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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. William Morris Hunt, oil on canvas, c. 1864
Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. William Morris Hunt, oil on canvas, c. 1864

A protagonist (from Ancient Greek πρωταγωνιστής, prōtagōnistḗs, meaning 'one who plays the first part, chief actor') [1][2] is the main character of a story.

The protagonist is at the center of the story, makes the key decisions, and experiences the consequences of those decisions. The protagonist is the primary agent propelling the story forward, and is often the character who faces the most significant obstacles. If a story contains a subplot, or is a narrative made up of several stories, then each subplot may have its own protagonist.[3]

The protagonist is the character whose fate is most closely followed by the reader or audience, and who is opposed by the antagonist. The antagonist will provide obstacles and complications and create conflicts that test the protagonist, and revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the protagonist's character.[4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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What did you want to do before? In Busan, I was a member of a quite well-known indie band with my friends for a long time. We were quite popular, but we couldn't make enough money. - Right. / - Honggi has gone completely commercial. - Commercial. / - We... (I love music, too.) - I am sorry. / - What's wrong with you? Goodness. And you know the biggest obstacle to a band. Our guitarist had to serve the military. We became stressed and disbanded the band. After we disbanded, I had nothing to do. So I discussed it with my dad. "I'm into games, and I hear Internet cafes are good." "Please trust me and open me one." So he got a loan for me. I opened it, and it did well. But one day, kids came to the cafe and asked for ramyeon, but I didn't want to serve them. I felt suffocated inside, and I couldn't stay there. At the time, they were recruiting new comedians. So I took the test, and I passed right away. What? I worked under Cultwo for three months. (You worked with us?) - You did? / - I was the rock... Were you the rock singer with long hair? Yes, that's me. Did he work with you? (He was in the corner of their memory!) - I remember him. / - That's crazy. - I remember him. / - He's really good. Why did you quit after three months? I was an ace. I made really fun skits. I was the most popular... So why did you quit after just three months? I will tell you. Wait. (I'll tell you now.) He's excited. "People Looking for Laughter" closed at the time. - It stopped at the time. / - It was when it stopped. When we heard the news, everyone was shocked. - Right. / - We didn't know what to do. If you are working as a trot singer, you must make some money. Why do you keep asking money from your family? Because I'm an unknown singer, I only sing at birthday parties and weddings. And as a rookie, I only get paid 300 to 500 dollars. When I don't have any gigs and I don't have enough to pay the phone bill, I turn to my brother for money. "Lend me 200 dollars." You don't always have to work at events. You can do a side job like your brother. You should try making money yourself. If I have a job and get a sudden offer to do a big gig, I have to quit my job and take the chance. Then I'd feel sorry to my boss. So I can't take regular jobs. I load and unload parcels, and labor work. I only do short-term jobs. - You can't have a regular job. / - Right. The nature of my job prevents me from it. He says he can work, and he does work. He loads and unloads parcels. But then he goes, "It's hot today." "It's 36 degrees Celsius. I might die. I can't do it." - He quits easily. / - In winter, "It's too cold. I can't do this." "I shouldn't do this." He says stuff like that. And he keeps asking me for money. I work two to three jobs. What he does is nothing. He stresses me out so much that my face got paralyzed one day. - You're too young. / - Facial paralysis. - Yes. / - Goodness. When I was eating soup for breakfast, it kept coming out from one side. I had to stay in a hospital for a month. The doctor said I had to practice my pronunciation about 3,000 times a day to become normal again. - But... / - I kept saying it. - Did you? / - I even did it in my dreams. My mouth moved by itself until I recovered. You're laughing now, but it was serious for me. - Right. / - It must've been so tough for him. How did you feel when you saw him like that? Did you know about this? I didn't have any money for transportation. When I heard about his condition, I was so sorry. (He suddenly feels sorry.) He's suddenly crying. - He's sorry. / - Right. - He's soft. / - When... When I saw my brother's mouth paralyzed, I felt really bad. If you feel bad, you should bear your responsibility. - Crying won't do anything. / - Right. How did you feel? When you were paying for his credit card bills, what was the biggest amount you have paid? (He can't calm down.) He's sad. When I was paying his bills, the amount ranged from several thousands to... - Around 1,000 dollars? / - 10,000 dollars. - That's a lot. / - Is that a monthly bill? Yes. I somehow paid for everything. How did he spend 10,000 dollars a month? I write and produce my songs. I have to