Wikiquote:Fictional characters

This page is a guideline on Wikiquote.
It illustrates standards of conduct, which many editors agree with in principle, but it is not policy.
Feel free to update the page, but please discuss major changes on the talk page first.
Wikiquote Policies and Guidelines

Wikiquote generally does not include stand-alone pages on fictional characters. All quotes from or about a fictional work should be listed in an article on the work or its author.

Wikiquote also does not include quotes by fictional characters on the pages of performers who merely portrayed those characters, and it does not include quotes by fictionalized versions of real persons on the pages of the real persons.

Per What is Wikiquote?, our goals are to be Accurate, Comprehensive, Notable, and focused on quotations.

Rationale edit

There are two primary reasons why pages on fictional characters are not permitted:

  1. Such pages raise substantial copyright concerns. It is impractical to manage limits on fair use when there are separate pages for elements of a fictional work.
  2. Such pages confuse real authorship with that of the character. Fictional characters do not author anything.

Exceptions edit

Specific examples of exceptions where pages about fictional characters are allowed:

  1. Eponymous works: When the name of a character is the title of a work, or is the name by which a body of works is known (e.g. Superman comics), it may be used as the title of an article. Such articles are about the work: they are not just for quotes of the individual character, and they are not supplemental articles in addition to a main article about the work. Quotes attributed to the character must be properly sourced to the work from which they originate, and if possible the author of that specific work must be identified. If a character has a catchphrase or other oft-repeated line, the quote should be sourced to its earliest appearance.
  2. Themes about a character:
    Quoteworthy remarks about a character, such as literary criticism, are ordinarily included in an article about the work, in an article on the author of the work, or author of the remarks. If the character appears in multiple works by different authors, and a quote does not relate to a specific work, then it may be included in an aggregate article on the body of works, or in an article on the primary work in which the character originated. If neither of these options are practical, it may be appropriate to create a theme article for quotes about the principal character of a body of works.
    Such a theme page on a character is appropriate only where:
    1. The character has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject, and
    2. Notable authors, scholars, fiction critics, etc., have themselves made noteworthy quotes and comments on the fictional character.
    An example of a quote appropriate for a theme page would be:
    • Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He's weak. He's unsure of himself. He's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race.
    This quote is from a notable work, by a notable author; it is about the character, Superman, but the characteristic described is one that appears in all Superman media, and thus it does not relate to any specific portrayal of Superman.

Fictionalizations and quasi-fictional characters edit

Many real people have been portrayed in various media in which the author of the media has scripted dialogue read by the actor portraying the real person. Such quotes should never be listed on the page of the person portrayed, except to clear up misattributions of that dialogue to the figure portrayed. For example, in the last episode of the television miniseries, John Adams, the titular character says at one point, "I consider the true history of our revolution to be lost forever". These words were scripted for the miniseries, and were never actually spoken by the real John Adams. It would therefore be improper to include them in the page on John Adams unless some evidence were presented that the phrase had been incorrectly attributed to Adams by a third party.

Some figures from ancient history or mythology are of dubious or disputed historical origin, and quotes attributed to such figures are necessarily suspect. Nevertheless, figures reasonably believed to have had an actual historical existence may be included, as such inclusion does not misrepresent the attribution of the quotes said to originate with those figures.

Actors portraying fictional characters edit

Quotes by fictional characters or fictionalized portrayals of real persons are generally not included on the page of the actor who portrayed that character, because the actor is usually not the author of the quote. Such quotes are permitted where the actor is also the author, including dialogue improvised by an actor while performing the role.

If a performer is closely associated with a quote originating in playing a character - for example, where it can be sourced that the actor continues to use that quote as a "signature line" outside the context of the media from which it originated - then the quote may be presented on the page of that performer in order to clarify the nature of the media in which it actually originated.