Re: Fatal Flaw?
Thanks zen, no biggee though, I just know that people scan extended threads like this and I didn't want the casual reader to think I was completely insane.
As far as Poetics goes, I have read it, but I wouldn't use that text as a basis for dramatic structure any more than I would use the geocentric model to describe our universe.
Re: Shawshank (just saw your reply)
I don't think problems in the story really start until the judge sentences Andy to life. The moments with him in the beginning are what I would consider Backstory -- they explain why Andy has the attitude that he has. I would agree that in "The Fugitive" Dr. Kimble is both Protagonist and Main Character (he drives the plot to prove his innocence and we experience the film through his eyes).
On this messageboard I would definitely agree that I'm in the minority, but how certain audiences receive a message is separate from the way in which it was conceived.
As far as Casablanca goes, it's important to note that that is my own interpretation of the story's structure. There could be a chance that I've misinterpreted things, as I have in the past, and I'd be willing to change if a good argument for the goal of the story, the goal that affects everyone, could be engineered in such a way as to place Rick as the one driving the efforts towards the successful outcome of that goal.
I don't see him pursuing much of anything until the end after Lazlo guilt trips him. If I recall, you see his goal as trying to get back together with Ilsa and that he was pursuing that from the moment she walked into his place. I don't see that, in fact, to me it seems more like he is trying to avoid her, pushing her away because he is so hurt by her.
To me, these are not the actions of a Protagonist. Main Character, on the other hand, the one we care most about and empathize with the most, definitely.