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Tarzanesque

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Tarzanesque

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
A
Absent-minded professor An absent-minded scientific genius[2] Professor Calculus, Julius Kelp, Emmett Brown
Action hero A film hero protagonist with unrealistic physical resistance and fighting capabilities John McClane; John Rambo
Alien invaders Extraterrestrials who mount an invasion against Earth[2] War of the Worlds, Body Snatchers, Independence Day
Anti-hero A cowardly, antisocial or honorless protagonist Tony Montana, Faust, Falstaff
Archimime A jester in Ancient Rome who imitated manners, gestures and speech of living and deceased famous people.
B
Bad boy (archetype) A roguish macho Charlie Harper (Two and a Half Men), Johnny Strabler
Battle-axe (woman) A domineering, brash and brazen woman Carrie Nation, Xena
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; Blaxploitation movies}
Blackface A black person played by a white person Tropic Thunder, Birth of a Nation
Black knight Evil fighter antagonist Modred, Nazgûl, Darth Vader
Blonde stereotype A pretty, but stupid blonde Blonde and Blonder
Boy next door Average and nice guy
Breeches role A role in which an actress appears in male clothing Shakespeare in Love
Bug-eyed monster Staple evil alien;[2] known familiarly in science fiction fandom as BEMs Formics
Byronic hero A proud, moody and cynical man, yet capable of deep and strong affection Childe Harold, Eugene Onegin
C
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 (stock character) A competitive underdog Rocky Balboa, Terry Maloy
Crone Malicious old woman, often occult or witch-like Elli, Baba Yaga
D
Damsel in distress A noble Lady in need of rescue, traditionally from dragons Princess Peach, Princess Buttercup, Princess and dragon
Dark Lady (character) A dark, malicious or doomed woman Lady Macbeth
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
E
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 (The Only Way is Essex)
Everyman An ordinary individual Everyman (play)
Evil clown An evil and chaotic clown Pennywise, The Joker
F
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, Xenia Onatopp, Poison Ivy
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
G
Gentle giant A physically imposing but kind-hearted character. Rubeus Hagrid, John Coffey, Fezzik;
Gentleman thief A sophisticated and well-mannered thief A.J. Raffles, Simon Templar, Arsène Lupin,
Geek A generally not athletic fan of super heroes, science fiction and fantasy, especially of Video Games, Comic Books, Films and Roleplaying Games. Roy Trenneman, Sheldon Cooper, Steve Smith, Jason Fox
Girl next door An average girl with a wholesome conduct Winnie 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; Clara Cluck in the Disney cartoons;
H
Hag A wizened old woman, often a malicious witch 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, John Carter of Mars, Neo (The Matrix)
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. Also referred to as a "Badass". Martin Riggs, Pete Mitchell (Top Gun)
I
Ingenue (stock character) a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome Ophelia, Cosette
J
Jewish lawyer stereotype A Jewish lawyer that is clever, greedy, exploitative and dishonest Maurice Levy (The Wire)
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 Tommy Ross, 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
K
Killbot Usually large, menacing machines created to perpetrate murder Terminator
Knight-errant A noble Knight on a Quest Galahad, Sir Gawain
L
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
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 Charles Bronson's Death Wish Movies; Dirty Harry; The Outlaw Josey Wales
Lovers (stock characters) 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)
Buttercup & Westley in The Princess Bride
M
Mad scientist An insane or highly eccentric scientist, often villainous or amoral.[2][12] Dr. Frankenstein
Dr. Moreau
Emmett Brown
Girl Genius
Magical Negro A black man with special insight or mystical powers coming to the aid of the white protagonist The Defiant Ones, Bagger Vance
Mammy archetype A rotund, homely, and matronly black woman Aunt Jemima
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 Latin 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 Ice Warriors.
Mary Sue A 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
N
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, Maurice Moss, Lisa Simpson.
Nice Jewish boy stereotype A studious, gentle and sensitive Jewish boy. Joel Glicker
Noble savage An idealized indigene or otherwise wild outsider with noble characteristics. Tarzan, Winnetou, Chingachgook
O
Outlaw (stock character) A romanticized, often charismatic or social bandit. Robin Hood, Billy the Kid
P
Paladin A holy knight, a paragon of virtue and goodness. Knights of the Round Table
Pantomime dame A pantomime portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag. Widow Twankey
Petrushka A Russian kind of jester.
Princesse lointaine A romantic love interest and beloved sweetheart and girlfriend for a Knight-errant. Dulcinea.
Professor (stock character) A common generic name for fictional characters who fill the role of doctors, scientists, or mad scientists. The Professor (Gilligan's Island)
R
Rake (character) A man habituated to immoral conduct. Francis Charteris (rake), Lord Byron, Gully Foyle (The Stars My Destination).
Redshirt (character) An expendable character who dies soon after being introduced; this refers to characters from the original Star Trek television series, often from the security of 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 inevitably result in the character's becoming a true hero. Bilbo Baggins, Han Solo from the Star Wars series, Neo from The Matrix.
S
School diva A well-liked or worshipped female student, who sees herself as an alpha female. Blair Waldorf from the Gossip Girl TV and novel series. Regina George
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 (archetype) 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
Sinnekins Pairs of devilish characters who exert their perfidious influence on the main character Flotsam and Jetsam (The Little Mermaid), Hotep and Huy (The Prince of Egypt)
Soubrette A character who is vain and girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish and gossipy
Southern belle A young woman of the American Old South's upper class Blanche Dubois, Scarlett O'Hara
Space Nazis Nazi-like antagonists in science fiction works Patterns of Force, Iron Sky
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
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
Straw man (literature) A symbol for people regarded as lacking needed qualities
Superhero An unrealistically powerful hero dedicated to protecting the public[2] Superman, Spider-Man, Batman
Übermensch[2] A (often only seemingly) perfect human being, esp. the DC Comics character Superman Superman, Captain America, X-Men
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 Man-Thing, Swamp Thing
Swashbuckler A joyful, noisy and boastful renaissance era swordsman or pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, The Crimson Pirate, Swashbuckler (list).
T
Tarzanesque protagonist[13] or Tarzanide[14] A character raised in the wilds, often by animals, akin to Tarzan Jo-Jo, Congo King, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, Zago
Tomboy A girl with boyish and/or manly behavior. Arya Stark, Juno Macguff
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.
Town drunk A male in a small town who is drunk more often than sober. Barney Gumble, Haymitch Abernathy, Otis Campbell
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.
Travesti (theatre) Portrayal of a character in an opera, play, or ballet by a performer of the opposite sex Edna Turnblad
Tycoon A person who wields considerable economic power, often acting at the expense of the less fortunate Montgomery Burns, Scrooge McDuck, Ebeneezer Scrooge
V
Valley girl Affluent white women or teenagers characterized by speaking Valspeak and a vapid materialism Gretchen Wieners
Vice (character) An allegorical evil part in medieval morality plays.
Village idiot A person known locally for ignorance or stupidity.
Villain[2] An evil character in a story Snidely Whiplash, Fu Manchu Master (Doctor Who)
W
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
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. Albus Dumbledore, Yoda, Gandalf Mickey Goldmill
Y
Yokel An unsophisticated country person Rose Nylund, Cletus Spuckler
Youxia A Chinese type of the Knight-errant Li Mu-Bai, Fong Sai-yuk
Z
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

See also

References

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