What makes a good protagonist


The protagonist is the hero of a work and the main role in a story or in a drama. The term goes back to the theater of antiquity, where he was the performer of the first role of a play (leading actor). Thus the protagonist stands before the deuteragonist or the tritagonist; the second and third roles in the drama. His opponent is the antagonist.

However, this classic meaning can only be used as the background of the word and is very inadequate nowadays. Meanwhile, the protagonist is not limited to the theater, but can be identified and identified in almost all narrative media.

There are protagonists in all kinds of cinematic and literary works and in computer games we have to understand the hero - that is, the character controlled by the player - as the protagonist of the plot. Consequently, we can state that the protagonist of the Main doer is in an act. He is therefore the figure that is ultimately at stake.

Note: The word protagonist is derived from the Greek (πρωταγωνιστής, protagonistés) and means roughly "first" or "main actor". "Prótos" can be translated as "the first" and "ágo" as "move, lead or act".

Recognize the protagonist

The protagonist does not necessarily have to be the title character of a work, even if this is usually the case. The title character is the character named in the title of a work.

We recognize the protagonist by the fact that he is the character of a work who goes through a development and determines the plot in a play. This development is mostly for the positive (good). The protagonist makes this development based on the experiences he has in a work.

Often the protagonist is tested in some way or has plans that he is pursuing in the action. These plans are often jeopardized by the antagonist. By mastering and overcoming these obstacles, the protagonist matures in the course of the work and undergoes the mentioned change.

Note: Incidentally, the antagonist does not necessarily have to be a living being. Sometimes abstract things or landscapes (e.g. in adventure novels) can also form the typical antagonist. In principle, the antagonist can be anything that hinders the protagonist's progress (bureaucracy, religion, magic, environment, etc.). The antagonist is therefore the personification of the threshold that the protagonist has to overcome. However, there doesn't always have to be an antagonist.

Does the protagonist have to be good?

Often the mistake is made of calling the antagonist the bad guy and the protagonist the good guy. However, the protagonist is not necessarily the one positive Hero.

In principle, the typical protagonist is endowed with positive characteristics, but especially in modern times they can also be malicious or embody antiheroes. This means that the balance between antagonists and protagonists can also tip.

Sometimes the protagonist even causes damage in a story. For example, let's think of the film "Fight club“It becomes clear what is meant. After all, the main character tries to blow up half the city, beats up people and causes chaos.

The antagonist here is the system (police, bureaucracy, democracy) that gets in the way of those involved. So the relationship between good and bad is not always clear.

Well-known protagonists and examples

We encounter the protagonist both in classical plays and in contemporary works. Let's take a look at two typical and well-known example constellations.

Constellation using the example of Harry Potter

The novel series "Harry Potter" by the English author Joanne K. Rowling has become a cult in the field of youth literature in recent years. Here, too, the individual constellations can be clearly illustrated using the principle presented.

Harry Potter is of course the classic protagonist of the work and also the title character of the novel series. Opposite him is Lord Voldemort as a dark antagonist who stands in the way of the "good" Harry and tries to prevent him from doing his various projects.

Harry are put to the side of very different characters, however, we find fine examples of the deuteragonist in Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. In a sense, they are the “second main roles” and allow us to take a different look at the main actor, as they express themselves and communicate with him.

Constellation using the example of Lord of the rings

Another very clear example of this constellation between antagonist and protagonist can be found in the series of novels "The Lord of the Rings" by the British writer J. R. R. Tolkien. Again, the roles are clearly distributed between the individual characters.

Frodo Baggins can be clearly identified as the protagonist, who develops strongly due to numerous tests in the course of the novel. Opposite him stands Sauron as the personified evil who tries to hinder the hobbit and his companions on their journey.

In this case, almost all companions of the hobbit can be regarded as deuteragonists. Sam, Pippin, Legolas, Gimli or Aragorn should be mentioned here, even if the portfolio is of course much larger and more complex.

Brief overview: The most important thing about the protagonist at a glance
  • The protagonist is the "Main actors“In a plant.
  • Usually he goes through one in the course of the story development towards the positive.
  • This happens on the basis of various experiences, tests and experiences.
  • The protagonist's opponent is antagonistwho tries to thwart P.'s plans and is often the counterpart in character.
  • The second and third main roles are referred to as deuteragonists and tritagonists.
  • The protagonist doesn't have to be good!

Synonyms: Main actor, main character, figure, main character, hero, heroine, matador, matador, key figure, pioneer, pioneer, pioneer, pioneer