On a large wiki like Wikipedia and other websites with discussions and reviews, it is common to identify a character as a protagonist, antagonist, etc., but doing so in cast lists is to be avoided since each person may interpret those roles differently and may not always agree. Since the DreamWorks Wiki is a more informal wiki, these definitions are not useful and are actually more complicated than what we need.

When writing an article or including a cast list, simpler terms should be used like main character, hero/heroine, supporting characters or villain. Avoid using words like protagonist, antagonist or deuteragonist. By using the simpler terms, the characters' roles are easily understood without having to look up a definition.

Another reason for using the simpler terms is that once you look at the definitions of the formal words, many of them do not apply to a character. When they are repeatedly added, it becomes a case of "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Definitions

Protagonist

  1. The leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work.
  2. The leader or principal person in a movement, cause, etc.
  3. The first actor in ancient Greek drama, who played not only the main role, but also other roles when the main character was offstage.

Deuteragonist

  1. From ancient Greek: The actor next in importance to the protagonist.

Tritagonist

  1. The third member of an acting troupe, which always consisted of three actors.
  2. From ancient Greek: tritagōnistḗs (third actor).
  3. To contend, struggle, compete for the acting prize.

Quadragonist
This word does not exist.

Antagonist

  1. A person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary.
  2. The adversary of the hero or protagonist of a drama or other literary work.


Note: The TV Tropes website does have an entry for deuteragonist, tritagonist and tetragonist which refers to characters instead of actors, but that is a user-editable website and should not take priority over official definitions provided by Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster.

Applications

The reasons why these formal terms should not be used is as follows:

Deuteragonist and Tritagonist: These apply only to actors, not the characters they play, and an "acting prize" would only apply to a story or movie about actors.

Protagonist: While the first definition does fit many characters, its use is not recommended because of the other definitions and because deuteragonist and tritagnoist are not applicable to the rest of the characters. In addition, many stories have several main characters instead of just one, so using protagonist would then require modifiers like "main protagonist", "secondary protagonist" and "tertiary protagonist", which goes right back to using a more complicated word or phrase than necessary.

Antagonist: A word like enemy, opponent or villain is more easily understood. Using "antagonist" is very close to "antagonize", which has a definiton closer to hostility or harassment than may be applicable in a story.

Antagonist fussing

"Antagonist fussing" refers to repeatedly trying to pin down a character to being a specific level of an antagonist. This can also apply to protagonists, but occurs more frequently with antagonists.

Most of the time, the people who are antagonist fussing are mis-using the definitions above. For example, they may say that a character is a "deuteragonist" because they think it means the character is the second protagonist rather than the character is less important than the main character (a secondary protagonist).

As noted above, this wiki is not going to use terms like this because there are simpler ways of saying things, but also because use of these terms leads to edit wars and disagreements of the exact ranking of how much of an antagonist or a protagonist a character is. And when you look at it, fussing over exactly how much of an antagonist or protagonist a character is isn't as useful and important as the character's actions and how they releated to other characters.

In many cases, the people who have been antagonist fussing have only been antagonist fussing, meaning they make few or no other edits. All of their time is spent fixating and obsessing over the exact level of antagonist/protagonist a character is. In some cases, they frequently change their mind and contradict what they said earlier, which can occur within the same page or on pages for the same character on different wikis. This is antagonist fussing just for the sake of antagonist fussing. Repeated antagonist fussing and contradicting themselves will be considered vandalism and dealt with accordingly.

For examples of antagonist fussing, see the Simplifying character descriptions blog.

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