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Protagonists: Both Tom Canty and Edward Tudor are the protagonists of the novel. Tom Canty, ill-treated by his drunken father, drifts towards the palace and has a chance encounter with the prince, Edward Tudor, who rescues him from his guards and takes him to his chamber. The prince and the pauper then exchange clothes and create dramatic crisis in their lives.
Antagonist: John Canty, the antagonist, is cruel to both Tom and Edward. He forces Tom to beg for his living and beats him when he returns home empty-handed. When Edward appears at Offal Court and asserts his identity, he gives him a thrashing and, after the boy escapes, pursues him throughout the English countryside.
Outcome: After a brief period of confusion, Edward is recognized and is crowned the King of England, Tom Canty is made the King's Ward, and Miles Hendon is restored back his titles and land. Other characters receive either their due rewards or punishments.