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.

  Know More
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:

    What is an example of hamartia in literature?

    A:

    A hamartia is a "tragic flaw" in the protagonist, and it is directly translated as a mistake or error in judgment. An example would be that Oedipus is said to have a hasty temper; that would be a character flaw that could lead to mistakes or errors in his judgment.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who is Madame Defarge in "A Tale of Two Cities"?

    A:

    Madame Defarge is the antagonist in the story of "A Tale of Two Cities" who detests the French aristocracy. Her hatred is focused particularly on the Evremonde family, and she seeks revenge for the rape and murder of her sister, committed by two of the Evremonde brothers.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is literature so important?

    A:

    Literature is important because it helps readers develop critical thinking and discussion skills, build up new knowledge and experiences, and develop empathy for other people or cultures. Although literature is often de-emphasized in favor of more technical education, proponents argue it is still a useful discipline.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore