Description of term:

A character analysis can encompass the whole play (Kazan*), or can be written scene by scene (Macbeth*). In this assignment we will concern ourselves with the former. You will want to include information from specific scenes in order to support your analysis, but you should consider the full arc of the character in your writing.

Many different theatre artists engage in character analysis; the process could also be applied to set or lighting design, and it is very easily applied to costume design. You may want to include references to those design elements in your analysis, but the assignment is specifically focused on elements of character that the actor will bring to bear.

Reading chapter six of your Ferguson* text is essential in order to successfully complete this assignment. (This assignment does not include all of the elements that the Ferguson covers, such as the individual "beats" of a scene.)


Identify, for all characters, the following, using headings as in the World of the Play paper:

The Given Circumstances of the character:

          -Physical Description of the character

                    Given in script

                    Further imagined as director or casting agent

          -Geographical location of the action in the play, generally and specific to each character is applicable.

          -Date/season/time of day for the action of the play. If there is a span of time, note that.

          -Environment (where they are now and where they came from, if applicable):

                    Physical—where does the action take place, generally and specfically, and why this is important.

                    Economic—if there are multiple economies at play, be specific.

                    Social—if there are multiple social groups, be specific

                    Religious—if region is not important to the play, you do not need to list it.

                    Political—this can be national parties or local structures; any structre of power should be noted.


Some of these given circumstances will likely be universal for all characters, (such as location, date, time of day, socio-political considerations, etc.). If so, you may list them at the top as "Universal Given Circumstances" so you don't have to repeat them for each character.

If characters do have specific given circumstances, these should be included for each character in addition to any universal given circumstances.

The Super-Objective of the each character:

      The super-objective is an over-reaching objective, the thing that drives the character to act. Another word mught be the character's "quest". It is most likely linked to the overall outcome of the play in some way. It must be able to be put into action.

      Linked to the super-objective will be:

Action(s) that the character engages in to reach their objective.


       Each action will also have:

Obstacle(s) that are in the way of the character's action.

Along the way there will likely be scene-by-scene objectives that lead to the super-objective. It might be important to identify these, as well.


Keep this straight-forward and direct. The point of this is the extraction, organization, and analysis of dramatic "data"; it's not an essay.

The paper should be typed in 12 pt font, with one inch margins, have page numbers, and be stapled in the upper left corner. It should be edited and proof-read before submission. Any resources that you use must be cited. Use the headings above as in the World of the Play paper.

There is no page minimum for this assignment, but it should fully discus all of the above criteria. Depending upon the number of characters you are asked to analyze, the paper could be quite long.

Character Analysis Paper