypeDescriptionExamples
A
Absent-minded professorAn eccentric scientific genius who is so focused on his work that he has shortfalls in other areas of life (remembering things, grooming).[2] This is the benign version of the mad scientist.Professor Calculus, Emmett Brown, Sherman Klump
Action heroA hero of an action story, often one who is comfortable with the fast pace of events in the story. Often overlaps with chosen one and/or superhero.Luke Skywalker, James Bond, Batman
Angry black womanAn assertive, overbearing, opinionated, loud, and "sassy" black woman with a sharp tongue, often depicted as nagging and emasculating a male character.[3][4]Sapphire in Amos 'n' Andy,[5] Wilhelmina Slater in Ugly Betty,[6]Aunt Esther
Angry white manA reactionary, usually conservative white man who often begins as a victim of circumstance or progressive policy. This will often escalate into rage and violence, leading to the character's downfall or cementing him as a villain.Archie Bunker, William "D-Fens" Foster, Arthur Fleck
AntiheroA protagonist lacking conventional heroic qualities, such as courage, or idealism.[7] An antihero has weaknesses and may engage in criminal acts at times, but lacks any sinister intentions and is usually, if begrudgingly and unconventionally, ethical.Deadpool, Man with No Name, Eddie Valiant
Author surrogateA character sharing the traits of its author or creator.[8] The author surrogate may be disguised to some degree, or there may be little attempt to make them appear different (for example, they may have the same name and job).Jon Arbuckle, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski
B
Bad boyA roguish, good-looking macho, often a womanizer. In his frequent affairs, he shows a "dark triad" of Machiavellian traits. In historical fiction, he is a rake or cad.Tony Stark, Gregory House, Danny Zuko
BardA lute-playing singer-songwriter in Medieval and Renaissance stories who sings about the events of the day to earn a living. The Bard may be a wandering troubador travelling from town to town, and playing at taverns (or busking when gigs are scarce), or they may have a steady job in a noble court, playing for royalty at feasts. The bard may overlap with the jester if they use their songs to speak blunt truths to a king or entertain the nobles with humour (also providing comic relief in the story). The bard may also be a wandering minstrel who voyages with the hero to chronicle the hero's exploits in song.Cantus in Fraggle Rock, Marillion in Game of Thrones, Dandelion/Jaskier in The Witcher, Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess
Battle-axeAn old, domineering, brash and brazen womanAgnes Skinner, Thelma Harper, Marie Barone
BeatnikA hipster character, with a distinct counterculture style (usually wearing muted colors, leotards for women, a beret, and sunglasses), loves jazz and avant-garde art and poetry, marijuana, bongo drums, and has a disdain for anything popular in mainstream culture.Judy Funnie, Maynard G. Krebs, the cast of Off Beat Cinema
BestermanA protagonist or anti-hero in science fiction stories by Alfred Bester. These characters may have some aspects of what Nietzsche called the Übermensch, alongside negative traits. Besterman characters may behave in hard-to-predict ways. For example, a character may at first appear to be a brave savior, but then lapse into self-serving behavior.Ben Reich in The Demolished Man, Gully Foyle from The Stars My Destination
Black best friendIn American films and television shows, a Black best friend is a secondary character, often female, who is used to "guide White characters out of challenging circumstances." The Black best friend "support[s] the heroine, often with sass, attitude and a keen insight into relationships and life.”[9] One criticism of the stock character is that little of their inner life is depicted.In the film The Devil Wears Prada, Tracie Thoms plays friend to lead character played by Anne Hathaway; Aisha Tyler played a friend to Jennifer Love Hewitt on The Ghost Whisperer; Lisa Nicole Carson played a friend to lead character Calista Flockhart on Ally McBeal
Black knightAn evil fighter antagonist, whose identity is often concealed behind his visor. He may be associated with death. He battles the good knight-errant.Black Knight, Nathan Garrett, Darth Vader
Blind seerA mystic who is sightless, but uses spiritual or psychic powers to sense the events and sights around them.Chirrut in Rogue One, "One Hundred Eyes" in Marco Polo, Zatoichi (blind swordsman)
Boy next doorA nice, average guy who is reasonably good-lookingMarty McFly, Luke Skywalker, Rodney Trotter
Brains and brawnA duo with contrasting physical features, body types and personalities. The two are usually inseparable. One is small, yet intelligent, while the other is physically big, while at the same time being naïve or innocently dumb. The "brains" character can sometimes be silent while the "brawn" is talkative and loud, but this varies.Lennie Small & George Milton from Of Mice and Men, Wallace and Gromit, Pinky and the Brain, Toopy and Binoo, Astérix and Obélix.
