Although my husband and I live in an almost-empty-nest, sometimes I catch myself reminiscing. Our homeschool history course many years ago includes a mini-unit on Shakespeare and his works. We’d listened to an excellent 3 part DVD series by Schlessinger Media called, “Shakespeare for Students.” The concepts are simply explained, but meaty.
In The Characters of Shakespeare (Part 1), we learn there are two types of characters in Shakespeare’s works. static and dynamic. Here is a summary:
Static (or Stock) Character: A person who does not change during the course of the story. A shallow two-dimensional figure used to carry along the story, add comic relief or provide a menacing presence. The Fool in King Lear is one example (which, by the way, is the most “tragic of his tragedies . . . nothing good comes from it unless it is a lesson for the readers!) A villainous character would be Iago in Othello or Edmund in King Lear.
Dynamic Character: A person who changes, for better or worse, in the course of the play. A deeper, three-dimensional character, such as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. She matures into a complex young lady by the last act, but, unfortunately, it’s too late. Another example is Macbeth, who moves from a valiant war hero to a paranoid murderer within the course of the play. So, this got me thinking . . . Not only is this good to know as we develop our own characters in a story (too many static characters spoil the broth, and vice versa), but ponder this:
What sort of character are you? What kind do you wish to be?
Hopefully, it’s obvious that you can’t be a dynamic character if you have no trials and tribulations. How many people do you know who have everything they want and need – are they shallow, or complex?
What character is God forming in you this Thanksgiving? Be thankful if God allows troubles in your life. It will make you a more well-rounded 3D character who will be wiser, more compassionate and helpful to others.
Now that’s character!
*This post first appeared on Jarm’s travel and inspiration blog.