promote them, but my agency isn't doing well. So I have to produce my album on my own. My parents supported me to chase my dream, and they lent me money for the last time. So that's where the money went in. Their parents are here, too. - Hello. / - Hello. Your younger son is suffering a lot because of your elder son. Do you sympathize with your younger son? Yes. I'm honored to be here because of my son. (He subtly disses his son.) - Goodness. / - My youngest is acting as the eldest. He takes care of his father, mother and brother. - I am so thankful to him. / - Right. How have you been supporting your eldest? He came to Seoul in 2005. He took 20,000 dollars at the time. He needed it to pay the rental deposit. We trusted him and gave him the money. But he lost all of that. Last year, he asked for 20,000 dollars to produce his album. So we gave him 20,000 dollars, but he began asking for 3,000, 7,000, 1,000 and 500 dollars continuously. - I don't think he is making an album. / - Seriously. - It's hard to believe. / - It doesn't make sense. He says that the money is for making an album, - but he uses it as an allowance. / - I see. He borrows money if he needs more money. How much money have you spent on him so far? The total amount is close to 200,000 dollars. - 200,000 dollars? / - Yes. He spent 20,000 dollars every year. And that's excluding the money from his brother. He continuously asks for money. It's like pouring water into a bottomless pot. And where did you get the money to give him? We mortgaged our house and took out secured loans. My husband also set up a line of credit. - He set up a line of credit. / - Yes. - Also, / - My goodness. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer nine years ago and received money from my insurance company. He just took that money without thinking. He doesn't care about his family. He only cares about himself. Are you still in debt? Yes. We could never travel abroad like other people. We are still about 100,000 dollars in debt. - Why... / - You are 100,000 dollars - in debt? / - Yes. Sir, how much do you pay back every month? A taxi driver must take several days off a month. I work 17 days a month. I must work 15 hours to make 100 dollars a day. It's hard to make 100 dollars a day. - Sir. / - I make about 2,000 dollars a month. My wife takes out 1,000 dollars from the total - She pays off debt with it. / - to pay off debt. It's the money my beloved son spent. (Angry) Your beloved son. Did you know about the 100,000-dollar debt? I received about 40,000 or 50,000 dollars. My mother exaggerates when she says she spent 200,000 dollars on me. My family isn't that rich. You continue to give excuses. - Okay. / - Their situation makes your heart ache, - doesn't it? / - Don't downplay the money you spent. - My goodness. / - You know that your parents are struggling financially. So is your brother. Don't you think it's dangerous to put your hopes - in the uncertain future? / - It's reckless. Trot is my life's passion. I put a lot of effort into realizing my dream. As you know, the population is aging rapidly. I want to be a trot singer and make people happy. I think it's good to have to a dream. - That's right. / - However, as I said before, you fail to take care of those around you in your desire to realize your dream. - You only receive support from others. / - Exactly. It a sad situation. You think of success as a one-shot deal. - That's right. / - It's not a one-shot deal. Success is built on continuous and diligent works. You haven't even debuted yet. You won't become a hit immediately after you debut. There is a problem with your mindset. I was the winner of "Star Audition: The Great Birth". I thought incredible things would happen afterwards. - That's right. / - The change doesn't come suddenly. It wasn't like that. I thought I would make a lot of money. However, thinking about money ruined my music. It's time to think in an objective and realistic way. Even if it's heartbreaking, those around him should draw a line when he asks for money. Haven't you thought to stop supporting him? Since he always asked for money when he came home, I made him give me a written promise, promising to pay back what he has borrowed. It was two years ago, but he borrowed again last year. He still borrows money from us. You should forget written promises. Haven't you thought to stop supporting him completely? When we brought it up, he talked about depression and committing suicide. (It's the worst thing he can say to his parents.) He would say that late at night. - He is the worst. / - He made me worry that I would drive him to commit suicide. It's not like I will take money with me when I die. That's why I just couldn't cut him off coldly. (He can only sigh.) Let's take this moment to see if he has the talent to succeed as a trot singer. - That's a good idea. / - Let's listen to him sing. That's a good idea. (Good luck, my son.) (He is channeling the spirit of trot.) (He dreams of succeeding as a trot singer.) (The eldest son is excited.) (Depressed) (His posture looks familiar.) (He sings passionately in hopes of success.) (Happy!) (Let's be happy) (Stretching out the note) Thank you. (What does the audience think?) Say something. I have no words. - Don't embarrass him. / - I'm going over the lyrics. "Such is life". Donggeun, tell us what you think. - Me? / - You are a