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List of stock characters

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Title: List of stock characters  
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Subject: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stock character, Outline of fantasy, Legendary creature, Gods and demons fiction
Collection: Lists of Stock Characters
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List of stock characters

A stock character is a dramatic or literary character representing a type in a conventional manner and recurring in many works.[1] The following list labels some of these archetypes and stereotypes, providing distinctive examples.

Character Type Description Examples
Absent-minded professor An absent-minded scientific genius[2] Professor Calculus, Emmett Brown
Action hero A film hero protagonist with unrealistic physical resistance and fighting capabilities John McClane, John Rambo, Jason Bourne
Alien invaders Extraterrestrials who mount an invasion against Earth[2] War of the Worlds, Body Snatchers, Independence Day
Angry white male A person typically known as having a traditional conservative viewpoint, especially in the context of U.S. politics, characterized by opposition to racial quotas, political correctness, affirmative action, and other liberal policies William Foster in Falling Down, Archie Bunker
Anti-hero A cowardly, antisocial or honorless protagonist Faust, Falstaff, Walter White (Breaking Bad)
Archimime A jester in Ancient Rome who imitated manners, gestures and speech of living and deceased famous people.
Bad boy A roguish macho Charlie Harper, Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause
Battle-axe A domineering, brash and brazen woman Xena, Agnes Skinner
Bimbo A dumb, pretty girl Karen Smith (Mean Girls)
Black brute An inherently violent black man Jules Winnfield, John Shaft; Gus in Birth of a Nation
Blackface A black person played by a white person Tropic Thunder, Birth of a Nation, Soul Man
Black knight Evil fighter antagonist Darth Vader, Mordred
Blind seer Blind or blinded fortune teller or prophet Tiresias, Mother Abagail in Stephen King's The Stand
Blonde stereotype A pretty, but stupid blonde Blonde and Blonder, White Chicks
Boy next door Average and nice guy George Gibbs in Our Town
Breeches role A role in which an actress appears in male clothing Shakespeare in Love
Bug-eyed monster Staple evil alien;[2] Formics
Byronic hero A proud, moody and cynical man, yet capable of deep and strong affection Childe Harold, Eugene Onegin, Rochester
Cat lady Old woman overly concerned with her cats Arabella Figg, Crazy Cat Lady
Conanesque[3] character inspired by Conan the Barbarian Claw the Unconquered, Thongor of Lemuria
Contender A competitive underdog Rocky Balboa, Terry Maloy
Crone Malicious old woman, often occult or witch-like Baba Yaga, Wicked Witch of the West, Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter (film series)
Damsel in distress A noble Lady in need of rescue, traditionally from dragons Princess Peach, Princess Buttercup, Princess and dragon
Dark Lady A dark, malicious or doomed woman Lady Macbeth, Agatha Trunchbull, Annie Wilkes
Holmesian detective A private or police detective who solves crimes by using logical deduction Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, Hercule Poirot
Hardboiled detective A gruff, tough and streetwise, but generally honest detective Sam Spade, John Hartigan, Philip Marlowe
Elderly martial arts master A wise, powerful man teaching his powerful craft to a young student. Often needs to be avenged Keisuke Miyagi, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, Pai Mei
Esper A telepathic human[2] Lincoln Powell in The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester,[4] Akira
Essex girl A promiscuous and stupid female (originally from Essex) Amy Childs
Everyman An ordinary individual Everyman
Evil clown An evil and chaotic clown Pennywise, The Joker
Fall guy A scapegoat
Farmer's daughter A desirable and naive young woman. She is also described as being an "open-air type" and "public-spirited".[5][6]
Femme fatale A beautiful, but mischievous and traitorous woman Ruth Wonderly, Poison Ivy
Feral child A child who has lived from a young age without human contact Mowgli, Tarzan
Final girl A "last girl standing" in a horror film Laurie Strode, Sally Hardesty, Lila Crane
Fop A foolish man overly concerned with his appearance and clothes Max Downing G
Gentle giant A physically imposing but kind-hearted character. Rubeus Hagrid, Fezzik, Hodor
Gentleman thief A sophisticated and well-mannered thief Arsène Lupin, A.J. Raffles, Simon Templar
Geek A generally not athletic fan of super heroes, science fiction and fantasy, especially of Video Games, Comic Books, Films and Roleplaying Games. Sheldon Cooper, Steve Smith
Girl next door An average girl with a wholesome conduct Winnie Cooper, Betty Cooper
Grande dame French for "great lady". A flamboyant woman, prone to extravagant and eccentric fashion. Usually a stereotype of an elderly high society socialite.[7][8][9][10] Constance in Gosford Park, Princess Dragomiroff in Murder on the Orient Express; Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest
Hag A wizened old woman, often a malicious witch witch in Hansel and Gretel, Baba Yaga
Harlequin A clown or professional fool Till Eulenspiegel
Hawksian woman A tough-talking woman, originally in a film by Howard Hawks To Have and Have Not (film)
Hero A powerful and morally integer protagonist, often on a quest[2] Luke Skywalker, Neo (The Matrix), Harry Potter
Herr Pastor An authoritarian pastor in an Ethnic German congregation
Hooker with a heart of gold A prostitute with heart and intrinsic morality Nancy (Oliver Twist), Fantine, Inara Serra
Hotshot A reckless character known for taking risks. Martin Riggs, Pete Mitchell (Top Gun)
Ingenue A young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome Ophelia, Cosette, Snow White
Jewish lawyer stereotype A Jewish lawyer that is clever, greedy, exploitative and dishonest Maurice Levy (The Wire), David Kleinfeld in Carlito's Way Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad
Jewish mother stereotype A nagging, overprotective, controlling, smothering, and overbearing mother or wife Kyle's Mom, Mrs. Wolowitz.
