Making a Hero Look Even Better

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"A third kind of role that occurs in many works is that of the foil, a character who contrasts with the protagonist in ways that bring out certain of his or her moral, emotional, or intellectual qualities" (Hamilton 131)

So basically, how it appears to me, is that there's the protagonist and then there's this other person who's just there, really, to make the protagonist look good -- at least compared to other people.  Sure, the protagonist has a flaw here and there, but compared to this guy (the foil character) the protagonist is a saint.  It almost reminds me of those really mean girls you see in teeny-bopper movies where they befriend the sad, not-so-pretty girl just so she can make everyone else look better.

1 Comments

Greta Carroll said:

Ally, I think the term a learned in high school was not a foil character, but a doppelganger (unless I’m getting my literary terms mixed up). It’s almost like an alter ego, a character who is set purposely in contrast to make another character seem more extreme. However, I would like to point out that it can work both ways, while the foil character can make the protagonist seem better than he really is, this doppelganger could also be much nicer than our main character, thus serving to make him look even more evil than he actually is.

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