Day 17: Quirky Quacksalver

Welcome to Day 17 of the A to Z Challenge. For this year’s challenge, I’ll be examining different types of characters that can be found in international fiction. Today I’m looking at quirky quacksalvers.

Quirky quacksalvers are characters who pretend to be something that they are not. Be it for love, for fear of family, or to enter an arena that otherwise might not accept them, quacky quacksalvers find themselves trying to survive in a new world, under a false identity.

These characters stories tend to include an element of danger in hiding their identity and a compelling reason to reveal it to at least one person in the story.

Element of Danger

In Papita, Mani, Toston, Andres pretends to be fan of a rival team.  Revealing his identity at first could result in him losing the woman he’s falling in love with.  In Tropic Thunder, Kirk Lazarus pretends to be a black southerner.  In this movie, everyone knows that Kirk isn’t black, but dropping Kirk’s false identity puts him in danger of identity crisis.  In Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale, Jr. pretends to be different professions, all of which if exposed could land him in trouble with the law.

Reason to Reveal 

In romantic comedies, the reason to reveal an identity is often the seriousness of a relationship.  The quacksalver wants deeper intimacy and finds that he/she can’t do so if the relationship is founded on a lie.  In dramas, and even in the case of Kirk Lazarus, the storyline can tackle the protagonist inner struggle with discovering who they really are.  

This character’s quackiness tends to land them as the centerpiece of romantic comedies, but can also be present in other genres, such as thrillers.  Other  examples of quacky quacksalvers are Rafa from Ocho Apellidos Vascos, John Beckwith in Wedding Crashers and Sarah Manning from Orphan Black

Can you name another quacky quacksalver?

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