Dynamic Character

Definition of Dynamic Character

Like a round character, a dynamic character also undergoes changes throughout the narrative due to several conflicts he encounters on his journey. A dynamic character faces trials and tribulations and takes time to learn from encounters, other characters, experiences, and mistakes he/she commits. Sometime a character learns a lesson and gains maturity such as Prince Hal in Henry IV. Some characters discover mistakes in their point of view, and some others discover an important aspect of their personalities, such as Neville Longbottom did in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” These all changes make a character dynamic, but they are implied ones, and not stated outright.

Difference between Dynamic and Round Character

Though dynamic and round characters both undergo character development, yet there is a slight difference between them. It is that a dynamic character does not tell about the traits of a character; rather, it refers to those traits that change over the time. A round character, on the contrary, defines the complex traits of the character. Also, a round character can be a dynamic character like Hamlet.

Examples of Dynamic Character from Literature

Example #1

Harry from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The most important conflict in this novel is the inner conflict of Harry — the reason of his being a dynamic character. He perceives that he shares some abilities similar to Tom Riddle, who becomes evil Lord Voldemort, and this makes him worried that he might also turn out to be an evil character. Dumbledore mentions Harry’s presence in Gryffindor House, and Tom Riddle’s in Slytherin House. Harry, in a defeated tone, says, “It only puts me in Gryffindor” because Harry did not want to go in Slytherin. Beaming again, Dumbledore says, “exactly … Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry … far more than our abilities.” Harry learns this lesson about the importance of the choices one makes. It resolves around his inner conflict, making him a good example of a dynamic character.

Example #2

Hamlet from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Throughout the play, Hamlet is worried about life and death, which has made him a dynamic character. The greatest fear of Hamlet is afterlife, which is quite understandable, because his father’s Ghost comes out of purgatory and tells him about the horror and terror awaiting it. Because of his preoccupation with this fear, Hamlet does not act out on his desire to avenge upon Claudius. Nevertheless, when he visits graveyard and holds dead skull of the person he knows, then he becomes conscious about the inevitability of death and thinks that even great men such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar could not escape it. This philosophical change in his perspective about death lets him finally take revenge on King Claudius.

Example #3

Jack from Lord of the Flies by William Golding

There are four dynamic characters Jack, Ralph, Simon and Piggy in this novel. However, Jack is prominent among them, who is an important dynamic character, as he goes through a lot of changes during the course of the novel. On the island, he encounters life-changing experiences that develop and change him forever. He has never thought that he would live the way he lives on the island. His authoritative figure, violence and instinctual behavior make him a dynamic character.

Example #4

Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Sydney Carton is another good example of a dynamic character. At the very beginning of the story, Carton thinks of himself as, “I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me.” He throws himself in a depressed state; digging into a hole from where, he thinks, he could never come out. He is frustrated, and thinks his purpose in life is only to serve C.J. Stryver. The only beautiful part of his life is his love for Lucie Manette, hearing her news of marrying Charles Darnay, heartbroken man goes to her and reveals his feelings to her. This conversation brings a turning point in his life and he start taking care of himself and people around him.


A dynamic character plays an important role in a narrative. Often it is the main character of the story. It helps to build a compelling and convincing story around it. By going through an important transition, having a coming-of-the-age experience, pulling through trials, gaining maturity and feeling a change of the heart, developing likable qualities, a dynamic character shows a his full transformation. All these changes bring a flavor to the story line and an element of surprise to the readers.

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