Roles of Villains in Literary Pieces Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1882 Words
Date:  2022-05-09

Literature work uses villains to enhance climax scenes. However, these villains tend to differ from one another regarding the respective roles played. A villain, through their differences, makes it difficult for a reader to understand the context being portrayed by the reader. Furthermore, the ability to identify the conspicuous character traits of a villain and their significant impact on the writing and the main protagonist. However, the evil nature - displayed by villains - can be considered as the most fundamental aspect that makes them stand out in their respective scenes. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Star Wars, and Watchmen are works of literature which have villains, though the characters differ in appearance and charisma, who need to be analyzed by the reader for a further understanding of a literature writing. The purpose of this essay will be visualizing the evil nature of villains and their impact in creating the pinnacle points of written literature, inclusive of the significance of their presence in the respective story.

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Villains reveal elements of inhumanity, as seen in Harry Potter, the Lord Voldemort can be seen as a dreaded and ruthless, yet fearless, creature - one which demonstrates pure evil and encompassed by vast superpowers. Furthermore, the people fear him to the extent that his name cannot be mentioned as it may resort to a taboo Rowling, author of Harry Potter, explains how fear of a name intensifies anxiety despite the physical presence of the villain (216). When Potter was getting items to use at Hogwarts, Mr. Ollivander quoted "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" to signify how people fear the villain (67). Villains always find ways of terrifying the society with their evil prowess till that outstanding individual appears to destroy the tension and restore peace. The most common trait, nonetheless, amongst all villains will be how they fail to value the rights - of life to be specific - of individuals who tend to disapprove of their actions.

Julian portrays in "Superheroes: Archetypes for the Modern Myth" that; protagonists have the overall mission of correcting wrongs through defeating the evil antagonist and protecting the defenseless. Statistically, a hero should be someone who has good morals, with their primary goal being the protection of innocent civilians - might work as a vigilante in case their actions clash with the local authorities but still be considered a hero by the society. Morality can be defined as a value of evil versus good, right versus wrong: being moral means explicitly partaking actions that conform with what the society, holistically, identifies as a good deed whereas being immoral can, at times, be regarded as an evil trait in society. Furthermore, heroes have to be courageous and ready to offer their life if they get entangled in 'life and death' battle with the antagonist for the common good of the society - preventing the spread of evil. Harry Potter becomes brave once he faced Voldemort for the first time and was willing to rid the world of his evil despite his inexperience and tender age (Rowling, 237).

On the other hand, a villain - instead of the black hat, or the evil guy - without a doubt can be portrayed as the heart and soul of a literature piece. They create the climax scenes of a story and the need for the hero/heroine (main protagonist) to take action. The antagonist acts, the protagonist reacts. The villain has to powerful - one who has to be handled with grace and delicacy - case example, Darth Sidious from Star Wars, a character obsessed with accumulating power and harassing Gungans. At some point, Sidious commands Nute Gunray to conduct a genocide attack against the Gungans through a droid attack. Moreover, he/she must display wickedness in a manner that entices the reader's aversion, strong and deep enough to stimulate fear, but still one who portrays humanity to reveal a specific momentary gleam of compassion. People should triumph in a villain's downfall, yet not with contempt or barbarously, and the demise of the antagonist's 'career' must conform to all its previous development and evil deeds.

Also, villains tend to be in constant hostility to humanity developing the urge to destroy human happiness. Their morality becomes brutally compromised unlike that of a superhero which remains intact - lacking any blemish. Nonetheless, superheroes can still be termed as good despite their flaws. Villains, on the contrary, develop traits of immorality which become part and parcel of their consequent evil deeds. Their primary purposes being spreading havoc, destroying humanity, and their ignorance for conserving human life. Moreover, these villains can be considered as evil geniuses as they all portray elements of intelligence - a trait vital for an evil-doer to achieve their lustful deeds. These characters are smart due to how they carry out their plans not forgetting how they manage to slip away when cornered by the protagonist. Ozymandias, a character from the Watchmen, considered as the world's most intelligent person becomes a challenging target as he always has a second plan to escape set traps (Kreider, 101). Furthermore, Darth Vader from Star Wars possesses similar traits just as Voldemort uses his wits to avoid trouble.

Villains also have significant weaknesses which always dictate the magnitude of their attack and always seem to be a setback to relevant, yet evil, success. It will be wise to say that good deeds still prevail over darkness. The use of oppressive rule incorporated by evil, as manifested by villains, will always be their source of doom. This is attributed to the sole reason whereby a protagonist uses these weak spots to terminate the villain's iron fist rule. As a result, the reader gets a glimpse of how evil cannot prevail in a world embellished by greatness and value of humanity. From Harry Potter, one can deduce how his past experiences with Lord Voldemort shape him up to be a massive influence in the wizardry world and finally end up defeating his evil motives (Rowling, 240). Villains fail to consider other people's feelings and/or existence thereby being selfish which turns out to be the substantial cause of their downfall. Therefore, the society should use such characters as sources of reflection and act as learning tools for the benefit of being morally upright.

