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What Does My Character Want?

Figuring out what your character wants will help you add depth and interest for your character, making them more realistic and believable. A character that doesn’t want anything is a boring character. Having a want, wish, goal, or desire will push your character throughout the show – what do they want and how will they go about achieving it?

The following series of questions will help you figure out exactly why your character is in the scene and what they want. Go through your script and make notes while you’re thinking about these questions. The script will give you clues and information about what your character wants. For each question, note what it was in the script that gave you that information. List the page number and/or the line number in the script, for you to refer back to. It could be a line spoken by your character, a line spoken by another character, a stage direction, or something else.

If you can’t find proof in the script, you may wish to brainstorm some ideas about your character and what they want. Talk to your teacher or start a class discussion to get more ideas and insights!

The following written exercise consists of three sections. You may wish to use just one or two of the sections for your character analysis. You might decide to use just one or some of the questions. The questions will help you start thinking about your character and raise more questions to explore in class.

Overall Analysis

1. What does your character want? What is their wish, goal, or ultimate desire?

  • This should be big – it’s the reason your character exists in the show.
  • Why is your character essential to the story?

2. How do they attempt to achieve their wants? What actions do they take to achieve their goals?

3. Why does your character want what they want? What pushes or drives them?

4. Does your character end up getting what they want? Why or why not?

5. How does your character grow and change from the beginning of the show to the end?

Changing What You Want

1. Does your character’s want stay the same throughout the show, or does it change?

2. If your character wants change, what causes the change?

  • Does something happen directly to the character to cause the change?
  • Does another character influence your character?
  • Does your character make a choice to change?
Influencing Others

1. Does your character’s want influence other characters’ wants?

2. Does your character help or hinder other characters’ attempts to achieve their wants?

  • Does your character know or realize that fact?
  • How does that make your character feel?
  • Does that help your character get what they want?

That’s a lot of questions, isn’t it? But asking these questions will get you thinking about your character. Will they get what they want? You’ll have to wait and see!

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer, and stage combatant residing in London, Ontario, Canada. Check out her blog at

Click here to download the question handout and assessment rubric.
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