Difference Between Protagonist and Antagonist

Main Difference

The main difference between protagonist and antagonist is that the protagonist is the main character whom around the whole story is woven, whereas antagonist is the opposite character of the protagonist.

Protagonist vs. Antagonist

The protagonist is the main or a central character whom around the whole story is written, whereas antagonist is the opposite character of the protagonist or an anti-force. Whole story of a drama or movie is woven around the protagonist and his mission to accomplish his goal, while the chief opposing character in the whole story is an antagonist. The protagonist is portrayed as an upright character and morally correct, but the antagonist is portrayed as villains and morally bad. The audience gives sympathy to the protagonist and wants to learn about his victory over antagonist; on the other hand, the antagonist does not have any sympathy from the audience. The protagonist is generally always a human being; on the contrary, the antagonist can be an animal force, a circumstance and could be a natural calamity. The protagonist tries to go to the right path, while antagonist places the difficulties in the track of the protagonist. A protagonist can be important in a story, but no story can be more gripping without the introduction of the antagonist. The protagonist represents our initiative and positive changes; on the contrary, antagonist represents the resistance to change or something new.

Comparison Chart

ProtagonistAntagonist
The protagonist is a Greek word that means the chief character or one who plays the main role.The antagonist is a Greek word which generally means a rival, an opponent, or a villain.
Story
The whole story is woven around the protagonist and his mission to accomplish his goalChief opposing character in the whole story is an antagonist
Portrayal
Portrayed as an upright character and morally correctPortrayed as villains and morally bad
Audience Sympathy
The audience gives sympathy to the protagonist and wants to learn about his victory over the antagonistThe antagonist does not have any sympathy from the audience
Character
Generally always a human beingCan be an animal force, a circumstance and could be a natural calamity
Mission
Tries to go to the right pathPlaces the difficulties in the track of the protagonist
Importance
Can be important in a story, but no story can be more gripping without the introduction of the antagonistThe whole story is more gripping with the antagonist
Represents
Represents our initiative and positive changesRepresents the resistance to change or something new

What is the Protagonist?

The protagonist is a Greek word which generally means chief or main enthusiastic role in a story and whole story of a drama or movie is woven around the protagonist and his mission to accomplish his goal in the story — it enthusiast audience about how he or she finds solutions of their problems. The audience gives sympathy to the protagonist and wants to learn about his victory over antagonist because the protagonist is portrayed as an upright character and morally correct. The protagonist is not always admirable and good and could be villainous wicked such as ‘Macbeth’ in Macbeth play. Protagonists can be more than one in one story for instance ‘The game of thrones.’ Some noticeable protagonists in literature are Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games. A protagonist can be important in a story, but no story can be more gripping without the introduction of the antagonist. The protagonist represents our initiative and positive changes, and its main purpose is to represent our society and hurdles. The protagonist is generally always a human being whom the audience can easily recognize.

Examples

Juliet’s cousin Tybalt, Prince Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, Superman, Captain America, etc.

What is Antagonist?

The antagonist is a Greek word which generally means a rival, an opponent or a villain who purposely causes problems for the protagonist. The antagonist is portrayed as villains, dark powers, wicked, and morally bad in the story. An antagonist stands in the way of the protagonist and his ultimate goal. Therefore, the antagonist does not get any sympathy from the audience. The antagonist can be an animal force, and a circumstance could be a natural calamity, a group of characters, a concept itself, or an institution which stands against or in the way of the protagonist. An antagonist is very important in a story because no story can be more gripping without the introduction of the antagonist.

Examples

The Wicked Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, the Wolf in The Red Riding Hood, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Magneto, Joker, Two-Face, etc. are some villains or negative characters from the children literature books or cartoons.

Key Differences

  1. The protagonist is the main whom around the whole story is written, whereas antagonist is the opposite character of the protagonist.
  2. The whole story of a drama or movie is woven around the protagonist and about his mission, while the chief opposing character in the whole story is an antagonist.
  3. The protagonist is portrayed as an upright and morally correct character, but the antagonist is portrayed as villains and morally bad.
  4. The audience gives sympathy to the protagonist and wants to see about his victory over antagonist; on the other hand, the antagonist does not have any sympathy from the audience.
  5. The protagonist is generally always a human being; on the contrary, the antagonist can be an animal force, a circumstance and could be a natural calamity.
  6. The protagonist tries to go to the right path, while antagonist places the difficulties in the track of the protagonist.
  7. A protagonist can be important in a story, but no story can be more gripping without the introduction of the antagonist.
  8. The protagonist represents our initiative and positive changes; on the contrary, antagonist represents the resistance to change or something new.

Conclusion

Above discussion concludes that the protagonist is the main positive role of the story, while the antagonist is opposing or an anti-force against the protagonist.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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