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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An antagonist (from Greek ἀνταγωνιστής - antagonistes, "opponent, competitor, rival"[1]) is a character, group of characters, or an institution, who represents the opposition against which the protagonist(s) must contend. In other words, 'A person, or a group of people who oppose the main character, or the main characters.'[2] In the classic style of story where in the action consists of a hero fighting a villain, the two can be regarded as protagonist and antagonist, respectively.[3]

Writers have also created more complex situations. In some instances, a story is told from the villain's point of view, and any hero trying to stop the villain can be regarded as an antagonist. In the film K-19: The Widowmaker, an American film about a Soviet Cold War submarine crew, the crew, enemies of the United States, are depicted as protagonists, creating something of a paradox — as very often the American film industry tends to depict the forces of the United States as the people that fight for "good" and "justice", in opposition to Russia (especially the former Soviet Union) being the antagonists, who often have been portrayed to have maniacal and/or malicious intentions (e.g. world domination) by the media. Such antagonists are usually police officers, or other law enforcement officials. Similarly, Ken Follet's thrillers "Eye of the Needle" and "The Key to Rebecca" both have WWII German spies as their protagonists, making the British intelligence services into the story's antagonists.

Sometimes, antagonists and protagonists may overlap, depending on what their ultimate objectives are considered to be.

See also


  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary]
  2. ^, Literature: Contemporary "Antagonist." Online. October 18, 2007.
  3. ^ The antagonist may not always be a person or persons. In some cases an antagonist may be a force, such as a tidal wave that destroyed a city, or a storm that is causing havoc, or even the conditions in a certain area that is causing a problem. An antagonist also may or may not create obstacles for the protagonist. See: The Elements of Literature

Simple English

An antagonist is the character in a story whom has evil intent. The antagonist(s) is the opposing character to a protagonist, which are the characters that have good intent. Antagonists normally have reasoning for committing acts of evil. Though it is rare, it is possible for an antagonist to be an evil doer committing acts of which a protagonist might through acts which may seem evil, which throw off most readers and characters of a story.

Some examples of main antagonists are:

  1. In the anime Inuyasha, Naraku is the main antagonist.
  2. In the Saw series, John Kramer (or Jigsaw) is the antagonist in the majority of the films.

A secondary antagonist is an evil doer who serves to a main antagonist.

It should be noted that it is possible for a protagonist to become an antagonist. A prominent example of this was when Anakin Skywalker had turned from a Jedi to a Sith, namely becoming Darth Vader.

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