Are you the antagonist?

This week’s focus in my writing class is, if you can’t guess from the title, antagonists.  Traditionally I think most people think antagonist=bad guy, you know someone like Maleficent or Voldemort, but when you really think about it anything and anyone can be an antagonist.  Is the antagonist in opposition to the protagonist’s goal?  Does it present conflict and obstacles for the protagonist?  If that’s the case, then we could each be the antagonists in our own life stories just as your protagonist may be an antagonist to themselves.  I’ll use myself as an example.  My goal is to finish my book and get it published.  On top of all of the obvious obstacles I would need to overcome to accomplish this goal, I also have to overcome myself: my fear of failure, my perfectionist nature, and my hesitancy to step out of my comfort zone.  So at this point in my story, I am the main antagonist.


Voldemort’s final attempt to destroy Harry. Probably my favorite part of all of the movies. (Not my favorite moment of the books though…)

If we want our stories to be relatable, to really stand out to readers, wouldn’t it make sense if each person identified the antagonist a little bit differently?  I started thinking about this during our lecture, when an example was given using Beauty and the Beast.  The lecture says that how you approach a story determines who you define as the antagonist.  Is the antagonist the beast?  Belle’s father?  The witch?  Time?  Belle’s compassion?  I’d never spent much time thinking about the antagonist, but out of the things listed I think I would define time as the antagonist.  Really though, couldn’t it be the prince/beast’s anger and greed?


Probably my favorite Disney villain now, but my least favorite as a kid. She terrified me back then!

Thinking about the antagonist in these terms, would you still consider Maleficent and Voldemort the real antagonists?  Or are they the personification of something less tangible?


Made me think…


Your thoughts?

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