Antagonists-The Different Types

In any type of storytelling-there two chief characters, as in the two most important. They are your protagonist (main character) and your antagonist (who opposes the protagonist). With the antagonist, there are different types- it is assumed that ALL antagonists are villains, but not necessarily. What are the different kinds of antagonists?


The villains are what people associate with antagonists the most. They actually are the ones who tend to be power-hungry and are the most evil. They usually have dark plans and seek murder, overthrow a country, among other evil. They are the LEAST likely to redeem themselves. It is the hardest for me to have any sympathy or understand them. The villains seem to oppose the entire world they live in- they seem to seek to want to destroy it, so they oppose not just the protagonist, but several characters as in those that are good. Voldemort and Sauron are two examples- two dark lords.

Typical Antagonists

They are still people, but not so much on the evil side of things. Sometimes, it can be a bit easier to understand why they act the way they do. They still oppose they protagonist; just usually make their lives even more difficult. They have a much better chance of changing even if it doesn’t always happen. Sarge and Javert are two examples.

One of my biggest struggles in my book is HOW to make Sarge look like a typical antagonist on the page without making him look anywhere like a villain- after all, Sarge is from a children’s book- when kids think of antagonists- the word villain comes to mind.

Inner Antagonist

We have heard the phrase “man vs. self” conflict. When a book has that going on, then the antagonist is part of the protagonist. With the other examples, of course the protagonist might have some inner struggles, but someone is opposed to them, which is why they don’t have that inner antagonist. It is only in the man vs. conflict books that the inner conflict exists. So, that would make Scrooge kind of an antagonist since “A Christmas Carol” has that “man vs. self” conflict.

I believe my book, Greatest Discovery, will have the inner antagonist going on.


It is crazy to think about that without the antagonist, there would be no story. It is hard that different sort of antagonists exist- some are just villains, some are typical, and some the protagonist’s struggle where no one is against them. The antagonist’s job is to make sure it gets hard for the protagonist to reach their goal- some of the typical antagonists are assumed to be villains, which at times is not true.

2 thoughts on “Antagonists-The Different Types

  1. Antagonists are often some of the most interesting characters! I particularly like it when antagonists aren’t flat-out villains as I think it allows for some more interesting character development as well as more complicated relationships with characters!


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