6 junio, 2024

What is an Incidental Character?

A incidental character It is the one that appears fleetingly within the plot, with a specific objective with respect to the other characters and within the main story. The participation of the incidental character is usually brief, either to make a specific observation about a situation, comment on something striking or ask a question to one of the protagonists of the story.

As their name indicates, the incidental characters are those who do not have a permanent presence in the development of events. Their participation is a resource used to relate, order, clarify, expose, frame, coordinate and give coherence to the main plot.

The incidental characters do not participate in the main anecdote of the narrative, they are only used to help define an aspect of interest about the life of one of the fixed characters.

Its main function is to collaborate in the development and improvement of the pre-existing context in the story.

These types of characters usually represent the common environment of the protagonists, or of one of the secondary characters, failing that. Therefore, co-workers or classmates, neighbors, innkeepers, office workers, distant relatives, ex-partners, among others, are usually represented by incidental characters.

The incidental characters are normally part of the scenery of the story, and set the environment in which the action takes place.

They help to contextualize the audience about the life of one of the permanent characters within the story; this strengthens the main plot, and sets the stage for future events.

Generally the appearance or disappearance of the incidental characters is usually imperceptible. They have a brief intervention in a particular episode, developing a role of little relevance, and do not appear again later.

Their participation refers to the reinforcement of the story itself. They usually have a humorous intervention and are eccentric and/or characteristic characters, who help anchor some past event and establish the foundations for future actions within the main plot.

In the field of audiovisual productions (film and television), incidental characters have a passing participation, generally to highlight a specific aspect of the plot.

In view of this, his intervention is limited to only a few brief moments; that is, they have no permanence in history.

More specifically, in television series, this type of raid is usually represented by guest actors, who impersonate a relative or an individual from the past life of the main characters.

Incidental characters, also known as background or fleeting characters, should never overshadow the action of the main characters.

These types of characters are used as support resources within the plot, without distorting the focus of the story at any time.


Story (2014). A publication of the Popular Autonomous University of Veracruz. Veracruz Mexico. Recovered from: universidadupav.edu.mx
Jackson, E. (2014). Secondary Characters. Virginia, USA. Retrieved from: ellenjackson.net
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Types of Characters (2009). Santiago de Chile, Chile. Recovered from: humanozoo.blogspot.com.

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