You may have heard the terms, protagonist and antagonist in terms of books a time or two in your lifetime. You may have no clue what one means when using the terms. If that screams, “you”, let me shed some light on the subject for you.
Protagonist, what do you mean?
Protagonist is generally the main character in a book. It is usually the character in which the reader can most identify with. The protagonist will have conflict with the antagonist.
The protagonist is usually the good-guy, but can also be the bad-guy in a story. The main point is that the protagonist is the main character.
There can be more than one main character, in essence, more than one protagonist in a story.
Another protagonist option: a story may have more than one plot or there may be more than one story within one novel. If this is the case, the reader may not be able to clearly identify who the protagonist is in the story.
Antagonist, antagonist who are you?
The antagonist is generally the, “bad-guy” who creates problems for the protagonist in a story.
There can easily be more than one antagonist in a story. The antagonist can be a person, but doesn’t always have to be. It can also be a problem or situation that the protagonist has to overcome.
The antagonist can be the, “good-guy” in a story as well. An easy way to remember that the antagonist is the character or situation that causes problems in a story is to relate it to the word “antagonistic”, which means: showing or feeling opposition or hostility toward someone or something.