Winston Smith is the central character of 1984, but he is not presented as the hero of the novel. At the beginning of the book, Orwell is careful to present Winston in an unheroic light, and by the end of the book it is clear that Winston has not achieved the status of hero by his behaviour.
Firstly, his appearance is against the traditionally heroic mode: he is 'a smallish, frail figure', with a varicose ulcer above his right ankle. he is physically unfit—he has to pause several times as he ascends the stairs, and has difficulty with the regulation Physical Jerks.
However, appearances can be deceptive, and the fact that a character is rather puny need not disqualify him from being classified as a 'hero' rather than a 'main character'. It is in Winston's actions that his importance lies.
His job is to overwrite the truth, to replace the history of what happened with a revised version. Winston enjoys his work and is good at it, yet at the same time he worries about the rewriting of history, and wants to know 'what really happened'. However, he does not seem to do anything as basically sensible as to keep a personal record of events. When he starts to write in his diary, his babbled outpouring is absurd, repellent, and rather contemptible. Also, for someone who makes his living by writing, it is pitifully poor stuff. However, the capitalised writing of 'DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER' is on a braver level, and hints, that he might, perhaps, have in him a measure of heroism. However, Orwell debunks this at once by the ludicrous contrast between Winston's fears and what actually happens: Winston is terrified that the Thought Police will come for him, now that he has indulged in such utterly forbidden ideas—but when there is a knock on the door, it is only his neighbour Mrs Parsons, with a plumbing difficulty.
The presentation of Winston as an unappealing and rather ineffectual man continues in his relations with women. There is a rather repellent account of his visit to a...