Jock (athlete) A male athlete, often muscular, but not very smart Luke Ward
Jester A prankster or fool, originally one employed by a king (court jester) Puck
Jewish-American princess stereotype Materialistic and selfish Jewish girl with a pampered or wealthy background Fran Fine, Princess Vespa in Spaceballs
Killbot Usually large, menacing machines created to perpetrate murder Sentinel (comics), Terminator
Knight-errant A noble Knight on a Quest Galahad, Sir Gawain
Legacy Hero A hero who inherits or adopts the name and attributes of an already or previously existing hero The Phantom, Green Lantern, Robin (comics)
Lipstick lesbian Lesbian and bisexual women who exhibit extremely feminine gender attributes The L Word
Little Green Men Little humanoid extraterrestrials with green skin and antennae on their heads;[11] known familiarly in science fiction fandom as LGM The Great Gazoo; Martians in Martians, Go Home.
Loathly lady A woman who appears to be hideous, often cursed The Wife of Bath's Tale
Lone Vigilante Loner who becomes a vigilante for Justice Batman, Charles Bronson's Death Wish Movies, Dirty Harry
Lovers Main characters who deeply and truly fall romantically in love, despite the blocking effect of other characters. Often moonstruck, star-crossed lovers that are strongly fraternizing with the enemy. Romeo & Juliet
Tony and Maria (West Side Story)
Mad scientist An insane or highly eccentric scientist, often villainous or amoral.[2][12] Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Moreau, Rotwang
Magical Negro A black man with special insight or mystical powers coming to the aid of the white protagonist Bagger Vance, John Coffey in Green Mile, God in Bruce Almighty, The Shining
Mammy archetype A rotund, homely, and matronly black woman Aunt Jemima, Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Aunt Chloe in Uncle Tom's Cabin, , Louise in Forrest Gump, , Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird, Mammy Two Shoes in the Tom and Jerry series
Manic Pixie Dream Girl Usually static characters who have eccentric personality quirks and are unabashedly girlish Garden State, (500) Days of Summer
Marianismo A female Hispanic American folk character celebrating feminine virtues like purity and moral strength
Martian[2][11] Dwellers on Mars. Often prone to invade earth. Barsoom, H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, Mars Attacks
Mary Sue A youthful but one-dimensional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, often considered a stand-in for the author Wesley Crusher, Bella Swan
Miles Gloriosus A boastful soldier from the comic theatre of ancient Rome Volstagg
Monster[2] A generic feral antagonist Godzilla, Frankenstein's monster, King Kong
Mother's boy A man who is excessively attached to his mother Private Frank Pike, Howard Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory, Eddie Kaspbrak in Stephen King's It
Nerd A socially-impaired, obsessive, or overly-intellectual person. Often interested in doing well in school (academically and in terms of behavior) as well as reading books. Martin Prince,Lisa Simpson, Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter in The Big Bang Theory.
Nice Jewish boy stereotype A studious, gentle and sensitive Jewish boy.