Bug-eyed monsterA staple evil alien[2]Formics, Alien
BullyA villainous character often found in stories centered around youth, especially in school. They delight in tormenting the protagonist.Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story, Roger Klotz in Doug, Bulk and Skull
Byronic heroByronic heroes are dark, gloomy, and brooding. Their passionate nature is often turned inward, as they ruminate on a private torment or a dark secret from their past. They tend to be lonely and alienated, and have views or values that conflict with those of the wider community. The name refers to the Romantic poet Lord Byron.Lord Ruthven in The Vampyre (1819), Edmond Dantes from Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), Heathcliff from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847), and Rochester from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847)
C
Cat ladyAn eccentric, lonely woman, often living alone. She may be depicted as dotty and benevolent or as unhinged.Crazy Cat Lady, Arabella Figg,[10]Angela Martin
Chosen oneA person destined by prophecy to save the world, frequently possessed of unusual skills or abilities.Anakin Skywalker, Harry Potter
Christ figureSomeone who dies a martyr only to rise from the dead to fight evil, as in the story of Jesus. The similarity may be intentional or not.The Doctor, Spock, Harry Potter
Con artistA person who tricks people out of money by gaining, and then betraying their confidence.Del Boy, Artful Dodger, The King and the Duke
ConscienceA character who provides moral guidance and advice to the protagonist.Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, the Angel Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life
ContenderA competitive, scrappy underdog who is driven to keep trying to win.Rocky Balboa, Lightning McQueen, Daniel LaRusso
Career criminalOften a cunning thief. Has a strange gait, slouched posture and devious facial expression.Flynn Rider, Bernie Rhodenbarr, Cash Register Thief
CroneA cruel, withered old woman, often occult or witch-like. See also HagWicked Witch of the West, Maleficent, Gruntilda
CurmudgeonA usually middle-aged or elderly character who outwardly is bitter, argumentative and politically incorrect. The curmudgeon usually has more sympathetic traits that are revealed over the course of a work of fiction.Knemon in Dyskolos, Alf Garnett, Grinch, Daisy Werthan
D
Damsel in distressA noble, beautiful young Lady in need of rescue, traditionally from dragons. In early 1900s films, she is threatened by a robber or kidnapper.Princess Peach, Princess Zelda, Daphne Blake
DandyA good-looking, well-off young man more interested in fashion and leisure than business and politics. Prominent in Victorian writings.Dorian Gray, Lord Byron
Dark LadyA dark, malicious or doomed womanLady Macbeth, Miss Trunchbull, Annie Wilkes
Dark Lady (Hispanic)This Hispanic or Latin stock character is a beautiful and aristocratic woman whose mysterious and inscrutable personality makes her seem alluring. Scholars have called the Dark Lady and the Latin lover the only two positive Hispanic stock characters.[11]Dolores Del Rio played various Dark Lady roles, such as Flying Down to Rio (1933) and In Caliente (1936)
Dark LordAn evil, powerful sorcerer. The dark lord is often wounded, though still powerful enough to defile the land. He may be a Devil archetype.Palpatine, Lord Voldemort, Thanos
Dastardly WhiplashA classic villain archetype from the silent film era, who will tie a maiden to train tracks or burn down an orphanage as part of their schemes, all while twirling a long mustache. They have over-the-top personalities.Dick Dastardly, Simon Legree, Robbie Rotten
DonorA supernatural being in fairy tales and fantasy literature who helps the protagonistGenie, Cosmo & Wanda
DoppelgängerA malevolent character that resembles but is not necessarily related to another, benevolent, character in the same fictional universe; may come from a parallel universe. Usually portrayed by the same actor in a dual role.Bizarro, Mirror Universe
Dragon ladyA stereotype of East Asian and occasionally South Asian and Southeast Asian women as strong, deceitful, domineering, or mysterious.[12] The term's origin and usage arose in America during the late 1800s. This ethnic stereotype may negatively depict women as promiscuous, deceptive femme fatales.Anna May Wong in the movie Daughter of the Dragon 1931[13];Lucy Liu in her roles in Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill, and Payback;Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies
Dumb blondeAn attractive, young, blonde-haired woman with little common senseGoldie Hawn's characters on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Rose Nylund, Chrissy Snow
E
El bandidoThis pejorative stereotype of a Mexican bandit was common in silent era Western films. It depicted the characters as missing teeth, being poorly groomed (unshaven, unwashed hair), unintelligent, and as having a violent, treacherous, and emotionally impulsive disposition.[11]The villain in Bronco Billy and the Greaser (1914)
Elderly martial arts masterA wise old man mentoring a young disciple in his ancient craft. The old man often needs to be avenged.Mr. Miyagi, Ra's al Ghul, Yoda, Splinter
EverymanAn ordinary, humble individual, the Everyman may be a stand-in for the audience or reader.Homer Simpson, Dr. Watson, Jonathan Harker
Evil clownViolent, malevolent beings who ironically resemble circus clowns. This subverts the typical stereotype of clowns as happy, playful tricksters and instead uses their painted face and disguise as a source of menace.Joker, Killer Klowns, Pennywise
Evil twinA malevolent character that resembles and is usually related to (most commonly a literal twin of) another, benevolent, character in the same universe; usually portrayed by the same actor in a dual role.Adam Chandler, Alex Drake
F
Fall guyAn unaware scapegoat for a villain's larger plot.Wilmer Cook, Biff from The Strawberry Blonde
Farmer's daughterA desirable, wholesome, and naive young woman, also described as being an "open-air type" and "public-spirited"[14][15]Bradley Sisters; Mary Ann Summers, Daisy Duke, Elly May Clampett
Farmer's wifeIn Western films, the "long-suffering farmer's wife" is a foil used as a contrast to the other female stock characters (Hooker with a heart of gold and the Schoolma'am).[16] The farmer's wife character also appears outside of Westerns.Mrs. Hale, the farmer's wife in Trifles
Female clown (Hispanic)In this stereotype, also called a "Mexican Spitfire" (or "Latin Spitfire"), a Hispanic woman's ditzy antics are used to make the audience laugh derisively at her. While she is alluring, her value as a full character is blunted by her comic treatment. This is the female version of the Male buffoon (Hispanic).[11]Carmen Miranda, Lupe Velez (notably in the eight-film Mexican Spitfire series that lent its name to the stock character)
Femme fataleA beautiful, alluring, woman who is also traitorous, cunning and deceptive. She draws men into a honey trap.Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct, Ruth Wonderly, Poison Ivy, Salome
Final girlA "last woman standing" left in a horror film after a killer or monster has eliminated her companions.Mina Harker, Laurie Strode, Sally Hardesty
FoilA character, especially in a double act, who is in most respects the opposite of the protagonist or straight man. The contrast between a character and their foil allows each characters' traits to be highlighted.Lou Costello, Lucy Ricardo, Draco Malfoy
Folk heroA character whose heroic acts are left behind in their people's consciousness, often centuries after their death.Robin Hood, Heracles/Hercules
FoolA court jester who made the king and nobles laugh by telling rhyming jokes and riddles, and by doing physical feats like juggling. Jesters could criticize people at court and make fun of Royal decisions, as long as the criticism was hidden amidst witty wordplay and riddles. Shakespeare used the fool as a main character so that he could have a character who could speak truthfully, even to a powerful king.Simpleton fools include Ivan the Fool. Wise fools include the Wise Men of Gotham, who only pretended to be simple as a ruse.
