Hero or Heroine is the principal male or female character in a work of literature. The term carries no connotation of virtue or honor. Hero or Heroine is, traditionally, a character who has such admirable traits as: courage, idealism, and fortitude. The hero embodies the cultural values of his time and functions as the defender of his society. The earliest heroes, as revealed in myth and literature, were frequently favoured by gods or were themselves semi-divine; such were Achilles and Odysseus.

Byronic Hero is a type of hero modeled after Byron’s central figures in his works: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-1818), Manfred (1817), and Cain (1821). The Byronic Hero is a rebel, proudly defiant in his attitude toward conventional social codes or religious beliefs, or an exile or outcast hungering for an ultimate truth to give meaning to his life in a seemingly meaningless universe. In the Renaissance, for example, Marlow’s tragic hero Dr. Faustus challenges existing religious doctrine by bartering his soul for divine knowledge.

Protagonist is, in Greek drama, the first actor, who played the leading part. However, the term now refers to the most important character in a play or story.

Antagonist is the major character in opposition to the hero or protagonist of a narrative or play.

Deuteragonist is the second actor in Greek drama, often synonymous with Antagonist. The term now has been applied to the character of second importance such as Claudius in Hamlet.

Tritagonist is, in Greek Drama, the third actor. Generally the third actors assumed various roles in the play by changing masks and costumes.


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