Noble savage An idealized indigene or otherwise wild outsider with noble characteristics. Chingachgook, Tarzan, Winnetou
Outlaw (stock character) A romanticized, often charismatic or social bandit. Robin Hood, Billy the Kid, Man with No Name
Occult detective Traditional detective who investigates supernatural mysteries. John Constantine, Hellboy
Paladin A holy knight, a paragon of virtue and goodness. Huma Dragonbane, Sturm Brightblade, Knights of the Round Table
Pantomime dame A pantomime portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag. Widow Twankey
Pet Negro A beloved black person that a particular white person often pampers and parades as a special and distinct from other black people.[13] Arnold Jackson, "Stephen" in "Django Unchained"
Petrushka A Russian kind of jester.
Princesse lointaine A romantic love interest and beloved sweetheart and girlfriend for a Knight-errant. Dulcinea.
Professor A common generic name for fictional characters who fill the role of doctors, scientists, or mad scientists. Emmett Brown, The Professor (Gilligan's Island)
Rake A man habituated to immoral conduct. Francis Charteris (rake), Lord Byron.
Redshirt An expendable character who dies soon after being introduced; this refers to characters from the original Star Trek television series, often from the security or engineering departments of the starship, who wore the red variation of the Starfleet uniform and whose purpose in the narrative was to serve as cannon fodder Star Trek.
Reluctant hero A person who doesn't seek adventure or the opportunity to do good, and often doubts his or her abilities to rise to heroism. However, circumstances result in the character's becoming a true hero. Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Han Solo from the Star Wars series, Neo from The Matrix.
School diva A well-liked or worshipped female student, who sees herself as an alpha female. Mean Girls, Angela Hayes in American Beauty
Secret identity An alias a character may take so that he or she may act in secrecy. Superman's alias Clark Kent, Spider-Man's alias Peter Parker, and Batman's alias Bruce Wayne.
Senex iratus A father figure and comic archetype who belongs to the alazon or impostor group in theater, manifesting himself through his rages and threats, his obsessions and his gullibility. Pantalone in Commedia dell'arte; Frank Costanza (Seinfeld)
Shoulder angel A small angel representing conscience, in contrast to the shoulder devil representing temptation Jiminy Cricket
Shrew A woman given to violent, scolding, particularly nagging treatment Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) Lois (Malcolm in the Middle)
Sidekick A plucky but generally subordinate close companion of the protagonist Robin, Dr. Watson, Sancho Panza, Little John
Sinnekins Pairs of devilish characters who exert their perfidious influence on the main character Flotsam and Jetsam, Hotep and Huy in The Prince of Egypt
Soubrette A character who is vain and girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish and gossipy Susanna
Southern belle A young woman of the American Old South's upper class Blanche Dubois, Scarlett O'Hara, Blanche Maxwell in Mandingo (film), Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly in Django Unchained, Mistress Epps in 12 Years A Slave
Space Nazis Nazi-like antagonists in science fiction works Patterns of Force, Iron Sky, Galactic Empire (Star Wars)
Space pirate Pirates in outer space who travel by spacecraft Captain Harlock Sabalom Glitz
Spear carrier A minor character who appears in several scenes, but mostly in the background Momo (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Spinster An older, childless woman who has never been married Miss Havisham
Spoiled child A child who exhibits behavioral problems from overindulgence by his or her parents Veruca Salt, Veronica Lodge, Dudley Dursley
Strawman A symbol for people regarded as lacking needed qualities Old Major and Benjamin in Animal Farm
Stupid superior A superior who misuses his or her power - with or without an own agenda - and therefore endangers subordinates Admiral Marcus (Star Trek Into Darkness), Dwayne T. Robinson in Die Hard
Superhero An unrealistically powerful hero dedicated to protecting the public[2] Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Avengers, X-Men
Übermensch[2] A (often only seemingly) perfect human being, esp. the DC Comics character Superman Superman, Captain America
Supersoldier A soldier who operates beyond human limits or abilities Captain America; Soldier (1998 American film), Master Chief (Halo)
Supervillain Antithesis to the Superhero Lex Luthor, The Joker, Dr. Doom
Swamp monster Humanoid creatures similar to fish or resembling living piles of swamp mire Heap (comics), Man-Thing, Swamp Thing
Swashbuckler A joyful, noisy and boastful renaissance era swordsman or pirate The Crimson Pirate, Dread Pirate Roberts, Zorro
