1. AmauriRoss
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    AmauriRoss New Member

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    How DO I Embody Evil?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by AmauriRoss, Jan 30, 2011.

    Well, I am writing a story about a young boy surrounded by a world full of evil, and who's destiny is to save the world from itself. There is plenty of evil in this story, but I need to know how to embody a pure evil character, whose death wouldn't necessarily end evil, but show evil's effect on the world? So how would I embody EVIL.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    hmm it depends i have several evil characters I think trick to them is to give them their humanity, give them experiences, interactions etc- my world uses the sea (It is called the De'il Sea, adapted from the Scots word for devil), and the Great Skua (large sea bird) to symbolise evil. Do you have something to symbolise it ?

    One killed her mother at 11, killed her father at 28, she gave birth to a son when she was 14 who she trained as an assasin. She had one brother poisoned, invaded the mind of another and I could go on lol

    Another has remained hidden comes across as a jolly old man - has been blaming the Lord of Evil on his pacifist monk brother for 500 years. He goes on to kill two of his children - one he uses to save his own bacon.

    Another is a nasty piece of work kidnapped the woman he forced to marry him at the age of 12, has been involved in corruption, black mail you name it. He is a nasty man with BO I use his physical as much as his character to indicate his evil.

    I have several assassins (they are almost a breed of their own) - they kill at will. They wear pink shirts and pin stripe suits.

    Then I have the Matriach of Evil who for most of my books is a scary school secretary lol
     
  3. AmauriRoss
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    AmauriRoss New Member

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    Symbolize It? Well, ummm, I'd guess I'd represent him as a powerful man who doesn't rule the world, but has destroyed it, to only rise again and form his own world, where there is no right or wrong, where everything just is, completely absolute with no sense of humanity, yet he still is human himself. I guess I would describe him as some sort of Phoenix King. Someone with hatred on his heart, who was shaped by a dark part of this world, and reformed to be an ultimate evil, someone who anyone could become, with the right circumstances, he's not truly evil, but to survive in his mad world, he had to become evil.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    For me, the worst type of villain is someone who has no type of respect for other people's rights, control over their own selves, privacy/personal space, civil liberties etc. Someone extremely overbearing who acts like their own reasons and judgments are enough good reason to force control over everyone else.

    The sleaziest villains are also the ones who pretend [convincingly to a good amount of people] to be kind and sweet, like Elsworth Toohey from "The Fountainhead." This makes the villain-ness much creepier than a Voldemort-esque villain.
     
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  5. AmauriRoss
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    AmauriRoss New Member

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    What do you mean Worst? Like poorly done, or like worse as in creepy and negative?
     
  6. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Evil needs a reason to be, especially in a story like the one you are describing. Someone or something that is evil "just because" is juvenile and cartoonish.
     
  7. Pen
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    Pen Member

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    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

    So said C.S. Lewis, and that's the general theme of that kind of villain. But I have to ask, AmauriRoss, aren't you of the opinion that your villain can do these things just because, without recourse to reasoning or principle?
     
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  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I meant the worst villains as in the most creepy/negative/evil villains. Sorry for the lack of clarification. :)
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    YES. This. :D
     
  10. AmauriRoss
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    AmauriRoss New Member

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    No, I believe my villain does these things,because he feels it will better the world, although it only seems to make it worse for the people of the world.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    What do you mean?
     
  12. AmauriRoss
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    AmauriRoss New Member

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    I mean my villain does has a purpose, because he feels the common people of his world need him to reform it, to remodel it,to where there is no need for justice, only subjective nihilistic morals, the reason he is doing this is to morph the world,just like the world changed him when he was young. The Evil in the world had seeped into him, robbing him of all his innocence, and so he shall rob the world of it's innocence.
     
  13. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    If your villain does these things with good intentions - then is he really evil?
     
  14. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having just read this post, i think there is some contradiction with the last post I answered - In this post he is evil.
     
  15. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    Well, I would advice that you write a scene where the character does something evil of such a magnitude that regular evil characters would appear good in comparison. Something so cruel that it's hard to imagine for normal people.

    I personally feel that chaotic evil is what embodies the ultimate evil, but that's just me;)
     
  16. Sanz
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    Sanz Member

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    I think you might want to take some time to write about this character and get to know him better. A character needs to be multidimensional, and even pure evil needs to have some sort of contradicting/opposing values. One example of this would be Darth Vader.

    Even Satan was once an angel.

    Just something to think about. I am probably the less qualified person to give you advice on this. :eek:
     
  17. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    The embodiment of evil:

    Evil, true evil, the purest evil, the manifestation of the blackest of hate and the darkest of desires, doesn't look anything at all like evil.

