i am determined to prove a villain

Why do we love to hate certain characters?  Why are we attracted to characters that are so obviously terribly flawed?

I was thinking about this today and came up with a variety of reasons.

  • Pity – We understand that they are flawed, but they don’t see their wrongs, so we feel badly for them.  (Example: King Lear, Gatsby)
  • Entertainment – Because we wouldn’t actually be that evil and manipulative in real life even though it looks like fun.  (Iago, Richard III, Mrs Coulter)
  • Association – We can relate to their problems and understand their situations.  (Severus Snape, Daisy Buchanon, Mrs Coulter, Narcissa Malfoy)
  • Anger – Because they evoke emotion that makes us want to rip our brains out.  (Dolores Umbridge, Madame Morrible)
  • Frustration – This is also known as ‘Horror Movie Syndrome’ when you constantly find yourself yelling into the page ‘Don’t do it!’ and then they do it anyways. (Macbeth)

I’m sure there are more.  That was fun.  Thoughts?


11 thoughts on “i am determined to prove a villain

  1. I tend to think that the best “villian” characters are people you alternatively feel hate AND pity for. Nobody is entirely bad or good. There’s always light and shade. You can hate bad characters but also feel sadness for them. All that energy used for such unproductive things! Most of all, I hate bad characters because it distinguishes me as somebody who is “good”.

  2. i watch Heroes and I find that I just can’t hate the serial killer, Sylar. I know he’s the bad guy and cuts the top of at least 2 people’s skulls off in every episode but he’s just too cute!

    does that make me a sick person? haha


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