The antagonist in a work of art is a character opposing the protagonist (protagonist) on the way to achieving his goals. The opposition of the antagonist-protagonist is one of the possible driving forces of the central conflict of the work. The actions of the antagonist not only create obstacles that the protagonist must overcome but can also serve as the reason for the development of the character of the protagonist (Lawrence 88). An antagonist can act not as a single character, but as a group of characters (family, organization, etc.) or impersonal force – a natural cataclysm, a social order. Perhaps the broad definition of an antagonist includes not only external forces with respect to the protagonist but also general moral principles or his own character traits. A narrower interpretation of the concept is also possible, when only one, the “most important” villain of the work, is considered as an antagonist in the character group opposing the hero.
The protagonist is the protagonist, the central actor, the actor who plays the main role in the work, etc. Opposes the antagonist. In a more general sense, the protagonist is often called the protagonist of the plot of a literary work, computer game or story. The protagonist is not always a positive hero: there is also an anti-hero, that is, a protagonist with negative features (Kirchdorfe 145–47).
In classical literature, especially in ancient Greek tragedy, usually, the protagonist (protagonist) acts as a positive character, the bearer of good, and the antagonist is a negative character, a villain. However, the “negativity” of the antagonist can be smoothened Rose for Emily, for example, parents and family members who act, as antagonists of heroes are not so many villains as obstinate bullies and fools in their delusions; however, in this case, the figure of the antagonist also causes the author’s disapproval. The ratio “the protagonist is more virtuous than the antagonist” can be completely violated, for example, in Rose for Emily by William Faulkner; the more virtuous is against the protagonist. A plot is possible, in which the protagonist and antagonist are equal to each other heroes (Lawrence 88).
The figure of the antagonist in different genres has its own characteristics. So, in comedy, it is usually the antagonist that involves the hero in comic situations; in thrillers and horror with the antagonist, the most vivid and naturalistic scenes of fights, violence, and death are associated, to some extent, it is the image of the antagonist as the personification of the forces of evil that can be the main artistic task of the genre; for the western characterized by some convergence between the protagonist and the antagonist, similarity in the mode of action and methods; in the female love story, the antagonist, as a rule, is older and more experienced than the heroine, she provokes the heroine to violate the prohibitions and puts before her “difficult tasks”, contributing to the female initiation of the heroine.
Another metamorphosis with the protagonist, who becomes an antagonist, was conceived and embodied in the story. The protagonist of the story turns from a regular schoolteacher, an analog of character to a brutal personality (Lawrence 88). The antagonist creates conflict in the scenario. This conflict must be strong enough to move the story forward for a hundred and ten pages. That is, the problem that the antagonist creates must be so serious that the hero needs the whole story to solve it. The antagonist is not a “lying policeman” on the road on which the protagonist is going to the goal. It must be a fortified fortress wall – an obstacle with which the protagonist has no opportunity to cope (Kirchdorfe 145–47).
In addition, the conflict that creates your antagonist should develop. The hero’s business should get worse and worse, otherwise, your script will be “flat.” If the ninety pages are still as bad as the thirtieth, then you are going to ruin the hour of someone’s life. The essence of the stories in changes, and if nothing changes within 60 pages – then there is no history. Therefore, the risks must increase: due to the actions of the antagonist or because of the hero’s attempts to fix everything, which ends only with deterioration (and maybe even so).
In Rose for Emily, every time hero thinks up how to get rid of the villain (for example, a scene in a karaoke bar) everything goes awry, it only gets worse. Improvement of the situation is always preceded by deterioration. Hence, the antagonist must be active, not passive. He, too, should have a goal. Try to tell the same story from the point of view of the antagonist: the protagonist will be an obstacle in his way! Therefore, viewers must believe in the motivations and actions of the antagonist. A good villain is clever and cunning, he never does anything “just like that”, and does not allow silly mistakes. In addition, in action stories and thrillers, the antagonist, in general, is usually the main character. He is going to commit some kind of atrocity and the hero’s goal is to stop him (Lawrence 88).
The hero of the story can be easily replaced, but if you replace the villain and his plan, then you will get a completely different story. The most important component of any action story and thriller is the villain’s plan. In addition, the most important character is not a hero, but a villain!
Kirchdorfer, Ulf. “Weak Men in William Faulkner’s A ROSE FOR EMILY.” Explicator, vol. 75, no. 3, 2017, pp. 145–47, doi:10.1080/00144940.2017.1346564.
Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. “Protagonist Meets Antagonist.” Education Next, vol. 5, no. 3, 2005, p. 88.