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Villains In Media

Posted on August 5, 2015 at 11:35 AM

Villains in Media

Published by Courtney Russell / August 22, 2015

From the inception of contemporary art either it be myths,plays, stories or films; Villains have been a integral part in not only the stories but also the main character's development. But why are villains considered evil? What makes his views more morally subjectable to society than that of the hero?


The Psycology of a Villain

 A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters.

 A villain lies,steals, kills and causes mischief to those around him. Villains tend to portray more of a compulsive nature, where they delve to want more, either it be wealth, pleasure or plain chaos. Films and comics nowadays have pushed more to make villains more relatable, they give them more humanistic habits, an abused child, one that is neglected, someone steered on the wrong path. But then there is the unique case where we are met with a villain that is a pure psychopath. A villain of this nature the audience is unable to feel any real empathy towards.


If one was to delve deep in thought of why the media continuously uses the undertone of good vs evil. This undertone is used in film, comics, novels and even in the news. Society requires both a hero and a villain, no matter what the story, but who wins or loses that is left on either faith or the author to decide.

Here’s how a villain might justify their actions:


• Correcting a wrong from their past

• Revenge (An eye for an eye 

• Vigilante justice (Example the Punisher)

• Protecting those that he/she loves and disregarding how his/her actions affect others.

• Defending their ideals / Some just want to watch the world burn.

In fiction, villains commonly function in the dual role of adversary and foil to the story's heroes. In their role as adversary, the villain serves as an obstacle the hero must struggle to overcome. In their role as foil, the villain exemplifies characteristics that are diametrically opposed to those of the hero, creating a contrast distinguishing heroic traits from villainous ones.

Others [who?] point out that many acts of villains have a hint of wish-fulfillment, which makes some people identify with them as characters more strongly than with the heroes. Because of this, a convincing villain must be given a characterization that provides a motive for doing wrong, as well as being a worthy adversary to the hero. As put by film critic Roger Ebert:

"Each film is only as good as its villain. Since the heroes and the gimmicks tend to repeat from film to film, only a great villain can transform a good try into a triumph."

In an attempt to add realism to their stories, many writers will try to create "sympathetic" villains, the antithesis to an antihero. These villains come in just as many shapes and sizes as antiheroes do. Some may wish to make the world a better place but go to antagonistic lengths to do so (such as Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2, who commits various crimes in an attempt to complete his goal of creating a cheap, renewable source of energy, and Dr. Horrible in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, who wants to rule the world so that he can solve all of its problems), or may employ a code of honor in fighting his enemies, even if it is to achieve antagonistic goals (examples include Murdock, a secondary villain in the game Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi, who is honorable, but fights the player's army due to loyalty to his country). Other sympathetic villains may be pushed to antagonistic lifestyles by society's mistreatment of him due to prejudice against something he is a part of (such as racism, as is the case in American History X), but goes to absurd lengths to achieve the equality he desires. Others may include those manipulated by malevolent forces (such as Jack Torrance being manipulated by the Overlook Hotel in The Shining).

Source Wikipedia:

Villains are an important part of  society no matter what the culture or social standing. Either you love them or hate them, either you play a hero in real life or you chose the path of the villain; it is a necessary path. Good vs evil, it doesn't matter as long as the stories get told. So who is your favorite Villain? Whether it be comic book, films, novels or even in real life, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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3:00 PM on August 22, 2015 
The 50 best movie villains of all time