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Alternative Scriptwriting, 4th Edition by Jeff Rush, Ken Dancyger

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Main and Secondary Characters

Traditionally, the main character is played against secondary ones in order to demonstrate that only the main character can surmount the obstacles posed in the story. This promotes the notion of a singular hero set against the world. By altering this relationship, a scriptwriter can suggest that no one character is privileged, and that the main character has to deal with the same limitations confronting all of the other characters.

Classic Example: On the Waterfront

To explore this relationship, we look first at the classic example of the main character vs. secondary characters. In Budd Schulberg’s On the Waterfront ...

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