Antagonist: Union Soldiers trying to hang Farquahar
Conflict: Farquhar is trying not to die
Peyton Farquahar is the protagonist in this story. His action of trying to burn down the Owl Creek Bridge is why the union soldiers go after him. "Suppose a man, a civilian and a student of hanging should elude the picket post and perhaps get the better of the sentinel" said Farquhar smiling. "What could he accomplish?" "It would burn like tinder"
The Union soldiers are trying to hang Peyton Farquhar because he tried to burn down a bridge that was crucial to the civil war efforts "The commandment has issued an order, which is posted everywhere declaring that any civilian caught interfering with the railroad its bridges tunnels or trains would be summarily hanged"
Now that Farquhar was caught trying to interfere with the railroads, he is being hung and he is trying to find a way out of the noose and off of the bridge alive even though he is already dead. "He was not conscious of an effort but a sharp pain in his wrist apprised him that he was trying to free his hands"