What is a Static Character? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Characters
  • 0:36 Dynamic Characters
  • 1:22 Static Characters
  • 2:20 Purpose of Static Characters
  • 3:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

In this lesson, you'll learn the two main types of characters: dynamic and static. Furthermore, you'll see some examples of static characters and analyze their purposes within a story.


Every story needs compelling characters. The characters are what give it life. They make the world the author creates real to the audience. These characters need to be believable and convincing. The audience is a great judge at what is consistent with a character's personality and what is not. Great authors are able to create vivid characters with distinct personalities. Both dynamic and static characters can have unique personalities, but the depth of their personalities is what establishes the differences between these two types of characters.

Dynamic Characters

There are two main types of characters. The first type is the dynamic character. Authors of gripping stories are able to provide colorful characters that can develop and grow throughout the story. These are the dynamic characters. Dynamic characters change in some way. For example, think of your favorite Disney movie - it probably features a character who goes through some change.

Let's examine The Lion King. In the beginning, Simba is immature and an easy victim to his uncle's plan for murder and guilt. However, by the end, he is confident and willing to take responsibility for his mistakes. Ultimately, he defeats his uncle and takes his rightful place as king. Simba is a prime example of a dynamic, or changing, character.

Static Characters

The second main type of character is the static character. Static characters are the opposite of dynamic; static characters do not change. The personality of that character when he is introduced is the same personality when the story comes to a close. And all his actions in between stay true to that personality. In The Lion King example, Scar would be a static character. He is evil and self-serving in the beginning, and he keeps those traits until he dies.

Another great example of a static character is the title character in 'Rip Van Winkle.' When the reader meets Rip, he is a laid-back, idle man who neglects his household chores. After a 20-year nap, during which Rip's hometown drastically changes, his personality remains the same. He finds his daughter, now grown up, and returns to his idle and shiftless life. Rip is a static character.

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