A deuteragonist is the second most important character in a story. The deuteragonist may be either the protagonist’s sidekick or their rival, and he or she usually provides an important perspective on the story.

Some examples of famous deuteragonists include:

  • Romeo and Juliet.
  • The Star Wars trilogy.
  • Lord of the Rings.


What is a deuteragonist

What is a deuteragonist?

A deuteragonist is a secondary character in a story. Some stories have one, some have two, but most have three or four main characters who are somehow related or connected. These secondary characters are the deuteragonists.

The deuteragonist helps to move the plot along by taking on a different role than the protagonist and providing a foil for their actions.

A deuteragonist’s role is to support the protagonist throughout their journey, whether by offering advice or simply being there when the protagonist needs help.

The deuteragonist may be similar to the protagonist’s role, but they are not exactly the same. A good example of this would be Star Wars, where Luke Skywalker is the Protagonist and Han Solo is his Deuteragonist.



What Is a Deuteragonist?

A deuteragonist is a secondary character in a story, who acts as a foil to the protagonist. The term derives from the Greek words for “second” and “character.”

In many cases, the deuteragonist appears in opposition to the protagonist, creating tension between them.

The most famous deuteragonist is probably Dr. Watson, who was the sidekick of Sherlock Holmes in the original canon by Arthur Conan Doyle.

In the original Star Wars trilogy, Obi Wan Kenobi is Luke Skywalker’s mentor and guide through his adventures.

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, Aragorn takes Frodo Baggins under his wing, helping him on his quest to destroy Sauron’s ring.

In many Greek tragedies, there are two main characters called the protagonist and deuteragonist.

In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is the protagonist and Creon is the deuteragonist; in Antigone, Ismene plays this role to her sister Antigone; while in Medea, Jason has this role to Medea herself.

In Star Wars, Luke and Han serve very similar roles – they both want to destroy Darth Vader and the Empire.

However, they are not the same person because they go about it in different ways and have different goals that they want to accomplish throughout the movie.

In this story, Luke Skywalker is clearly the protagonist and Han Solo is the deuteragonist.


Writing A Deuteragonist

It’s important to create a strong supporting cast in addition to your protagonist. The antagonist is the character who opposes your protagonist, and the deuteragonist is the character who supports your protagonist.

These characters don’t have to be major characters—in fact, it’s often more compelling if they’re not—but they should have a presence in the plot. Think of them as the good cop and bad cop of your story, though you can mix it up depending on what your plot needs.

The deuteragonist is the character who supports your protagonist. This is usually another main character in the story arc, usually one who plays a part similar to the protagonist.

For example, in “Rosemary’s Baby,” Mia Farrow plays an actress who is pregnant with Satan’s child. John Cassavetes plays her husband, whose job is to protect her from that truth.

If you’re writing a book or a script and aren’t sure what roles each character should play, think about which ones are necessary for telling this story.

Asking yourself questions like “Who will my protagonist confide in? Who will care about this?” These questions can help you decide on these roles.


What Is A Deuteragonist’s Purpose?

The deuteragonist is the second most important character in a movie or book. They are known as the hero’s sidekick and are typically the first person to meet them. 

A deuteragonist’s purpose is to be supportive of the main protagonist and help them achieve their goal.

A deuteragonist can also bring challenges to the main protagonist, which makes it more difficult for them to complete their goal.

A deuteragonist’s purpose is to support the main protagonist in achieving his/her goal. They help out by doing things that enhance the main protagonist’s abilities, skills, or knowledge.

The hero can rely on the deuteragonist for knowledge on how to achieve their goal or how to get around a certain problem. A deuteragonist can also provide emotional support to our hero as they try to achieve their goal.

A deuteragonist can also put our hero into situations where they need to apply their skill set or knowledge. This challenges our hero and makes it more realistic when they overcome these challenges in order to achieve their goals.

A deuteragonist helps out by making it easier for our hero to complete his/her task at hand by providing them with a needed item or information that allows them overcome an obstacle.

