From classic literature to comic books, perceptive readers will notice that even the most unique characters can fit into familiar molds. The characters in short stories, graphic novels, and novels are often based on archetypes — characters who represent a universal trait or pattern. To help you with character development in your writing (and appreciation in your reading), we have assembled a list of the most identifiable and popular character archetypes from A to Z.
Character Archetypes For Every Letter Of The Alphabet
Antihero: A main character who doesn’t have stereotypical “heroic” qualities, like courage, strength, or idealism.
Backstabber: A so-called “friend” who betrays the story’s hero, usually in a shocking twist.
Comic Relief: The humorous character whose main purpose within the story is to provide readers with an amusing break, especially during moments of drama or tension.
Devotee: A character whose entire life and purpose revolve around another person or cause.
Everyperson: This character represents an ordinary person who’s just like most readers.
Frenemy: You love to hate them — and so does the hero! While the hero may treat this person like a friend, underneath the surface there’s a fundamental rivalry. Or it could be the reverse: enemies who deep down really admire each other.
Good Samaritan: A side character who steps in to do the right thing.
Hermit: Think Boo Radley here — often, the Hermit is an older man who lives alone and shifts unexpectedly from someone the protagonist fears to a counselor they respect.
Invasive Neighbor: This neighbor is a nosy, gossipy annoyance. You may have one of these in your real life as well as inside your book!
Jock: A frequent archetype in middle grade and young adult stories — a sports star who’s usually quite popular, but can also be a bully to more academic or klutzy students.
Logician: This side character is driven purely by logic and reason and may struggle with expressing or understanding emotion.