After studying this section you should be able to understand:
• how Shakespeare creates characters
The Creation of Characters Characters are the central feature in any play. An essential part of your study will be to see how Shakespeare creates and presents his characters and how they function in the play. Shakespeare gives his audience an impression of the characters in a play in various ways.
Here are some ways we get a picture of a character:
• What the character looks like (physical appearance, clothing etc.). When a play is seen on the stage then much of this will be visual, although characters sometimes comment on another character’s appearance in the dialogue. Don’t forget to look at the stage directions too when studying from a text.
• What a character says and how it is said.
• What the character thinks (often we learn about this from a character’s soliloquies).
• How the character acts – watch out for reaction to different situations.
• How the character’s words match their actual deeds or their underlying motives.
• What other characters say about a character. • How a character changes as the play goes on.