Q:

What are protagonists versus antagonists in literature?

A:

Quick Answer

A protagonist is the main character in a work of fiction, while the antagonist is the person who stands in opposition to the protagonist. The protagonist is sometimes referred to as the hero of the story, while the antagonist is often referred to as the villain.

Continue Reading
What are protagonists versus antagonists in literature?
Credit: Colin Anderson Stockbyte Getty Images

Full Answer

In many stories, the line between hero and villain is not clear-cut. In some cases, a story has no clear-cut antagonist. Sometimes, it is a situation or an inner conflict that stands in opposition to a protagonist, rather than another single character. The main character of a story may not be heroic or admirable, and yet that person is still regarded as the protagonist. The word "protagonist" comes from the Ancient Greek word "protagonistes," meaning "one who plays the first part."

Learn more about Literature

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a comic hero in literature?

    A:

    In literature, a comic hero is the protagonist or main character of a comedy. They are often more complex, or at least more difficult to neatly define, than tragic heroes, who may be thought of as their literary counterparts. Often, comic heroes have a less-than-perfect or even below-average moral character, and this is how Aristotle defined them.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who is the antagonist in "Macbeth"?

    A:

    Although opinions differ in the analysis of character roles in William Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth," one primary view states that Macduff is a heroic antagonist because he is opposed to the tragic protagonist Macbeth. However, a case can be made that Macbeth is both a protagonist and an antagonist.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the two general types of literature?

    A:

    The two most general types of literature are fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is literature created through the author's imagination, while nonfiction is literature based on fact. Within these two categories, literature can be broken down into genres and sub-genres.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you define "subordinate character"?

    A:

    A subordinate character can be defined as a character with an important role in a story who is not actually the story's protagonist. Subordinate characters often either motivate the protagonist or set out obstacles that the protagonist must surmount.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore