Deuteragonist  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In literature, the deuteragonist (from Template:Lang-el, deuteragonistes, second actor) is the second most important character, after the protagonist and before the tritagonist. The deuteragonist may switch from being with or against the protagonist depending on the deuteragonist's own conflict/plot.

Contents

History

Greek drama began with simply one actor, the protagonist, and a chorus of dancers. The playwright Aeschylus introduced the deuteragonist; Aristotle says in his Poetics

Καὶ τό τε τῶν ὑποκριτῶν πλῆθος ἐξ ἑνὸς εἰς δύο πρῶτος Αἰσχύλος ἤγαγε καὶ τὰ τοῦ χοροῦ ἠλάττωσε καὶ τὸν λόγον πρωταγωνιστεῖν παρεσκεύασεν}} (1449a15).
Thus it was Aeschylus who first raised the number of the actors from one to two. He also curtailed the chorus and gave the dialogue the leading part (1449a15).

Aeschylus' efforts brought the dialogue and interaction between characters to the forefront and set the stage for other playwrights of the era, like Sophocles and Euripides, to produce many iconic plays.

Drama

Because Ancient Greek drama involved only three actors (the protagonist, deuteragonist, and tritagonist) plus the chorus, each actor often played several parts. For instance, in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, the protagonist would be Oedipus, who is on stage in most acts, the deuteragonist would be Iocasta (Oedipus' mother and wife), as well as the Shepherd and Messenger. This would be because Jocasta is certainly a major role—acting opposite Oedipus many times and occupying a central part of the story—and because the Shepherd and Messenger are onstage when Jocasta is offstage.

Literature

Literarily, the deuteragonist assumes the role of "sidekick" to the protagonist. In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the protagonist is Huck and the deuteragonist, his constant companion, is Jim. In this story the tritagonist would be Tom Sawyer. Conversely, the deuteragonist could also be a particularly visible antagonist, normally whom the actual antagonist hides behind, for example - Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, who Voldemort (the actual antagonist) uses to have a human body.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Deuteragonist" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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