If you have a clear idea about how characters are presented in a story, then you will know the answer for the question ‘what are dynamic characters.’ If not, that means you have yet to cover another important area in studying a text. If you take a story, it is the characters in that story that make the story a story. A story takes place when some incident happens and then it is followed by another incident. An incident occurs because some action happens. Someone has to do the action. The person who is doing the action and end up creating incidents in a story is known as a character.
Definition of dynamic characters
There are different types of characters in a story. From among them, the dynamic characters are considered special as they show some difference at the end of the story. A dynamic character is the character that changes as a result of the conflicts he or she faces in the course of the story. This change has to be internal. If a person inherits money from a relative and suddenly becomes rich from being very poor, that person does not become a dynamic character unless his or her internal qualities change. Only if the internal qualities change, we call that person a dynamic character. Usually, the protagonist of a story is a dynamic character. Protagonist is the main character of the story.
Examples for dynamic characters
Now, that we have established who a dynamic character is, let us see some examples to make the point clearer to you.
Elizabeth Bennet is the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Elizabeth is the second daughter of a family of five daughters. Due to their financial status, the only way they are going to keep their status is by marrying a man with good status. So, Elizabeth’s mother, Mrs. Bennet, pours all her energy in securing good marriage opportunities to her daughters. Elizabeth is caught up in all this. She is more intelligent than her sisters as she has a different way of looking at life. However, she lets her first impressions of Mr. Wickham fool her to believe he is a good man and believe Mr. Darcy is a bad man. Later on, when faced with her young sister Lydia’s elopement with Wickham and various other conflicts that she has to face, she comes to her senses and grows as a character. She accepts her flaws and becomes a less judgmental character. So, the Elizabeth we find in the beginning and the Elizabeth we find at the end are two different people as the latter has grown internally due to conflicts.
In the Harry Potter book series, Harry is of course a dynamic character. However, another very important dynamic character that stands out of the rest is Neville Longbottom. As a first year student at Hogwarts, Neville is introduced as a little boy who grows up with his grandmother. He is very afraid. He is not at all adventurous as his fear of breaking rules prevents him from actually trying anything new. Then, from the end of the first novel, Neville starts to change. With friends like Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny, he starts to fight his fears. In the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he even directly helps Harry by slaying the snake Nagini in front of Voldemort. His need for justice and his kind heart lets him change from a scared little boy to a teenager who is ready to fight with fear, to protect what is right and good.
When it comes to characters in books, there are different types. Dynamic characters are one such type. Dynamic characters are the ones who change during the course of the story as a result of the conflicts they face. However, for character to be known as a dynamic character it has to have an internal change. That is to say their qualities, the way they look at life should change. An external change such as becoming suddenly rich does not make a character dynamic unless that change creates an internal change. Some examples for dynamic characters are Neville Longbottom and Elizabeth Bennet.
- Elizabeth Bennet via Wikicommons (Public Domain)