Literature is a very ancient art which started its development with the appearance of the ability to speak among human beings. Being verbal, it then developed into the written form. People understood how to write down their stories. This discovery was the beginning of literary analysis.
This is the science which analyses a certain work in order to outline its main peculiarities and stylistic devices. Like every science, it has a great number of different terms which help to determine peculiarities of a literary work. That is why it is possible to analyze some of them on the basis of certain work to understand the meaning of these terms better.
The first term we are going to analyze is the protagonist. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms gives such definition to this word “the main character of the work; usually also the hero or heroine, but sometimes an antihero” (Murfin and Ray 411). From this definition, it becomes clear that usually actions in a book center around the protagonist. That is why it is quite easy to determine the main character of each work.
In the work A Passage to India by Forster it is obviously Dr. Aziz as the whole plot is made to describe his story and character. Moreover, it is possible to say that he is a hero of the story, as there are also several antiheroes in this work. The first one is Ronny Heaslop, as he is not fond of Aziz just because of his race. Moreover, sometimes Adela Quested can also be taken as an antihero, or antagonist (Bernardo para. 4) of the story as she falsely accuses Dr. Aziz of a crime.
The main character of the story is usually a very interesting and strong person and Dr. Aziz is not an exception. The author gives him such qualities as bravery, politeness, education, and thrust for justice. He wants to see his land free from Englishmen. This desire is so strong that it becomes an obstacle for his friendship with Fielding. Only when “we shall drive every blasted Englishman into the sea” (Forster 141) their friendship will become possible.
However, sometimes the term protagonist can also be applied to another character of this work. This person is Fielding. He is a 45-year-old man, who is a headmaster of a college. The most important thing in his image is his tolerant and respectful attitude to India, its culture, traditions, and population. Being one of the protagonists, he is also opposed to another character, Ronny Heaslop, who is also an Englishman, however, he has not all these qualities which Fielding has.
He is rather arrogant and snobbish, moreover, he is trammeled by prejudice. Fielding is different. He is really worried about Dr. Azizs fate, and he is sure in his innocence. The author shows good qualities which Fielding has, such as devotion, ability to sympathize, and liberality.
He is a good friend, and he wants to save his relations with Dr. Aziz. “Its what I want. Its what you want” (Forster 141) says Fielding, describing their relations. These words show his kind and noble soul. That is why he can be taken as one of the protagonists of the story.
Having analyzed the term protagonist, it is possible to say that every story has its main character. Authors usually center their story around protagonists actions, showing their importance for the whole book.
Bernardo, Karen. Types of Characters in Fiction. Web.
Forster, Edward. A Passage to India. 1924. Web.
Murfin, Ross and Supryia Ray. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print.