A flat man or woman is a type of man or woman in fiction that does not change too much from the begin of the narrative to its end. Flat characters are regularly said now not to have any emotional depth.
E. M. Foster has mentioned some capabilities of flat characters in his book, Aspects of the Novel. According to Foster, a flat character is a simple man or woman, shown by way of the writer as having just one or two qualities, which normally remain the identical throughout the story, no longer undergoing tremendous increase or changes. The target market does no longer understand much about those characters, because the writer does no longer provide detailed statistics approximately them.
Characteristics of Flat Character
The role of flat characters is to support the main individual.
They do no longer undergo a significant growth or transformation inside the course of the narrative.
They have recognizable traits that make them appear stereotypical.
They are often referred to as one- or -dimensional characters, commonly having one angle or factor of view about life, things, or events.
Examples of Flat Characters in Literature
Example #1: Gertrude from Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
Outwardly, Queen Gertrude seems to be a caring mother of Hamlet, but inwardly she is a weak-willed lady, who walks blindly through her life, isn't aware that Claudius has trapped her by way of murdering her husband, or that he has seized her husband’s throne. Gertrude has no concept why Hamlet is upset about her marriage. She behaves like a tool of fate within the entire tragedy, even when she stops Hamlet from going lower back to Wittenberg for studies.
Gertrude is a weak character, whom Claudius and Polonius have used for their personal interests. She arranges a assembly with Hamlet, so that Claudius could secret agent on him, and also lets Polonius remain behind the curtains to pay attention the conversation among them. Thus, throughout the narrative, she proves her flat individual and does no longer transform. She stays passive, by no means acts on her very own until she will become a victim herself.
Example #2: Miss Maudie from To Kill a Mockingbird (By Harper Lee)
Miss Maudie is a flat man or woman due to the fact she maintains the identical traits and outlook in the course of the narrative. She starts and ends the novel by using appearing as a voice of purpose for kids, and supporting and explaining Atticus’ motivations and actions. She is the one who does now not openly supply a warning to Atticus for taking the case of Tom Robinson. Her tremendous and optimistic mind-set stays steady, even after losing her residence to a fire. Also, she represents extra open-minded female within the novel, as she sees error in social shape of Maycomb.
Example #3: Elizabeth Proctor from The Crucible (By Arthur Miller)
Another instance of flat individual is The Crucible‘s Elizabeth Proctor, who's a self-righteous female, who usually believes in doing something right. Whatever happens within the story, she stays faithful to her husband, John Proctor. Though she feels dejected because of John’s cheating, she does no longer turn in opposition to him notwithstanding his wrongdoing.
Elizabeth Proctor is essentially an honest person who, when John asks for her advice as to whether or not he must confess his sin, she leaves the decision to him. She does now not judge her husband, and assures him that she would support him for any choice he makes. Thus, she does not transform all through this play, proving her as a flat person from beginning to the end.
Example #4: Benvolio from Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)
Benvolio is some other flat character, who stays unchanged during the play. He is temperate, solid, and loyal, who continually tries to preserve peace and concord between the 2 families. Benvolio’s cause is to aid Romeo to get married to Juliet. However, the irony is that others accuse him for his warm temperament and wild mind-set.
Function of Flat Character
The function of a flat character is to assist the main man or woman in pursuing his pursuits and goals. Flat characters frequently play a assisting function within the story, play, or novel. Though they're not very prominent characters, nor are they unimportant, due to the fact they create concord, peace, and comedy to the story. Writers use these characters to create a selected atmosphere within the complicated narrative shape.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw