All terms

What is a caricature?

A distorted exaggerated portrayal of a character.

Putting a fun-house mirror to your characters: Caricature in creative writing

Caricature is the act of distorting and exaggerating the physical or mental traits of a character for comic or satirical effect. 

In creative writing, caricature can be a powerful tool for creating memorable and hilarious characters. By highlighting and even amplifying certain quirks or flaws, you invite your readers to laugh with (or at) your characters. The key to a successful caricature character, however, is avoiding one-dimensional stereotypes - make sure your character has moments of growth and vulnerability, and never lose sight of their humanity. As with all humorous techniques, caricature is most effective when it's used judiciously and in the service of a larger purpose.

Spotlight on Caricature: Examples in Literature

Caricature is a literary technique that has been used to create memorable and humorous characters in works of literature for centuries.

Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

In Austen's masterpiece, Mr. Collins is a caricature character who is portrayed as a pompous, overly formal, and long-winded rhetorician. His exaggerated personality traits serve to contrast with the more well-rounded and sympathetic characters such as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Collins' verbosity and ridiculous behavior throughout the novel provides comic relief and adds to the overall satirical tone of the novel.

The Batman Villains in DC Comics

The villains of Batman comics are often portrayed as caricatures of various psychological disorders and deviances. For instance, the Joker's exaggerated laughter and insanity and Riddler's tendency to leave clues for Batman to follow are classic examples of caricature characters. These villains' over-the-top personalities and mannerisms draw the readers in and make them more memorable than they might otherwise have been.