Tarzanesque protagonist[14] or Tarzanide[15] A character raised in the wilds, often by animals, akin to Tarzan Ka-Zar (comics), Korak, [ Mowgli, Nyoka the Jungle Girl, Rulah, Shanna the She-Devil, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle
Tomboy A girl with boyish and/or manly behavior. George (Famous Five)
Tortured artist A character who is in constant torment due to frustrations with art and other people. Brian Topp
Town bully A bully oppressing meeker residents of a town. Biff Tannen, Nelson Muntz, Henry Bowers in It (1990 film)
Town drunk A male in a small town who is drunk more often than sober. Barney Gumble, Haymitch Abernathy, Otis Campbell
Tragic anti-hero An anti-hero who (merely accidentally than intentionally) destroys his own happiness, and therefore often turns back to fighting the evil Elric of Melniboné, Anakin Skywalker, Severus Snape
Tragic hero A hero with a major flaw that leads to his or her eventual death and downfall. Sigurd, Boromir, Orpheus
Tragic mulatto A mulatto who is sad or suicidal because he or she fails to fit in with white or black people Judy Kovacs in the episode Are You Now or Have You Ever Been in the television series Angel, Eliza, Cassy, and Emmeline in Uncle Tom's Cabin
Travesti Portrayal of a character in an opera, play, or ballet by a performer of the opposite sex Edna Turnblad
Treasure guardian A character who guards a valued treasure Frodo Baggins
Tycoon A person who wields considerable economic power, often acting at the expense of the less fortunate Montgomery Burns, Scrooge McDuck, Ebeneezer Scrooge
Valley girl Affluent women or teenagers characterized by speaking Valspeak and a vapid materialism Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls
Vice An allegorical evil part in medieval morality plays.
Village idiot A person known locally for ignorance or stupidity. Often turns out to be very brave and good, and sometimes, underestimated (see Wise fool) Neville Longbottom
Villain[2] An evil character in a story Snidely Whiplash, Fu Manchu, The Master, Lord Voldemort, Palpatine, Professor Moriarty
Whisky priest A priest or ordained minister who shows clear signs of moral weakness, while at the same time teaching a higher standard Father Callahan, Elmer Gantry, Samuel Parris
Whiteface A performance in which a black person wears theatrical makeup to make themselves look like a white character White Chicks, Watermelon Man, Miles Pope in True Identity, Bosola in The Duchess of Malfi, The Blacks (play)
White hunter White big-game hunters in Africa Allan Quatermain
Wise fool A fool with an attribute of wisdom Shakespearean fool, such as in King Lear, Stańczyk
Wise old man An elderly character who provides wisdom to the protagonist. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Albus Dumbledore, Yoda, Gandalf, Keisuke Miyagi
Yokel An unsophisticated country person Rose Nylund, Cletus Spuckler
Youxia A Chinese type of the Knight-errant Li Mu-Bai, Fong Sai-yuk
Zombie[2] Animated corpses prone to eating humans and thus spreading their condition. Often caused by Voodoo practices or viral agents. Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Inferi

See also


  1. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l John Clute, Peter Nicholls (1993), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Orbit,  
  3. ^ M. Keith Booker. Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels: [Two Volumes]. [S.l.]: ABC-CLIO, 2010. 9780313357473
  4. ^ "Common Expressions: ESPER".  
  5. ^ Wood, Robin (2006), Howard Hawks, Wayne State University Press, p. 30,  
  6. ^ Marie-Luise Kohlke; Luisa Orza (22 October 2008). Negotiating sexual idioms: image, text, performance. Rodopi.  
  7. ^ "In search of old, grand-dame style New England hotels | United States Forum | Fodor's Travel Talk Forums". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Where to Stay in London - Best Hotels & Travel Guide (Condé Nast Traveller)". 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  9. ^ Bean, Kitty (2007-11-30). "Grande-dame hotels unveiling fresh faces". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  10. ^ "Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel: The Grande Dame Walks Her Talk - Travel with a Purpose - Travel with a Purpose". 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  11. ^ a b Peter Graham (22 May 1998), The Planet of the Zogs, Times Educational Supplement 
  12. ^ De Camp, L. Sprague (1953), Science-fiction Handbook: The Writing of Imaginative Fiction, p. 28 
  13. ^,
  14. ^ Vivanco, Luis Antonio ; Gordon, Robert J. . Tarzan was an eco-tourist--: and other tales in the anthropology of adventure. [S.l.: s.n.]. p. 114
  15. ^ Association pour la diffusion de la pensée française, France. Direction générale des relations culturelles. Bulletin critique du livre français, Edições 628-630. [S.l.]: Association pour la diffusion de la pensée française, 2001.
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