hero vs protagonist : Common Errors in English

About hero vs protagonist

In ordinary usage “hero” has two meanings: “leading character in astory” and “brave, admirable person.” In simple tales the two meaningsmay work together, but in modern literature and film the leadingcharacter or “protagonist” (a technical term common in literarycriticism) may behave in a very unheroic fashion. Students who expressshock that the “hero” of a play or novel behaves despicably reveal theirinexperience. In literature classes avoid the word unless you mean tostress a character’s heroic qualities. However, if you are discussingthe main character in a traditional opera, where values are oftensimple, you may get by with referring to the male lead as the“hero”—but is Don Giovanni really a hero?See also “."

hero Meaning(s)

  • (n) a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength
  • (n) the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem
  • (n) someone who fights for a cause
  • (n) Greek mathematician and inventor who devised a way to determine the area of a triangle and who described various mechanical devices (first century)
  • (n) (classical mythology) a being of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits; often the offspring of a mortal and a god
  • (n) (Greek mythology) priestess of Aphrodite who killed herself when her lover Leander drowned while trying to swim the Hellespont to see her
  • (n) a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments); different names are used in different sections of the United States

protagonist Meaning(s)

  • (n) a person who backs a politician or a team etc.
  • (n) the principal character in a work of fiction

hero in News

  1. Hero's story starts with a dog tag

    Hero's story starts with a dog tag Times Union Copyright 2013 Times Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Published 10:31 pm, Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Halfmoon A town historian helped uncover an epic story of a Civil War soldier who was mortally wounded while carrying his regiment's flag during the bloodiest battle on American ...
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Albany Times Union

  2. ‘Hero’ and ‘Traitor’ Are Not the Only Options

    Hero? Traitor? Lover? Sinner? Plays his music in the sun. Is Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor? Everyone seems to want to know . And we totally understand why politicians and other notable people are being asked to choose — you're getting a strong headline either way.
    on June 11, 2013 Source: New York Magazine

  3. Hero or Bad Boyfriend? Edward Snowden and the Personalization of Public Debate

    Edward Snowden, leaker of the NSA surveillance programs, is a hero. No, he’s a narcissistic criminal. Scratch that, he’s totally a hero. Far from it: he’s an alienated loner, a traitor, a bad boyfriend. But also? A smokin’ hottie! Barely a day after Snowden revealed himself as the source who gave information to the Guardian about phone and Internet data collection, the debate over privacy and ...
    on June 11, 2013 Source: Time Magazine

protagonist in News

  1. Michelle Tea Adds a Dash of Salt to Her Fairy Tale

    Mermaid in Chelsea Creek imbues the author's grimy hometown — and her teenage protagonist — with magical possibilities. by Azeen Ghorayshi Thirteen-year-old Sophie Swankowski can't seem to satisfy her craving for salt. She unscrews the caps on salt shakers and dumps mounds of the tiny crystals into her mouth, fiendishly adds it to her cereal, and in one desperate moment goes so far as to dunk ...
    on June 12, 2013 Source: East Bay Express

  2. 'Taipei' Is Lifelike — But That's Not Necessarily A Compliment

    Literary enfant terrible Tao Lin's latest novel, Taipei, follows protagonist Paul — who closely resembles Lin himself — on his drugged wanderings around New York and Taipei. Reviewer Annalisa Quinn says Lin "refuses, almost sadistically, to entertain the reader."
    on June 11, 2013 Source: NPR

  3. PlayStation versions of Assassin's Creed 4 include playable Adeline

    The PlayStation versions of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag will include Adeline, the protagonist of the Vita's Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation , as a playable character. During Sony's E3 press briefing , VP of third-party relations Adam Boyes said that playing as Adeline will be an "exclusive PlayStation experience." Presumably, that means she will be playable on both the PlayStation 3 and ...
    on June 11, 2013 Source: Joystiq

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