Character Traits: Cunning

Cunning definition:

having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion

Cunning is something that again has gotten a lot of disdain as time passes. As it’s true that the best way to do something is though honest means, not so much by deceit.But what if the intentions were good from the beginning. And that is still something that we should not do. Especially in real life.Because people hate being lied to, even if the person meant well. It’ll be like your mother deciding to hide the fact that you might be a terrible cook, until the day you decide to go to cooking school and she decides to tell you the truth.Well meaning, but you’ll still despise her at the end of the day for her actions. Because people treasure honesty.But being cunning is still a fairly interesting trait to explore, especially if they are used for reasons. A main character may not be noble, a hero but they must have motivations and they must do things.Bring cunning is simply using another method to achieve your ends, to push the plot forward. It can be something that can get our protagonist to many ends, and to really help them.But to portray them, is dependent on the author, the vision they have for the story. And why should they?This trait can be born out of cynicism, when they no longer care about it enough. Or that they do and they will stop at nothing to get there. But to always go to such ends, you probably have to have strong personal motivations or a really wrong upbringing.Mostly because once it’s found out they often lose their credibility, or somewhere down the road they would really hurt someone and their relationships which were built on deceit rather than real trust would really just fall apart.At the end of the day, it is strongest when it is used to show someone who might be working to his own advantage, or to delve deeply into their personal reasons why. A character doesn’t really need to be good, they just need to really show their justifications for their actions.

2 thoughts on “Character Traits: Cunning

  1. I would think of cunning as more than just deceit. A war strategist should be cunning. One of my characters in Call of the Guardian starts as a sort of buffoon, but due to his knowledge of history and strategy, becomes a cunning hero. I see his cunning as his best aspect. It’s what makes him heroic. Maybe context is key.