Defining Evil

October 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm (writing)

Guild Of Dreams

by Chantal Boudreau

In honour of Halloween, I’m doing another blog spot on the importance of the presentation of evil in a tale and of the nature of villains. Writers face a difficult challenge with the initial conceptualization of the antagonist of their tale: how despicable should they make that villain – on a standalone basis as well as relative to their protagonist, who might be walking a blurry grey line – and how exactly do they plan on defining evil? After all, evil comes in a variety of forms and what might be considered evil by some might not seem so terrible to others. Do you show bias based on your own experiences and cultural background or do you aim for something more universally accepted? It’s an enigma with no clear answer.

I’ve dabbled with different levels of sympathy in my villains, a variety of perspectives and motivations and…

View original post 808 more words



  1. Michael Gallant said,

    I really like this question. The concepts of good and evil are so complex, and subject to interpretation. Given the relative nature of “evil” from historical examples I think it’s a good idea to infuse the antagonist of any story with elements of good, or at least elements that the character sees as good. The ability to sympathize with the antagonist is – I think – an important aspect, as it allows us to evaluate the importance of the protagonist’s actions. If something “good” can be seen in the “bad guy’s” persona, then there must be something “better” or “more significant” in the “good guy’s” actions to gain our respect for what he/she is doing. To me, the fight against unambiguous evil is a given, and adds no depth to the quest in a story. I’m much more interested when the defeat of the antagonist leaves us with an ethical question.

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