I'm posting this while my ENG 200 class is taking their fiction exam. One of the students asked me if the lottery itself in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" could be considered a character.
I told her "not in the traditional sense but it does have aspects of a character."
Now I'm wondering. Could the lottery be considered a character? It does act as an antagonist but seeing the lottery itself as the antagonist would let the individuals in the mob off the hook. (I would be willing to see the mob as a character.)