Thoughts on developing an antagonist? - Page 6

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Thread: Thoughts on developing an antagonist?

  1. #51
    I often write without an antagonist, but instead make interests clash and use a lot of internal conflict. I find that a significant portion of the time that antagonists are unrealistic.

  2. #52

  3. #53
    @waterborne - that's basically what the protagonist/antagonist conflict is--clashing interests. Sometimes the antagonist is villainous, but sometimes, like what you seem to be describing, they're not. You can have an antagonist who is a good guy or even the hero of the story. L was the antagonist in DeathNote.
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.

  4. #54
    I think the best antagonists can be made by observing "banality of evil" - that evil people in the real world mostly aren't deranged psychopaths, let alone supervillain-esque caricatures who commit their villainous deeds just so that they can twirl their mustache, rub their fingers and cackle sinisterly about how terrible and evil they are. I think a great antagonist is a character who could easily pass for a regular, relateable person, even a likeable one, were it not for circumstances and choices that put him firmly into the villain camp. Even better, if the antagonist cannot even be unambiguously qualified as a villain, i.e., consciously and intentionally immoral/evil character.

    One of the best examples, I think, is Inspector Javert from "Les Miserables" - what marks him as the nominal villain of the novel is the excessive zeal with which he strives to do good rather than any innate evilness on his part. He can be described as a humorless and overzealous martinet, but in no way a typical "evil" villain. I think Javert embodies that "banality of evil" that actually characterizes most real-life, and most good fictional villains - what makes them evil isn't innate cruelty or depravity, but rather an overzealous or misguided desire to do good, often combined with a flawed belief in what is good to begin with. The Nazis are another shining real-world example of this "banality of evil" - the absolute majority of them weren't depraved sadists, but ordinary patriotic Germans who loved their country and dutifully obeyed a government they sincerely believed would make Germany great again. Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust, is often cited as a shining example of a "banally evil" person. He wasn't a sadist or sociopath, and not even particularly anti-Semitic. If anything, he was a rather mediocre "regular guy" personality whose chief quality was diligence in duty. It was chiefly this dilligence - in itself a good quality - combined with personal career ambition that drove him to become the notorious war criminal that he is now known to be. Being the dutiful and punctual upstanding citizen and soldier that he was, Eichmann carried out his every appointed task meticulously, not concerning himself with the fact that these tasks revolved around planning a genocide - though at that point, he wasn't in any position to object. Ultimately, Eichmann was doomed to his fate not because he was an innately cruel or evil person, but by uncritical use of his own good qualities for evil ends.
    Last edited by CyberWar; July 12th, 2019 at 06:54 PM.

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