1. astrostu
    Offline

    astrostu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    2

    Can an Evil Character Feel Remorse for Killing?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by astrostu, Jun 22, 2011.

    I just posted a 9th chapter leading up to my climax in the 11th chapter of a story onto a forum. I sent it to a friend because he had given me some suggestions, and he didn't like how, at the end of the chapter, my main antagonist expresses remorse for killing his best friend in cold blood to gain his power (it's a magic/fantasy story).

    I disagreed with him under the idea that he was friends with the guy, but the guy won't help him do what he wants, and so the antagonist now sees him as a source from which he can gain energy for his main goal. The paragraphs in question follow:

    As you can tell, the guy is also a little psychopathic. Anyway, what do you think? Should I get rid of that last sentence he states?
     
  2. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I don't really think he sounds that remorseful, honestly. I don't know what comes before or after, but just reading that bit I would assume he's being sarcastic at the end. He seems calculating and cold in the beginning when he says "I'll miss you." Though I don't know if that helps you at all.
     
  3. astrostu
    Offline

    astrostu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    2
    It's not a terribly complicated relationship as the two characters were only introduced 3000 words before. Basically, they're friends. I give the user the impression they've been friends for a few years, possibly from work. Their relationship is not much more complicated than that.
     
  4. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Okay? Well either way he doesn't seem to remorseful to me in what you've shown and I don't see why you would get rid of it for fear of him being too remorseful....
     
  5. astrostu
    Offline

    astrostu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    2
    Sorry, let me clarify. I actually don't intend for him to sound sarcastic. The best example off the top of my head (because I've been watching X-Men recently) is when Xavier dies in the third movie and the villain (Magneto) explains afterwards that his greatest regret is that Xavier had to die for Magneto's goal to be reached (and yes, I know that Magneto didn't kill him, but it's the best example I can think of right now).

    I guess I mean for it to sound legitimate - he did just kill his friend - but along those lines of in his mind, it needed to happen for his goal to be reached.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,969
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    I'm not seeing remorse here either. I don't see any indication that the character regrets the murder, or that he'd un-do it if he could, and to me that's what remorse means.

    But I don't see why an evil character couldn't feel remorse, or couldn't feel, "Drat, I wish I didn't have to kill him to get what I want. Oh, well; off to commit more evil deeds. I wonder what's for dinner?" which sounds more like what your character is feeling.

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. SeverinR
    Offline

    SeverinR Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    New Madison Ohio
    Villians can have remorse.

    They have a need, or drive to get what they want, but in life things come with a price. No one wants to pay the price to get what they want, but they still want the prize.

    They can be sad or sorry they "had" to kill the person without being a split personality.

    I think remorse can be anything from a minor aw shucks, to a total break down emotional outburst.

    Humans all want their cake and to eat it too. They want to keep their friend and get the objective too. But they have to chose one or the other, and sadly the villain choses to kill his friend.

    People can commit a crime and actually be sad for having to hurt someone to get what they want. Doesn't mean they won't do it again, just that they have feelings for their actions.

    it could eat at him and lead to taking chemicals to make the pain go away.
    (anti-depressants, alcohol, other illegal drugs.) He can love the prize he obtained for the killing while still being upset at the cost.
     
  8. Aeschylus
    Offline

    Aeschylus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    If the villain doesn't feel remorse, either he believes so deeply in his cause or is so bitter that he doesn't have an issue with it, or he's a psychopath. If he feels no remorse for his actions simply because "he's evil," you'd better think again. Villains that are just evil for the sake of being evil and have no human emotions are terrible villains.

    Also I'd like to point out the countless other threads about villains with human emotions and villain motivation. I'm sure those threads have plenty of answers.

    EDIT: I didn't notice until now that you referred to him as psychopathic. I know there are different degrees of psychopathy, but look it up: a true psychopath would, by definition, feel no remorse, though he could still wish he hadn't done it if it turned out to be a bad move.
     
  9. astrostu
    Offline

    astrostu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    2
    I've read a few and participated in one. The crux of my query really was about that one line, though. I think based on feedback, I'll be keeping it.
     
  10. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    Villains can feel remorse the same as they can have honor.

    But there is a difference between stepping on a pebble in your path and regretfully killing someone in your way.

    John sounds like he was doing the former. Either that, or he has a very weird definition of friend. If the two characters were shown as being very closer earlier in the story, this scene might have more impact on the reader, but by itself, it just seems like John is a person that uses people for his own desires and nothing more.
     
  11. Kio
    Offline

    Kio Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern Water Tribe
    It's important to remember that even villains are human. As long as this character doesn't suffer from a personality disorder that impedes empathy, then it's perfectly normal for him to feel remorse. Remorse is a human emotion. People of all types feel emotions of all types. A villain can feel pity/empathy while a hero can feel a bout of sadism. It's all in our nature.

    But from what I just read, that was nothing like the remorse I know. John sounds very cold and apathetic. It seems to me that John hardly cared for Frank and offed him just because he was "expandable". I don't know, what kind of friends call another friend "expandable". It's not something a friend would say.
     
  12. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I think it makes villains better when they have some kind of remorse in the end. Not deep, angsty remorse, but slight regret like the X-Men scenario you said. It makes the so much more interesting IMO.
     
  13. Bran
    Offline

    Bran Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    The Darkest Recesses of Your Mind
    in my own philosophy, there is no such thing as evil. There is only power, and the will to use it. So yes, they can definitely feel remorse. Unless maybe, theyve been killing for years
     
  14. Rustgold
    Offline

    Rustgold New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Qld : Somewhere near Kangaroos & Possums &
    If you friend is objecting to this line, then I seriously don't get what he's talking about.
    To me, it makes the character even more villainous, because he killed despite knowing the guy to be his friend. To me, it strengthens the character's 'evil' streak.
     
  15. R-e-n-n-a-t
    Offline

    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    2
    I don't mean to intentionally be unhelpful, but maybe shorten your action sentences? A fast action requires a fast sentence.
     

Share This Page