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The Second Most Important…

Deuteragonist
[due-turh-rag-oh-nist]

1. The second most important part of the play or story.

This may seem a tad strange. It’s because it’s out of context. We’ve all heard of the protagonist. Well, we then have the deuteragonist and then the tritagonist. All three words are still used but only one is commonly known. The deuteragonist is often the sidekick. A common example is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The protagonist is Huck. The deuteragonist is Jim, his companion. The tritagonist would be Sawyer. The deuteragonist can also be an antagonist, but is often a foil for the protagonist. It’s often used to enforce the protagonist, his or her abilities and strength. The tritagonist is often the instigator of the drama and suffering the protagonist suffers. It all comes from Greek drama, when there were often only three actors present anyway, often leading to them each performing multiple roles. But because ‘protagonist’ is the one we most hear, we often forget about the other two, when they’re actually quite important to many stories. They might be two words that you may never use, need to use, come across or care about in the slightest. But words are like trees. There are many, many leaves.

If you have a part in a play, the part you want is the main part. I’m sure many of us as children remember the plays we did in school. ‘I want the lead!’ Then you get given a part. You go home. Your parents wait eagerly to hear of what part you got. You tell them. “Ooh, are you the lead, we want you in the lead, no pressure, but obviously, we must outdo the neighbours because their kid is frickin’ genius!” “I got the second most important part, I’m the deuteragonist.” It’s something, I guess. You’re still a part of the play. I’m sure many of us have been one at some point in school. Or maybe the tritagonist. So we can use it day-to-day, in memories or of our own children. And don’t worry about your child telling you they are the deuteragonist or tritagonist. If they use words like that, they’re gonna be alright…

Deuteragonist. The second most important part in a play or a story.

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