- the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work.
- a proponent for or advocate of a political cause, social program, etc.
- the leader or principal person in a movement, cause, etc.
- the first actor in ancient Greek drama, who played not only the main role, but also other roles when the main character was offstage.Compare deuteragonist, tritagonist.
- Physiology. agonist.
Origin of protagonist
- the principal character in a play, story, etc
- a supporter, esp when important or respected, of a cause, political party, etc
Word Origin for protagonist
1670s, "principal character in a story, drama, etc.," from Greek protagonistes "actor who plays the chief or first part," from protos "first" (see proto-) + agonistes "actor, competitor," from agon "contest" (see act (n.)). Meaning "leading person in any cause or contest" is from 1889. Mistaken sense of "advocate, supporter" (1935) is from misreading of Greek protos as Latin pro- "for."