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Character Flaw

Character Flaw

“You know what your problem is….?”

This line has been said to innumerable Protagonists in countless screenplays throughout the years, and it’s usually to call out their Character Flaw. 

Simply, a Character Flaw is a negative behavior or trait that the Protagonist has at the beginning of the story but learns to change by the end of the story.  

Boiling it down, a Protagonist is a character who wants something (the Goal) whether they know it or not but can’t have it (obstacles/Opponent), so he/she keeps trying but struggles because their behavior (Character Flaw) makes it difficult – they are going about it the wrong way. But with the help of another person (Influencing Character) they change their ways and ultimately must prove this change in order to get what they want (Goal) by the end of the story or storyline (Battle/Climax). 

Character Flaws are negative traits that we see in people in everyday life.  We’re sure you can list a bunch of flaws in people you’ve known – we certainly can!  For the most part Character Flaws are overtly negative, but some of them can be positive traits turned negative by being “too much” of a good thing.  

Here are some general examples of Character Flaws:

puts work before family

condescending

reckless

self-serving

closed off emotionally

tries too hard to be liked

refuses to grow up

cocky

has no self-confidence

in denial

too honest

takes care of others more than self

doesn’t stand up for him/herself

ignores advice

puts work before family

condescending

reckless

self-serving

closed off emotionally

tries too hard to be liked

refuses to grow up

cocky

has no self-confidence

in denial

too honest

takes care of others more than self

doesn’t stand up for him/herself

ignores advice

In Finding Nemo, Marlin is over-protective. Thor is arrogant. In Up, Carl is cynical. In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge puts money before people. In Toy Story, Woody is self-centered. All of these Protagonists must overcome their Flaw before they are able to achieve their goal.