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  1. ESchwartz
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    ESchwartz New Member

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    Lines to make a protagonist likable?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ESchwartz, Mar 6, 2011.

    In my play, my protagonist excels in most areas of life, but has two fatal flaws: arrogance and hypocrisy. The opening line establishes his hypocrisy and foreshadows later events, but I fear that, based on first impressions, the audience would root against him rather than for him, and won't be hoping for the transformation which he makes. All I need to do is add one sentence that will make him likable. What's something he could say that people could relate to, but wouldn't make him much less of a hypocrite?
     
  2. fervish
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    fervish Senior Member

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    Have you ever known someone who was arrogant but witty? You know the kind of dry humor that cracks everyone up except the person who said it? They keep a straight face. Maybe a bit of humor would be enough although loving to hate a character has worked for many a tv character.
     
  3. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    make him have one tiny feature that makes him exceedingly self-conscious....
     
  4. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've watched House , I guess? I like him. I suspect most viewers warm to him in some way. Why? Possibly:

    - His excellence is beyond question (we will certainly cut him more slack for arrogance and questionable behaviour)

    - His arrogance is brazen and unrelenting. Much easier to tolerate than petty and sly attempts at self-aggrandisement.

    - He is often funny (see Fervish, above)
     
  5. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    You've posted this thread before.

    There's no single line that will make your character likeable. You have to give him sympathetic motivations, characteristics etc. Stop asking for a magic one-liner, sit down and work on his personality. Try to give him traits and history that will make him likable even though he's arrogant. Arrogant hypocrits don't have to be bastards.
     
  6. Earphone
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    Earphone Active Member

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    I agree totally with Tesgah, character's aren't magically likable just because they say one thing. There are occasions where I've almost immediately liked characters, but it was because they were developed and were relatable. If it's a play or film, you don't even need dialog for a character to be liked. Perhaps before his "one-liner", he has a scene where he's showing remorse? He could be mourning for pushing people away? That would build sympathy toward him and his problems, and people would want him to change.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Similar to what Art was saying about Dr. House, I feel like another reason why such characters grow on people is because they are direct. I know in my real life I hate dealing with people who are two-faced, passive-aggressive, catty, and all-around act like gossipy girls in front of the school bathroom mirror despite the fact that they're 10 years too old for that.

    With people like House, at least they are upfront. They're direct. They might be a jerk to you but they won't go behind your back, and you always know you can count on them to be straight-up even to your face.

    This makes up for being a bit mean. :)

    Also, I agree with the point made about giving your MC a soft spot. Something like a fear or an insecurity that will make him seem more sympathizable. Try watching "Despicable Me," etc to see how it's done.
     

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