Definition of Antagonist: Functions, Intrinsic Elements, and the Difference with the Protagonist

Antagonist is – As we know, in a drama performance, the character played must have prominent character and behavior. That way, the audience can understand and enjoy how a storyline is being played by the characters.

The character played has also been created when the writer started writing a drama script. Then, the description of the characters will also be developed by each character, so that the consistency of the character of these characters is very important to be played from the beginning to the end of the story. In general, the characters themselves are divided into three, namely the protagonist (good character), tritagonist (middleman), and antagonist (challenging the protagonist).

Of these three characters, the antagonist is often seen as a bad character or a villain. This is because the antagonist often tries to block the wishes of the protagonist. So, what exactly is meant by an antagonist and what are the functions of an antagonist? Check out the more detailed explanation below.

Definition of Antagonist

In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), antagonist is a person who likes to oppose (against and so on). Besides that, in KBBI, antagonist in the field of literature means a character in a literary work who is the opponent of the main character; opposing character.

Antagonist in Drama

Drama as a story that is displayed in public and in which there are dialogues or conversations played by several characters. Not only dialogues and conversations, usually in staging this drama will also be accompanied by certain actions, so that this can attract the audience.

By definition, drama can be understood as a work of art in the form of a staged conversation. Generally, this drama also depicts the reality of life, character, and human behavior through a performance.

In a drama staging story, there will always be an antagonist or a character who always opposes the main character. With the role of this antagonist can be said as a character against the main character, giving rise to various conflicts. Usually, antagonists also have bad and negative characters.

However, in several stories, the author will also give a lot of space for the antagonist, whether in a literary work, drama or film. The antagonist is the opposite of the protagonist.

The protagonist is an individual in the story who always prioritizes truth and honesty. Meanwhile, the antagonist usually always challenges all the characters of the protagonist. Even if the protagonist is good, it doesn’t mean that he will always win the conflict at the end of the story.

There are so many stories, whether in films or dramas or literary works, where in the end it is the antagonist who wins the character. So, have you ever played the role of an antagonist?

Antagonists in Literature

Meanwhile, the antagonist in the world of literature has no difference in general with the world of film. In literary works, such as drama scripts, to novels, where the meaning of the antagonist himself is a character who always opposes the truth and various other bad characters.

Antagonist character is a character who has the attitude of a carrier of conflict and always opposes the main character who is the protagonist. In addition, the antagonist also has characteristics such as being good at twisting the facts of events that are currently happening.

That is what causes the antagonist character to like to oppose the main goal in the story. To add a dramatic impression, usually the antagonist also has a sly face and a cynical voice, so that sometimes, this antagonist is also disliked.

In fact, in a story, the antagonist himself is very happy to pretend to be good and often develop bad plans that can injure or even kill the protagonist. In a literary work, such as a novel, usually the depiction of this antagonist is in the form of a villain, an evil character in a group, not a human being, and so on.

In addition, all types of antagonist roles themselves certainly have a purpose and also a unique (facial) demeanor. If in a novel, usually the author will make an antagonist with a dialogue or a narrative that describes the bad plans of the antagonist himself.

Antagonist Character Functions

One of the most important parts of a play is the play script. Before staging a performance, the writer must understand the storyline to be staged. Of course, in making a script or storyline, the writer usually uses elements of drama, including themes, mandates, plots, characters, dialogues, and so on.

In addition, character traits are also very important to build an interesting story. One of the characters that also serves to make the story more exciting and interesting is the role of the antagonist.

There are several functions of the antagonist in a play. Here below are a number of functions of the antagonist.

Conflict Triggers

The function of the first antagonist is to trigger a conflict. Conflict in a story will make the plot seem more interesting. Therefore, the presence of an antagonist can act as a trigger for a conflict.

Making the storyline even more interesting

Antagonist has a function to make the storyline more interesting, so that a story doesn’t seem monotonous. Therefore, antagonist characters who also like to oppose can actually make the story more colorful, as well as the ending cooler and sweeter.

Bringing the Audience Groove and Emotions

The function of the third antagonist is to bring the emotional flow of the audience or readers, so that they become more emotional. Without an antagonist, the story of the protagonist will look too overpowered or like no one can fight him.

Adding Dramatic Effects

To add a more dramatic impression, the antagonist generally has a sly face and a cynical voice. This antagonist character will be disliked or even, in a story, the antagonist is very happy to pretend to be good and often plots against the main protagonist.

