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Character Flaws – It’s Types & Examples

Character Flaws – It’s Types & ExamplesUpdated on October 26, 2020 | Published on December 5, 2019

Character Flaws: Make Fictional Writing Compelling

Finding perfection in a world of imperfection seems to be like an extremely pervasive practice. This is the hard truth of our real world. However, when we delve a little deeper into the matter, we find a different tune being played. Interestingly, people find the contrast due to the different character flaws to be desirable and oftentimes, more relatable.

After all, no one is perfect- weaknesses and faults are present in anyone and everyone.Even, when it comes to characters in a fictional story, having perfect characters might just seem too boring. Imagine a movie in which everything unfolds perfectly well and there’s basically no aspect to relate to. Would you like to watch a movie like this?

Everybody wants a bit of thrill, action, a tinge of horror and an element of uncertainty while the story unfolds. Is that not the case? In short, flaws are what make a story captivating.

Character Flaw Definition

A character flaw is a disagreeable attribute in a person. It could be a limitation, imperfection, phobia, or a deficiency that affects the way a person connects with others. Such faults are present in everyone. The intensity of a flaw may vary depending on the extent to which it can impact the relations between people.

A flaw like extreme anger can be a problem as it can be detrimental to the abilities of the character. On the contrary, another flaw could be a very minor personality flaw that can affect the character’s ability to interact with others, etc.

Character Flaws List

Types of Character Flaws
Types of Character Flaws

There are different flavors of character flaws one can find in fiction. However, below, you can find a broad classification that includes many under them. Let’s elaborate on some of them.

Major Character Flaws:

These flaws are much more prominent in the character and are usually developed due to experiencing painful events and situations. The character might have a distorted view of the world and this might hinder his ability to deal with people.

Such a person’s behavior and actions are mostly founded on biased or wrong beliefs. They may feel threatened by everyone and this sparks a need in them to protect themselves from the hostile world.

Personality traits are major flaws.

Examples of Major Character Flaws – one character’s neediness may start with a desire or fondness for the other. However, very soon it can become intolerable for the other as they may feel suffocated by their presence around them.

Minor Character Flaws:

These are insignificant flaws that the protagonist (the leading character) accepts as a part of themselves. They usually occur due to an already existing major flaw in them.

These flaws may seem harmless but can color the judgment of the protagonist and complicate situations for him/ her

Sometimes, a character can ruin his terms with his family due to his short temper. As a result, he may lash out extreme anger on his wife and kids in a very wicked way. This can eventually prove to be highly detrimental to him as well as his family.

Physical flaws are also minor flaws and it may or may not cause inconvenience to the character. Although in some situations, they can be troublesome.

Examples of Minor Character Flaws: A protagonist with a limping leg may find it hard to chase down the villain. Limping, in this case, is a physical flaw, which he had developed during his growing years.

Fatal Character Flaws:

A character with a fatal flaw experiences a lack within himself and makes him feel stuck and helpless. Unable to move forward in life, this character feels unfulfilled and unhappy.

Sometimes the character mistakes this flaw to be a strength as he is not aware of its negative influence.

However, after undergoing enough pain, he realizes his flaw and reforms it eventually.

Examples of Fatal Character Flaws: Tom Riddle (in Harry Potter) was so scared of his own death that he got transformed into the wicked Lord Voldemort. All his actions were driven towards the attainment of immortality.

Tragic Character Flaws:

When a character is unable to overcome his fatal flaw, it translates into a tragic flaw. Typically, the character chosen is usually the Hero of the story. He is not able to conquer his own weakness that is holding him back.

This leads to his downfall. Defeated by his own flaws and fears, he is not able to change himself and remains stuck forever. Often it is hubris which is the cause of this defeat. Lack of judgment and self-knowledge can also be blamed for.

Examples of Tragic Character Flaws: The tortoise and the hare fable shows the tragic flaw of the hare. In reality, however, a hare runs much faster than a tortoise, yet in this race, he is defeated. His arrogance was his tragic flaw that led to his embarrassing defeat.

In addition to the above types of flaws, there can be numerous other kinds too. This list can be very long to include all but a few others include the following:

  • Aversion: Spiders, blood, dirt, etc.
  • Fear: Phobias, irrational fears, etc.
  • Addiction: Drugs, alcohol, power, etc.
  • Immorality: Dishonesty, infidelity, mercilessness, etc.
  • Poor Judgement: Bad decisions, lack of common sense, etc.
  • Incompetence: An inability to act, overly sensitive, etc.

In actuality, each individual has positive as well as negative attributes. The same is true of the characters of a fictional play, drama or a movie, etc. Character flaws set a good tone to the story thereby making it more engaging and compelling to the readers.

An author can choose to play with these flaws and utilize them in order to make it appealing to the readers. So, you see character flaws are what adds flavor and different shades to a story.

Even if you do become close to perfect, the world at best will admire you. If not, you would become a source of envy as many would want to compete with you.

Does Everyone Have Character Flaws?

The truth is that no one is perfect. Every individual has strengths and weaknesses. We are well aware of our own flaws and even of others (if we’ve known them closely)

But unfortunately, we all have been taught not to reveal our weaknesses. That’s why we find it hard to admit our flaws in front of others and to our own selves also.

This could be detrimental to the overall character of a person as he/ she will never show their authentic selves. This can vastly affect the way one interacts with others.

Parting Thoughts

So, learn to embrace yourself for what you are. The more natural you are the more relatable you are in the eyes of others and on your own. Leave this pretense of being and acting as a taintless individual and instead accept your weaknesses. At the same time, be mindful of those flaws that have the power to ruin your ability to interact with others. Feel free to work on them if you care.