Character Role Analysis
Yep, Helen is our protagonist alright. After all, it's her quest for a happy ending (read: marriage) that drives the story and has a lot of people rooting for her – even if we think she's crazy for wanting to be married to a guy like Bertram and/or manipulative for tricking Bertram into sleeping with her. Hey, nobody ever said a protagonist has to be perfect.
Yeah, yeah. We know we just said that Bertram is the antagonist to Helen's quest for happiness, but we could also make the argument that he starts out as the play's protagonist. Think about it. When the play opens, Bertram is on his way to Paris to start a whole new life for himself at the king's court. Sounds exciting, right? Young Bertram seems to have his whole life ahead of him. But then the king of France forces him to marry a girl he doesn't want. Bertram's hopes and dreams get seriously derailed.