During the 'tormenting' process of identifying the real villain within writing develops the concept of moral complexity - a trait whereby the respective character displays elements of evil, but on the contrary, he/she uses unsound means/actions (deemed as evil) to acquire information. These characters, such as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter who confronts Professor Quirrell seeking information on the whereabouts of the Philosopher's stone portray themselves as secluded from the norms of day-to-day activities (Rowling, 197). Such characters, nonetheless, depict antisocial traits but deep within they fight for the rights of those who seem oppressed by the spreading evil - Snape secretly fought for the liberation of muggles from the evil deeds of Voldemort. As the story progresses, it becomes evident that Snape intended to save Harry's life and be able to keep him in shape to face the greater evil - the Lord Voldemort. Furthermore, the professor wanted his deeds to be taken as repayment of favour once offered to him when his life was saved by Potter's father.

Additionally, morally ambiguous characters, more so the hero/heroine, cannot be classified as either moral or immoral - fall between the classic villain or classic hero. They usually set their moral standards, and their ethics may at times be influenced by persuasion from the society. They work independently and prefer enacting on actions provided, through their conscience, for the common good of humanity. Moreover, such characters ignore specific, yet fundamental, aspects of communities and in some cases their moral code to deliver a resultant action about what they perceive as the best course of action. The society still views these individuals as superheroes since they consider their actions as morally-correct with an undeniable portion of them having the urge to act amoral or immoral to gain the end goal - kill or immobilize the villain and claim peace. Edward Blake, a.k.a. The Comedian was murdered as the Watchmen book begins. However, his legacy becomes portrayed throughout the art piece. His moral ambiguity becomes displayed by Dr. Manhattan who considers him as amoral (Kreider, 109).

Despite the long-lasting and intense revival of protagonists in modern culture (as depicted by blockbuster movies such as Star Wars), but specifically focusing on the introduction of moral complexity/ambiguity of heroes/heroines during the 1980s, today's heroes seem less complicated, unlike Ozymandias and Rorschach. These characters have evident flaws, yet they take part in activities which they might not morally support, however, vigilantes of our generation are still revered as protagonists. Kreider emphasizes that no matter how people perceive Rorschach's moral principles by respecting and admiring them, it will not be ideal to consider his actions as heroic from a formal perspective (102). Just like any hero, Rorschach can be described as meticulous, strong, knowledgeable, and skillful - he subdued his victims quite easily and classified as a smart hunter of criminal and violent minds (like himself). This character trait can easily be linked to the moral ambiguity portrayed by Alan Moore's literature piece in a bid to capture the different forms of villains.

A young person undergoes a systematic process towards self-discovery. However, specific encounters affect this concept such as cultures, other people, locations, and ideas. Marjane Satrapi, through her autobiographical novel Persepolis, narrates of her encounters in both Iran and Europe - during the Islamic Revolution in 1978-79 in Iran (Honary, 51). Satrapi faces cultural and geographic notions of belonging and identity which, significantly, impact her identify development. This concept also affects villains, either directly or indirectly, as they tend to think that the society might be against their supreme ideologies. They tend to feel that the society acts as 'enemies of success' thereby resolving to dictatorship or using dubious means to ensure that their way pulls through. Furthermore, villains usually are viewed as individuals who fail to identify, instead define, themselves, their potential and/or capabilities since they become blinded by greed for power.


In conclusion, villains offer valuable lessons to societal members and the urge of people to lead decent lives - valuing and respecting humanity. While other characters portray elements of a soul in despair - one which is lost - whereas others cause loss of life and despair, good will always outweigh evil deeds. Therefore, life seems to sail through peacefully when a person resorts to identifying their life's purpose instead of causing unnecessary chaos. Nonetheless, literary artworks would not achieve amazing imagery and climax scenes without an ideal, yet adventurous, villain. However, everyone dreads the concept of a villain in real life.


Honary, Shereen. "Comics and Cultures: Narrating the Self and Other in Persepolis." Number 18, 2013: Kvinnor for rum (2013): 51-57.

Julian, Sam. "Superheroes: Archetypes for the Modern Myth." Critical Survey of Graphix Novels: History, Theme, and Technique. Hackensack: Salem, null. n. Pag. Salem Online. Web. 11 Dec 2015.

Kreider, S. Evan. "Who Watches the Watchmen"

Kant, Mill, and Political Morality in the Shadow of Manhattan." Homer Simpson Ponders Politics: Popular Culture as Political Theory.

Ed. Joseph J Foy and Timothy M. Dale. The University Press of Kentucky, 2013. 97-111. Print.

Peters, Jefferson M...

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