FopA pejorative character in
English literature and especially comic drama, as well as satirical prints, the fop is a foolish "man of fashion" who overdresses, aspires to wit, and puts on airs. The fop may aspire to a higher social station than others think he has.
He may be somewhat effeminate, although this rarely affects his pursuit of an heiress. He may also overdo being fashionably French by wearing French clothes and using French words.
Sir Novelty Fashion in Colley Cibber's Love's Last Shift (1696), Sir Fopling Flutter in George Etherege's The Man of Mode, Sir Fopling Flutter (1676), The Town Fop (1676, published 1677), and Lord Foppington in The Relapse (1696) by John Vanbrugh.
G
Gay best friendBeginning in the 1980s, screenwriters of romantic comedy films and TV shows set in high schools added the "gay best friend" stock character. This comedic character type has elicited controversy in the gay community, because while they have introduced "...queer storylines to mainstream audiences," they have also entrenched a stereotype that gay men's only "interests are makeovers, shopping and drama".[17] In addition, "gay best friend" characters tend to be sidelined into the role of giving relationship and fashion advice, and their character rarely has depth or development.Daniel Franzese's role as Damian in Mean Girls; the 2013 comedy film G.B.F., which uses the stock character term as its title
GeekAn eccentric or non-mainstream person who is an expert or enthusiast obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit, with a general pejorative meaning of a "peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, boring, or socially awkward".[18] The geek character overlaps with the nerd, but the geek may be depicted in a more negative fashion.Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, "The Geek" from Sixteen Candles, "Doc" Emmett Brown from the Back to the Future films, Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters
Gentle giantA huge, strong man who, despite his fear-inspiring appearance, has a good heart.Fezzick, Kronk, Yukon Cornelius, Shrek
Gentleman thiefA sophisticated, well-mannered, and elegant thief. He typically tries to avoid violence by using deception and his wits to steal.Kaito Kuroba, Sly Cooper, Neal Caffrey
Girl next doorAn average young woman, reasonably attractive, with a wholesome demeanor.Rachel Green, Carrie Bradshaw, Bridget Jones
GraciosoA stock character, popular in 16th-century Spanish literature, who is comically and shockingly vulgarClarín, the clown in Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Life is a dream, is a gracioso.
Grande dameFrench for "great lady"; a haughty, flamboyant and elegant woman, prone to extravagant and eccentric fashion. She is usually a stereotype of an elderly high society socialite.[19][20][21][22]Constance in Gosford Park, Princess Dragomiroff in Murder on the Orient Express; Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest
GrotesqueA deformed or disabled person whose appearance scares strangers or inspires pity, and who may be mistreated. He is a tragic figure.Quasimodo, Grizabella
H
Halfbreed harlotThis pejorative stereotype of a Mexican prostitute was common in Western films. She is the female counterpart to El bandido, a pejorative stereotype depicting a violent Mexican bandit. The "halfbreed harlot" is depicted as a lusty nymphomaniac with a hot temper. Filmmakers use the character to serve as a sex object and provide titillation to viewers.[11]Chihuahua, the girlfriend of Doc Holliday in My Darling Clementine (1946)
HagA wizened, withered, and bitter old woman, often a malicious witch.Baba Yaga, Wicked Queen, Gruntilda
Hardboiled detectiveA private investigator or police officer rendered bitter and cynical by violence and corruption. They are often hard-drinking antiheroes who use questionable tactics. Typically the protagonist in film noir crime movies and hardboiled novels and pulp fiction.Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Perry Mason
HarlequinA clown or professional fool who pokes fun at others, even the elite.Till Eulenspiegel, Krusty the Clown
Holmesian detectiveA masterful police detective or private investigator who is modelled on the fictional 19th century detective Sherlock Holmes. These characters may emulate his perceptiveness, intelligence, and use of deductive reasoning.Hercule Poirot, Columbo, Benoit Blanc in Knives Out
Hooker with a heart of goldA prostitute who has a good moral compass and intrinsic morality.Nancy, Fantine, Inara Serra, Sonya from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment
Hopeless romanticA loving, passionate character that often finds "love at first sight". He is obsessive over a romantic partner (or love interest), usually views life very optimistically.Tom Hansen, Brian Griffin
HousewifeA busy mother of the protagonist family, she takes care of the children and does the housework. Her appearance ranges from homely to average.Morticia Addams, Jane Jetson, Marge Simpson
HotshotA reckless, impulsive macho character known for taking risks.Martin Riggs, Agent J, Axel Foley
I
Idiot savantA person with extraordinary genius in a narrow area who has a social or developmental disability, often consistent with being somewhere on the autism spectrum.Forrest Gump, Raymond "Rain Man" Babbitt, Shaun Murphy
ImmigrantA character from a foreign land whose bizarre manners, quirky behavior and unusual traditions often clash humorously with Western cultural norms.Balki Bartokomous, Luigi Basco, Fez, Latka Gravas, Borat
IngenueAn attractive young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome.Ariel, Snow White, Dorothy Gale
J
Jewish motherA nagging, loud, highly-talkative, overprotective, smothering, and overbearing mother, who persists in interfering in her children's lives long after they have become adults and is excellent at making her children feel guilty for actions that may have caused her to suffer.Molly Goldberg, Auntie Nelda
Jock (athlete)A male athlete who is often muscular, but not very smart. He may also be a bully.Flash Thompson, Nathan Scott, Brom Bones
K
