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An antagonist (from Greek ἀνταγωνιστής - antagonistes, "opponent, competitor, rival") is a character, group of characters, or an institution, who represents the opposition against which the protagonist must contend. In other words, 'A person, or a group of people who oppose the main character, or the main characters.' In the classic style of story wherein the action consists of a hero fighting a villain, the two can be regarded as protagonist and antagonist, respectively.

Writers have also created more complex situations. In some instances, a story is told from the villain's point of view, and any hero trying to stop the villain can be regarded as an antagonist. In the film K-19: The Widowmaker, an American film about a Sovietmarker Cold War submarine crew, the crew, enemies of the United Statesmarker, are depicted as protagonists, creating something of a paradox — as very often the American film industry tends to depict the forces of the United Statesmarker as the people that fight for "good" and "justice", in opposition to Russiamarker (especially the former Soviet Unionmarker) being the antagonists, who often have maniacal and/or malicious intentions (e.g. world domination). Such antagonists are usually police officers, or other law enforcement officials. Sometimes, antagonists and protagonists may overlap, depending on what their ultimate objectives are considered to be.

Modern examples

Various examples from modern films, video messages, and television shows.
Antagonist(s) Protagonist(s) Source(s)
Stewie Griffin Peter Griffin, Lois Griffin, Meg Griffin, Chris Griffin, Brian Griffin Family Guy
Sauron, Gollum, Saruman Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Aragorn, Gandalf Lord of the Rings
The Joker and The Penguin Batman and Robin Batman
Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine Luke Skywalker Star Wars IV,Star Wars V, and Star Wars VI
Lord Voldemort Harry Potter Harry Potter
Evil Queen Snow White Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Sheldon Plankton SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, Squidward Tentacles and Eugene Krabs SpongeBob SquarePants
Green Goblin Spider-Man Marvel Comics
Nero and his crew James T Kirk, Spock Star Trek
Mojo Jojo The PowerPuff Girls The PowerPuff Girls
Charles Lee "Chucky" Ray, Tiffany "Tiff" Ray, and Glen Tilly-Ray Andy Barclay Child's Play, Child's Play 2, Child's Play 3, Bride of Chucky, and Seed of Chucky
Dr. Claw and The MAD Agents Inspector Gadget, Penny, and Brain the Dog Inspector Gadget
Lucius the seven, and Sammy Jimmy, Beezy, and Heloies Jimmy Two-Shoes
Denzel Crocker, Vicky, Norm, Pixies, Anti-fairies Timmy Turner, Cosmo and Wanda, Poof The Fairly Odd Parents
Judge Doom and the Toon Patrol Roger Rabbit,Eddie Valiant,and Jessica Rabbit Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Sasuke and Orochimaru Naruto Uzumaki,Sakura Haruno and Kakashi Hatake Naruto, and Naruto Shippuden
LeChuck Guybrush Threepwood Elaine Marley Monkey Island
The Shredder and the Foot Clan Splinter, Leonardo , Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Eric Cartman, Butters Stotch, Shelly Marsh Kyle Brofloski, Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick South Park
Dante, Homunculi, Scar Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric, Winry Rockbell, Roy Mustang Fullmetal Alchemist
Light Yagami, Misa Amane, Teru Mikami L, Kira Investigation Team, Near Death Note

See also


  1. Online Etymology Dictionary]
  2., Literature: Contemporary "Antagonist." Online. October 18, 2007.
  3. The antagonist may not always be a person or persons. In some cases an antagonist may be a force, such as a tidal wave that destroyed a city, or a storm that is causing havoc, or even the conditions in a certain area that is causing a problem. An antagonist also may or may not create obstacles for the protagonist. See: The Elements of Literature

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