1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    The Difference between Anti-Hero, and Villain

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Killer300, May 5, 2011.

    Something I've wondered some is what the difference is to people between an anti-hero, and an outright villain. Are there certain actions that no matter for what they are committed are always evil, or can anyone be a hero as long as their goals are in the right place? Or rather, they are acting for the right side, for the goal part has been broken by many an anti-hero. Is Snake in Escape from New York really an anti-hero, or just another villain among the masses of them. I bring this up because I'm all about character depth, as many of you probably know from my reviews, so the question is what's the line? Does one even exist, or can anyone fulfill the anti-hero role as long as their intentions are in the right place?
    To further probe this, look at the Comedian from Watchmen. Is he really even a anti-hero anymore, or is he a villain? He has attempted rape, I think because I've only seen the movie so not sure how this is handled in the comic. I don't even know his intentions for that matter.
    An interesting question I hope. I myself find I'm mostly with the intentions argument, but draw my line at rape basically, although I consider Snake a villain because in the long run he hurts civilization more than helps it. Also, for the rape, if there is a character written out there well enough, who knows.
     
  2. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    It really depends on how far down the scale the Anti-Hero scale the character is. This site called TV Tropes has an entire scale for Anti Heroes

    But for me, a general rule of thumb is that an Anti-Hero is still a "hero" in a sense. He may be cynical, he may growl at the aspect of saving the world, but in end he'll still do the right thing.

    Rorschach from the same Watchmen comic/movie was for all intent and purposes, a sociopath. He was about as crazy as a guy could get. He didn't bathe, immersed himself in his masked persona and refused to be called by anything other than Rorschach.

    But ultimately, he wants to help people. He wants to protect people from the evils of the world. In fact the whole reason he got that way in the first place was because he failed to save a little girl from a killer.

    And in the face of the horrible truth that was revealed at the end, rather than cover it up like his friends chose to, Rorschach ultimately wanted to tell people what really happened. He was willing to pay the ultimate price for it too.

    So to me, an Anti-Hero differs from a villain in that, despite whatever his faults, he's willing to fulfill the "hero" aspect by doing right and being selfless.
     
  3. Raz
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    Raz New Member

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    For the difference between a villain and an anti-hero is who the main character is, for example, in Scarface, Tony Montana is our main character but he is an anti-hero, he is ruthless, a killer, etc. He is not rightful, he’s not fighting for the good of others but he is the “hero” of the story.

    Actually anyone can be a villain depending on the point of view, using a famous book as reference, look at Sméagol from the Lord of the Rings, if you think deeply, he was a hobbit that lost his mind because of the ring, but the only thing he wanted was the ring, if he had it he wouldn’t harm anyone, yet Frodo arrives and uses Sméagol’s desire for it in order to get his help and destroy the ring.

    For Sméagol, Frodo is a stranger that stole his most precious treasure and then uses him in order to destroy it, if Sméagol were the “hero” of the story Frodo would be a villain, but since the one we are following is Frodo the roles change. Now an “Anti-hero” for me is someone that is completely different than a hero, selfish, doesn’t care about the life of others, is not well seen by the society around, etc.

    So if Sméagol were the main character of the Lord of the Rings he would be an “anti-hero” instead of a villain in the story, same happens with (I’ll use famous characters) the punisher, the god father, Carrie, Van Hellsing. You may say this are all movie characters but each one of these movies started as a novel, so resuming things I believe an “Anti-hero” is a main character that has all the traits of a villain. Hope this helps you sort things out.
     
  4. Leatherworth Featherfist
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    Leatherworth Featherfist Member

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    Please read Watchmen. It's an epic experience.
     
  5. Jigen
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    Jigen Member

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    Anti-Hero and villain are just labels, and don't really have that much to do with real life. Even the most hated individuals in the real world probably did some nice things at some point. Very few are so selfless to have never done anything evil.

    What defines evil and good are up to everyone's individual morals.
     
  6. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    An anti-hero doesn't need to be morally ambiguous. He/she can be morally virtuous but have other flaws, like cowardice, alcoholism, being weak and pityful, and so on.

    Take Don Quixote from la Mancha, for example. He really wants to do the right thing (fight evil as a knight in shining armour), but seems a little thick and has read too many romantic novels, so he ends up as an object of ridicule. Yet he's a good guy and we root for him.

    Or take a Disney character like Donald Duck. He's often depicted as impulsive, selfish and short-sighted, but in the end he does the right thing and cares about his friends and family. His great flaw is his temper, not his moral outlook.

    Spider-Man is an anti-hero whos greatest flaw is being TOO moral; he shoulders the responsibility for everyone who is hurt when he's not there to save them. He's full of ordinary human weaknesses and worries as much about how he will pay the rent next month as how he will defeat the next super villain.

    Or going back to Watchmen, Nite Owl is a moral anti-hero whose greatest flaws are his own insecurity and lack of direction.

    In short, anyone who deviates from the classic hero ideal can be labelled an anti-hero. Anti-heroes are more common in fiction than true heroes these days.
     
  7. Drayzon
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    Drayzon Member

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    Took the words right out of my mouth.

    Hancock is a great example of this. Wolverine also
     

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