1. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Does evil ever win?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mr Mr, Aug 7, 2011.

    I put this in plot creation because it does relate to my plot (don't mind if its moved though).

    Does evil ever win and I mean outright, good guys defeated or dead? I can't remember ever reading a story where the bad guys win. Its almost annoying, we could do with a change.
     
  2. Alex W
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    Alex W Contributing Member

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    There are a fair few books/shows where evil has won. I watched an episode of Law and Order last night and a corrections officer who killed a thug because he threatened his family got off in the trial, but the episode ended with the thugs gang having taken the blokes wife, and that was that. A very depressing but realistic end.

    Evil can win, but many readers don't like it. I'd say a book with the evil (not incredibly evil to the point of murdering children every five minutes) characters being the main characters would be very interesting. If Evil is to win though there has to be some drawback to what they wanted to do.

    For example, evil wins but due to heroic sacrifices of soldiers there is some sort of 'pure light' barrier that won't let any evil enter the last city of man. (Poor idea but you get the point).
     
  3. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Evil wins if you want it to. I know there's at least one fantasy trilogy with the premise that the dark lord already won. Other books have the evil one as a main character, so while it's still the usual "the main character always win", he's evil. Lord Soth, for instance.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Have you seen Escape From the Planet of the Apes? It ends with the destruction of the Earth.

    There is also the Omen series of movies.

    There are many novels and movies in the Horror genre in which Evil triumphs. Also, science fiction stories with a cautionary message do not always end well.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Rosemary's Baby as well.

    There are plenty of stories where evil triumphs in the end, and contrary to previous statements in this thread, some of them are made into films.
     
  6. AurorSeeker
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    AurorSeeker Member

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    i agree,i think almost all of horror movies that ever released have bad endings,and also the novel series of Goosebumps by R.L Stine which i read when i was an elementary schooler :)
     
  7. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Yes.

    To answer this, you have to first recognize that good and evil are subjective elements/forces. What is inherently good for one person can be inherently bad for another person, therefore, it's not a question of good vs. evil, it's more of a question of motives and point of view.

    You can make readers sympathize with the most evil of characters as long as the character has qualities that are redeemable and relatable.

    Does evil have redeemable qualities? Can a force even have qualities? Or is it just a definition that describes the intent/direction/means by which we complete an action.

    Look at things such as motives and intent and that will help you. Human nature and natural instinct are the answers to your question. What goes against our nature is (in general terms) bad for us. Now there are exceptions such as pain, but that's a different discussion.

    Main thing is if you can make your relate relate to your characters in someway, then anything is possible.

    Many times, people look at evil and what to apply it to a person, but evil can be in the form of a anything; society, medicine, food etc. I mean it can literally be anything at all.

    The biggest example of evil winning in literature is society and social circumstances that are viewed as bad/wrong/evil and are winning. 1984 by George Orwell, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Minstry and the examples can go on and on.

    As far as a person being evil and winning, there are many examples. Also, good doesn't have to win indefinitely, neither does evil. Good can win for a lonnnnnnnnng time before evil can take over and same thing in reverse. Harry Potter, evil did winwhen Voldemort succeeded in splitting his soul and when he first rose to power. In a child Called It, the abusive mother won for years. American Pyscho by Bret Easton Ellis... come on, one of the best bad guys that did win.

    Just know that everything is subjective, but when you have evil, you must have good. When you have heat, you must have cold. When you have hate, you have love etc. Conflict.
     
  8. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Sure it does.

    If it makes sense for evil to triumph in your story, then go for it. I'm in the middle of a short story about a group of teens in a death metal band who get into the occult and get in way over their heads. I haven't exactly written the ending in stone, but I have a feeling evil is going to come out on top in that one.
     
  9. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I guess you can make the good guy killed by the bad guy, but that may not be an outright defeat... because there is always defeat in an evil triumpth in some ways.
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Yes. It does.

    And a lot of the time it proves for a better story.
     
  11. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    The original Planet of the Apes have a "bad" ending too. :D
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It does. I considered it as well, and also Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and it's soon to be released remake, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But Escape was the clearest example of the victory of "evil."

    Except, however, I mispoke. The movie I was thinking of, that ended in the Earth's destruction, is Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Escape is the successor to Beneath, which brings Cornelius and Zira back in time to shortly after the present, and those events lead into Conquest with the birth of Milo, later known as Caesar.

    Brain fart.
     
