Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is a play that is very dependent on certain characters. For example, Friar Laurence, who tries to come up with a plan to make the couple live off happily together, is a very well-meaning person. Because he is the main helper of the couple, could he be considered the protagonist? Many people believe that Juliet is the protagonist of the play. She is considered to have the mind of a modern woman at the age of fifteen. She takes her own decisions without listening to her parents. Juliet also has been an independent woman since the beginning.
She has never had a real mother figure because the nurse raised her and her mother did not care as much. The same could be said about Romeo but this time about his father. Friar Laurence is the character that always gave Romeo advice in times when Romeo needed it. For Juliet, this could prove that her tragic flaw (which is needed to be the protagonist) would be her stubbornness! This trait of hers also does the opposite thing in Asiatic countries. There, the character of Juliet is considered evil for going against her parents will.
Romeo could also be considered the antagonist of the play. He is the person that kills Tybalt Which causes havoc between the two families and lights even a bigger feud. Tybalt is the character that has the most hatred toward Romeo. Even in the Capulet party he wanted to kick Romeo out While father Capulet remained a pacifist and let Romeo stay. Romeo s tragic flaw would be his childish acts. In the beginning of the play he is madly in love with Rosaline while he is in love with Juliet the next day! This proves inconsistency and the audience don t know what to believe in.
The play Antigone also has many arguments to who the protagonists and antagonists are. There is much evidence to prove that the character of Antigone is antagonist. First of all, the name is very similar to the word antagonist. This could be similarity that was put together by Sophocles. Like Juliet, Antigone s tragic flaw is her stubbornness. She decides to bury her brother even though she knows that it is against the will of Creon and the Gods. She remains strong and alone throughout her inner battle. A big issue that would show Creon to be the antagonist of the play Antigone would be his epiphany.
This is an advantage that Creon has over Antigone because Antigone stays the same throughout the whole play while Creon actually has a change. He notices his mistakes and decides to change into a better person near the end of the play. The catastrophe that occurs at the end of this play is that all the main characters end up dying which leaves Creon to be all by himself and not be able to gain from his epiphany. The drama and tragedy also play a big role in deciding of the protagonist and Antagonist characters of a play are. To be an protagonist, you have to have a tragic flaw. Almost every hero and heroine of a play has a tragic flaw.
For Antigone and Juliet it is their stubbornness. While Antigone decides to bury her brother even tough she knows it s against the gods and Creon s will she still does it. Juliet is set off to get married with Paris but goes against her parents will by stating that she will marry no other than Romeo. Romeo s tragic flaw would be his boyish/immature acts. In the fight scene with Tybalt, he never tells that that he has gotten married with Juliet and that they are brothers he remains mysterious which leads to Tybalt s death. The dramatic features also affect a play s characters greatly. Dramatic irony is a prime example for this.
When Juliet tells her mother that she goes to bed early to get ready for the wedding the audience knows that she is off to take Friar Lawrence s potion instead. This is ironic because it is something that the audience knows but the characters don t. Another form of dramatic importance is foreshadowing. In the beginning of the play when Juliet defies her mother by telling her that she will not marry Paris, her mother says. The irony in this is that Juliet actually does die at the end and instead of being happy about it like she said, the mother is very sad about it. This lesson can also be learned and put into real life situations.
Be careful for what you wish, because you just might get it. Considering the plays Romeo and Juliet and Antigone it is still not possible to clearly say whom the protagonist and antagonist characters are. After looking at the different forms of tragedy and drama it is almost impossible to make a valid statement. Many of the characters have tragic flaws and some even have epiphanies. Blind love will always remain a big factor in Romeo and Juliet while the questions of family values will always be a big one in Antigone. As people, we need to think in the third dimension and look at all the evidence carefully in making judgements.