Who is the Protagonist?

I was thinking about the idea of the player wanting to cause events to happen, to be active rather than passive.

What came up in my mind is Othello.  It is well known that this, one of Shakespeare’s plays, is Othello’s tragedy, but Iago’s play.

If there were to be a game of Othello, would you be intended to play Othello, the insecure “Moorish” man (it is never explicitly stated where he is from) who becomes the General of an army and marries a beautiful caucasian woman, only to be tricked into murdering her in a jealous rage?  Or, would you be intended to play Iago, the cunning, sneaky ensign, who lures Othello into this horrific mess?

Othello, the Tragic Hero, has his fatal flaw, and the audience tends to walk out thinking, “If only Othello weren’t so insecure, he wouldn’t have trusted Iago and then Desdemona would still be alive.”  Iago, meanwhile, has a ball being doing everything he can to seek vengance on Othello for promoting another over him.

So this prompts the question: Who is the protagonist… and who does the player need to play?  Could this stretch so far as the “real” story focus on another, provising a backdrop, while the player has their own journey; like many of those PoMo novels about some significant figure’s dog’s walker’s hairdresser, offering both their own narrative, as well as hinting at the epic story occuring  behind them?

2 thoughts on “Who is the Protagonist?

  1. If it were me I’d like to be Iago. I’d love to be the one manipulating the whole sequence of events rather than just reacting to whatever happens.

  2. Pingback: Katharsis and the Deuteragonist « Gamer/Player/Actor

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