Keystone KopA bumbling police officer, named after the Keystone Kops comic silent film series. May have a predilection for donuts. If set in the southern United States, the character is usually also portrayed as racist, corrupt and lacking regard for the rights of whom he is accusing.Chief Wiggum, Barney Fife, Rosco P. Coltrane,[23]Charlie Dibble
Knight-errantA noble Knight on a quest for his Lady or who is seeking some Holy Grail. He expresses his courtly love for his beloved from afar.Lancelot, Aragorn, Bronn, Jack Reacher[24]
L
Latin loverA handsome, sharply-dressed man who seduces women with his suave, confident demeanor and his elegant courtship and tango dancing skills. Paradoxically, he shows both tenderness and "sexual danger". He draws the woman into a passionate romance that is doomed due to the pair being enmeshed in an intrigue. The Latin lover may be Italian, Spanish, Latin American, or French.[11]Rudolph Valentino, Ricardo Montalban, Gilbert Roland
Legacy heroA character thrust, often unwillingly, into the role of a hero through nepotism, sometimes having been previously unaware of their family's legacy.Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Silk Spectre (Laurie Juspeczyk)
Little Green MenSmall humanoid extraterrestrials with green skin and antennae on their heads;[25] known familiarly in science fiction fandom as LGMThe Great Gazoo, Little Green Men from Toy Story
Loathly ladyA woman who appears to be a hideous hag, often cursed; her beauty is revealed when the curse is lifted. (Male characters with the same characteristics also exist, such as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.) The order may be reversed, as well; a beautiful maiden may be cursed and transformed into a hag.The Wife of Bath's Tale, Princess Melusine in the French dynastic mythology Dame Ragnelle, The Frog Prince (with male gender).
LonerAn isolated, alienated person who struggles to connect with people.Frank Castle, Holden Caulfield
Lovable loserA woebegone, yet sympathetic and usually determined, character for whom nothing goes rightCharlie Brown, Sad Sack, Milo Murphy
LoversMain characters who deeply fall in love, despite the blocking effect of other characters or events; often moonstruck, star-crossed lovers that are strongly fraternizing with the "enemy". They may face a tragic end.Romeo & Juliet, Tony and Maria in West Side Story
M
MachiavelleA villain who is obsessed with power and willing to do immoral acts to secure or enhance their position. A machiavelle villain typically follows the principles set out by Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, a guidebook for 16th century rulers. The machiavelle devises ruthless plots to eliminate rivals and is willing to do anything, including betrayal of allies or murdering his people, to win more power.Examples in Shakespeare include Richard of Gloucester in Richard III and both Edmund and Cornwall in King Lear.
Mad scientistAn insane or eccentric scientist or professor, often villainous or amoral.[2][26] Not all mad scientists are evil; some intend to be benevolent, but unintentionally cause an accident due to their hubristic attempt to play God in the lab. May have an Igor, a hunchbacked assistant.Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Henry Jekyll, Dr. Moreau
Magical NegroA black man with special insight or mystical powers, who ends up coming to the aid of the white protagonist.Uncle Remus, Uncle Tom, John Coffey, Bagger Vance
Male buffoon (Hispanic)This stereotype is used for comic relief. The characters' struggle to learn English or control their hot-blooded temper is used as a source of humor.[11]Pancho in The Return of the Cisco Kid, Sgt. Garcia in Walt Disney's Zorro, Ricky Ricardo in I Love Lucy
Mammy archetypeA rotund, homely, and matronly black woman. She has a sunny demeanor and she is devoted to her role as a cook and caregiver. This archetype originated during the era of slavery, and it is considered to be a pejorative racial stereotype.Aunt Jemima, Mammy Two Shoes, Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird
Man aloneSomeone whose extreme moral beliefs have led them to be friendless.Rorschach (Walter Kovacs)
Manic Pixie Dream GirlUsually static young female characters who have eccentric personality quirks and are unabashedly girlish, dreamy, and attractive. They often exist only to serve as a source of inspiration to the male character, and as such, little of their inner life is depicted.Zelda Spellman, Bo Peep, Debora from Baby Driver
Mary SueUsually a young adult female characters who is perceived to have zero flaws or weaknesses while being skillful or powerful in a way not justified by their backstory. A "Mary Sue" is often beloved by all other characters that interact with her. The male equivalent has been referred to as a "Gary Stu" or "Marty Stu".Arya Stark from HBO's Game of Thrones series, for her heroic role in the show's finale; Rey (Star Wars)
Mean Popular GirlAn attractive teenage girl who has high status at her school, but is often mean to less popular and less good-looking or lower-status girls.Chloé Bourgeois in Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, Nina Harper in Braceface, Regina George in Mean Girls
Middle childIn a family setting, usually the second of three children, who is often neglected due to their parents (and the overall story) paying more attention to the youngest and oldest siblingsStephanie Tanner, Jan Brady
Miles GloriosusA boastful soldier whose cowardice belies his claims of a valour-filled past. Originally from the comic theatre of ancient Rome, this stock character was often from a low class and he was typically engaged in sexual dalliances, excess drinking and thievery.Falstaff, Baron Munchausen, Buzz Lightyear
MilkmanA delivery person roped into a sexual affair with a married customer. Common in pornographic films; the delivery person need not be delivering milk, though this specific type was a common joke when milk delivery was a common profession.Ernie Price
Miltonic heroA romanticized type of antihero who is both charismatic and wicked. The Miltonic hero resists the instructions of authority figures and feels that moral rules do not apply to them. The name refers to poet John Milton.Milton's Satan character in Paradise Lost, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, Melmoth in Melmoth the Wanderer (the title character sells his soul to the Devil)
