The Four Motives
Why characters do what they do.


(permanent link) added: 2012-04-18 01:41:28 sponsor: deathpigeon (last reply: 2012-04-20 15:45:29)

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In fiction, every character, be they hero or villain, needs a motivation. This motivation defines the character as itís why characters do what they do. Motivation also makes characters more believable, as most people would find it hard to believe that The Hero would save the world just because, but most people would believe The Hero saving the world because the woman he loves is being threatened, or the Big Bad killed his parents, and heís seeking revenge, or heís always dreamed of being a great hero, rather than a mere than just a farm boy in the middle of nowhere, or he loves danger and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. In the same way, most people would find it hard to believe that the Big Bad wants to destroy the world just because, but most people would believe the Big Bad wants to destroy the world because the woman he loves rejected him for another man, or he was mocked for being crazy, or because he was destined to save the world, and hated the pressure of it all, or because he thought it would be fun to do so.

The characterís motivation can come in many different varieties. These varieties can be grouped into four broad categories:

  • Love: People with this motivation love or want to be love, and they act accordingly. This can range from someone wanting to get married to someone who just want friends, and people with this motivation can range from heroes who are selfishly dedicated to someone else to Yanderes who selfishly want someone else for themselves.
  • Revenge: People with this motivation were mocked, abused, and made to feel inferior, or lost something or someone they held dear. They seek to strike back at or seek justice from those who wronged them.
  • New Purpose: People with this motivation want to belong in the world, to break free from what people want from them, or to be badass or beautiful enough to be the centre of attention. Most importantly, they want something to change, be it their lot in life, their destiny, or who they are.
  • Entertainment: People with this motivation want to do whatever the heck they felt like, and damn the consequences. They may or may not care about others, but they try to always have fun, regardless of the situation.

These motivations are rather broad, and can encompass a lot of different tropes and motivations.

Examples

Love

Revenge

Live-Action TV
  • Terui Ryu is motivated by revenge for what the Weather Dopant did to his family.

New Purpose

Entertainment

Live-Action TV
  • Asakura Takeshi and Jun Shibaura are motivated by entertainment, both thinking the Rider War is nothing more than a game. Ren Akiyama and Miho Kirishima on the other hand are motivated by love, as their wishes are to save their fiance and sister respectively.
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