Originally Posted by zenplato
So, I'd argue that Laszlo is the antagonist because it's his actions that make Rick react; thus creating the dramatic elements. The external conflict was there all along, but Rick's not involved, he's neutral and it's not until his love for llsa that he is finally pulled into the exteral conflict, imo. The one thing standing in Rick's way is Laszlo.
I'm not convinced.
What good are the LoT to Rick? He can't go where he wants to go - home
. He only uses them against Ilsa, refusing to give them up, so getting some kind of revenge on her. The LoT eventually bring Rick and Ilsa to a conflict which resolves Rick's persoanl issues - which I'd argue is Rick's main plan by holding onto them, and getting revenge if the plan doesn't work (he even tells her they're in his pocket when she holds a gun to him, when in fact they're not at all).
I can't see any indication that Rick sees Lazlo as standing in his way of Ilsa. In fact he tries to warn Lazlo that Ilsa may not be the loyal wife he thinks she is. OK - he may be hoping they'll split up, but will that bring Ilsa back, and would he take her back anyway? Also - why does Rick back Lazlo up in the french patriot scene against the Nazis? Rick's a neutral.
I just can't buy Lazlo as being Rick's Antagonist - more the reverse. Rick stands in the way of what Lazlo wants - the LoT. Lazlo is the symbol of a good and noble cause - Rick stands in his way. What does that make Rick? So unless you have two protags and two antags and two storylines, what else is up for grabs?