The main character in a narrative or dramatic work. As stated by J.A Cuddon Dictiionary of Literary Terms pg. 406 Often referred to as a "Protagonist". The hero in a dramatic work can cause much criticism due to the expectations of the reader that the character may be superior or display likeable qualities. For example In "Yellow Woman, a short narrative by Leslie Marmon Silko, the expectations of the Indian woman to remain faithful to her husband and not have an affair with a stranger, thus resulting in mixed emotions by the reader. When the expectations of the reader be disappointed the character the "Protagonist" will in lamens terms be referred to as the anti-heroine.
"The central character (masculine or feminine) in a work. The character who is the focus of interest" (Harmon & Holman, 246).
- A hero traditionally has positive qualities such as high ethical standards, commitment to duty, perseverance, and courage. An antihero possesses negative qualities such as cowardice and dishonesty.
- "In criticism the terms carry no connotations of virtuousness or honour".(Cuddon,406)
- "An evil man or a wicked woman may be the central characters, like Macbeth and Lady Macbeth."(Cuddon,406)
Harmon, William and Holman,C. Hugh. A Handbook to Literature, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall., 1996
Bibliographic Reference Baldick, C. (1990). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. , NY: Oxford University Press. Parenthetical Within Text (Baldick et al, 1990)
Cuddon, John Anthony. A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory,3rd ed. Worcester, Great Britain: Billings & Sons Ltd., 1991