From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
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.
The Lottery

The Lottery

  

by Shirley Jackson

Antagonist

Character Role Analysis

The Lottery

So, if we're going with something as general as the village to be "The Lottery's" protagonist, then the antihero is certainly the lottery itself. The villagers seem completely unconscious of their own power over the lottery; they're afraid of the black box, and both fascinated and fearful at the ritual of the lottery itself. They risk death every year, but they participate eagerly in killing their fellows when they realize, relieved, that they're time's not up yet. The tradition of the lottery is so powerful, and so beyond logic, that few villagers can even imagine breaking it. The lottery promises protection for the villagers (or at least, that's what Old Man Warner keeps blaring), but really, its perpetuation undercuts the family and community ties that tradition is supposed to protect.


Advertisement