Key Characteristics of a Protagonist

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It cannot be denied that the protagonist is probably the most important character in a film. The only other character that comes close is the antagonist. Protagonists are everybody’s favorite and the best ones have something in them that make them memorable.

In this blog, we are going to look at a few key characteristics that set memorable protagonists apart from their relatively duller colleagues. So, the next time you develop your story, you’ll know what to play around with.

A sense of curiosity

Most protagonists have what can be defined as a sense of curiosity. They are either naturally curious or are made curious as a result of the events that affect them. Their curiosity is what makes them take action and that, of course, catapults them into various situations. But, curiosity is just one specific ingredient in the mix. There’s a lot more that defines a protagonist.

A sense of duty

Most protagonists have a sense of duty towards various elements in their life. It could be towards society, country, family or their job. This sense of duty drives them towards taking action. This is why we see heroes doing everything in their power to protect a loved one or even protect their entire nation or humanity as a whole.

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A sense of empathy

Empathy is another strong aspect of a protagonist. This pretty much completes the trinity of the senses. The protagonist responds to curiosity and duty because he/she cares. The protagonist wants to offer his/her help because they’ve either been in a similar situation and understand what the victim is going through or they simply understand that it’s the right thing to do.

Imperfect

Yes, the protagonist is also imperfect. This is necessary to make your protagonist feel more human. That’s why even superheroes are shown as having weaknesses. Weakness makes them human and relatable to the average viewer.

Plus, imperfections add to the script. If a character is too perfect, we already know he/she is going to come out victorious at the end. However, imperfections allow us to question the likelihood of such an outcome and in doing so, they contribute to maintaining suspense.

Change

Protagonists also undergo change. Their ability to shift from one thing into another is what sets them apart. For example, a loving family man turns into a tough killing machine to avenge the death of a loved one. This kind of change is not only necessary to drive the story, but, also to highlight the character’s ability to ask existential questions.

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