Controversial protagonists and antiheroes are ranked in the same category as the heroes and heroines in literature. However, there exists some differences, in that the antihero lacks the conventional traits that are exhibited by the heroes and heroines. Specifically, protagonist antiheroes lacks the characters of morality and nobility. Moreover, they are protagonists because they also fight against the antagonist of the story. Indeed, they have two sides one which is often darker and very controversial. In the Russian works done in the 19th century, there are several characters from different works who are controversial protagonists and antiheroes. For instance, in the Queen of Spades written by Alexander Pushkin, a character named Herman is an antihero who is very controversial. In this regard, he lacks the courage of a hero as when the ghost of the woman (The Countess) who he killed by frightening her with a gun makes him run away in terror (Pushkin, 10). Additionally, he plays some mastermind games when he frightened the countess by claiming that the gun he used was not loaded. Akaky Akakievich in the work of Nikolai Gogol, The Overcoat is an antihero who despite his dedication to the job of clerk and copyist is rarely recognized (Gogol, 5).
The other nature of antiheroes is that they have the characteristics of the mix of darkness and light. This makes them more realistic than the heroes and heroines. These characters of antiheroes have personal connections with the readers as every individual has some darkness and light within. The dark side of Herman is when he killed the old woman by frightening her (Pushkin, 9). However, he also has the light within when he confesses what he had done. One dark side of Akaky is where he curses the general on his deathbed (Gogol, 8). However, he also has a light side when he pleads for forgiveness from the general. This controversy between darkness and light is what makes some protagonists antiheroes.
Antiheroes possess some traits, which are common in all human beings. In this regard, they experience insecurities as well as confusion and fears, which makes them, pity themselves. Herman is one of those antiheroes who possesses those traits. Specifically, due to his insecurity, he threatens the old woman so that he could know the card number to win the gamble. Additionally, his confusion is seen when he is taken to a hospital after he had gone mad. Akaky also feels insecure with his job as a typist and ends up dying from the words that he told the general.
The rivalry that antiheroes have with the other characters as well as the readers is what makes them protagonists. In this regard, their controversy makes them rivals with the antagonist in the writings. Herman has rivalry with the countess who she ends up killing as he (Herman) wanted to be as her-winning gambles every time (Pushkin, 12). Akaky was also a rival to the other employees in the government as he rivaled the position of his superior clerk Petrovich who had a better salary than he did. As such, he thinks that the superior clerk is able to buy an overcoat, which he (Akaky) is not able to afford. How he scolds the secretaries is also something that the readers of the writing do not agree with and thereby creating a rivalry.
Gogol, Nikolai. The overcoat and other stories. Digireads. com Publishing, 2010.
Pushkin, Alexander. The Queen of Spades. Penguin UK, 2016.
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