Some of the characteristics and roles of these antagonists will make the storyline more dramatic. For this reason, this role or figure is needed in a literary work, both in film and drama.

The difference between Protagonist and Antagonist

In a story, the characters themselves are needed to make the storyline more interesting. Based on its function, it is further divided into main characters and supporting characters. The main character himself is the character most told and plays an important role. The main character is the task of being a messenger to the reader.

In a story, this character is most often told and related to other characters. In fact, the plot or storyline usually focuses on the main character. Meanwhile, supporting characters are used as a complement to the story.

Meanwhile, based on the role or character, the character is divided into 3, namely, among them:


The protagonist is usually a good actor in a story. Not only that, the protagonist himself is generally the main character in a story, film, or series. This character is also described as someone who has a good attitude and a positive attitude. The attitude of the protagonist in a story is usually generous, honest, humble, not arrogant, patient, and loyal to friends.

Antagonist Figure

The opposite of the protagonist, the antagonist is an evil character who usually becomes the opponent and triggers conflict in a story. The antagonist is described as a bad person who wants to do bad things to the protagonist.

In general, the antagonist becomes the cause of conflict in a story. Even so, with the presence of this conflict, the storyline becomes more interesting. The antagonist himself is more often described as a vengeful, arrogant, jealous person, does not want to lose, wants to win alone, jealous, and likes to show off.

Tritagonist character

In a story, there are supporting characters who are also known as tritagonists. This character usually becomes a friend of the protagonist and will help resolve conflicts. According to KBBI, the tritagonist character himself is the third character in a story. In addition, this character is also a character that is trusted by the antagonist.

Intrinsic Elements in Other Literary Works

Figures or characterizations or characters that become the forerunner of an antagonist are part of the intrinsic elements in a literary work. The following below is a more complete explanation of other intrinsic elements reported from various sources:


The first intrinsic element that must exist is the theme. The theme is the main idea or main idea in a drama story. If a play or other literary work does not have a clear theme, then the staging of the play itself will not run smoothly, the players will also experience difficulties in playing the requested characters.

Not only that, the theme also functions in helping the audience understand and capture the intent and purpose of this performance. A clear theme will also help determine the target audience you want to go to. For example, on the theme of romance, which is mostly watched by teenagers until they reach adulthood.


The next intrinsic element is the plot. Plot as the storyline of a drama performance that exists from the initial narration to the final narration of the drama. It is with this plot that later has a role in creating a problem, conflict, climax, and problem solving. Having a plot in the drama will make the drama more interesting.


The character or actor in the drama consists of the main character and supporting characters. The main character or main role is also known as the prima donna, while the auxiliary role is called extras. In order for the drama staging to be more interesting, the characters must also have a prominent character. With this intrinsic element, it will be easier for the audience to understand and live up to the drama being staged.


Another intrinsic element in literature or drama is character. Character is also the behavior played by drama characters or story characters in a literary work. In dramas or literary works there are also several characters that usually always appear, namely the protagonist and antagonist.

The character of the protagonist is a good character in a literary work or a character played in a drama. As for examples of protagonist characters, such as patient, compassionate, polite, brave, defender of the weak, kind and so forth.

Meanwhile, the antagonist character is the evil character (behavior) in a literary work or in a drama performance. Examples are jealousy and envy, cruelty, bullying and so on.


Background or setting is a picture of a place, time and situation of events in a drama or story in a literary work. Setting is also one of the intrinsic elements that cannot be missed in a drama performance or in a literary work.

In general, the setting will be adjusted to the conditions of the atmosphere when the story takes place. That way, the audience can better understand when, where, and the atmosphere in a play. In addition to the unmissable setting, in drama, stage decorations can also be made in such a way that each scene is similar. Different types of properties can support livelier and more impressive performances.


Mandate as a message that the author wants to convey to the audience. Usually, this message or message is conveyed implicitly or explicitly in a main character’s dialogue, whether in a literary work or a drama performance.

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From all the discussion above it can be said that the antagonist is a character who is evil or fights against the protagonist. Therefore, every time a conflict occurs, there will definitely be antagonists and protagonists.

Even so, in a drama performance or a literary work, the antagonist does not just stand alone. In other words, the antagonist is always supported by other intrinsic elements.