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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Antagonist and Protagonist - Literary terms

Antagonist, Protagonist, Literary terms

Antagonist and Protagonist - Literary terms


Usually, the CHARACTER in FICTION or DRAMA, who stands in direct opposition to or in conflict with the central character. For example, John Claggart is the antagonist in Herman Melville's Billy Budd, Madame Merle is the antagonist in Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady. In some instances, the antagonist may be a group of people, some force in nature, or some aspect of the central character's personality or psyche.


The principal and central CHARACTER of a NOVEL, SHORT STORY, PLAY, or other literary work. Antonia Shimerda, a nineteenth-century immigrant girl, is the protagonist of Willa Cather's My Antonia; Bigger Thomas, a victim of the Black Belt slums of Chicago, the protagonist of Richard Wright's Native Son. The term originated in Greek DRAMA, which was enacted by a CHORUS, its leader, and three additional actors: the protagonist, the first or chief actor; the deuteragonist, a second actor who usually played the rival, or ANTAGONIST; and the tritagonist, or third actor.

See also:  CHARACTER.

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