Tony Stark’s Motivation and Vices

Following the superhero theme from last month’s posts on Batman and Harvey Dent, I wanted to revisit fear and motivation with Tony Stark—A.K.A. Iron Man—in a quick character study.

This is a man of many vices, but Tony Stark’s cardinal sin is sloth. He is afraid of failure, so he doesn’t apply himself. His goal is to be “safe” and comfortable. Some people might say he’s afraid of losing more people (like Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark is a billionaire orphan), so he wants to be in control (greed).

But he doesn’t actively try to be in control.

He wants Pepper to take over the business so he can tinker in his basement.

Tony is afraid of committing to her, and he’s afraid of committing to others, which is why his coming out and saying “I am Iron Man” is the conclusion to his first arc. He’s finally committing himself, and he’s committing himself to the entire nation.

See how you can use the “seven deadly sins” as inspiration for character motivation in this post from the archives…

Lara Willard

Welcome to Fiction Friday! We are currently in the middle of the Character Series. Last week I posted the Character Worksheets and included a little schpiel on the Cardinal Sins (Seven Deadly Sins). Today I’m going to go into each with a little more detail to illustrate how they can be used as a way to view character motivations. Why the Cardinal Sins? No, I’m not trying to prognosticate here. Two reasons I like this method of summarizing motivations: 1) as a part of popular culture, the idea of the seven sins is familiar to many people, both religious and wholly secular. 2) It’s a reminder that no character is a saint. Few things are more yawn-inducing than a character that is perfectly perfect.

As long as you consider the motivations of your characters, and as long as their actions come about because of what motivates them on the inside,

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