The Villain in the Story
Most stories center on a story about good and evil with the main character you are reading about as the good guy. The other person in the story is the bad guy, and the villain which means they are doing evil deeds. While this is a matter of interpretation for some, the fact is that most stories going back centuries center on this type of story-telling.
With every changing story and movies, it seems that the bad guy or the villain has been given their own stories with them as the lead instead of the hero. If you know the tale of Hannibal Lector you know that his story is mainly based on him and loosely based on the good guy as would be the normal telling of a story. It seems our society has changed the look of the common villain and made them into heroes. While social media and news have played right into the hands of some of these criminals, personifying their stories, the fact remains that people forget is that there was a crime involved.
Which brings up the point of the villain and the different types of villains that you will find in the stories. Yes, there are different types, and not all of them are evil, but rather victims of circumstance themselves. Here is what to look for whether you are reading a book, watching a show or a movie, or hearing a tale for the first time.
The Common Villain
The common villain in the story is the person that takes place after the hero is introduced. This could be a rival kingdom that is at war with them for land or people, or it could be just one person in general that has gone down a dark path. Often the villain in stories is the one in black, as it has been told for centuries. This made it easier for people to visualize when they see a play or production. They could be any number of things, but are typically just a normal person doing bad things and needs to be stopped.
The common villain doesn’t usually get a lot of backstory or depth to their character, leaving the audience or readers to see them as the bad guy and nothing more. All that might be known about them is that they did something wrong, and are either on the run or at war with them. The villain might chase after the good guy in the story at times, trying to hurt them, or slow them down.
The Demon or Creature
Stories that run on the supernatural often have something else in mind for the villain. These can be a creature, a demon, an alien, a spirit, or something anywhere along that path. It is a creature that is not normal, and functions differently than a human would. In that sense, it becomes the villain. Just because it is different? Not quite. This creature is trying to destroy human kind, or take over their bodies, eat them, trap them, kidnap them, take over their homes or any number of invasive things. It could be more than one of them, or just one creature in general that seems to be unstoppable.
Movies and television are filled with these types of villains. Just think of any Alien movie or movie about aliens and you will see that most of the time the alien is the villain. Then look at any story about religion where there is something dark to be hidden, feared or destroyed because of what it stands for. Movies and stories about creatures such as sharks, animals, or others that are mutated and larger than life always grab attention as to what could be out there. Ghost stories seem to be the most chilling villains since often we can’t understand what is going on, but see the events happen right before us.
A murderer is a criminal and often the villain in many stories. This could also be a kidnapper, bank robber, rapist or any other criminal that has caused harm to people or at least one person along the way. The harm they have done may not be physical but rather emotional or psychological as well. Criminals are those that don’t think the law apply to them, or will break those laws because they want to get back at the people that made those laws. Unfortunately, there will always be people that think like this, and rather than try and change those laws to better society, they want things better for themselves only.
This selfish look is common in the criminal villain and often it can be impossible to change their views or their outlooks. This isn’t to say that they can’t change, but most of them don’t know how, or have committed those crimes so much that it is second nature to them. Movies and stories that have a criminal as the villain are generally chase stories where they must find the criminal or capture them before they hurt anyone else. Often there is a time limit, or some sort of race against the clock.
The villain that is also a victim is one that has had some sort of crime done against them, and it enrages them to the point of becoming what they have become. They commit crimes of passion against the person or company that did them harm. This has been done against churches, governments, individuals, and many more.
The crime could be or racism or theft, rape, arson, or any number of crimes. It leads the villains and often depicts them as a hero by the end of the story if they managed to avenge the original crime. Even if it meant that they had to commit crimes along the way to achieve their goals. Many villains are a victim of something or another, either of the way they were born, raised or the area they lived in. Many of the villains in the other categories can also fit into this one.
Movies and television shows have made the bad guys into heroes. These are stories about the bad guys and their deeds, and at times it will appear humorous, or comical. Other times they are just gory to the point that it keeps the attention of the viewers to see what is going to happen next. Often, they have a story that turned them into the way that they are, and it could mean that they commit crimes to help themselves or others based on the situations that they happen to be in. Common heroes that can be seen as villains include Robin Hood, and the Punisher.
Robin Hood was known to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Yet he is revered by the poor and the stories are widely known for his acts of kindness. Tell that to the rich that earned or were handed down their money only to have it taken away from them. Then you have the Punisher who goes after criminals and most of the time kills them. He is a vigilante and a murderer of people, even though those that he is murdering are criminals themselves. He has no super powers of his own, but had his own comic series (4 different ones actually), and three movies that tell his story. Like Robin Hood, he would also give the money he found to the poor when he wasn’t using it to finance his own operations.