Difference between Flat and Round Characters

  • Main Difference

    The main difference between the Flat Characters and Round Characters is their evolution. In terms of a flat character, their characteristics and nature stay the same throughout a novel while the round characters keep on changing and evolving throughout the story and create an element of surprise.

    Comparison Chart

    Basis of Distinction Flat Characters
    Round Characters
    Complication Are considered less complicated Are considered more complicated
    Amount Can be more than two within a story. Are kept to minimum numbers usually one or two at most.
    Actions Act the same way throughout the story. Act differently under different situations.
    Nature One or two traits which are consistent throughout. Have various characters which can even contradict each other.
    Role Bring stability to a story. Bring chaos and unpredictability.
    X-factor Cannot surprise the people. Have the ability to surprise everyone.

    Flat Characters

    There are different types of characters in a novel which we read but never worry about the characterization which actually is a part of it. Flat Character is a kind of characters which have been written about and can be defined in many ways. It is the kind of a story or a role that is played by someone which do not change throughout the story. The type of role they are assigned, the characteristics they have and nature which is a part of them will always stay the same. That said, it does not have to be only one thing on which they will stay focused, but it can be more than one, as long as they remain consistent throughout. These type of roles are easy to understand for people and are considered two-dimensional. That means, people know what to expect from them, how they will react to a particular situation and can actually predict their actions in some way. Even when the character grows up from being a child or from being young to old, the they fundamental essence of their soul will stay intact. There is no guarantee though that such roles will be the right ones or the traits are likable. Even if they are bad or good, as long as they are consistent such characters will stay flat. In most cases, the role of such a character is to support the main one and can easily be differentiated as someone’s friend or enemy when you read something.

    Round Characters

    Just from the name, it can be concurred that a round character is someone who is much more variable as compared to the other types of roles. It is usually the central nature of a story which has to act in different ways depending on the situations and may or may not change the nature they have. It is considered a multi-dimensional character which has to evolve over a period. For example, when a character is young and goes through different tragedies in life, over time they will learn from it and become stronger or weaker, this will also help them to act differently in some situations. They are the leading roles such as the hero or the heroin which have to face different actions have to act in a way which will not be same all the time. Such characters bring the element of surprise and suspense in the story. These are considered much more realistic in their approach since it gets tricky to not change with things happening. Such roles are developed properly and have a mature feeling about them and are well liked by people. They have the ability to make people like or dislike them because the reader is not able to predict what their reaction will be and therefore will be free to make a judgment or keep it hanging until the end. Round characters are considered the most important ones but their quantity is usually kept minimum so that the reader does not get confused.

    Key Differences

    • Flat characters are considered less complicated while round characters are considered more complex.
    • Flat characters can be more than two within a story while the round characters are kept to minimum numbers usually one or two at most.
    • Flat characters act the same way throughout the story while round characters’ act differently under different situations.
    •  Flat characters usually have one or two traits which are consistent throughout, while rounded characters can have multiple attributes which can even contradict each other.
    • Flat characters bring stability within a story while round characters bring chaos and unpredictability.
    • Flat characters cannot surprise the people who are reading while round characters have the ability to surprise everyone.

    Video Explanation