Is Salieri the Protagonist or Villain of the Play?

Topics: Character, Tragic hero, Poetics Pages: 4 (1402 words) Published: December 12, 2012
Salieri's role in the play “Amadeus” has many functions. Not only does he, in a sense, narrate the play, but his persona and identity could also claim him title of tragic hero, or even that of the protagonist. How his character is perceived by individuals in the audience, or even through different parts of the play, could suggest that his role doesn't actually have a permanent fixture. Is it possible that he manipulates the change of his own character, as he manipulates the life of Mozart? And is Salieri, himself, even aware of this change that invokes his actions? Salieri and the Venticelli are the only characters in the play who seem to ever communicate, directly, with the audience, which sways us towards the idea of Salieri being considered as a narrator of the play, yet, the fixation on Salieri and his life in this play (even if his life is fixated on Mozart), suggests otherwise. Salieri is clearly more fitted to the definition of “protagonist”, than Mozart's character; the play focuses on how Salieri feels about the negative effects Mozart has had on his life, and secondly, we hear private thoughts on the occurrences, through Salieri, and rarely Mozart. Furthermore, as Salieri helps to narrate the play, the thought of him being the protagonist becomes more convincing. Like many novels and plays that are written in first person, that character is often then perceived as the protagonist. As readers or viewers, we are able to have a closer connection with that character, thus, are more inclined to feel empathy for them when in dispute, whether or not they're wrong or right. Although Salieri's character is seemingly cunning and evil, he doesn't lack empathy from the audience. As well as being the character we make the first and strongest connection with, the way he feels about Mozart could represent how many people feel and may think about acting when they find themselves in a similar situation. Knowing about someone who is naturally more talented at something...
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