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Antagonists Can Be Good Guys?

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (112-149) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"If the protagonist is himself evil however, like Shakespeare's Macbeth, the antagonist-in Macbeth, Macduff serves that function-is portayed as a sympathetic character."

I always thought the protagonists were the good guys and antagonists were the bad guys. My whole literary belief system came crashing down around me when I read that sentence in Hamilton's text on antagonists. Since when were antagonists ever good? Their job is to be bad, to antagonize. That's their job. I have never heard of a "sympathetic" antagonist. It just totally blew my mind, but I'm open to new ideas. Hamilton put things in a whole new perspective for me when it comes to protagonists and antagonists. Never again will I assume that just because a character is a protagonist, that they are the good guy.

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