What Is an Antagonist in Fiction?

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The antagonist in a work of fiction is the character who opposes the hero, or protagonist. The antagonist, when there is one, provides the story's conflict.

In Shakespeare's Othello, Iago engineers Othello's downfall by manipulating his tendency toward jealousy and suspicion. The antagonist is not always so clear, however. In Wuthering Heights, for instance, is Heathcliff an antagonist or a protagonist?

Does his role change during the novel?

Also Known As: villain, bad guy, archenemy, nemesis