Templeton is a gluttonous rat and the tritagonist and overall anti-hero of Charlotte's Web. He is a greedy, gluttonous, lazy, and rather selfish rat who helps Charlotte and Wilbur only when offered food. He is always trying to get Wilbur into trouble, while Charlotte is trying to keep the pig from becoming bacon. He is voiced by the late Paul Lynde in the 1973 Animated film, Charlie Adler in the 2003 Direct to video sequel and Steve Buscemi in the 2006 live action film.
Templeton is a rat who always looks out for himself. He is greedy and lazy. It's also a continued theme in at least the animated movie that Templeton repeatedly asks this question "What's in it for me?", and is repeatedly answered with very strong incentives. He only agreed to help Wilbur because if the pig is slaughtered, then that would also mean that the pig's trough would remain empty and therefore Templeton would also die. He is also shown to be quite clever as shown in the live action version where he outsmarted two pesky crows twice into getting into humiliating situations (causing them to crash into some sand and pink paint; trapping them in a scarecrow machine).
Despite his negative traits, Templeton does have a very soft side buried quite deeply in his gluttonous body. As he warmly smiled as the dying Charlotte thanked him for his help. He also genuinely mourned her death. He is also one of the animals who helps Wilbur watch over Charlotte's egg sac during the winter.
Templeton in the animated film.
Templeton in the animated sequel.
Live action Templeton.
"For your information, Pig, the rat RULES! We were here long before your kind and we'll be here long after!"
Templeton lazing around in his lair.
The rotten egg breaks, sending nasty yolk all over Templeton.
"Guess the yolk's on me!"
"It's a sad statement in when I'm the most honest guy in the place. They're saving you for Christmas Dinner."
Templeton with Charlotte.
Templeton hearing about rotten food at the fair and he eagerly joins Wilbur.
"Who got his hindquarters pecked to make you "radiant", huh? Templeton! And who interrupted the gorging of a lifetime so you could be "humble"? Why, I believe it was Templeton! TEMPLETON!"
"And do I get thanked? NO! Well, has it ever occurred to you, that even a rat might like a little appreciation? Maybe a little, dare I say it...love'?
Templeton smiles warmly as the dying Charlotte genuinely thanks him.