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  1. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    An antagonist justifying actions to protagonist?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by BillyxRansom, Oct 28, 2009.

    I mean really justifying them, not just explaining how or why they committed an act that is unchallenged as immoral. Under what kinds of circumstances would this work, or better yet, when and why would or could it be necessary? Instead of the bad guy simply blowing off the protagonist and just saying "just because I don't like you or humanity/the world/because I'm evil and that's all you need to know"?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You have to see it and explain it from the antagonist's point of view. Make the reader believe that to the anatgonist, his or her actions were the only possible decision and completely justified.
     
  3. yournamehere
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    yournamehere Member

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    It's a good idea, maybe not directly from antagonist to protagonist, but it's a very good idea to do. Most books/movies only go about as far as a birthday party where nobody showed up or something. Really, I don't think I could ever blow up a planet because my childhood was crappy... I mean really, is there nothing else you can do? Like move on and have a life? Sigh.

    A good way to justify your antagonist is by building up each story seperately to their own grand crescendo. Normally authors just give you the story and let you assume that the antagonist had no way out. If you can communicate your point effectively, there's no need to say "There was no other way"

    peace,
    -nick
     
  4. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    I agree with what Cogito said. If the antagonist's position has a parallel in real life, why not research why real people believe these things. I think it might help to take some time to research why people do crazy things, and even if you disagree with them, you can see the kinds of reasons they give which might help you see it from their POV enough to write that character.
     
  5. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    An antagonist is not just someone who is evil but someone who opposes the protagonist.

    Both parties believe they are doing the right thing.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    In my sci-fi novel the antagonist grew up on a planet where single women have no choice but to get with a man that wants her. She can't refuse him. On the upside, all the men are hunks. They also try to charm the women. Anyway, the women on this planet don't object to the ways of life, but then again, humans don't object to weird things if we are socially conditioned to accept them.

    When he is talking to the Hero toward the end, he explains that he didn't rape his sister. She has no right to refuse him. The hero tells him that this is not his planet, so those rules don't apply. They have a back and forth, and the bad guy justifies his actions to the point, they sort of make sense in a twisted sort of way. The hero realizes that the bad guy is the product of conditioning, just as he, The hero, was a product of conditioning, and thus why he was a speciesist, which is like a racist. The hero wonders if he had been raised on the bad guy's planet, if he too would think women didn't have the right to refuse his great looks and charm.

    So to answer the question, yes, I think it can be done.
     
  7. BUDDY GORGEOUS
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    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

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    There's a good part in the movie '8mm' where Nicholas Cage has a gun on the Killer called 'Machine' (who kills women in snuff porn movies) and he asks him 'why?'. The killer simply replies 'I do it because i want to!', the way in which he acted that part was great. No need for fluff that drags on just a simple act of nastiness.
    Obviously, not every character will be like 'Machine' but whenever a sequence like that comes up in a story im writing ect.. i always remember how 'Machine' answered for his motives. :)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no set list of circumstances where it would work, nor why or when... only you can possibly know if it'll work, or is necessary for your story and when/how to include it...

    seeing how others have done so will help a bit, but nothing is going to be exactly the same as your story's situation, so you'll have to figure it out on your own...
     
  9. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    Like mammamaia said there's no set list for when and where the antagonist should present his motives. I usually allow the motives of my antagonists to be as believable and convincing as my writing allows and hopefully it shows and kinda removes the need for the long presentation that conventional comic book villains do.
     
  10. Nackl of Gilmed
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    Nackl of Gilmed Member

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    Whether or not there's an actual scene where the antagonist justifies himself, it has to be set up that he could justify himself if he had/wanted to. Otherwise he wouldn't be doing whatever he's doing. Like other people have said, a well-developed antagonist is one who thinks he's doing the right thing, not one who's evil because he's evil because he's evil.
     
  11. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    Others do have a point on the fact that the antagonist is just doing what they feel is right. A lot of stories use that, I know I do.

    In the second book to a trilogy I am writing the main antagonist, as there is close to three of them, believes that his actions for wanting to destroy the queen and taking the throne is justified because he believes she is "too soft for a damned job". Also, his reasons are actually vividly pointed out in the first book, though he never made an appearance once. It works though for the story, so I suggest trying something of the sort.

    I've also read a few stories where the protagonist comes across some clue, a journal or something, where it explains the entire truth about the antagonist and why they do what they do.

    Either way, hope this helps.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...aside from the poor grammar, what's that supposed to mean?... are there two and a third?... or two and three-quarters?
     

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