1. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    A Pure Evil character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by drayelya, Apr 30, 2011.

    OK so I've asked about evil characters before but this time I'm targeting a different area. In almost every thing I read that is fictional (Anime or otherwise) an Evil character has a special ability or aura that gives them an outstanding advantage. So I came up with the idea that "What if my main character had an aura that caused afflictions? Something that makes the other characters want to keep out of his reach because they gag, cough or something else uncontrollably happens to them if they get to close." I even have how he would produce this aura all worked out as well, if you'd like to know. Any opinions, ideas or something would be great... Thanks for your time to read and reply to this!
     
  2. Eurlo
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    Eurlo Banned

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    maybe tose who approach him would start having a hard time breathing? or maybe start bleeding from random places?
     
  3. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    A character like that is going to have a lot of social issues (depending on the time they started developing this power/curse). I can foresee said character being very introverted and also possible condemning the world he can no longer comfortably live in.

    Think about it this way. The next time you go out, do your best to avoid anyone and everyone. It may make you look odd/weird but it will also help you understand the lengths a character like that has to go through in order to not cause anyone undue harm.
     
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  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't believe in evil characters. I believe in characters whose needs or goals are at odds with those of the protagonist. And looking at the character from that skewed perspective, I'd ask myself what causes the character to have such an extreme viewpoint.

    Even antagonists are much more fun to write when you can relate to them as human (or at least with some human characteristics).

    I hope this helps.
     
  5. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I agree with this to a point.

    Some stories, however, may require - or prefer - "evil" characters who aren't that humanlike; I would think of, say, comedic stories or children's stories where a caricature-like villain might be more fitting than a deep and multi-layered one.

    Still, there must be something that makes the villain interesting. Not all, but some readers will tolerate almost anything, even the most murderous and inhuman of villains, so long as there's something that draws them in. Maybe it's because the villain is a really sarcastic and witty and knows how to make a good joke or something, or maybe because their desires and wants are so ridiculous - or the way they do them is so ridiculous - that the readers just can't laugh at him. Just examples, of course, but the point is, no matter what shape or form the antagonist takes, just like the protagonist, there must be something that makes them an interesting character that the reader will want to read more about.

    Ultimately, however, I agree with Cogito more or less; except for a few cases - like the comedic, completely nonsensical stories or children's stories mentioned above - it is important to give your characters, be they antagonists or protagonists, to have motives for what they do, and wants/needs that they strive for. Without them, such characters usually don't really have much to do, and the audience woon't care about them.
     
  6. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one.

    I firmly believe that not only evil characters exist, but writing them could be a lot more fun than writing about the antagonist that has turned their back on the world. This might be a bit cliche but let's look at to realms of fiction to drive home my point: film and comic books. Michael Caine had a really nice quote during The Dark Night in which he was describing an evil dictator. He simply told Christian Bale that "some people just like to watch the world burn". So in that respect, we can use the Joker.

    In films, one particular antagonist comes to mind that has suffered great tragedy over triumph, Darth Vader. When we were first introduced to the character, he was the symbol of pure evil (apparently during some opening screenings, the audience began to boo when he appeared on screen). Yet, towards the end of the saga, he reveals himself to be the product of tragedy and his own weaknesses. In this retrospect, it represents what Cogito had stated perfectly.

    On the other hand, the Joker is a flat out psychopath. He has no motivation for his actions and even less remorse. His entire existence is to point out how humorous the world really is. The Joker does whatever he wants, when he wants without even thinking about the consequences. He's killed people without even giving them a second glance. In this fashion, you can use the Joker to do whatever you want. He's the perfect villain. You don't need to worry about writing motivation or any of that jazz. The only thing you have left is do a good job of convincing your readers that your villain is completely out of his mind and you're set.

    If that's not a good definition of pure evil then I am at a loss.
     
  7. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think almost everyone has someone or something that is dear to them. (there are of cause the sad exceptions)

    Even the most wicked people are good to their own. This could be; their children, their family, the love of their life.

    If your character has some infliction that causes people to shun him - then I think you have a very sad person indeed. Maybe he is more to be pitied than hated.
     
  8. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually Spiderjoe I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one. I think the Joker does in fact fit in with Cognito's description of a good villain.

