Fears will likely be more subtle and abstract, especially if your character is in a stressful or dangerous position where they cannot afford to be afraid. How does your character’s fear manifest? Do they isolate themselves, may lash out violently?

Tony fears losing his wants and needs to men or systems more powerful than himself. This fear manifest as defensive aggression and violence, as resentment; the audience first sees this aggression when Tony monologues about his life in communist Cuba and how he could work all day to own nothing. Even though Tony fears being controlled by powerful men, he must collaborate with Lopez and Sosa to achieve his wants.

Once Tony achieves his wants, his fears and resentments increase to the point that he is addicted to cocaine, attacking everyone, and has constant surveillance and protection in his own home. Tony crashes when he kills Manny for marrying Gina, and this disorientation leads to his legendary death as a result of betraying Sosa.


Hate is one of the most powerful emotions in your character’s arsenal. The more you cultivate it, the more likely it will derail their self-control and change your plot irreversibly. Where does your character’s resentment come from? Is it a place of intense fear or disgust, maybe both? What conditioned your character to hate the things they do?

Tony’s fear of being controlled by powerful men manifests as resentment, as jealousy and violence; he constantly judges the value of other men around him, especially if they are with attractive women. This is obvious in Tony’s judgement of Lopez, ‘…he’s soft. I seen it in his face–booze and a concha tells him what to do.’

In order to combat his fear, Tony must achieve his wants and be a powerful man himself. However, it is the lingering resentment attached to his idea of power that leads to his death. It makes Tony paranoid and aggressive, especially toward the women in his life. His fears and resentments are realised with Gina and Manny’s relationship, leading Tony to kill his closest friend and kidnap his sister.