Who is the protagonist in "Death of the Hired Man"?

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A protagonist is a main character in a story. In "Death of the Hired Man ," there are three protagonists. The first two are Warren and Mary, who husband and wife and also farmers. During the course of the poem, Mary and Warren discuss the return of an ex-employee....

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A protagonist is a main character in a story. In "Death of the Hired Man," there are three protagonists. The first two are Warren and Mary, who husband and wife and also farmers. During the course of the poem, Mary and Warren discuss the return of an ex-employee. This ex-employee, named Silas, is the eponymous "Hired Man." We don't hear directly from him in the poem, but he is the sole focus of the conversation between the husband and wife, and thus he is the character whom we learn most about. In this sense, Silas is perhaps the main protagonist in the poem.

Mary is a very sympathetic, compassionate protagonist. She pities Silas, whom she found "Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep," and she implores her husband to treat him kindly. She treats Silas very kindly herself, bringing him into the house and giving him tea.

Warren is also a kind and compassionate protagonist, although at first he has, compared to his wife, a colder, harsher attitude towards Silas. This is because Silas has proven to be unreliable in the past. Silas left the farm during "haying time," when they most needed help, and now he has returned in winter, when they do not need any help.

Silas, the third protagonist, is a pitiable figure. He is described as a "poor, old man," who has "nothing to look backward to with pride, / And nothing to look forward to with hope." At the end of the poem we discover that while Mary and Warren have been discussing what to do with him, he has died in his sleep "beside the stove."

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