In an agonistic model of narrative, such as that conceived by A. J. Greimas, for example, the antagonist is the opponent of the protagonist or focal character. The antagonist is the actant who obstructs or puts obstacles in the way of the protagonist achieving his/her/its quest, goal or destination/destiny.

The antagonist may also be called the archenemy of the protagonist.

The term antagonist is derived from the Greek word for opponent, competitor or rival. The antagonist is a character, group of characters, or an institution, that represents the opposition against which the protagonist must contend. In a dualistic style of story, in which a hero fights a villain, the two can be regarded as protagonist and antagonist, respectively.

The antagonist may also represent a major threat or obstacle to the main character by their very existence, without necessarily actively targeting him or her.


Wikiwrimo (2013). Character. Wikiwrimo [unofficial wiki of National Novel Writing Month]. Available from [Accessed on 8 July 2016].

edited 9 July, 2016 by Admin

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in Narratology

the protagonist’s opponent

edited 4 February, 2019 by Admin