What is the Best Definition of Character Motivation?

Discover the importance of character motivation in storytelling and how it drives the plot forward. Explore examples and case studies to understand its significance.


Character motivation is the reason for a character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions in a story. It is what drives the character to make certain decisions and propel the plot forward. In this article, we will explore the best definition of character motivation and its significance in storytelling.

Definition of Character Motivation

Character motivation is the driving force behind a character’s behaviors and choices. It is the underlying reason for why a character acts the way they do, based on their desires, fears, beliefs, and past experiences. Understanding a character’s motivation is crucial for creating depth and complexity in storytelling.

Importance of Character Motivation

Character motivation is essential for creating believable and relatable characters. When a character’s motivations are clear to the audience, it helps to establish empathy and understanding. This emotional connection enhances the reader’s engagement with the story and makes the characters more compelling.

Examples of Character Motivation

One classic example of character motivation is Shakespeare’s character Hamlet. Hamlet’s motivation throughout the play is driven by his desire for revenge for his father’s murder. Another example is Harry Potter’s motivation to defeat Voldemort and save the wizarding world.

Case Studies

A study by researchers at Stanford University found that readers are more likely to engage with a story when they understand the characters’ motivations. The study showed that readers who could identify with the characters’ desires and fears were more invested in the story.

Character Motivation in Plot Development

Character motivation plays a crucial role in driving the plot forward. It determines the decisions characters make and the actions they take, which ultimately lead to the development of the story. Character motivations create conflict, tension, and resolution, shaping the narrative arc.


Character motivation is the heart of storytelling, providing depth and complexity to characters and driving the plot forward. By understanding a character’s motivations, writers can create more engaging and compelling stories that resonate with audiences.

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