singer. Give us a one-sentence review. I don't know. Really? What changes in your brother were you hoping for when you sent your worry? I want him to lead the family as the eldest son and take care of matters, small or big. However, he doesn't do that. I asked him to hold a dinner for our parents' birthday. "I don't have money for traveling expenses." "You can take care of it." "I'll just send my love." He refuses like that. He says he doesn't have money for traveling expenses. Yes. But he would come when I send him 500 dollars for traveling expenses. - 500 dollars? / - That's too much. Since it's an event, I pay a performance fee. (It's an event.) - It's a family event. / - A family event. You pay your brother a performance fee. At my parents' birthday or other family events, he receives an allowance from our mother. (That's unbelievable.) What did you need the 500 dollars for? The round trip on a bus costs 80 dollars. I also had to buy gifts for my niece - and meet up with friends. / - He bought gifts. Anyway, I'm sorry. I'm in a tight spot. He used the money he received from you to buy gifts for your daughter. It's ridiculous, but he cares about his niece. My daughter is five years old. - She's never received a gift from him. / - What? What do you mean? She never received even a toy from my brother. He just said that he bought your daughter gifts. You said you needed the money for gifts. I had the intention of buying her gifts, but... My goodness. This is ridiculous. Did you decide to come to the show because he has done something particularly bad? No. My mother and I will stop supporting him financially now. - It's a heavy burden. / - I am done. - It's hard. / - I feel like I'm going to die. I told my parents, too. My mother calls me whenever she can't get a hold of my brother. She calls me and says, "I can't reach your brother." "Have you talked to him recently?" "What do you want me to do?" We'd end up fighting and me hanging up on her. Eventually, I call my brother because I'm worried. I repeatedly send him text messages and call even if his mobile phone is off. But then my mother would ask, "Did you talk to him?" Just stop it. I need to live my life, too. Stop pushing me. Let me live my life. My feelings get hurt. Of course. Whenever she does that... - I feel bad for him. / - I have a wife and a daughter. She often hurts my feelings when she only takes care of my brother. It makes me feel lonely. You need to consider what your brother said. Your brother said he might become depressed and kill himself. Your parents can't help but worry. I know. You haven't heard this before, have you? - No. / - How do you feel? - You hurt his feelings. / - I feel bad. Of course. You heard what has been happening - between the family members. / - Yes. It's hard for them to support you financially. And when you don't keep in touch, your brother argues with your mom. I came here cheerfully, but hearing their worries makes me realize that I have done them wrong. They are my family, not my investors. This is a sticky situation. No matter what happens from now on, I promise not to ask for more financial support. I'll work hard to make my name known in the trot industry. There is something you should know. Take a look at people in the entertainment industry. No one succeeded with money from their family. - No one did. / - I had nothing at first. I lived in a rat-infested room and worked many jobs. I failed auditions repeatedly and challenged myself while working part time. (You can't get anything without putting in effort.) Say what you want to say to your brother. Brother. I won't stop you from pursuing a career in music. I sincerely hope everything works out for you. But I don't want you calling me or Mom and Dad and saying it will be the last time. Don't say, "Help me this one last time." Let the family live in peace. I hope you live well. I love you. (His words are blunt, but full of love.) Donggeun, tell us if you think it's a worry. Okay. Gosh, I feel emotional. I think it's a serious worry. I hope the family will live in harmony. Since every problem they face stemmed from you, I hope you could make wise decisions from now on. I also think it's a worry. Parents don't wait for their children. I was very busy after I debuted and couldn't take good care of my parents. Then my mom got cancer and passed away few years later. She was gone when I could finally take care of her. I hope you would keep that in mind and make an effort for your family. I also think it's a worry. I hope you would look back on your family. I think it's a worry. It's nice that you have talent. Please live happily and harmoniously with your family. If you can sympathize with the man with a heavy burden, please press the button. (What does the audience think?) - In five, four, / - In five, four, - three, two, one. / - three, two, one. - Stop. / - Time's up. Please say a few words to your younger brother. My beloved brother. From now on, I won't ask for financial help. I will try my best to become an older brother you can lean on. I love you. (We hope the family will become happy.) Let's see how many votes the worry received. Show us the result. (The result) ("My Goodness.") (The last digit is zero.) It received over 100 votes. (What will the result be?) 160 votes. (My goodness.) (160 votes) The title of the next worry is "My Bleeding Dad".

