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Encyclopedia > Protagonist

A protagonist is the main figure of a piece of literature or drama and has the main part or role. Alternatively, the phrase denotes a primary advocate of or proponent for a cause or movement. The main character can be a hero or a villain in a story - it is just the character with the lead role. In literature, the protagonist (Classical Greek πρωταγωνιστὴς "protagonistes") is characterized by his/her ability to change or evolve.[citation needed] Although a novel may center on the actions of another character, as in Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener", it is the dynamic character that typically allows the plot to progress in a manner that is conducive to the thesis of the work and earns the respect or attention of the audience. The original Greek phrase refers to the central character within a drama, deriving from a conflation of πρωτο-, proto- (the combinative form of protos 'first') and agōnistes ('one who contends for a prize'). Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... Heroine (female hero) redirects here. ... For other uses of the term, see Villain (disambiguation). ... The History of Greece extends back to the arrival of the Greeks in Europe some time before 1500 BC, even though there has only been an independent state called Greece since Turkey, Italy and Libya. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. ... Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street is a short story by Herman Melville. ...


It should be pointed out that the protagonist is 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 Main Character'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, as they may be recalling the event while not living through it as the audience is. Heroine (female hero) redirects here. ... The Narrator is the entity within a story that tells the story to the reader. ...


The Main Character is often faced with a "foil", a character known as the antagonist who most represents obstacles that the protagonist must overcome. As with protagonists, there may be more than one antagonist in a story. (Note that the term antagonist in this context is much more recent than the term protagonist, and rests on the same misconception as the use of protagonist to mean proponent. See below.) This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article refers to literary antagonists. ...


Sometimes, a work will initially highlight a particular character, as though they were the protagonist, and then unexpectedly dispose of that character as a dramatic device. Such a character is called a false protagonist. Novels and short stories do not simply come from nowhere. ... In film, television, or literature, a false protagonist is a technique for making a scene more jarring or a character more notable. ...


When the work contains subplots, these may have different Main Characters from the main plot. In some novels, the book's main character may be impossible to pick out, because the plots do not permit clear identification of one as the main plot, as in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle, depicting a variety of characters imprisoned in and living about a gulag camp. A subplot is a series of connected actions within a work of narrative that function separately from the main plot. ... Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union for his book The Gulag Archipelago. ... The First Circle (В круге первом, V kruge pervom) is a novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn released in 1968, the title of which is based on a quotation from Dante. ...

Contents

Usage

Main Character or Characters

In an ancient Greek drama, the Main Character was the leading actor and as such there could only be one main protagonists, or the chief persons of the drama"[1]. This plural use and the use outside of drama attract the disapproval of Fowler in his "Modern English Usage", insisting on the derivation from PROTOS=first. When there is more than one protagonist the story becomes more complex[citation needed]. For the span of recorded history starting roughly 5,000-5,500 years ago, see Ancient history. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ...


Main Character as proponent

The use of 'Main character' in place of 'proponent' has become common in the 20th century and may have been influenced by a misconception that the first syllable of the word represents the prefix pro- (ie. 'favoring') rather than proto-, meaning first (as opposed to deuter-, second, in deuteragonist, or tri-, third, in tritagonist). For example, usage such as "He was an early protagonist of nuclear power" can be replaced by 'advocate' or 'proponent' [1]. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... A syllable (Ancient Greek: ) is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. ... In literature, the deuteragonist is the second most important character, after the protagonist. ... In literature, the tritagonist is the third most important character, after the protagonist and deuteragonist. ... A nuclear power station. ...


Main Character in psychodrama

In psychodrama, the "Main Character" is the person (group member, patient or client) who decides to enact some significant aspect of his life, experiences or relationships on stage with the help of the psychodrama director and other group members, taking supplementary roles as auxiliary egos. Psychodrama is a method of psychotherapy which explores, through action, the problems of people. ... A psychodrama director is the leader of a psychodrama session (usually a psychotherapist, psychologist, counsellor or other mental health professional) who by his/her actions is aimed to help the protagonist enact significant scenes from his life and experiences in a meaningful and therapeutically beneficial way. ...


See also

Look up protagonist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

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Protagonist - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (655 words)
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 often faced with a "foil"; that is, a character known as the antagonist who most represents or creates obstacles that the protagonist must overcome.
In psychodrama, the "protagonist" is the person (group member, patient or client) who decides to enact some significant aspect of his life, experiences or relationships on stage with the help of the psychodrama director and other group members, taking supplementary roles as auxiliary egos.
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