Struggle, or conflict, is central to drama. The protagonist or hero of a play, novel, or film is involved in a struggle of some kind, either against someone or something else or even against his or her own emotions. So the hero is the "first struggler", which is the literal meaning of the Greek word prōtagōnistēs. A character who opposes the hero is the antagonist, from a Greek verb that means literally "to struggle against".
Examples of protagonist in a Sentence
Badlands has two protagonists and Days of Heaven four (though both movies are rich in colorful minor roles).— Richard Alleva, Commonweal, 12 Mar. 1999The protagonists of Gordon's fiction are children who have been saddled with their parents' emotional bad debts.— Judith Thurman, New Yorker, 12 Mar. 1990The most adamant opposition to my argument is likely to come from protagonists of secular reason …— Glenn Finder, Atlantic, December 1989
She was a leading protagonist in the civil rights movement.
Milton Friedman is usually cited as the leading American protagonist of monetarism.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'protagonist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.