    He may not have remorse but does have motivation for his actions. He is not a mindless random 'flat out psychopath,' which is obviously what makes him such a complex character. He strives for justice but in a very warped sense of the word, because he thinks the only way to make the world truly fair is to plunge it into chaos. The must be no governing body, no crime lords, no criminal syndicates bent on self gain. He's a proponent of that well-used maxim 'absolute power corrupts absolutely'. He aims to take away power from everyone, 'upset the established order', demolish the socioeconomic hierarchy until everyone is at ground level. His ideals are represented best in his corruption of Harvey Dent. The only true form of justice in the world is unbiased unprejudiced chance. So only through anarchy can everyone truly be equal.

    So the Joker doesn't do all these diabolical things just to see how 'humorous' the world is, or to represent 'pure evil'. He actually deems himself the hero, the liberator of a hierachied society. And that's what humanizes him, because even though his actions are inherently evil, his ideals are very much human.
     
  9. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    ^OMG the Joker is on WritingForums!!! D: Everybody run!

    This said he's right, this is why I adored the Joker as a villain (well in The Dark Knight anyway- I haven't read the comics...). I consider it essential for the Villain to have some justifiable reason for acting the way they do- otherwise it comes off as comical or just nonesensical. I mean, by all means have the villain callously murder a man's children and wife- as long as he doesn't do it 'just 'cause he's psycho'- perhaps the man had in fact killed the murderers' fiance in a hit-and-run and now he's out to show that other guy exactly what it feels like to have his world taken away from him. D:

    Make it something the readers can (if not relate to) at least understand the motivation, so they can view the villlain as a person and not a cardboard cut out- in this way, they may even feel sympathy for him when he's taken down by the hero/heroine.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As the Joker posted, the movie Joker is not without motivation. He was horribly abused as a child, and so he rebels against order and authority. He believes that chaos is beneficial, and that he serves an important role in society. That was what made him such a fascinating character. He had a viewpoint that was insane by most people's standards, but it was internally consistent, and you could somehow see how it came about.

    To me, Darth Vader also became a far more intersting character when he was more than just the embodiment of the Dark Side of the Force, and we saw the redemption, and then the tragic earlier descent, of Anakin Skywalker.

    The Wicked Witch of the West was a flat character, but has herself become deeper with the advent of Wicked.
     
  11. Show
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    Sometimes there really isn't something the reader can "understand" about the villain. And sometimes you might not want the reader to feel sympathy for the villain. I think there is middle ground between cardboard and understandable.
     
  12. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    I myself love stories where the morality is so grey, that you no longer have a hero and a villain, you just have two opposing characters. This is why I don't like Lord of the Rings, although I haven't read the books so perhaps it's greyer there, the morality is too black and white. Grey morality=A+ to me usually.
    But anyway, so for me, a villain without motivation not only falls flat from not being understandable, but also from the morality becoming too black and white.
     
  13. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    OK so I guess I kind of understand the concept of greyer. Is that like when even the Hero's have sort of a twisted motive or make mistakes? Forgive me I'm still young as it is so writing is more of a learning process for me than anything right now...

    As for what everyone else was discussing...so in fact the Joker did have a motive. He also had an excuse in a sense for his reasoning; the child abuse right? I've set my character's past up so that its been hard and failure as well as Death have followed him constantly. That is a long story though, but I'd explain a little further if its relevant...
     
  14. Show
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    I think gray morality has a place in fiction but I also think black and white morality does too. If all stories featured gray morality, it'd be kind of dull after awhile. Same, I admit, goes for black and white. I think it's incorrect to say that one should favor either over the other. The story is what it is and if the villain is gray or a total loon, it is all second to how it is written.
     
  15. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Very true. I usually prefer grey morality, but that doesn't mean I can't ever get behind black and white, I just don't usually. Maybe it's because black and white is the norm, where as grey is kind of the rebellious type by comparison. I just say the grey part because I think the key to a great villain isn't only an understandable motive, but also that they're maybe sympathetic at times because they do good things on top of it. The same goes for the hero, I can get behind a hero more that has flaws, that sometimes messes up, and even ones that do a lot of bad things if well written.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Gray is a continuum between white and black. Some grays are very dark indeed! But the diffence between even the darkest gray and black is a writer's playground.
     
  17. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    So if I understand it right grey is where the extremes of white and black are obvious but certain elements aren't?
     

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