Why do you think Duke Michael is the antagonist in the novel The Prisoner of Zenda?

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Duke Michael is the antagonist in The Prisoner of Zenda as he actively opposes and is hostile towards the story's protagonist , Rudolf Rassendyll. It's Duke Michael who's the main driver behind a wicked, treacherous plot to have his older half-brother, Rudolf V, removed from the succession so that he,...

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Duke Michael is the antagonist in The Prisoner of Zenda as he actively opposes and is hostile towards the story's protagonist, Rudolf Rassendyll. It's Duke Michael who's the main driver behind a wicked, treacherous plot to have his older half-brother, Rudolf V, removed from the succession so that he, Michael, can take over as king of Ruritania.

Thankfully, some Ruritanian patriots, Colonel Sapt and Fritz von Tarlenheim, are on hand to put a stop to Duke Michael's dastardly scheme. After Rudolf V has been kidnapped and imprisoned, they hit upon a plan to have Rudolf Rassendyll replace the captured king at the forthcoming coronation. Naturally, this puts a huge spanner in the works of Michael's plan, and so he must do everything in his power to thwart all attempts by the brave, dashing Rassendyll to save Rudolf from his captivity. This, more than anything else, is what makes him the story's antagonist.

To be sure, Duke Michael isn't the only wicked character in the story. He has a number of accomplices in his treacherous scheme, most notably Count Rupert of Hentzau. But Michael is the main mover behind the scheme, and that's what makes him the story's antagonist—the opposite of the protagonist, Rudolf Rassendyll.

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