When it comes to entertainment such as movies and television shows, the development of characters is an essential aspect of the work as a whole. Without character development, there is no growth and nothing is learned.
From these characters and their experiences, we can observe at a distance and learn something about them and hopefully ourselves.
In many cases, character development is used as a positive device to round out a once flat character. It’s not an effective story if a character remains stagnant with no dimension whatsoever. Not only that, but this development can be used to relate to your audience. The main reason I love character development in film and television is because oftentimes, it helps me to further understand a character or see a bit of myself within them.
For example, I tend to relate to the characters who feel out of place and Moritz Stiefel from Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind is a perfect exampl
e of just that. Juxtaposed with his best friend, Melchior Gabor, he is introverted, anxious, awkward, and a perfectionist who’s doomed to fail from the start. Everyone in their town wonders why the two are friends, given their drastic differences. Due to the pressures he faces in school and unbearable weight he carries of knowing he’ll never please his parents, he ultimately ends up committing suicide.
Moritz has development in the sense that he becomes increasingly neurotic and scared for his future, such as the consequences of failing out of school. In the musical adaptation, the actor who played Moritz would have his hair be done jetting upwards, like Syndrome in The Incredibles, to represent how he was going mad from his inner conflicts.
I find him to be a relatable character because he is tragic, doesn’t fit in, and his suicide is a direct result of how his community treated him. He felt like he had nowhere to turn, nowhere to go, so he escaped the only way he could think of. It’s easy for someone who feels like they don’t belong to see themselves in him because they often know what it’s like to be standing next to someone who seems so perfect when they’re average at best.
Through my blog, my goal is to try to find a variety of characters and discuss their development and show how it’s not only important within the work, but for the audience who’s watching.