The protagonist is the central figure of a story, and is often referred to as a story's main character.
The story follows and is chiefly concerned with the protagonist (or, sometimes, a small group of protagonists—see usage below). Often the story is told from the protagonist's point of view; even when not in first-person narrative, the protagonist's attitudes and actions are made clear to the reader or listener to a larger extent than for any other character.
The protagonist is also characterized by his ability to change or evolve. Although a novel may center around the actions of another character, as in Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener", it is the dynamic character that typically allows the novel to progress in a manner that is conducive to the thesis of the work and earns the respect or attention of the audience.
The protagonist is, it should be pointed out, not always the hero of the story. Many authors have chosen to unfold a story from the point of view of a character who, while not central to the action of the story, is in a position to comment upon it. However, it is most common for the story to be "about" the protagonist; even if the protagonist's actions are not heroic, they are nonetheless usually vital to the progress of the story. Neither should the protagonist be confused with the narrator; they may be the same, but even a first-person narrator need not be the protagonist.
The protagonist is often faced with a "foil"; that is, a character known as the antagonist who most represents or creates obstacles that the protagonist must overcome. As with protagonists, there may be more than one antagonist in a story.
Dynamic Characters are characters that change (internally, not necessarily physically) in the course of the story, generally as a result of a lesson they've learned, some insight they've developed, or a truth they've discovered.
The maincharacter in a story or novel is usually a protagonist, that is someone who is trying to solve a problem or accomplish a goal.
While writers tend to take advantage of this relationship between reader and maincharacter to force readers to examine certain ideas or issues, which may or may not be relevant to the main theme, the reader/main character relationship always provides a unique angle on the main theme, too.
Some 18th and 19th century texts, on the other hand, represent characters' names by the use of a single letter and a long dash (this convention is also used for other proper nouns, such as place names).
Minor characters, or stock characters, are often the focus of this kind of analysis since they tend to rely more heavily on stereotypes than more central characters.
The protagonist (maincharacter, sometimes known as the "hero" or the "heroine") of a novel is certain to be a round character; a minor, supporting character in the same novel may be a flat character.
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