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Physiognomy



Physiognomy Definition: the author creates physical features and characteristics for a character that indicate personality, intentions, or other internal traits


Physiognomy is used in literature to point to a character’s true intentions and inner self by creating physical manifestations of these traits. An author can create an evil character and point to their untrustworthiness by giving them some kind of outer deformity; in the same way, the author can also point to a character’s inherent goodness by making them flawless.
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Notable Examples in Literature

  • Richard in The Tragedy of Richard III
  • The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz
  • Edward Hyde in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Be sure to check out our article, "Physiognomy in Literature"!



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