what on earth is a dramatic function. my homework is asking me to ‘explore a characters dramatic function’ but i have no idea what it means. please help.
In all narratives, whether novels, films or plays, a character can be said to have a “dramatic function.” When we watch a film we understand this implicitly; when we take a critical perspective on a narrative, as you’re attempting to do, the question may seem difficult, but it’s really not.
For example, in adventure stories, an individual is typically identifiable as the “hero,” or “protagonist.” What is the dramatic function of the hero? The hero is the character that takes center stage in the narrative. We usually sympathize with the hero, follow their story closely, feel bad when they fail, and feel good when they succeed. Typically, the protagonist will struggle against an enemy, the “antagonist.” The conflict between the hero and the enemy is what often gives a plot shape and energy.
Therefore, in every narrative, characters can be said to serve a function in terms of the overall plot. Sometimes, minor characters will have only minimal roles. In many Shakespearean dramas, for example, the leading characters may be accompanied by minor characters who serve to advance the plot in minor ways. No matter the character, however, if you want to understand his or her “dramatic function,” ask yourself, how is this character important to the story? what role does the character have in helping the story to develop?
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