A protagonist is the main character (the central or primary personal figure), which ends up in conflict because of the antagonist. The audience is usually intended to most identify with the protagonist. In the theatre of Ancient Greece, three actors played all of the main dramatic roles in a tragedy; the leading role was played by the protagonist, while the other roles were played by deuteragonist and the tritagonist.

The terms protagonist and main character are variously explained and, depending on the source, may denote different concepts. In fiction, the story of the protagonist can be told from the perspective of a different character (who may also, but not necessarily, be the narrator). An example would be a narrator who relates the fate of several protagonists, perhaps as prominent figures recalled in a biographical perspective.

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