‘Cause I’m Evil

In one episode of the Justice League, Flash and Lex Luthor switch bodies.  I quote the Flash-as-Lex line “Cause I’m Evil” all of the time. If you want some more context of that, watch this clip.

I often wonder what traits make a villain a villain, and a hero a hero.  Is it selfishness versus selflessness? The Machiavellian leves to which the ends justify the means?

Or is it just “I am on this side. I relate to this character, therefore, this character is the hero.”

Cartoon villains are easy to discern. As a 4-year-old Ethan once pointed out, “I know he’s the bad guy, daddy. He has red eyes.”

But writing a novel with an interesting antagonist doesn’t usually allow for us to use the red-eyed villain with “Bad Guy” emblazoned across his chest.

What makes a great villain?

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3 thoughts on “‘Cause I’m Evil

  1. I think that a great villain is one who has a reason for what they’re doing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that they perceive themselves as the hero, as Caost says, though that’s one application of this. Instead, it just has to mean that they have a deep motivation behind what they’re doing. If the villain is a well-developed character, the reader will understand what they’re doing, and why, and even be rooting for them to some degree.

    The villain should get as much development as the hero. The reader should come to know them and love them. The villain’s defeat will then be bittersweet, because the reader knows that they had to be stopped, but they came to know them so well that they wanted them to win.

  2. Pingback: hello she “myself” | this is my blog!!

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