Re: Fatal Flaw?
LOL - if you read any of my posts, I never once stated that Rick is the Antagonist. Maj. Strasser is clearly the Antagonist.
Re: Red as simply being the Narrator
Red has a problem that many of the other inmates share, namely, that they easily go along with whatever the warden or any of the other guards tell them to do. They have become institutionalized. The thing that elevates Red beyond his fellow inmates, at least as far as dramatic structure goes, is that we get a close intimate look into what that it feels like to think this way. The parole hearings are scenes that are solely all about Red. We don't get scenes like that with any of the other characters (you could argue that there is the section with Brooks when he is let go, but I would say that is more of a substory, whereas Red's storyline is key throughout.
Through his relationship with Andy, Red changes and transforms the way he looks at life. I believe his relationship with Andy is the heart of the story, in much the same way that Rick's relationship with Ilsa is the heart of "Casablanca." Andy does not have this kind of relationship with any other character in the story and is another reason why I would argue that it elevates Red beyond simply the guy telling the story. When he chooses to "get busy living" he is basically telling us that he has adopted Andy's way of seeing things. When he tells the parole board to basically shove it up their ass, he is finally standing up to the system like Andy did. Andy's was on a much larger scale, Red's was more of a personal one.
Red's storyline gives the audience the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a person who has lost all hope, who has become an institutional man and who goes along with whatever is told him. And then it gives us the very emotional experience of what it would be like to stand up against those who oppress you and transform yourself into someone who believes that "hope springs eternal." While this experience is somewhat mirrored in Andy's storyline, it is presented in a more objectified manner and what's more, I would argue that Andy had that sense of hope from the very beginning. Sure, there were moments when he had his doubts, but when it came right down to it, he stuck to his guns and stuck it to the warden.