• I. L. Tanis

Character Post 3

Hello all! Sorry for the crickets; I went through a bit of a phase of just not having anything I felt was worth writing for you guys.


But now I'm working through it, so here is another character post!


This one is on the negative side of character traits that can have a lot of potential for your story.


Arrogance and Pride.


Remember, this is for writing purposes only, so don't go comparing people with this.


Arrogance is a pretty typical thing to see in villains, but why not have a streak of arrogance in others? The sidekick or the hero or anyone in the story? The point of writing is not just to tell a story, it's to connect them to the characters, teach lessons and give them the opportunity to walk away a better person.


For arrogance, I'll use an example from Star Wars. (I just finished watching them all, so it's the first thing that comes to mind, haha). If this contains spoilers and you're disappointed: the episodes to which I'm referring have been out since the 2000's, so you've had your chance ;)


(Just kidding, you can skip it.)


Anakin Skywalker is an example of an arrogant character; as he grows in his abilities, he becomes proud. I think most people would, having the power he had, but instead of guarding himself against it, he lets it control him, and it develops into arrogance. He thinks he deserves more than he's getting and ignores Obi-Wan, the Jedi council, and Padme, all of whom have more wisdom than he does in many things.


Now, the other characters didn't exactly treat Anakin like they should; they did not communicate well with him and they excluded him from some things, increasing his anger and injuring his pride, but he's responsible for his own actions.


Continuing down this road, Anakin lets his arrogance and desperation lead. He listens to the one who flatters him and gives him what he wants to hear, and it leads to his downfall. In the end, he destroys himself and others, including the woman he loves, breaking his own heart.


This brokenness leads to submitting to the Dark Side and becoming Darth Vader. Later, he has a bit of a redemption arc, but that's another matter entirely.


What is a redemption arc? Well, I suppose it would be good to explain the terms I am using. A redemption arc is basically a character overcoming something that has put them —and possibly others— in a bad place. It could be a minor thing that doesn't really affect the plot's outcome much, or it could be major. For Darth Vader, it was saving Luke from Palpatine and admitting he was wrong in turning to the Dark Side. He doesn't immediately become a 'good guy', but he makes amends as best he can before he dies.


Anyways, a redemption arc is probably a topic with enough stuff to make another post, so let's move on.



A good example of arrogance would be Eustace from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis. I am using the book for examples, so if you are confused because you're thinking of the movie. . . sorry, it cannot be helped. (Definitely read the book! It's very good, one of my favorites.)


Eustace starts out as a proud, arrogant pain in the butt. He is antagonizing to Edmund and Lucy —especially Edmund— and some would say he had it coming to him when he got into trouble.


Then his pride and arrogance get him into big trouble. Literally. He gets turned into a dragon after he wanders off and finds a dragon hoard. As someone who prided himself in being proper, neat, and pretty much a perfect British citizen, that was a huge blow to his pride. He starts out wild and desperate, unsure what to do with himself. He learns some pretty scary lessons, seeing himself in ways he had never considered, and when he sheepishly returns to the ship, we begin to see his fear and loneliness.


He's never had friends and so he doesn't know quite what to do with himself, as he isn't good at communicating. Reepicheep has a lot of influence on him; relating to him in many ways (after all, they're very similar, if you think about it), telling him stories, supporting him, and just being a good friend to him. Eustace’s arrogance still stems up at times, but it’s greatly crumbled and broken down.


As the story progresses, Eustace begins to find he likes being useful and caring; he helps repair the ship, he catches food for the crew, and he protects his friends. He's not perfect, but he is learning. Learning is key to any good change of character.


Later, he meets Aslan. He tries to pull off his dragon skin, but he cannot. This greatly upsets him, as he cannot obey Aslan's command. Even in this, we see his change in character; before, he would have resisted or been sulking about it. But now, lessons learned, he humbles himself, letting Aslan transform him back to human.


He goes back to the ship, his cousins, and the crew, a new person. He tells them what happened, and apologizes to them. He becomes one with a better character, more kind and loving, but it took a lot to break his arrogance and pride and replace it with a new heart.


Arrogance doesn't have to lead to major downfall. You can do a lot of things with it. For the hero, it could be not listening to the new guy's advice, so now things are going to take longer. For the sidekick, it could stem from being ignored, so now he/she is hurt and gets defensive and decides to leave and do their own thing. Then, when the hero comes to apologize, the former sidekick either won't accept it or rubs their mistake well in and starts acting like a jerk.


I enjoy writing characters with real flaws because there is so much room for potential, just like nonfiction stories about real people overcoming such things.


I know that this only has small examples of how pride and arrogance can be used in a story, but I hope they're helpful!


Until next time,


Iris

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