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Main character as Antagonist?

Posted: Dec 09, 2009 4:37 pm
by Agathe
Hi all

I have my storyform. I have a paid assigment. I'm writing a play with four characters (I'm writing for 4 actors).

I know a lot about the different characters and have a lot of material already. But I really have a drive to mess with what is expected. I want the antagonist to be the main character. I want the Impact character to be the protagonist. and I think it is possible with my storyform.

According to dramatica's description of protagonist and antagonist - is this possible?
Do anyone have an example of a story where this is done?

I guess what I'm asking is that if I want to do this - what should I be clear about or look out for? Since i'm doing something not very archetypal.


Re: Main character as Antagonist?

Posted: Dec 10, 2009 12:43 pm
by Chris Huntley
A year late, but the answer is Yes, you can have you MC be the Antagonist and the IC be the Protagonist.

This is a little tough to do because your audience is likely to reverse the goal (make it an "anti-goal") rather than see your MC as the antagonist. For example, if your goal is to Save Humanity, and your MC as Antagonist is trying to prevent humanity from being saved, some might interpret the goal as Not Saving Humanity instead of see the MC as representing Reconsider and Prevent/Avoid. This is particularly important to the determination of the Story Outcome: Success or Failure.

For example, Richard III and Macbeth BOTH seem to be antagonists, yet both fail. If they are PROTAGONISTS, then the Outcome is Failure (which is consistent with tragedies). If they are ANTAGONISTS, and by extent the goal is the opposite of their efforts (e.g. prevent them from taking over the ruling bloodlines), then their failure represents and Outcome of Success. This would put the stories in the Personal Tragedy category (since both are also Judgment Bad).

There is no "right" answer without knowing the author's intent. Since you are the author of your own work, use that to your advantage and make it clear in your mind, if not your story, whether the MC is the protagonist and antagonist.

Re: Main character as Antagonist?

Posted: Dec 20, 2009 12:19 pm
by Agathe
Thank you. Your examples was just what I needed. I think actually I'm not going to have a protagonist and antagonist, but will use complex characters.
This is a story with only four characters so it will be hard to not make them complex in a way.

But I want to ask a follow up question regarding dramatica's view on protagonist and antagonist.
A protagonist contains the elements: Pursuit, Consider, Knowledge, Actuality, Proven, Effect, Certainty & Proaction - according to dramatica.
If I switch one of these Elements or add another Element - Does this means that the character is no longer a protagonist in the OS, but a complex character?

Re: Main character as Antagonist?

Posted: Dec 23, 2009 3:39 pm
by Chris Huntley
Technically, yes. However, your audience won't see them as being very complex. All you need to do is paint them as a protagonist with an extra characteristic. They'll get that pretty quickly.

Re: Main character as Antagonist?

Posted: Dec 25, 2009 7:01 pm
by Agathe
Thank you Chris!

Every answer moves me closer - and learns me more. I've almost made up my mind.
I promise - I'll close the whole topic if you could answer just one more question.

Does the elements of pursuit and consider make the audience think that they are protagonists? Are the motiviation elements stronger?
If every other element (Purpose, Eval., Method.) is not distributed according to a protagonist - what effect does this have?
Whaaaa - sorry - I'm asking too much. I guess this is all up to the illustrator/encoder...
I think the reason I ask is that Consider and Pursuit is very often used in illustrations of a protagonist... In the mail list...the book and other places I do not longer remember....

Great help and clarification anyway

Re: Main character as Antagonist?

Posted: Dec 30, 2009 10:43 am
by Chris Huntley
Yes, the motivation elements seem to be the most strongly associated with the Dramatica character least in the American culture. I cannot speak for other cultures.