  13. Nicholas C.
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    Sure it does.

    edit: accidentally duplicated previous reply... sorry :meh:
     
  14. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Jigsaw always wins. But then every other character is so annoying, I'm glad they all lose.
     
  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    But Jigsaw wasn't really 'evil' he was just a plot device.
     
  16. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    1984 might have the most frightening ending I've ever read.
     
  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It can still keep me up at night. Easily one the most terrifying novels I've ever read. Stephen King's entire works does not compare to a page of Nineteen-eighty Four.
     
  18. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Seriously, I was stunned. This book also made me start writing in earnest.
     
  19. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Evil never wins.
    Good never wins either.
    How can something that doesn't exist except by subjective opinions win?

    However, people with different motives may triumph over each other. It just so happens that the person with a motive that is less self-centered usually triumphs over the person with a motive that is move self-centered in traditional stories. In real life, it's fifty-fifty.
     
  20. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Maybe not in Wars, but in stories. Evil doesn't win very often i Kidd you not. The Good guys almost always win. Unless you are meaning in real life, then yes.
     
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Is it just me, or are the words 'good' and 'evil' pathetically vague and arbitrary.
     
  22. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dunno about that. That sounds a bit wishy-washy to me. Some things most reasonable people would classify as 'evil'. And vice versa.

    And in real life? I don't think it's anywhere close to 50-50, unfortunately.
     
  23. NikkiNoodle
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    Hmmm...depends on your worldview.

    In the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson the books start out with the bad guy having been the winner for a few thousand years. The people who want to defeat him are considered the bad guys by the present regime. So depending on you perspective the bad guy might win in both cases :)


    I go nuts when things don't have a happy ending. Or, at least a partially happy ending or one that leads you to believe something happy may happen or at the very least that someone is still fighting.
     
  24. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    They are whatever you want them to be, to make yourself look like you're on the right team. ;)

    Never the less, in fiction they're tropes, just like Love and Hate.

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an example of a famous classic where, not only does evil win, but is suggested to be universally more powerful than goodness.
     
  25. Sundae
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    I don't necessarily agree with this. If you're only looking at the final outcome, then maybe you can claim this, but what about the entire story?

    What about the people that died that were merely side characters? What about the unnecessary hurt and pain a character had to go through by anther's actions. Evil wins in a more discrete ways than good. The evil is a strong enough force in the story that a character was compelled to take action and triumph over it; obviously that evil was impactful enough that someone needed to "kill" and/or "win" over it.

    It's really the same thing as asking: Does anyone really win in a war?

    In reality, good = positive and evil =negative. I guess the way you interpret and therefore answer the question is subjective and open to interpretation, but really, I think there is just as much good as there is evil, it's just how much force you put behind one force that makes the difference.
    Newton"s Law of motion and Opportunity Cost come to mind here in logical terms.

    But is it really a surprise that our literature is filled with "underdogs" and the "good" guys winning? Most of the population these days read for entertainment and escapism purposes. Many go to shitty jobs, have shitty lives, and are in shitty situations; and these are the ones that are your most loyal readers because they need you just as much as you need them. Many don't want to open a book and read where evil wins, where the bad guys get everything, where the book is filled with negative forces. Many readers transport themselves into a book and here in the environment where they can control their experience, they rather have a positive one than a negative one.


    Naturally, in my opinion, we thrive on positive forces rather than negative forces. if we have negative forces, we try to over come them and use it to make us stronger and turn it into a positive force. There just isn't as big of a market for books in which the "bad" guys win than there is for books in which the "good" guy wins.


    Even take for example, the movie, The Italian Job. It's about a group of thieves that are going to do one last heist. What are they doing? A criminal act. We know this from the beginning and most of have been been taught that stealing is wrong. These people are stealing someone else hard-earned money, but we still rooted for one group over the other because just in that little little group of thieves, we divided them and made one group the "good" guys and the guy that Edward Norton played was the "villain" or the "bad" guy. Even within a bad guy's corporation, there will be good and bad to the same extent. We're happy when the good guys win, but at the end of the day, look at the act. They were thieves who stole.

    Take the Ocean Eleven movies, again, another movie that feature thieves. What happened, we made the good guys (casino owner, police) the bad guys and we made the bad guys (the thieves) the good guys. Who did we root for? The bad *ahem* good guys. Good and bad are just relative terms based on the position you are in at any given time.
     

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