Mother's boyAn awkward man who is excessively attached to his mother. Often he continues to act in a childish, submissive fashion even into adulthood.Private Pike, Howard Wolowitz, Eddie Kaspbrak
Mother-in-lawA stereotypical portrayal of a character's spouse's mother; frequently a battle-axe and always disapproving of her daughter/son-in-law.Pearl Slaghoople
Mythological kingA king in myth and/or legend, usually a heroic one.King Arthur
N
Napoleonic villainA usually comic villain whose short stature drives him to seek world domination. Named after the common (but false) myth regarding Napoleon Bonaparte's height.Lord Farquaad, Plankton, The Brain, Boris Badenov
NerdA socially-awkward, obsessive, or overly-intellectual person. They are often interested in doing well in school (academically and in terms of behavior). They tend to dress in unfashionable clothes. The geek character is similar, but may be depicted in more negative manner.Will McKenzie, Steve Urkel, George McFly
Nice guyA male character of wholesome morals, agreeable personality and usually modest means. In romantic fiction, he usually struggles with finding women willing to date him (since, as the phrase goes, "nice guys finish last"); in ideal happy endings, he finds a woman more appropriate for him (possibly a Manic Pixie Dream Girl) than those who rejected himGranville, Tim Canterbury, Neville Longbottom, Marty Piletti
Noble savageAn idealized Indigenous person or otherwise "wild" outsider who is uncorrupted by civilization.Chingachgook, Mowgli, Tarzan
O
OutlawA bandit depicted in a romanticized way, often charismatic and appealing, despite their lawless conduct.Robin Hood, Billy the Kid, Jesse James
P
Pantomime dameA pantomime portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag.Widow Twankey, Mary Sunshine
Paul Lynde typeAn easily irritated villain with a distinctive, whiny and slightly effeminate voice. Named after character actor Paul Lynde, who played numerous characters of this style during the prime of his career in the 1960s and 1970s, and adopted by numerous others after Lynde's death in 1982.Norman Normanmeyer, Roger the Alien
PetrushkaA Russian kind of jester.
PierrotFrench pantomime, a sad clownPagliacci, Puddles Pity Party
PirateA romanticized stereotype of high seas pirates of the 18th century. Features may include a black tricorn hat with skull and crossbones, unkempt facial hair, missing body parts (e.g. eyepatch, peg leg, hook for a hand), adventurous but surly demeanor, and a distinctive accent. Variants on the theme include air pirates and space pirates.Captain Hook, Long John Silver
PreppyIn 1980s TV shows and films (or in works set in this era), preppies are students or alumnus of Ivy League schools who have American upper class speech, vocabulary, dress, mannerisms and etiquette.[27] Like the related yuppie stock character of the 1980s, preppies range from benign (albeit materialistic and pretentious), to arrogant or even immoral.Jake in Sixteen Candles, Steff McKee and Blane McDonough in Pretty in Pink
Prince CharmingRescuer of the damsel in distress
Princesse lointaineA romantic love interest and beloved sweetheart and girlfriend for a Knight-errant.Dulcinea, Guinevere
Psycho-biddyAn embittered, usually psychotic, faded ex-celebrity, typically an old woman.Baby Jane Hudson, Norma Desmond, Joan Crawford as portrayed in Mommie Dearest
R
RebelA maverick who refuses to follow society's rules and conventions. He may simultaneously be a loner or hotshot.John Bender
RedneckIn the 1970s, B movie "hixploitation" films depicted rednecks as Appalachian or Southern "good old boys" involved in illicit moonshine operations. Other redneck subtypes include crooked Southern sheriffs, "back-road racers", and truckers. [28]Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Deliverance (1972), Breaker! Breaker!, Moonshine County Express
RedshirtA minor, expendable character who is killed soon after being introduced. This refers to characters from the original Star Trek television series, often from the security or engineering departments of the starship, who wore the red Starfleet uniform. They are cannon fodder.Stormtroopers in Star Wars, Goombas in Super Mario
Reluctant heroA character who is thrust against their will into a heroic role; overlaps with the everyman and the antiheroShaun Riley, John McClane, Neo
Rightful kingA usurped, just ruler whose return or triumph restores peace. The rightful king may be a reluctant hero who is reticent to take the throne.Simba, King Arthur, Pastoria, King Richard
S
Schoolma'amA pretty young woman schoolteacher in a frontier town or settlement. Her wholesome, virginal demeanor, modest dress, and education distinguish her from the other Western female stereotype (whores at the brothel or saloon). Schoolmarms represent civilization. Pretty, young teachers may be a love interest for the hero. Old teachers tend to be spinsters who are strict disciplinarians.My Darling Clementine, Helen Crump Taylor, Miss Turlock
ScroogeAn old, wealthy boss who refuses to spend money and prefers to hoard it. The character is based on the miserly, penny-pinching, and mean-spirited old Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. Scrooge characters range from excessively thrifty, but otherwise benign types, to avaricious, cold-hearted types who are willing to allow harm to come to others.J. Paul Getty as portrayed in All the Money in the World , Randolph and Mortimer Duke in Trading Places, Mr. Potter, Jack Benny
Senex amansThis stock character in medieval romances and classical comedies is an old, ugly man who is married to a pretty young woman. The senex amans, which is Latin for "ancient lover", is depicted as having wrinkles, greying hair, and struggling with impotence. He is often cuckolded by a good-looking young man who charms the young wife.Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" and "The Merchant's Tale," Marie de France's "Guigemar" and "Laustic" and Tristan and Iseult. In Aphra Behn's Oronooko, the old king of Ghana is a senex amans, as he is trying to seduce the young woman Imoinda.
