We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.



The antagonist is the villain or nasty character in the novel that you root against. You know, the person who stands in the way of the protagonist.

While many antagonists are garden variety Bad Guys, antagonists aren't always super villains with capes. Check out our analysis of the antagonists in Herman Melville's great sea-faring novel, Moby Dick, or Jean Paul Sartre's No Exit for more on these ambiguous antagonists.