Erstwhile Muse

Apr 26, 2007

Eng 251 - Journal Entry #0

Who do you find to be more interesting? The Hero or the Villain?

The level of interest or compellingness of a villain varies greatly depending on the story being told, and the skill with which it is relayed. Well rounded villains pitted against flat, single dimensional heroes will always tend to be more interesting, in the same way that boring, trite villains who serve no purpose but to advance conflict will be overshadowed by a more intricately described hero.

The true interest of course lies in those stories in which heroes and villains are equally fleshed out; then it becomes a contest of techniques and motivations. The weekly villain in an individual episode of Law & Order:SVU may appeal to me more than the investigators as long as they have an interesting rationale behind their crimes. The heroes however are far too often written as being willing to act above the law, subscribing to an ends justify the means form of justice. The writers intend for this to be a virtue, for who could contest to punishing those who would do harm, especially of a sexual nature, to women and children? For me, this willingness to assume the mantle of prosecutor, judge and jury is a greater affront to justice than the perceived crimes of those being investigated. This situation tends to be an anomaly however; even when I may find a villain's technique and rationale to be interesting, if his opponent is as equally well written, I will usually find as much or more interest in the heroes story.



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