Who is the antagonist in "The Hairy Ape"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Although Mildred is often considered the antagonist as a result of her spoiled upbringing, the fact that she suffers cannot be ignored. Although she is more privileged than Yank, she too is victimized by class.

Although both characters feel the burden of class distinction, Mildred is still considered the antagonist. Yank tries throughout the play to rid himself of the image of "a hairy ape" that Mildred supposedly saw when she looked at him. On a more metaphorical level, Mildred also represents the upper class as a whole, which Yank feels trapped and oppressed by. This feeling only deepens when Yank discovers that Mildred's father is the man who built the cage in which he is trapped both literally and metaphorically.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial