1. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman New Member

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    Protagonist and Antagonist

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Alex_Hartman, Sep 30, 2008.

    I remember someone saying in a thread that they were trying to give a twist to their writing by telling the story from the antagonist's point of view.

    Sometimes you can have a protagonist who isn't very nice and kills people. But they are still the protagonists.

    So if you try to write the story of an antagonist, how would you make it clear that he is the bad guy and someone else is the protagonist?

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  2. ciavyn
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    ciavyn New Member

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    You don't need to. Let the reader figure it out. It's kind of like the argument, do you sacrifice one life to save many, or many to save one? You could have some very good arguments on either side.

    We all think we are right, even when what we are doing often has nasty consequences. So write it from the antagonist's point of view, and realize that in that POV, the antagonist is effectively the protagonist. And see what you discover about your "bad" guy.
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats New Member

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    It's technically impossible to write a story from the Antagonists point of view, because writing from said character's point of view turns them into the protagonist, and would turn the "protagonist" into the antagonist. If Star Wars as told from the perspective of Emperor Palpatine then he switches roles from antagonist to protagonist and the Jedi/Luke Skywalker are then the folks in his way (thus the antagonists).

    To answer the question, its pretty easy to let people know who is the hero and who is the villain. Any reader should be able to tell the difference between the "good guy" and the "bad guy" no matter what perspective you write from simply based on character actions.
  4. NaCl
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    NaCl New Member Contributor

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    How bout protagonist versus protagonist?

    When you think about it, Islamic terrorists think they are doing the work of God so they don't see any evil in their acts. Of course, soldiers who are killing Muslim extremists in places like Afghanistan think THEY are doing a good deed for their society too. I would think a good writer could shift POV between a duty bound soldier and a dedicated terrorist whose paths cross, and in the process, illustrate each MC as both a protagonist and an antagonist. Could be a fun challenge to write such a story.
  5. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis New Member

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    It's called an antihero. Here's a list of some antiheroes in fiction: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AntiHero
  6. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman New Member

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  7. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis New Member

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    No, they're still the good guys, only that they're antagonistical towards the evil master mind.

    If he thinks he's doing good, they're probably the bad guys *to* him, when from the observers point of view it's obviously not so.
  8. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman New Member

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    That's what I meant =D
  9. Kratos
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    Kratos New Member

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    I find that the best antagonists aren't clear-cut villians, but more complex, so the readers have to pick a side in the conflict.
  10. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian New Member

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    That's the way to go in my opinion.
  11. Ommonite
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    Ommonite New Member

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    I loved playing FFT on the original playstation. FFTA ruined it, although I liked it a bit more after finding out that, through critical analysis, that that main character is technically a villain.

    A villain usually believes they are doing good, and that the good guys are evil. Writing from the villain's will work, but only if he is a protaganist who goes against the good guys, who he sees as bad.

    In FFTA you play a hero he strives to turn a fantasy world back into the real world, your best friends all live in the world with their greatest dreams realized and don't want to go back, but you the 'hero' soend the whole game trying to turn it back to normal, and sure, it all works out in the end, but thats an antagonist if ever there was one.
  12. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar New Member Contributor

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    \


    This "evil vs. good" stuff is getting on my nerves. It's "right vs. wrong", not "good vs. evil". Each side believes they are right, and the other side is wrong. Occassionally--especially in fantasy--this may involve "good vs. evil", but that's the narrow perspective.
  13. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis New Member

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    You share my view on the subject! I liked FFTA myself better than the original...

    /is mad at marche
  14. GothicCyborg
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    GothicCyborg New Member

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    When i created a recent character, i focused on an Antagonist was was actually a 'Protagonist'. Throughout the series, a group of characters chase a foe who, by a matter of Coincidence, witnessed a Character's Parents' deaths, thus linking him/it to the murders. I class non of my characters as Protagonists, only like anti-villains and Antagonists. I can never place a pure 'hero' type in the story.
  15. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis New Member

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    Uhm, protagonist ≠ hero, it's just the main character(s) of the story, and antagonist is just the person(s) opposing him.
  16. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar New Member Contributor

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    I can sort of understand why this might be hard for people to get, bbut "protagonist" and "antagonist" have nothing to do with whether the character is bad or good. All it means is that the protagonist is the side the reader is following, and the antagonist is the side opposing them. No moral judgements are involved.
  17. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman New Member

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    Okay, that makes sense. Let's change the question.

