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You're not Stanley. You're a real person.

–The Narrator

The Player is the real person controlling Stanley's movements throughout the duration of The Stanley Parable, with the exception of the Not Stanley Ending where they are themselves. The Player explains Stanley's diversity of thought, movement, and actions.


The game appears to have its own comprehension about what a real person/the Player is: in the instructional video shown in the Not Stanley Ending, a real person is a human whose choices always make sense. If in addition, you are talking to a person that doesn't make sense, then that person should not be considered "real."

In The Stanley Parable

Thought most of the game, Narrator refers to the player's actions as simply being Stanley's. He is aware he is in a video game, but still refers to the player as Stanley, even when not in The Stanley Parable.

In the Broom Closet Ending, the Narrator mentions the real person playing the game, saying they died as a rationality for Stanley remaining in the Broom Closet for so long. He asks for another player to take their place, and (if they go back in) then suggesting a monkey, fish, and even fungus to take their place instead.

It isn't until the titular Not Stanley Ending where this is called into question. The Narrator realizes that a Player is deciding what Stanley does, and not Stanley himself. He leads the Player back to the Two Doors Room to be confronted with the decision they made that started the whole charade.

No matter which door the Player takes, the game will always have problems: the right door will cause the entire game to distort and succumbed to chaos due to "Narrative Contradiction," while the left door will lead the Player to the boss' office, now equipped with a voice receiver that actually prevents the Player from proceeding any further due to the game's system not supporting speech recognition, in addition to parodying the trope of Stanley being a silent protagonist.

If the Player gets the Narrative Contradiction to occur, the Narrator will regard the Player as "a child". However, if the Player advances to the altered Boss's Office, the Narrator becomes angry at the Player for not having "the kind of respect Stanley shows for his choices".

The Stanley Parable Demonstration

The Player also appears as the protagonist in The Stanley Parable Demonstration, where the Narrator gives them a tour around the facility before seeing the demo. If the Player waits in the waiting room or plays the Eight game, the Narrator will start getting annoyed.


  • In the Not Stanley Ending, the game doesn't work because Stanley is not being controlled by the Player. That could also explain part of the game's description, "You will play as Stanley. You will not play as Stanley."
  • In most promotional trailers, the Narrator refers to the viewer(s) as real people, not as Stanley.
    • Although, there are some that explicitly take place from Stanley's POV.




The NarratorStanleyThe Essence of Divine ArtThe Stanley Parable Adventure Line™Female NarratorMariellaStanley's WifeEmployee 432The BossStevenPlayerEmployeesSettings PersonThe Stanley Parable Reassurance BucketGambhorra'taBucket Destroyer