    True evil, is beautiful, charming, charismatic, inspiring, leaves you with a good feeling about yourself, you country, you future, gives you hope, promises you improvement, inspires you to abandon your former miserable life and follow him blindly, as a disciple of his cause...

    ...and only when its too late, do you realize that you've helped him unleash an apocalyptic holocaust upon the world, in the end of days.
     
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  18. Cornys
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    Cornys Member

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    So, your main character is taking revenge on the world that took away his childhood?

    It actually sounds like you have identified your character as menatly unstable, and violent. As to an embodyment of evil... I'm not sure how to do so, as I don't think I have ever attempted to do such a thing.
     
  19. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a tendency on threads like these to caricature evil-doers and ring fence them as 'other' when evidence tells us evil is far closer to home. Yes, it's safe to think of evil characters as Darth Vadar or cartoonish rather than the sweet person who convinces us that they present no threat to us or our children. I don't think this supposition makes for compelling fiction though.

    Evil is amongst us to varying degrees. What is probably most interesting about the concept of evil is choice - i.e. the extent to which the 'evil' person is aware of their propensity to act in such a way and whether they feel they have a measure of control over how they express it. If I was to write about evil I think I would concentrate most on this aspect of the debate.
     
  20. Pen
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    Personifying evil might be difficult due to different people being susceptible to different evils- some might be prideful, and evil might encourage them to a height from which there is a great fall. Others might be excessively humble, and so are easily led into misdeeds. Vanity, anger, duplicity- there are countless character traits that evil characters can catalyse to the ultimate destruction of their victim- even such things as piety can come with weaknesses that a skilful manipulator could use.

    The Devil in Western mythology became this over the years, but he still varies between cunning agent of perdition and the bumbling oaf of mediaeval folk tales. In one story, it's probably best to concentrate on one aspect of the great evil. Telling people outright that your character is the great evil is generally not a good idea as a starting point- let him show that, or develop into it.
     
  21. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    I would say that whether an evil character is smart, patient, and uses plans and schemes, or if he is aggressive, short-sighted and brutal doesn't matter when it comes to embodifying evil. They are merely character traits and methods the character uses to do his evil. What matters in order to embody evil is the character's motivation, goals and the results of his actions.

    A character might be extremely smart, cunning and manipulative, but as long as his goals are not any higher than petty theft, it's hard to sell him as the Big Bad Lord of Evil. If, on the other hand, he seeks to destroy the world as we know it...;)
     
  22. Vince524
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    Vince524 Member

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    My first reponse is my sister in law. But that's mean.

    The embodiment of evil isn't that bad.
     
  23. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Edit: This post was a misfire of the one below.
     
  24. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    It all depends on what YOU think is evil.

    In the west I noticed that evil characters are frequently versions of masculine males, and as one, I find that annoying. But, there must be something in the western mind that finds authoritative males sinister. But, the idea is that the male is controlling you usually with an intent to create "order" which is a constant Nazi reminder.

    For instance, the young Darth Vader wanted to stop human surfering, have order, stop death, etc and his goal was to control and force people to be good. This was both the Nazi and old communist approach to human problems.

    In complete contrast!

    The Japanese frequently have effeminate male bad guys who have a skewed version of the Asian philosophy of detachment. They simply don't care and do thing just to amuse themselves. Meanwhile, many heroes are very strong males who are super determined and will stop at nothing to win, which is much like western evil.

    My point is that "evil" is whatever you think it is, and you need to sit down and think about what evil is and what kind of personality is capable of it.
     
  25. Pen
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    You're confusing embodiments of evil with Big Bad Guys- they aren't always the same thing. Bad guys might well have redeeming features, no matter how threatening they are, and their plot to destroy the universe might well be foiled by playing on those. An embodiment of evil could walk up to you on the street and lead you to rack and ruin without ever troubling the cosmos as a whole.

    There are many kinds of evil to embody, and you're not likely to see aspects of all of them in one story- even the Bible's villains leave gaps in which people have innovated evils of their own. Indeed, Lucifer as a character himself (in pop culture, at least) has the overarching evil of self-regard which leads him to heavenly treason, and from then on poses a threat mainly because he uses other's flaws to let them destroy themselves, thereby consigning them to his cause.

    A character who thinks the world has destroyed him and then sets out in vengeance would be wrathful and not a little cruel, but evils such as lust or gluttony wouldn't likely factor in, unless, as I suggested, he was to seduce people to his cause using them a la Satan.

    People in-story might think of him as a cosmic agent of all that is terrible, but going back to the concept of believable evil, he's really just acting on a handful of flaws that real people might share.
     

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