Structures of Morality and Allegiance in the Character Arc Story

British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (4):687-698 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The view that allegiance to characters is a matter of general moral assessment, as developed by Carroll (1984) and Smith (1995), has the resources to respond to counterexamples proposed in the literature, including appeals to anti-heroes, rough heroes and other ‘reprehensible characters’ that garner our allegiance. It can even admit non-moral factors as subterranean influences on moral assessment. Nevertheless, the view requires that the characters we most favour are those with the highest moral standing, and this does not seem to be true of the character arc story (Kelly, 2020). Rather, the mixture of good and bad impulses in the protagonist is set off by the unalloyed moral example of the moral centre, a supporting character whose fate may barely interest us. We conclude that narrative theory is better served by allowing the moral hierarchy of a story to differ from the rank order of its allegiances, and hence that audience affiliation is not simply a matter of moral assessment.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,873

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Elements of Character.Richard Bondi - 1984 - Journal of Religious Ethics 12 (2):201 - 218.
`Borges and I' and `I'.John Perry - 2007 - Amherst Lecture in Philosophy 2:1-16.
Human Character and Morality. [REVIEW]S. Iniobong Udoidem - 1987 - Review of Metaphysics 41 (1):139-140.
Historical Anti-Realism.Michael P. Levine - 1991 - The Monist 74 (2):230-239.
Character, Language and the Legal System.Patricia Anne Murphy - 1989 - Dissertation, Temple University


Added to PP

38 (#430,751)

6 months
23 (#124,901)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Rory Kelly
University of California, Los Angeles
Samuel John Cumming
University of California, Los Angeles

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):55.
Robust Immoralism.A. W. Eaton - 2012 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (3):281-292.
Imaginative Resistance.Emine Hande Tuna - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Theorizing the moving image.Noël Carroll - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Imaginative resistance revisited.Tamar Szabo Gendler - 2006 - In Shaun Nichols (ed.), The Architecture of the Imagination. Oxford University Press. pp. 149-173.

View all 15 references / Add more references