Fiction Focus Week 2- Villains
So I considered going into more detail about protagonists and focus on one small part of that- the hero. Then I came to the conclusion that most people don’t really care about heroes. What we really care about is the villain.
It’s a trend in the twenty first century to draw everything in shades of grey, but it’s definitely not a new idea. My first exposure to a sympathetic antagonist was when I studied The Merchant of Venice for English class when I was fourteen. It could be because Shakespeare was ahead of his time, yet in the play Shylock the Jewish moneylender is by far the most interesting character. Ostracised, embittered, discriminated against, I often felt Shylock- who was also a loving and fiercely protective father- was justified in wanting the chance to take his revenge when the protagonist came to him asking for a loan.
There are other classic villains, such as Dracula, who practically single-handedly created the stereotype for all vampires for quite a while afterwards. In all mediums of fiction we are presented with moustache twirling villains. There are other types too, such as the omnipotent and elusive Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, or The White Witch, an evil dictator in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Probably the most famous villain of our own generation is Voldemort, who is definitely evil, but interesting because he has a backstory that is very human and very sad.
So today I’d like to know: do you have a villain in any of your stories? Where did you get your inspiration? What is your favourite type of villain? Do you see things in black and white, good and evil, or do you want a villain with whom people can empathise? And who are some of your favourites?