Who Is The Antagonist In The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow


“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”: Who is the Antagonist?Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is an unusual horror story, because it does not have a clear antagonist, although the hero Ichabod Crane is pursued by the legendary headless horseman of the titular legend. For the most part, the horseman is a character who is spoken about, rather than actually takes part in the story. Instead, the actual antagonist is that of Ichabod Crane’s fear, which leads him cower and runaway from a rival lover who pretends to be the decapitated horseman. Crane’s fear makes him easy prey for Brom Bones Van Brunt, who uses the fragile psychology of the schoolmaster against Crane and eventually steals his bride from Crane by his successful impersonation of the horseman.

In Crane’s defense, the town of Sleepy Hollow itself is said to be prone to ghost story-telling, which likely contributes to Crane’s apprehensiveness when he comes to the fateful party where he hears the story of the horseman. “Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them...


Crane is portrayed as a kind, sweet, vulnerable soul who is kind to his pupils. “When school hours were over, he was even the companion and playmate of the larger boys,” although part of that may be self-interested as, it is said that on holiday afternoons would convoy some of the smaller ones home, who happened to have pretty sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard” (Irving). Still, his character stands in stark contrast to Van Brunt’s character, and Crane’s unwillingness to stand up for himself eventually results in losing the woman he courts. He is also an outsider, which means that he has few people in the town who really support and trust him, unlike Van Brunt, who is always accompanied by many friends.
It should also be noted that the object of both men’s affection, Katrina Van Tassel, is the young daughter of a wealthy woman. She is potentially vulnerable to both of their advances as she has no brothers or mother to protect her, but at the beginning of the story, it is implied that Crane is more likely to be successful because of his status as schoolmaster.…

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Crane, Brunt, And the Prize in Van Tassel Legend of Sleepy Hollow The rivalry in Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow seem to indicate not a competition between one readily deserving lover over an undeserving antagonist, but a showcasing of economic greed and societal expectations. Ichabod and Brom Bones are two opposite spectrums of imperfect, though expected caricatures of men of the time period. Katrina Van Tassel, on the other hand,