Learn all about the stock character of the Fall Guy, including personality traits and examples.
Fall Guy Stock Character
The Fall Guy is a common archetype that has been around for decades.
This character is often used to take the blame or fall for someone else’s mistakes or misdeeds.
They are usually the one who ends up facing the consequences, while others walk away unscathed.
But why is this character so prevalent, and what purpose does it serve in storytelling?
The Fall Guy serves as a convenient plot device to create tension and conflict in narratives.
By placing blame on one individual, it allows other characters to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
This can lead to dramatic confrontations, moral dilemmas, and unexpected twists in the storyline.
In addition to its narrative function, the Fall Guy also provides an opportunity for social commentary.
This character represents societal dynamics where certain individuals are scapegoated or unfairly targeted for punishment.
It raises questions about justice, fairness, and accountability.
As we explore further into the world of storytelling, we’ll delve into the origins of this stock character, analyze its impact on popular culture, and examine notable examples from film and television.
Get ready to uncover the complexities behind this familiar figure – the Fall Guy.
What is the Fall Guy Stock Character?
The Fall Guy is a familiar archetype in literature, film, and television.
Often portrayed as an innocent, unwitting scapegoat, this character is skillfully manipulated by the villain to further a nefarious plot.
In their ignorance, the Fall Guy becomes a casualty of the villain’s deception, shouldering the blame for deeds they never orchestrated.
Their presence adds a layer of complexity to the narrative, as they unknowingly play into the villain’s hands, only to face the dire consequences of actions they did not commit.
However, the narrative arc of the Fall Guy often pivots from this point of manipulation to a revealing journey.
As they grapple with their predicament, the Fall Guy stumbles upon pieces of the larger puzzle, gradually uncovering the villain’s true intent.
These shocking revelations thrust the character into a newfound awareness, propelling them into decisive action against the real perpetrator.
Notably, this transformative arc carries with it a redemptive quality.
Realizing their role in the villain’s scheme, the Fall Guy often seeks to rectify their actions, initiating a path to redemption.
This journey involves significant personal growth and transformation, with the character moving from an unwitting pawn to a proactive agent in the narrative.
The Fall Guy also serves as a symbolic figure within the story.
They represent the corruption of innocence and the consequences of manipulation, underscoring the damaging impact of deceit and villainy.
In a broader context, this character highlights societal tendencies to hastily assign blame, often without a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances.
6 Characteristics of the Fall Guy
When it comes to the fall guy stock character, several key characteristics define their role in storytelling.
Whether they’re serving as a comedic relief or a plot device, these traits help shape their portrayal and contribute to the dynamics of the narrative.
The fall guy is often depicted as easily deceived or manipulated by others. Their trusting nature makes them susceptible to being set up for failure or taking the blame for someone else’s actions. This naivety adds humor and tension to the story.
2. Bad luck
The fall guy has an uncanny ability to attract misfortune. They find themselves caught in unfortunate circumstances, facing a series of mishaps that lead to their downfall. From slipping on banana peels to being at the wrong place at the wrong time, their streak of bad luck becomes a running gag throughout the story.
Another characteristic commonly associated with the fall guy is their need for more skill or competence in various areas of life. They may be clumsy, accident-prone, or simply not very capable when it comes to solving problems or achieving success. This ineptitude fuels comedic moments and generates sympathy from audiences.
4. Scapegoat status
As the name suggests, fall guys often become scapegoats for other characters’ mistakes or schemes. They unwittingly take on the blame for crimes they didn’t commit or find themselves framed for actions they had no involvement in whatsoever. This serves as a catalyst for conflict and drives plot twists within the story.
Despite their constant setbacks, fall guys possess an admirable resilience that keeps them going despite adversity. They endure humiliation, ridicule, and setbacks with determination and manage to bounce back from each setback with renewed optimism.
6. Redemption arc potential
While initially portrayed as hapless victims of circumstance, some fall guys have the potential for redemption arcs. Through personal growth and learning from their mistakes, they can transform into unexpected heroes or gain the upper hand in the end. This adds depth to their character development and allows for a satisfying narrative arc.
In summary, fall guys in storytelling possess traits of gullibility, bad luck, ineptitude, being scapegoats, resilience, and potential for redemption.
These characteristics create engaging storylines through comedic situations, plot twists, and opportunities for personal growth.
The fall guy serves as an important element in narratives that keeps audiences entertained and invested in the outcome of the story.
Fall Guy Examples
- Terry Malloy (On the Waterfront): Marlon Brando’s character, Terry Malloy, is unwittingly used as a scapegoat in a murder plot orchestrated by the corrupt union boss Johnny Friendly. As Terry becomes aware of his role as the fall guy, it drives the narrative forward in this iconic film.
- Cypher (The Matrix): In the first Matrix film, Cypher betrays his team, unaware of Agent Smith’s true intentions. He hopes to trade his life inside the Matrix for a more comfortable existence but ultimately discovers that he has been discarded once he has served his purpose.
- Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles): Pixar’s ‘The Incredibles’ features Bob Parr, who is drawn into Syndrome’s plan under false pretenses of secret hero work. Unknowingly assisting Syndrome in perfecting his Omnidroid, Bob later becomes the target for destruction once Syndrome’s diabolical scheme is ready to be executed.
- Wilmer Cook (The Maltese Falcon): A classic film noir character, Wilmer Cook serves as a loyal employee manipulated by Kasper Gutman. He is set up to take the blame for Gutman’s murders committed during their pursuit of the valuable Maltese Falcon.
- Biff (The Strawberry Blonde): James Cagney portrays Biff Grimes, an innocent and naive dentist who becomes a scapegoat for Hugo Barnstead’s fraudulent schemes in this film.
These examples illustrate how fall guys are often used as pawns or unsuspecting individuals who find themselves taking on blame or facing consequences for actions they did not fully understand or intend.