    What if you are trying to write your story from the "bad" guy's POV, but the "good" guys are the one's who appear to be "bad", or there is someone else opposing the "bad" guy and in the end, your "bad" guy looks like the victim?
  18. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar New Member Contributor

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    Can I read this one?! ;)
  19. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman New Member

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    I haven't written it, it was just an idea. But maybe I should try it.:D
  20. Sephie913
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    Sephie913 New Member

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    In the story I've been writing, the main villain is a destroyer of worlds, a person who, if he is not defeated, will inevitably end all life on the planet. and yet, if I succeed in my quest, he will be as sympathetic a character as any.

    So, I'd say, go for it. it's fun to play with these things.
  21. Orangevango
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    Orangevango New Member

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    It is possible to write a story from the antagonist's point of view. The antagaonist could be the narrator, and he could be telling you the story of the protagonist. Also you all seem to be very narrow in your deffinitions of "protagonist" and "antagonist." They do not always have to be pitted against each other. The Antagonist is simply a mirror to make the protagonist's characteristics more obvious to the reader. For example, in Hamlet Hamlet is the protagonist and Horatio is the antagonist. Horatio is a cautious skeptic, and Hamlet is quick to act (relative to Horatio) and a sensationalist.
  22. lordofhats
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    lordofhats New Member

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    The narrator is always the protagonist. The protagonist is according to definition, the voice from which we hear the story. You can never write from the antagonist point of view, whatever point of view you write from is the protagonist. You can even have both your hero and your villain being the protagonist at different times. Write a chapter from the hero's POV and he's the protagonist, but if you switch to the villain in the next chapter, then your villain has switched places with you hero becoming the protagonist themselves.

    Yes, they do. The Antagonist by definition is the opposing force to the protagonist. If he isn't pitted against the protagonist, then he's not the antagonist at all.

    That's a rather narrow view of antagonism.

    The antagonist-protagonist relationship is a simple one. The protagonist is the person we are following in the story, and the antagonist is simply the opposing force who creates conflict. They don't even need to be characters. They are very abstract terms. The antagonist can be a natural disaster like an earthquake if you want. They aren't concrete either. A character can be an antagonist at one point in the story, and a protagonist two pages later if you switch to their POV, turning whoever they were opposing into their antagonist (that person/thing being that protagonist two pages prior).

    The terms are very abstract and only limited by their definition. The Protagonist is the person we are getting the story from, and the antagonist is the opposing force.
  23. Orangevango
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    Orangevango New Member

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    So if elton John wrote a book about Abe Lincoln's childhood, the protagonist would be Elton John?

    I dissagree.
  24. lordofhats
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    lordofhats New Member

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    Splitting hairs and irrelevant. Elton John would be writing an auto-biography, which does not contain the protagonist/antagonist relationship as a piece of fiction would, and Elton John himself, is not a character in the story, just a voice telling it.

    On review, I think I poorly worded my last post. The Protagonist is the central character, or whoever it is we are following through the story.

    I can't write a story about Batman, from the Joker's view point, and say I'm writing from the antagonist perspective. By presenting the story as the Joker sees it, you've turned the Joker into the protagonist and Batman into the antagonist.

    Yes he does. That's what being an antagonist is:

    What that conflict is varies, but an antagonist is always an opposing force. it can't be anything else. Opposing forces create conflict. If your character is not creating conflict for the protagonist, he's not an antagonist.
  25. Orangevango
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    Orangevango New Member

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    I concede. I missunderstood the term antagonist.

    It is, however, possible to write a story from the point of view of a periferal character. The person telling the story is not automatically the protagonist.
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