Ancient Greece

The earliest known examples of a protagonist are found in Ancient Greece. At first, dramatic performances involved merely dancing and recitation by the chorus. Then in Poetics, Aristotle describes how a poet named Thespis introduced the idea of one actor stepping out and engaging in a dialogue with the chorus. This was the invention of tragedy, and occurred about 536 B.C.[5] Then the poet Aeschylus, in his plays, introduced a second actor, inventing the idea of dialogue between two characters. Sophocles then wrote plays that included a third actor.[6][7][8][9]

A description of the protagonist's origin cited that during the early period of Greek drama, the protagonist served as the author, the director, and the actor and that these roles were only separated and allocated to different individuals later.[10] There is also a claim that the poet did not assign or create the protagonist as well as other terms for actors such as deuteragonist and tritagonist primarily because he only gave actors their appropriate part.[11] However, these actors were assigned their specific areas at the stage with the protagonist always entering from the middle door or that the dwelling of the deuteragonist (second most important character) should be on the right hand, and the tritagonist (third most important character), the left.[11]

In Ancient Greece, the protagonist is distinguished from the term "hero", which was used to refer to a human who became a semi-divine being in the narrative.[9]


Euripides' play Hippolytus may be considered to have two protagonists, though one at a time. Phaedra is the protagonist of the first half, who dies partway through the play. Her stepson, the titular Hippolytus, assumes the dominant role in the second half of the play.[12]

In Henrik Ibsen’s play The Master Builder, the protagonist is the architect Halvard Solness. The young woman, Hilda Wangel, whose actions lead to the death of Solness, is the antagonist.[13]

In Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is the protagonist. He is actively in pursuit of his relationship with Juliet, and the audience is invested in that story. Tybalt, as an antagonist, opposes Romeo and attempts to thwart the relationship.[14]

In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Prince Hamlet, who seeks revenge for the murder of his father, is the protagonist. The antagonist is the character who most opposes Hamlet, Claudius (though, in many ways, Hamlet is his own antagonist).[15]

Sometimes, a work will have a false protagonist, who may seem to be the protagonist, but then may disappear unexpectedly. The character Marion in Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho (1960) is an example.[16]

A novel may contain a number of narratives, each with its own protagonist. Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle, for example, depicts a variety of characters imprisoned and living in a gulag camp.[17] Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace depicts fifteen major characters involved in or affected by a war.[18]

Though many people equate protagonists with the term hero and possessing heroic qualities, it is not necessary as even villainous characters can be protagonists, examples include Michael Corleone from The Godfather (1972-1990) film series, Tony Montana from Scarface (1983), Light Yagami from the Death Note manga series, Kratos from God of War, Patrick Bateman from American Psycho (2000), Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), Dexter Morgan from the TV series Dexter and Arthur Fleck/Joker from Joker (2019).

In some cases, the protagonist is not a human: in Richard Adams' novel Watership Down, a group of anthropomorphised rabbits, led by the protagonist Hazel, escape their warren after seeing a vision of its destruction, starting a perilous journey to find a new home.[19]


  1. ^ πρωταγωνιστής, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library.
  2. ^ "protagonist"., Random House. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Duncan, Stephen. A Guide to Screenwriting Success: Writing for Film and Television. Rowman & Littlefield (2006) ISBN 9780742553019
  4. ^ Harper, Douglas. "protagonist". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  5. ^ Müller, K.O. History of the literature of Ancient Greece. [Library of Useful Knowledge.] Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. London (1840) page 306
  6. ^ "Protagonist - literature". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ Aristotle. Poetics. Oxford University Press (January 20, 2013) ISBN 978-0199608362
  8. ^ Packard, William. The Art of the Playwright. Thunder’s Mouth Press. 1997 ISBN 1-56025-117-4
  9. ^ a b Storey, Ian; Allan, Arlene (2008). A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 84. ISBN 1405102144.
  10. ^ Telias, Rozei (2018-07-06). Moreno's Personality Theory and its Relationship to Psychodrama: A Philosophical, Developmental and Therapeutic Perspective. Routledge. ISBN 9781351021081.
  11. ^ a b Bart, M. P. (2018-03-22). History of the Literature of Ancient Greece. Charles River Editors. ISBN 9781632956316.
  12. ^ Euripides. Hippolytos. Oxford University Press (October 29, 1992) ISBN 978-0195072907
  13. ^ Ibsen, Henrik. Meyer, Michael Leverson. editor. Ibsen Plays: 1: Ghosts; The Wild Duck; The Master Builder. Dramatists Play Service Inc. (1980) ISBN 9780413463302. page 241
  14. ^ Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare; Third edition (July 15, 2012) ISBN 9781903436912
  15. ^ Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Simon & Schuster (July 1, 1992) ISBN 978-0743477123
  16. ^ Kolker, Robert Phillip. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook. Oxford University Press (2004) ISBN 9780195169195
  17. ^ The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947–2005: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Edward E. Ericson, Jr., Daniel J. Mahoney.
  18. ^ Moser, Charles. 1992. Encyclopedia of Russian Literature. Cambridge University Press. pp. 298–300.
  19. ^ Adams, Richard, 1920-2016. Watership Down. London: Rex Collings Ltd, 1972. Print.
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