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Definition of 'antagonist'

A character or force in a literary work, such as a novel, play, or film, who opposes or stands in conflict with the protagonist.
"The antagonist's cunning schemes constantly thwarted the hero's plans."

Detailed Meaning of 'antagonist'

The antagonist is often portrayed as an adversary or obstacle that creates tension and drives the plot forward. They may possess traits or motivations that directly oppose the goals or desires of the main character, serving as a source of conflict and driving the narrative's development. Antagonists can take various forms, ranging from individuals with malevolent intentions to abstract concepts or societal structures that impede the protagonist's progress. They play a crucial role in creating dramatic tension, providing challenges and obstacles for the protagonist to overcome. By challenging the main character's resolve, the antagonist contributes to character development and helps shape the story's themes. In many cases, the antagonist represents the embodiment of evil, but they can also possess complex and multifaceted qualities, adding depth and intrigue to the narrative.


Examples of 'antagonist' in a Sentence

1. A dark figure, the antagonist awaits, shrouded in mystery, wielding fear.
2. In the novel's heart, an antagonist rises, challenging our hero.
3. Fearless, Jane confronts the antagonist, eyes filled with determination.
4. Every story's soul, the antagonist, weaves conflict into the plot.
5. Powerful and cruel, the antagonist casts a dark shadow on the tale.
6. Like night to day, the antagonist is the hero's eternal opposite.

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Origins & Etymology of 'antagonist'

The noun 'antagonist' has its etymological origins in the Greek language. It is derived from the Greek word 'antagonistes,' which combines 'anti-' (meaning 'against') and 'agonistes' (meaning 'competitor' or 'opponent'). In this sense, 'antagonist' etymologically signifies a character or force in a literary work, such as a novel, play, or film, who actively opposes or competes with the protagonist. This term highlights the concept of opposition and conflict within a narrative, where the antagonist serves as a formidable adversary to the central character, often driving the plot and creating tension. The etymology of 'antagonist' underscores the role of this character as a central source of conflict and opposition in storytelling.


How to pronounce antagonist (audio)


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