Who is the antagonist in "Bartleby the Scrivener"?

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The true antagonist in this story, according to the lawyer who narrates it, is not Bartleby, but the hopelessness that arises from failed communication. At the end of the saga, the lawyer reveals a rumor he has heard that Bartleby was previously employed in the dead letter office in Washington D.C, where letters that never arrived at their destinations are sent to be burned. This gives the lawyer a flash of insight into Bartleby's melancholy nature:

Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid hopelessness, can any business seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling these dead letters,...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 354 words.)

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