A-Z: General definitions: Protagonist


'Agony' originally meant 'contest' or 'struggle', and in ancient Greece actors performed in theatrical contests. The 'protagonist' meant the chief contender, or main actor, and the term today is usefully employed as a more neutral word, when discussing a drama where the word 'hero' seems to suggest too favourable a judgement of the main character ' for example 'Macbeth', or a modern drama such as 'Waiting for Godot'.

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