Vladimir Propp Character Theory

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  • 1. They are often the protagonist or a major character that the audience associates most strongly with. Sometimes they are the person around which the story is told. As well as their ‘hero’ status they may also take on the role of victim or seeker.
  • 2. The antagonist , they are a contrast to the hero and usually opposes them. Typically they are morally bad, highlighting the goodness of the hero and may seek to prevent the hero from achieving their goal
  • 3. The princess is often a ‘reward’ for the hero or may be wooed by the false hero. They may be seen very little in the story perhaps only appearing at the end or could be an integral character who accompanies the hero on their mission where he may win her heart by the actions he shows throughout. The princess may also be the object which is deliberately sought after by the hero perhaps finding where the villain has taken her.
  • 4. The princess’s father is a key figure for the hero to persuade, as the father is almost always protective of his daughter. He may be the one to dispatch the hero on his mission to save the princess. The father may also be in competition in some way with the hero for the princess’ affections and a triangle may form. On the other hand, he may be villainous and lock his daughter away; who the hero is trying to rescue her from.
  • 5. Appears to act heroically and may even be initially mistaken for the real hero. The character may at first appear good but really is evil, they will try to steal the hero’s thunder, grab all the credit and may even try to win over the princess.
  • 6. The helper supports the hero on their quest, they may be present throughout the story or appear at critical moments to provide support
  • 7. The donor is a person who gives the hero an object that helps them either by empowering them or is important for completing their quest. This role can be combined with that of a helper
  • 8. The dispatcher is the character who send the hero on their mission. Sometimes the dispatcher may be the princess; father who gives the hero a set of quests to be completed before he gains the hand of the princess.