Hello again Gang!
After a bit of time in Milwaukee this past weekend (which was fun, thanks for asking!) I am ready to continue this exploration of darkness by talking about a villain we all are intrigued to study. Also, to those of you who have been showing your support via twitter and facebook, thanks so much! We really appreciate it!
Now I begin.
We know that villains can be lost in sorrow or engulfed in revenge, but what about the villains that are encouraged by a strong sense of justice? Villains are easy to hate, but not when you understand that their intentions are noble... at least in their minds. Villains who think they are doing right also believe that they must achieve justice by any means necessary. Unlike vigilantes or anti heroes, the righteous villain has no real moral code. There are exceptions to this. Sometimes the righteous villain has a close friend, lover or confidant that they will refuse to indoctrinate in their world view. In fact, it is because of their love for this person that allows them to convince themselves that they actually agree with them even if, technically, they can be their greatest adversary.
Typically, The Righteous Villain archetype is a King who has just recently obtained power. Usually, by force.
One important thing to note is that the audience does not necessarily have to agree that what the villain is attempting to change about the world is right. In fact, the story can be a lot more interesting when the audience is unsure of whether or not they support the villain's ideas. The villains ideas must have glimmers of truth, because not only must the audience be conflicted, but it must be a bit painful for the protagonist to stop them.
The epitome of what a Righteous Villain is.
When looking at the character Magneto's history of violence, one can clearly see that he is not a terribly evil. He is simply the product of an evil and hateful world. Because that is the only thing he knows, it is only natural that his mind would be twisted into believing that this is how the world is run. Now, he seeks only to make sure that his race is the dominant one so that there will be no discrimination, but perfection and peace. How is this done? Terrorist attacks. Plots to wipe out humanity as a whole. All this is done in the name of justice. A skewed version of it. Who is to say that certain evil should not be eradicated. How do you do that, however? The righteous villain believes that he/she knows. Defeat evil by playing evil's game and defeating it one on one. There are those who would agree, but when we view the protagonist, we see that the villain is wrong and that while life is not fair, that does not give evil liberty to do what what it will. That is typically the conclusion that the protagonist will reach in the end and if the protagonist and antagonist were friends, this means the end of everything between them. Unless of course, the antagonist and protagonist respect each other and mean so much to each other that they can never agree with the others ideas, but can respect them. They both know that there could be a day that they may have to destroy the other to achieve what they want, but until that day they are content with being rivals. For a writer, this can create an interesting story line between your protagonist and antagonist.
Professor X and Magneto view their struggle like a game of chess. If one could defeat the other then perhaps they can convince that their way of thinking is stronger. Neither, however, denies that things need to change.
Yes, the Righteous Villain is a fascinating creature because he/she makes us question our own morals when we must decide what is right and what is wrong. For a moment we even given in to their way of thinking and think for ourselves "What IF evil could be controlled..." By then end of the story, if the author or playwright is good enough, our ideas are not so limited to one train of thought. Perhaps you understand why the antagonist must be defeated, but his ideas have changed you into thinking that perhaps he could right.
The Righteous Villain who sinks too far into their darkness can end up alone and hated by all.
Thus ends our look at the Righteous Villain. Please comment to show us your support and if you REALLY like it, retweet or share it with a buddy! Thanks so much gang! Part 4 will feature a villain that you might not think about too often, but know all too well: The Tragic Villain.
Some villains were never given no other choice than to become evil...