An antihero (sometimes spelled as anti-hero) or antiheroine is a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes, such as idealism, courage, and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes perform actions that are morally correct, it is not always for the right reasons, often acting primarily out of self-interest or in ways that defy conventional ethical codes.
An early antihero is Homer's Thersites.: 197–198 The concept has also been identified in classical Greek drama, Roman satire, and Renaissance literature: 197–198 such as Don Quixote and the picaresque rogue.
The term antihero was first used as early as 1714, emerging in works such as Rameau's Nephew in the 18th century,: 199–200 and is also used more broadly to cover Byronic heroes as well, created by the English poet Lord Byron.
Literary Romanticism in the 19th century helped popularize new forms of the antihero, such as the Gothic double. The antihero eventually became an established form of social criticism, a phenomenon often associated with the unnamed protagonist in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground.: 201–207 The antihero emerged as a foil to the traditional hero archetype, a process that Northrop Frye called the fictional "center of gravity". This movement indicated a literary change in heroic ethos from feudal aristocrat to urban democrat, as was the shift from epic to ironic narratives.
Huckleberry Finn (1884) has been called "the first antihero in the American nursery". Charlotte Mullen of Somerville and Ross' The Real Charlotte (1894) has been described as an antiheroine.
The antihero became prominent in early 20th century existentialist works such as Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis (1915), Jean-Paul Sartre's La Nausée (1938) (French for 'Nausea'), and Albert Camus' L'Étranger (1942) (French for 'The Stranger'). The protagonist in these works is an indecisive central character who drifts through his life and is marked by ennui, angst, and alienation.[ISBN missing]
The antihero entered American literature in the 1950s and up to the mid-1960s as an alienated figure, unable to communicate.: 294–295 The American antihero of the 1950s and 1960s was typically more proactive than his French counterpart.: 18 The British version of the antihero emerged in the works of the "angry young men" of the 1950s. The collective protests of Sixties counterculture saw the solitary antihero gradually eclipsed from fictional prominence,: 1 though not without subsequent revivals in literary and cinematic form.: 295
- "Anti-Hero". Lexico. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
- "antihero". American Heritage Dictionary. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- "anti-hero". Macmillan Dictionary. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- "Antiheroine". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- "Antihero". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Laham, Nicholas (2009). Currents of Comedy on the American Screen: How Film and Television Deliver Different Laughs for Changing Times. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. p. 51. ISBN 9780786442645.
- Steiner, George (2013). Tolstoy Or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism. New York: Open Road. ISBN 9781480411913.
- "antihero". Encyclopædia Britannica. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Wheeler, L. Lip. "Literary Terms and Definitions A". Dr. Wheeler's Website. Carson-Newman University. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Halliwell, Martin (2007). American Culture in the 1950s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 60. ISBN 9780748618859.
- Wheeler, L. Lip. "Literary Terms and Definitions B". Dr. Wheeler's Website. Carson-Newman University. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- Alsen, Eberhard (2014). The New Romanticism: A Collection of Critical Essays. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 72. ISBN 9781317776000. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Simmons, David (2008). The Anti-Hero in the American Novel: From Joseph Heller to Kurt Vonnegut (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 5. ISBN 9780230612525. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Lutz, Deborah (2006). The Dangerous Lover: Gothic Villains, Byronism, and the Nineteenth-century Seduction Narrative. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. p. 82. ISBN 9780814210345. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Frye, Northrop (2002). Anatomy of Criticism. London: Penguin. p. 34. ISBN 9780141187099.
- Hearn, Michael Patrick (2001). The Annotated Huckleberry Finn: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's Comrade) (1st ed.). New York: Norton. p. xvci. ISBN 0393020398.
- Ehnenn, Jill R. (2008). Women's Literary Collaboration, Queerness, and Late-Victorian Culture. Ashgate Publishing. p. 159. ISBN 9780754652946. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
- Cooke, Rachel (27 February 2011). "The 10 best Neglected literary classics - in pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
- Woodcock, George (1 April 1983). Twentieth Century Fiction. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. p. 628. ISBN 9781349170661. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
- Barnhart, Joe E. (2005). Dostoevsky's Polyphonic Talent. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 151. ISBN 9780761830979.
- Asong, Linus T. (2012). Psychological Constructs and the Craft of African Fiction of Yesteryears: Six Studies. Mankon: Langaa Research & Publishing CIG. p. 76. ISBN 9789956727667.
- Gargett, Graham (2004). Heroism and Passion in Literature: Studies in Honour of Moya Longstaffe. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 198. ISBN 9789042016927.
- Brereton, Geoffery (1968). A Short History of French Literature. Penguin Books. pp. 254–255.
- Hardt, Michael; Weeks, Kathi (2000). The Jameson Reader (Reprint ed.). Oxford, UK ; Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell. ISBN 9780631202707.
- Edelstein, Alan (1996). Everybody is Sitting on the Curb: How and why America's Heroes Disappeared. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 9780275953645.
- Ousby, Ian (1996). The Cambridge Paperback Guide to Literature in English. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 27. ISBN 9780521436274.
|Look up antihero in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|