Who is the protagonist in Bartleby the Scrivener? Whose story is it?

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It's Bartelby's story. He is the main character, and what happens in the story is all about him and what he does or doesn't do. This most singular of characters is unusual in that he's both the protagonist and the antagonist at the same time. Bartleby is the protagonist in the sense that he's the leading character. Yet he's also the antagonist in that he proves to be his own worst enemy. Ultimately, Bartleby is undone by himself, by his stubborn refusal to do anything at all. It is Bartleby's paralyzing inertia, his complete lack of action, that paradoxically represents a kind of action in itself. Even if you sit completely still and don't move a muscle, you're still doing something. And it's this stillness that, ironically, makes Bartleby much more of a protagonist than he would have been had he just carried on with his work as before.

There are two candidates for the role of protagonist: Bartleby, himself, or the lawyer who narrates the story. The lawyer is a seemingly admirable...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 515 words.)

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