Sunday, 7 February 2016

'D' is for Deuteragonist


(You're only doing one now to procrastinate on your essay. Don't even try to hide it. I can see right through you.)

Ivy, you are me. A terrifying aspect of me, but me nonetheless. 

Today we're giving the deuteragonists the spotlight. This is the first (and possibly only) time in their lives that they will ever come before their protagonists. We may have to give them a moment.
More in the early seasons than the later ones.

The deuteragonist is the second most important character. No, not the best friend, and not the villain either. It's not good enough to just follow the protagonist around, or oppose him. The deuteragonist is the character who the plot stalks when it isn't stalking the hero which, of course, means that it can be the best friend or the villain. But it can also be a character who never meets the protagonist. It can be the five year old girl who lives next door to him, or the blind boy on the other side of the world. The billionaire on the wealthy side of town, or the runaway teenager living in his basement.

(Shall we just set the Deuteragonist's relationship with the Protagonist to "It's complicated" and move on?)

No, because there are a few really easy ways to tell a deuteragonist apart from the other characters. 
  • The plot sometimes focuses on the deuteragonist seperately from the protagonist.
  • The story is seen partly from the deuteragonist's point of view (arguably, this isn't compulsory as you can have deuteragonists in a first person novel.)
  • The deuteragonist's plotline contributes to the main plotline.
  • The deuteragonist's actions affect the plot as much as the protagonist's. 

Deuteragonists in literature include - 
  • Skulduggery Pleasant, despite being the eponymous character, is the deuteragonist to Valkyrie Cain's protagonist.
  • Stefan from The Supernaturalist is the deuteragonist to Cosmo's protagonist.
  • Arguably, Lady Macbeth from Macbeth acts as a deuteragonist to the eponymous character.
Can you think of anymore deuteragonists?