Guest Post: The Antagonist and the Conflict Between Good & Evil

adams-guest-post-1I believe that any good story should have a conflict. Finally, it’s very breathtaking to watch the confrontation between good and evil, the protagonist and the antagonist. And I wonder why novice authors occasionally underestimate the value of the last. In this paper, I’m going to shed light on these conflicts and consider how the author can use them to the full advantage.

Conflict as a Core of Dramatic Stories

As you know, an antagonist is always a “bad guy” that confronts the main character in the conflict and performs specific actions against his. Although the presence of the antagonist is not necessary for the conflict – for example, it may take the form of internal psychological problems – his absence, as practice shows, negatively affects the interestingness of the book, let alone commercial profits.

So a quite logical question arises: how to come up with a perfect antagonist?

·         The first basic thing you should know is that the antagonist is always a particular character. For example, the crime syndicate itself is not an antagonist, but the so-called evil. In this case , the antagonist is the leader of the syndicate. In other words, he’s the main villain of the story.

·         Secondly, the antagonist makes concrete actions aimed to harm the protagonist and his interests. That is, he builds intrigue, makes attempts on the protagonist and his loved ones, trying to do anything to completely destroy the hero. And the more sophisticated the villain, the more interesting the story.

Often the image of the antagonist is more memorable as it’s originally endowed with a diabolical intelligence to come up with all the machination and breathtaking tenacity not to leave the hero alone for a minute. The main character usually can’t boast of such skills: according to laws of a good drama, the “nice guy” has to endure the misfortune and get help from wise friends and mentors.

adams-guest-post-3So, in most cases, the protagonist is a good but powerless guy while the antagonist is a terrible and omnipotent villain.  But how could the little goodie overcome the great and terrible evil? That’s interesting.

Although the confrontation between the hero and the antagonist lies in the core of the conflict, it would be a mistake to assume that all stories are built on such patterns. The author is free to make antagonists of any kind! It’s all up to the writer.

Good vs. Evil

In stories based on the conflict, there are always two polar centers – the good and the evil. Once the conflict is a confrontation between the two interests, one of them – that’s closer to the author and the reader – becomes the center of the good while the other one becomes the evil.

However, such a separation is not always justified. As for me, the most interesting stories don’t allocate the pure good and evil, so that each side has its truth and it’s impossible to clearly determine the good and the evil.

The identity of the main character is not always aligned with the good while the villain is not always the center of the evil. I would say that the protagonist and the antagonist are rather representatives of the good and the evil. Therefore, the resolution of the conflict between the main character and the antagonist may not lead to the resolution of the conflict between the good and the evil. In global terms, the last one is eternal.

How to Apply it to Practice?

1.      First of all, identify the good and evil in your story. As long as the reader does not understand the balance of forces and their goals, he can’t decide on the sympathy. The presence of the well-formed sympathy greatly contributes to the rise of interest in the book.

2.      Once you delineated the evil, be sure to present the antagonist along with his goals. It may not happen immediately, but don’t delay too much. Note that the villain can’t fight just like that – there always should be a motive and a plan to achieve it. Try to make all these concepts clear so that to make the plot believable.

3.      Next, you should make the antagonist act throughout the story. Come up with specific actions the antagonist takes to achieve his goals and harm the protagonist.

4.      Make sure the degree of the aggression is growing gradually. For example, you may start with verbal harassment and then add threats and, finally, more decisive steps like an attempt on the life of the main hero.

5.      The antagonist must have its own personality. Do not attempt to produce Sauron and the other Dark Lords as that has long been a cliché.  Many famous works achieved success because of the colorful personality of the villain, and often his image is as important as the image of the protagonist.

That’s all for today. I guess you figured out the importance of the antagonist and his main features. I wish you good luck in creative endeavors and bright unique antagonists!

Lucy Adams is a blogger from She’s a generalist able to bring to life ideas from many areas, from education to marketing and business. Feel free to share your list of topics and get a high-quality and well-grounded paper in return.

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