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antagonist
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{{About|the literary term|the pharmacological term|receptor antagonist|other uses}}{{Use dmy dates|date=March 2015}}An antagonist is the character in a story who is against the protagonist.About.com, Literature: Contemporary "Antagonist." Online. 18 October 2007.
  • WEB,weblink Protagonist and Antagonist definition, Grammarist.com, Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  • WEB,weblink Glossary of Literary Terms, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150326062735weblink">weblink 26 March 2015, Retrieved on 27 March 2015.
  • WEB,weblink Glossary of Drama Terms, Online Learning Center, Retrieved on 27 March 2015.
  • WEB,weblink Antagonist - Definition for Fiction Writers, About.com, Retrieved on 27 March 2015.

Etymology

The English word antagonist comes from the Greek ἀνταγωνιστής – antagonistēs, "opponent, competitor, villain, enemy, rival," which is derived from anti- ("against") and agonizesthai ("to contend for a prize").WEB,weblink Antagonist, Online Etymology Dictionary, 28 November 2010, {{OED|antagonist}}

Types

Heroes and villains

{{Refimprove section|date=September 2017}}In the classic style of stories where the action consists of a hero fighting a villain/antagonist, the two may be regarded as protagonist and antagonist, respectively. However, the villain of the story is not always the same as the antagonist, as some narratives cast the villain in the protagonist role, with the opposing hero as the antagonist. An antagonist is usually neutral{{dn|date=November 2019}} character which may represent a threat, being mean, or obstacle to the main character by its existence and not necessarily targeting him or her in a deliberate manner. Examples in both film and theatre include Sauron, the main antagonist in The Lord of the Rings, who constantly battles the series' protagonists, and Tybalt, an antagonist in Romeo and Juliet, who slays Mercutio and whose later death results in the exiling of one of the play's protagonists, Romeo. In stories, a convention of antagonists is that their moral choices are less savory than those of protagonists. This is often used by an author to create conflict within a story. However, this is merely a convention, and the reversal of this can be seen in the character Macduff from Macbeth, who is arguably morally correct in his desire to fight the tyrant Macbeth, the protagonist .Examples from television include J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) from Dallas and Alexis Colby (Joan Collins) from Dynasty. Both became breakout characters used as a device to increase their shows' ratings.

Other characters

Characters may be antagonists without being evil – they may simply be injudicious and unlikeable for the audience. In some stories, such as The Catcher in the Rye, almost every character other than the protagonist may be an antagonist.BOOK, Bulman, Colin, Creative Writing: A Guide and/or Glossary to Fiction Writing, 2007, Polity Press, 9780745636870, 17,weblink Google Books,

Aspects of the protagonist

An aspect or trait of the protagonist may be considered an antagonist, such as morality or indecisiveness.

Non-personal

An antagonist may not always be a person or people. In some cases, an antagonist may be a force, such as a tidal wave that destroys a city; a storm that causes havoc; or even a certain area's conditions that are the root cause of a problem. An antagonist also may or may not create obstacles for the protagonist.WEB,weblink The Elements of Literature, roanestate.edu, Societal norms or other rules also may be antagonists.

Former protagonists

A character once a protagonist can turn into an antagonist under extremely negative circumstances. Examples include Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars franchise who turns from Jedi to Sith. A supporting protagonist can become an antagonist by betraying a main protagonist.

Usage

An antagonist is used as a plot device, to set up conflicts, obstacles, or challenges for the protagonist.BOOK, Smiley, Sam, Playwriting: The Structure of Action, 2005, First published 1971 by Prentice-Hall, Yale University Press, 0300107242, 133–134,weblink Google Books, Though not every story requires an antagonist, it often is used in plays to increase the level of drama. In tragedies, antagonists are often the cause of the protagonist's main problem, or lead a group of characters against the protagonist; in comedies, they are usually responsible for involving the protagonist in comedic situations.

See also

References

{{Reflist|2}}

External links

{{Fiction writing}}

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