The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

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Who is the antagonist of "The Sniper"?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think one can argue that the antagonist of the story is actually the sniper himself and that the story's main conflict is of the character vs. self variety. The climax of the story occurs in the final line, when the sniper turns over the dead body of the man he shot and sees that he has actually killed his very own brother. This is the story's turning point, the moment of the highest tension, and we realize—presumably along with the protagonist—that he has not only been a victim of violence but also that he has been the perpetrator of mortal violence against his own family, making him the antagonist as well. There is no falling action or resolution in the story, probably because the protagonist will never be able to reconcile himself to what he has done; he will feel no resolution to the pain this will cause him.

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Liam O'Flaherty's short story, "The Sniper ," is set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. The internecine conflict split the IRA, pitting proponents of the...

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