A character analysis essay is a written piece that attempts to understand the personality of a character in a given literary work. It can analyze why an individual acts in a certain manner, how he influences the plot, and what his personality says about society’s values at the time the novel was written.

The Purpose of a Character analysis essay

The purpose of a character analysis essay is usually to explain, in detail, the personality or social status of a literary figure. Additionally, it may aim to explain how the way in which an author presents this character affects his role in the novel. A well-written character analysis essay should provide substantial insight into why the character acts in the way he does and not focus on merely summarizing what happens.

A strong essay will also take into account the time period when the work was written and its historical context. It may use comparisons with other novels that explore similar themes at that time to enhance interpretation.

How to write a Character analysis Essay

1) Determine your thesis/main argument

2) “Read between the lines”

3) Write a draft

4) Edit the final draft

5) Edit for word choice (vocabulary) and sentence fluency (clarity)

6) Proofread for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation problems

Character Analysis Outline


Briefly summarize the plot of the novel or play in which you are analyzing a character.

The First Paragraph

The first paragraph should include a one sentence introduction, a summary of the text and a thesis statement. It needs to be an effective hook that makes readers want to learn more about your argument.

The Second Paragraph

Introduce your character – who is he, what does he do? And explain why his actions are important to your argument. This can include where any irony may occur, i.e., how his actions contradict what we expect from him as individuals with certain personalities or motivations based on our preconceptions of people from similar social groups.

Do not merely summarize the character’s personality, but how it affects the overall plot.

The Third Paragraph

Discuss what you find most interesting about your character’s personality and why his values are important to us as modern readers. Does he challenge stereotypes? Do his actions help or hurt him? How do they affect those around him? What says more about society at the time of publication/performance – his personality or his struggles?


Summarize your main points and reiterate why your audience should care about this character’s personality. You can also restate any overarching themes that may become apparent throughout the essay, i.e., why certain aspects of our world value particular traits over others.