Write a character analysis on the antagonist of A Soldier's Play. Consider how the antagonist is portrayed and how he or she interacts with the other characters as part of your analysis.

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The text in question here is A Soldier's Play by Charles Fuller, which later became a movie called A Soldier's Story. Your first step in writing a character analysis of the antagonist is to figure out which character is the antagonist. Some might argue that the antagonist is Captain Charles Taylor, who doesn't want Captain Richard Davenport to investigate the murder of Vernon C. Waters. Indeed, Taylor doesn't believe that a Black man like Davenport can get any results, for Taylor is sure that white men committed the murder and, therefore, that the accusation of a Black man against them will never stick.

However, a better choice for an antagonist might be Vernon C. Waters himself. This might seem like an odd choice, because when the play opens, Waters has already been murdered. Waters, however, does appear in flashback scenes, and we can see that he is quite the opposite of the balanced and organized Davenport.

Waters has a particular vision of what a Black man should be like, and he torments anyone who doesn't live up to his standards, including C. J. Memphis, who ends up killing himself. Waters is despised by his men and disliked by everyone in general. He does feel guilt after Memphis's death, but he turns to drinking instead of solving his problems. His smart mouth gets him beaten by two white soldiers, but Waters is actually killed by two of his own men in revenge for Memphis's death.

After you choose which of these men you think is the antagonist of the play, you will need to re-read the work, paying close attention to how the character is portrayed and how he interacts with other characters. If Taylor is your choice, you could focus on his prejudices and his presuppositions. He has already made up his mind about Waters's murder, and he doesn't think that Davenport can do anything helpful. If you choose Waters, notice how he berates people who don't agree with him, and pay special attention to his ideas about the proper position of Black men and to how he treats Memphis.

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Provide an analysis for the antagonist in A Soldier's Play.

The antagonist in A Soldier's Play is the murder victim, Sergeant Waters, an African American soldier who despises any Black person conforming to white racist stereotypes.

Inevitably, this attitude deeply affects how he deals with his subordinates. If, like C. J. Memphis, they display behavior that corresponds to racial stereotypes, then he will treat them with contempt and disrespect. In the case of C. J., this leads to tragedy, as he commits suicide after Waters sends him to the brig.

Waters has a major problem with Black men from the South, whom he sees as shiftless, lazy, and ignorant. As most of the men under his command are themselves from the South, Waters's ingrained prejudices make for a strained relationship between himself and his subordinates.

To some extent, there is an element of self-loathing here, which is further compounded by the fact that Waters's company is restricted to performing menial tasks due to racial discrimination.

One can say that Waters deals with this humiliation by turning his anger and frustration on his men rather than his superiors. This makes for tense relations between himself and his men and eventually leads to his murder.

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