Senex iratusA father figure and comic archetype who belongs to the alazon or impostor group in theater, manifesting himself through his rages and threats, his obsessions and his gullibilityPantalone, Arthur Spooner, Grampa Simpson
Sexy grandmaAn elderly or late middle aged woman who has an open and active sex life. A similar character in early middle age may be known as a MILF or a cougar.Mona Robinson, Blanche Devereaux, Sue Ann Nivens, Jeanine Stifler
ShrewA woman given to violent, scolding, particularly nagging treatment of men.Lois Griffin, Wilma Flintstone
SidekickA friend who accompanies the main character or hero. A sidekick may also simultaneously be a bard, fool, or other stock character.In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a slave named Jim accompanies Huck Finn on his travels. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo has his loyal friend Samwise Gamgee by his side throughout.
SinnekinsPairs of devilish, impish characters who exert their perfidious influence on the main character.Flotsam and Jetsam, Pain and Panic, Thing Number 1 and Thing Number 2, Winged monkeys
SissyIn the 1930s, the "sissy" or "pansy" was a pejorative stereotype used as one of the earliest gay stock characters in Hollywood films. "Sissy" characters had an "...extremely effeminate boulevardier type sporting lipstick, rouge, a trim mustache and hairstyle, and an equally trim suit, incomplete without a boutonniere."[29] Filmmakers used the characters to elicit a "quick laugh", and they never had any character depth. These roles "...cemented the gross stereotypes of gay men that are still seen today."[29]In director George Cukor's film Our Betters, the foppish character Mr. Ernest, character actors such as Edward Everett Horton had a number of these roles, Broadway Melody and Myrt and Marge had male costume designer characters that followed this stereotype
Sleazy lawyerA corrupt attorney who uses technicalities to get obviously-guilty, but wealthy and well-paying, clients acquitted. Sleazy lawyers are driven by a mixture of desiring wealth and a ruthless, competitive desire to win at all costs. They are masters at manipulating witnesses, D.A.s and judges to ensure they win. They range from lawyers who work within the law, by gaming the system or finding loopholes, to those who break the law by destroying evidence or intimidating witnesses.Billy Flynn, Saul Goodman, Lionel Hutz
Sleazy politicianAn elected official who is embroiled in corruption and scandals such as taking bribes, using secret slush funds, embezzling money, or engaging in affairs with staff (or other sexual misconduct). They may be hypocrites, who speak out against crime, while using illegal drugs and hanging out in brothels.Frank Underwood, Willie Stark, Boss Hogg[30][31]
Slow burnA character who begins as calm and collected but increasingly becomes more angry and exasperated as the childish antics of those around them escalateSquidward Tentacles, Theodore J. Mooney, Emil Sitka in the works of The Three Stooges
SoubretteA female character who is vain, girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish, and gossipy. The role of the soubrette is often to help two young lovers overcome the blocking agents (e.g. chaperones or parents) that stand in the way of their blossoming romance.Violet Gray, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls, Poison Ivy
Southern belleAn elegant, beautiful young woman of the American Old South's upper class. She speaks with a Southern accent and is flirtatious. There is a good, wholesome variant and a vain, darker version.Scarlett O'Hara, Blanche Dubois, Elsie Stoneman
Spear carrierA minor character who appears in several scenes, but mostly in the background roles. The term is a reference to minor characters in old plays set in Roman eras who would literally carry a spear as they played guard characters.Imperial Royal Guards from Star Wars
Starving artistAn impoverished painter, jazz musician, screenwriter, or novelist who is so dedicated to their artistic vision, that they refuse to sell out and do commercial art (or pop music, or mainstream feature films, etc.). They live in an attic or couch surf, dress shabbily, and struggle to put food on the table. The depiction ranges from a romanticized, rose-tinted glasses portrait of libertine, Absinthe-sipping bohemians to a gritty social realist examination of the artist's impoverished existence. A starving artist may also be a troubled artist.The depiction of Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris, both male leads in Withnail & I, Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard, the painter and playwright in Design for Living, various bohemians working as actors, artists, and writers in Moulin Rouge!, Llewyn Davis in Inside Llewyn Davis
Straight manA sidekick to a funny person who makes his partner look all the more ridiculous by being completely serious.Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott, Moe Howard
SuccubusA demon that appears in the form of a female lover. The male version of a demon-lover is an incubus.Chaucer's Wife of Bath, Coleridge's "Kubla Khan"
SuperheroA noble, brave being with extraordinary powers who dedicates their life to defending the general public.[2]Thor, Shazam, Sonic the Hedgehog
Superfluous manIn Russian 19th century literature, a dashing young aristocrat who is bored from his privileged life, and who distracts himself from his sense of ennui by engaging in intrigues, casual affairs, duels, gambling, and drinking. He is selfish and manipulative, and cares little about others or broader issues in society.Eugene Onegin
SupersoldierA soldier who operates beyond human limits or abilitiesCaptain America, Master Chief, Bloodshot, Universal Soldier
