Why Perfect Characters Shouldn’t Exist In Literature

There are thousands of character types to write. From the average every man, to the rebellious princess, to the rouge intergalactic smuggler, you have your pick of characters to play with. But one day, whether you’ve picked it up in your own story or maybe you’ve seen it in a book or a movie that you like, you will come across the character who is too pure and too good for this sinful earth.

This is the character that the main cast loves and adores, they are the person who is kind and wise and will drop a motivation speech at the slightest inconvenience to our heroes. This character encompasses everything that is good and right with the world and holds the ideals that we should all strive for. They never make mistakes, they always have the right call, and are as perfect as perfect can be. They are incorruptible pure pureness and they are also boring as fuck.

Don’t get me wrong, I like having characters who have high morals and standards but speaking strictly from a reading and writing perspective, nothing could be worse than to have to watch the acts of a character who has zero faults. They’re boring, they’re a pain, and they’ve got no soul to them whatsoever. Obviously, this kind of character type happens to women more than men, that isn’t to say that men can’t be turned into soulless, lifeless, and purity sues, but it happens to women more often. So, why, as some of you maybe asking, is this character a bad thing?

Well, for starters, no one person, man, female, in between, is perfect. Perfection is an unobtainable state of being. Secondly, by having this so called perfect around hang around, you have to essentially erase any semblance of humanity. Humanity is flawed. Humanity makes mistakes. Humanity is able to grow as a person. Perfection never had to grow in the first place, it simply exists. This brings to mind a line from Mark Twain’s “The Mysterious Stranger”, ” I can do no wrong, for I do not know what it is.

The entire point of a plot is for some conflict to be had and resolved. If you have a cast of perfect characters who can do no wrong, then what is the point of it all? People can dream about being perfect but they can’t relate to the nonexistent struggles of a character who has never had a bad day. A character who has flaws but works to become a better person is more enjoyable and on a whole has a better character arc whereas a perfect character, again, simply exists. What possible story line could a perfect character have that can be engaging to an audience or to a writer? Perfection is the antithesis of plot.