Who is the antagonist in A Wizard of Earthsea?

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The true antagonist in A Wizard of Earthsea is the dark side of Ged's nature. One of the greatest themes of the book is the balance of power and the balance between good and evil. When Ged allows his pride and arrogance to overcome his wisdom, he releases a dark shadow, which is really a representation of the dark side of his own nature. One can see this darker side of Ged's nature early in the story, as he knows and prizes his own difference and his ability to protect his village. When he goes to study magic, first with Ogion and then at the school of wizards, his desire for knowledge is a prideful desire. When he arrogantly tries to call up the spirit of a dead woman, that dark side of his nature takes on a life of its own, becoming a shadow which injures Ged. Ged spends the rest of the book trying to first escape and then conquer the shadow. Ged's conflict with the shadow symbolizes every man's conflict of good and evil within himself. It also symbolizes Ged's coming of age, as he grows from a boy to a man who is finally able to overcome his own shadows.

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The antagonist of this novel is actually the Shadow the Ged releases and then spends the rest of the novel trying to come to terms with. Of course, the shadow represents the dark side of himself, and Ged must learn how to handle this Shadow. What is interesting is in the course of these struggles the conflict is above all an internal one, although the Shadow is described as an external force. Ged is tempted in various ways to deny who he really is in order to resolve the conflict between his two sides. It is this conflict that results in Ged's gaining of maturity and presents us to the character who will dominate the rest of the Earthsea Chronicles.

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