One of Propp's most widely known conceptions and theories was his Narrative theory (Aka Proppean narrative) which suggests that in every plot, each character is assigned a specific task or function. This is somewhat simplistic compared with Tzvetan Todorov's narrative theory (Theory of equilibrium) which suggests that plots are started where there is a stable equilibrium, which is disturbed and must be returned in the end.
Anyway, Propp's theory can vary between each case, but generally, there is the following:
- The hero (Who seeks something, often to destroy the villian).
- The villain (Opposes the hero).
- The donor (A calm good-doer. Helps the hero by providing a magic object).
- The dispatcher (A wise character who sends the hero on his way).
- The false hero (Falsely assuming the role of hero).
- The helper (Gives support to the hero).
- The princess (The reward for the hero but also needs to be protected from the villain.
- The princess's father
This is just a general formulae. Nowadays, plots tend to vary via adding/removing characters. E.g. Female hero. No reward. 2 donors. Multiple villains...etc
n.b. Most comic book plots are based on Proppean narratives. Refer to Batman as a simple example.