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The antagonist of the story changes along the way. Sometimes it's a character and other times it's a force, occasionally, the antagonist is Santiago himself. Characters serving as the antagonist would include those who advise Santiago in a less then desirable way. The thief in Tangiers also served as an antagonist, along with the obstacles Santiago faced during his journey. Mainly, Santiago must learn to persevere and accept himself, meaning both his strengths and weaknesses.