SupervillainThe nemesis to the Superhero, the supervillain is a sinister being and plots crimes against society. Their origin story, which explains why they turned evil, is often important to their character.Lex Luthor, The Joker, Dr. Evil
SwashbucklerA joyful, noisy, and boastful Renaissance era or Cavalier era swordsman or pirate. He is chivalrous, courageous, and skilled in sword fighting and acrobatics as he seeks vengeance on a corrupt villain. In films, the story may be set in the Golden Age of Piracy.D'Artagnan, Zorro, Jack Sparrow
T
ThugA henchman or gang member who commits violent crimesBill Sikes, Francis Begbie, Biff Tannen
Thug (Black)In American films and TV shows, Black men are depicted "...playing drug dealers, pimps, con-artists and other ... criminals".[32] A criticism of this stock character is that the "...disproportionate amount of Black people playing criminals in Hollywood fuels the racial stereotype that Black men are dangerous and drawn to illicit activities."[33]The Wire, Denzel Washington in Training Day, the gun runner character Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) in Jackie Brown
Tiger momA stereotype of East Asian mothers who relentlessly push their children to achieve success. Tiger moms set the highest standards and insist that their children strive for top marks so they can get into the best schools. In US TV and movies, this ethnic stereotype depicts East Asians as a "model minority".Bi Sheng Nan in Tiger Mom
Token black characterA character with no distinguishing characteristics whose sole purpose is to provide nominal diversity to the cast. In 1980s TV shows, screenwriters introduced the "African-American workplace pal" stock character as a way to add a Black character in a secondary role.[34]Token Black, Franklin in Peanuts, Isaiah
TomboyA girl or young woman with boyish and/or manly behavior.Merida, Mulan, Rainbow Dash, Princess Daisy
Tortured artistA painter, sculptor, or other creator frustrated with their artistic challenges, or with being misunderstood. They may have mental health issues or addiction, and they are hard to be around due to their narcissism and frustration.Brian Topp, Vincent van Gogh
Town drunkA male in a small town who is intoxicated more often than sober. They often have a good heart and may end up helping the protagonist.Barney Gumble, Otis Campbell, Uncle Billy
Tragic heroA hero with a flaw, mistake, or misconception (hamartia) that leads to their eventual death and downfall. Historically, they were the main character in a Greek or Roman tragedy. The flaw often arises due to the character's hubris. Despite the character's flaw, the audience usually finds them to be admirable or appealing at a broader level, which increases the dramatic impact of their downfall.Michael Corleone, Jay Gatsby, Randle McMurphy
Tragic mulattoA mulatto who is sad or suicidal because they fail to fit in with white or black people. The tragic mestizo has a similar clash with whites and Native Americans.Half Breed, Eliza, Cassy, and Emmeline in Uncle Tom's Cabin, Peola Johnson in Imitation of Life
Tricky slaveA cunning individual, of a lower social class than the heroes (originally bound in slavery), who facilitates the story's completion in exchange for improvement of his lotJeeves, Puss in Boots
TsundereIn Japanese anime and manga, a character who is initially cold (and sometimes even hostile) before gradually showing a warmer, friendlier side over time. Similar in temperament to the curmudgeon, but usually young and female.Asuka Langley Soryu, Tsuyukusa from Amatsuki
U
Übermensch[2]A (often only seemingly) perfect human beingSuperman, Hercules, Don Pedro
V
VampA woman with dark hair, usually seen wearing jet black dresses, and having a macabre sense of humor. A goth variant of the femme fatale.Morticia Addams, Vampira, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Natasha Fatale
ViceAn allegorical evil part in medieval morality plays.
Village idiotA person known locally for ignorance or stupidity; this character often turns out to be brave and sweet, and is sometimes underestimated (see Wise fool).Michelangelo, Bertie Wooster, Patrick Star
Villain[2]An evil character in a story.Shere Khan, Professor Moriarty, Count Dracula
W
Whisky priestA priest or ordained minister who shows clear signs of moral weakness, either due to alcohol use or other forbidden activities, while at the same time teaching a higher standard and showing courage and moral resolve on a broader level.Father Callahan, Father Jack, Harry Powell
White friendIn fiction centered around a group and/or family of people of color, the white friend is an exaggerated parody of white stereotypes, including awkwardness, inability to dance, and being an all-around square.Chelsea Daniels in That's So Raven, Tom Willis
White hunterKhaki-clad, pith-helmeted Caucasian big-game hunters or safari leaders in Africa, used to illustrate the Imperial or racist mindset of the colonial era.Allan Quatermain, Kraven the Hunter, Redvers Fenn-Cooper
WimpWeak-willed, mild-mannered, ineffectual, not well-liked and easily manipulatedWallace Wimple, Caspar Milquetoast, Arthur Carlson
Wise foolA person who seems like an idiot or simpleton, who may speak inarticulate nonsense in one moment, only to later show wisdom later on. The fool's mocking humour shows his ability to understand events or speak blunt truths to a leader.Puck, Goofy, Pumbaa, Forrest Gump
Wise old manAn elderly, learned character who provides mentoring and wisdom to the protagonist. In fantasy, he may also be a wizard.Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gandalf, Albus Dumbledore, Merlin
Y
YokelAn unsophisticated country person whose rural accent and coarse manners are used for comic relief.Trevor Philips, Cletus Spuckler, Dale Gribble
Youngest childThe underestimated youngest child in a family of many children, usually all of the same gender.
