Types Of Antagonism


Robert McKee describes antagonist’s actions on a continuum ranging from positive to negative outcome.

The four values below describe the degree of action an antagonist must take to create the most compelling and emotionally satisfying protagonist.

POSITIVE

This refers to what the main character ultimately desires, both internally and externally. These outcomes include love, justice, success and freedom. They refer to the big picture of the story.

CONTRARY

This is a somewhat negative situation, but not totally devastating. It is treated either with indifference or as a minor irritant. These outcomes include unfairness, white lies, half truths, compromise and restraint.

CONTRADICTORY

This relates to the main character achieving the  complete opposite of the original goal. Examples of these outcomes include hate, injustice, lies, failure and imprisonment.

NEGATION OF THE NEGATION

This is the worst possible outcome for the main character, Even more sinister than what they thought possible. These outcomes include as hatred masquerading as love, tyranny, self-deception, selling out, slavery perceived as freedom, major loss and death.

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