Deuteragonist #1: The Sidekick

There are three key roles in a story: the protagonist, the antagonist, and the deuteragonist. The protagonist is your main character — the hero.

The antagonist is the villain who opposes them. The deuteragonist is the sidekick.

Everyone knows that story has a hero, but not everyone realizes that it also has an antihero and a sidekick as well.

Troy McClure was a Deuteragonist

The Deuteragonist’s most important function is to keep the Protagonist on track and to give him or her advice. However, they are much more than just a foil for the Protagonist.

They often have their own goals and agendas which do not necessarily coincide with those of the Protagonist, and which may even conflict with them at times.

In many cases, especially in comedic stories, the Deuteragonist can be a source of comic relief for when things get too serious with the Antagonist or if things get too heavy with the Protagonist.The deuteragonist is the second most important character in a story.

The sidekick is there to provide support and help to the main character, but we love them because they are usually funny and comical. They are a great way to provide comic relief, as well as provide a different perspective on the main character and their actions.

Deuteragonist #2: The Love Interest

So, what is a deuteragonist?

A deuteragonist is not the main character. Not the protagonist, who’s the first person we meet and whose story this is, but not the second either.

The protagonist is the main focal point of the story, the person through whose eyes we see everything. The deuteragonist is not just secondary to them, but also to us, he audience.

You see, a deuteragonist has no narrative purpose outside of their relationship with the protagonist.

They may have a rich backstory, a compelling motivation for being involved in this specific plotline and an arc that is interesting in its own right but ultimately it doesn’t matter because this person exists solely so they can react to whatever happens in the life of whoever it is we’re really interested in.

The deuteragonist is a mirrored version of the protagonist. They are their opposite: everything that makes them who they are and gives them their identity is reflected back at them by this other person; this contrast adds depth and roundness to both characters.

The deuteragonist may be a love interest or they may not be; they may be an ally or they may be an enemy; they might be one or many things at different points in their relationship with our protagonist.

Deuteragonist #3: The Antagonist

One versus one is a fight. Two versus one is a conflict. Three versus one is a struggle.

The hero will almost always be in conflict with the antagonist.

But, what if the hero isn’t the only person fighting the antagonist? What if there are other characters who have their own motivations and desires that aren’t connected to the hero, but are at odds with the antagonist?

That’s where we find our deuteragonist, or “second protagonist,” as someone who is also directly opposing the antagonist, but in their own way.

It can be very useful to have a deuteragonist because they are often times more in touch with their inner conflicts than the protagonist; they may be struggling with issues of vengeance or pride or greed that cause them to act out in ways that oppose both themselves and the protagonist.

It’s hard for a protagonist to face off against an antagonist alone; it takes two people to fight.

By adding another character who is also struggling against the antagonist, you’ve raised the stakes for both your characters and your plot.

When creating your deuteragonist, it’s important that he/she not be simply an opposite version of your main character.

If you do this, you might just end up creating two versions of something that has already been done once before.

Can A Film Have Two Deuteragonists?

Is it possible for a film to have two deuteragonists? Yes. Is it advisable? Probably not.

Note the term “deuteragonist” here. This is a new word I’m introducing to refer to the character that gets short shrift in a story. 

A deuteragonist is the second most important character in a story, but isn’t actually the protagonist of the story itself.

The reason I’m using this term is because I’ve noticed that many films are being written with two main characters, which is an inherently flawed approach, since any good protagonist needs an equally compelling antagonist in order to be truly memorable.

The problem with having two protagonists is that one of them will inevitably be left as a deuteragonist, and will be bound to get less attention than they deserve.

This happened recently in “The Martian.” This film went out of its way to avoid giving Matt Damon’s astronaut Mark Watney a clear antagonist early on, which meant that his foil (Jessica Chastain’s NASA director) came out of nowhere and wasn’t given much development at all.

In fact, she was kind of annoying for most of the film, which only made it more frustrating when she suddenly became sympathetic later on.