YouxiaA Chinese type of the Knight-errantFong Sai-yuk
YuppieIn 1980s and early 1990s films and TV (or works set in that era), a young, urban professional who is driven by their goals of career success and achieving wealth. Typically a lawyer, financial executive, or businessperson, they love their luxury car (a Saab or BMW), their house in a trendy downtown neighbourhood, dressing in designer clothes, and eating at hip restaurants. May be depicted as benign for satirical purposes, or depicted as immoral, villainous profiteers.Gordon Gekko, Patrick Bateman, Jordan Belfort
ZanniServant characters in commedia dell'arte. Zanni was of two distinct types: one is an astute, cunning servant and the other is a silly, stupid servant. They were called First Zanni and Second Zanni. Mezzetino and Brighella are examples of the First Zanni; Arlecchino and Pulcinella are examples of the Second Zanni. The Second Zanni provides comic relief.Arlecchino (or Harlequin), Brighella, and Pulcinello.
See also
References
  1. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f John Clute, Peter Nicholls (1993), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Orbit, ISBN 1-85723-124-4
  3. ^ Kelley, Blair (25 September 2014). "Here's Some History Behind That 'Angry Black Woman' Riff the NY Times Tossed Around". The Root. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  4. ^ Ashley, Wendy (4 November 2013). "The Angry Black Woman: The Impact of Pejorative Stereotypes on Psychotherapy with Black Women". Social Work in Public Health. 29 (1): 27–34. doi​:​10.1080/19371918.2011.619449​. PMID 24188294. S2CID 25338484.
  5. ^ Clark, Naeemah (10 November 2013). "Find real African American women in a beauty salon, not on reality TV". Greensboro News & Record.
  6. ^ Kretsedemas, Philip (2010). "'But She's Not Black!'". Journal of African American Studies. 14 (2): 149–170. doi​:​10.1007/s12111-009-9116-3​. S2CID 142722769.
  7. ^ "American Heritage Dictionary Entry: antihero". Ahdictionary.com. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  8. ^ Pandey, Ashish (2005). Academic Dictionary Of Fiction. Isha Books. p. 18. ISBN 8182052629.
  9. ^ Nittle, Nadra Kareem (6 March 2021). "5 Common Black Stereotypes in TV and Film". www.thoughtco.com. Thought Co. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  10. ^ Rowling, J.K. (26 June 1997). Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. United Kingdom: Bloomsbury. ISBN 0-7475-3269-9.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Ramirez Berg, Charles. "Stereotyping in films in general and of the Hispanic in particular". The Howard Journal of Communications, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Summer 1990), pp. 286-300.
  12. ^ Herbst, Philip (1997). The color of words: An encyclopaedic dictionary of ethnic bias in the United States. Intercultural Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-877864-97-1.
  13. ^ Daughter of the Dragon, retrieved 24 October 2019
  14. ^ Wood, Robin (2006), Howard Hawks, Wayne State University Press, p. 30, ISBN 978-0-8143-3276-4
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  16. ^ Tara Brabazon, Ladies who lunge: celebrating difficult women (2002), 147.
  17. ^ Linnell, Christine. "A History of the Gay Best Friend in Film and TV". www.advocate.com. Advocate. Retrieved 26 May 2021..
  18. ^ "Geek". Dictionary.com-Merriam-Webster entry. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
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  21. ^ Bean, Kitty (3 November 2007). "Grande-dame hotels unveiling fresh faces". USA Today. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
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  24. ^ Otto Penzler (editor) The lineup: the world's greatest crime writers tell the inside story of their greatest detectives. Little, Brown (2009)
  25. ^ Graham, Peter (22 May 1998), "The Planet of the Zogs", Times Educational Supplement
  26. ^ De Camp, L. Sprague (1953), Science-fiction Handbook: The Writing of Imaginative Fiction, p. 28
  27. ^ Colman, David (17 June 2009). "The All-American Back From Japan". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Doviak, Scott von; Gore, Chris. Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema. Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub. 2004.
  29. ^ a b Mislak, Mikayla (April 2015). "From Sissies to Secrecy: The Evolution of the Hays Code Queer". filmicmag.com. Filmic. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  30. ^ Rodan, Debbie; Ellis, Katie (23 May 2016). Disability, Obesity and Ageing: Popular Media Identifications. Routledge. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-317-15010-7.
  31. ^ Shockley, Lexye L. (2017). "Regulating Boss Hogg-Citizen Empowerment and Rural Government Accountability". Volume 4, Number 1 - Savannah Law School - ABA Accredited Law School. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  32. ^ Nittle, Nadra Kareem (6 March 2021). "5 Common Black Stereotypes in TV and Film". www.thoughtco.com. Thought Co. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  33. ^ Nittle, Nadra Kareem (6 March 2021). "5 Common Black Stereotypes in TV and Film". www.thoughtco.com. Thought Co. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  34. ^ Davis, Glyn; Gary Needham. Queer TV: Theories, Histories. Routledge, Dec. 3, 2008. p. 31
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