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In "The Lottery", if the protagonist is Tessie, who is the antagonist?

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meggie457 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 8, 2009 at 6:43 AM via web

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In "The Lottery", if the protagonist is Tessie, who is the antagonist?

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megboland | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 8, 2009 at 7:40 AM (Answer #1)

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In "The Lottery" the antagonist may be difficult to identify because it is not a character or person in the story.  Typically the antagonist is the adversary of the protagonist, this is most often another character in the story, however, in this story, the protagonist is Tessie and her adversary is the Lottery itself.  The "Lottery" represents a tradition and in the story the person who wins the lottery will be put to death because of that tradition.  This creates the conflict in the story and creates the adversarial relationship between Tessie and "The Lottery".

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 8, 2009 at 7:43 AM (Answer #2)

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If you are looking at the entire story of “The Lottery” and are using Tessie Hutchinson as the protagonist, than there are two options as to who or what the antagonist of the story is.  First, you could say that all of the other characters – the entire village including her family -- are the antagonists because at the end of the story, they are all in opposition of her.  The second option is more symbolic; the whole idea of tradition and keeping traditions alive can be considered the antagonist.  The town continues a tradition that they do not know how it began and do not even practice every ritual as it was originally supposed to be practiced.  But, because of this tradition and the town’s belief that this tradition must continue, Tessie ends up dying in the end; therefore, making her the protagonist and tradition the antagonist.

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