Can the protagonist and antagonist be the same person?

Let's go over a reader's question: How can the protagonist and antagonist be the same person?

Any story must have a protagonist and an antagonist. These two crucial characters are referred to in the literature as protagonists and antagonists.

The main distinction between a protagonist and an antagonist is that the former is the main figure around whom the story revolves, whereas the latter is the protagonist's main foe.

What is a Protagonist?

In a story, the protagonist is the main character. The protagonist typically faces a problem, and the plot centers on how the protagonist solves that problem. Therefore, many of you may assume that the protagonist is the main character who narrates the story when I say he or she is the protagonist. But it's not always the case.

The protagonist isn't always the story's narrator. Instead, the protagonist's story can be told from various perspectives.

As an illustrative example, Nick Carraway narrates "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but Jay Gatsby is the story's main character. Likewise, while Dr. Watson serves as the story's narrator in "Sherlock Holmes," Holmes himself is the story's protagonist.

The protagonist is not always good and admirable. He can be villainous and wicked. The term anti-hero knows evil protagonists.

Consider Humbert, the main character in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, or Macbeth from Shakespeare's "Macbeth."

A story can have several main characters. Novels written from more than one character's perspective often exhibit this.

Example: The Game of Thrones series by George RR Martin

Some notable protagonists in popular literature include Frodo in J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, Harry Potter in J.K Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series, and Katniss Everdeen in Suzanne Collins’ ‘The  Hunger Games’ Trilogy.

What is an Antagonist?

The protagonist's main opponent is the antagonist. The antagonist is the opposing force that prevents the protagonist from achieving his ultimate goal. However, remember that the antagonist isn't always a single character. It could be a group of people, an institution, or a concept that gets in the protagonist's way. An antagonist in a story can be social constraints and traditions, feelings such as doubt and jealousy, or even a force such as a storm.

Though antagonists are typically portrayed as dark, evil characters, they can also be good characters who attempt to obstruct the criminal protagonist. For example, consider the character of Macduff in Macbeth, who opposes Macbeth, the anti-hero.

A conflict cannot exist without an antagonist, just as a story cannot exist without a protagonist. As a result, an antagonist is required in every story.

Popular antagonists or villains in children's literature include the wolf in Red Riding Hood, the wicked fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and Captain Hook in Peter Pan.


Difference Between Protagonist and Antagonist


The protagonist's journey to accomplish what he set out to do is the central focus of the narrative.

The antagonist is the primary antagonistic force in the narrative.


Characters that play the role of the protagonist are typically depicted as having good moral character.

In most stories, the antagonists are depicted as the bad guys.

Who takes the role of the antagonist here? Both the protagonist and the antagonist are examples of nouns that can be used to refer to characters in a narrative.

  • The protagonist is the primary character in the story and is frequently portrayed as a hero.
  • The character who stands in opposition to the protagonist, the antagonist, is typically a villain.

How can the protagonist and antagonist be the same person?

A single story can have more than one protagonist or antagonist, and if the characters are dynamic enough, they can switch places with one another as the plot progresses.

Keep in mind that the antagonist is the one who causes trouble for the protagonist if you're having trouble deciding which character a given individual is.

Writing fiction can be challenging because the author has to keep track of several aspects of the story simultaneously.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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