What Is a Stereotyped Character?

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A stereotyped character is a person in a piece of writing or other media who is strongly characterized by membership to a recognizable group, such as race or gender. This character is also referred to as a stock character.

Although stereotypes are often frowned upon in daily life, in literature stereotyped characters are considered helpful plot devices. They help build tension, interest and even attraction for the reader.

Writers also sometimes introduce stereotyped characters only to break their stereotypes later in a work to cause dramatic irony and plot twists to occur. Some of the most popular works of fiction are well-loved because they offer surprises through stock characters.