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Friday, April 4, 2014

Demonization

Generally the villain of a story represents the hero's fears and unlikeable, rejected qualities: all the things we don't like about ourselves and try to project onto other people. This form of projection is called demonization.

People in emotional crisis will sometimes project all their problems in a certain area onto another person or group who become the symbol of everything they hate and fear in themselves. In war and propaganda, the enemy becomes the inhuman devil, the "Dark Shadow" of the righteous, angelic image we are trying to maintain for ourselves. The Devil himself is God's shadow (opposite) a projection of all the negative and rejected potential of the Supreme Being.
Sometimes we need this projection and polarization in order to see an issue clearly. A system can stay in unhealthy imbalance for a long time if the conflicts are not categorized, polarized, and made to duke it out in some kind of dramatic confrontation. Usually the Shadow or villain can be brought out into the light. The unrecognized or rejected parts are acknowledged and made conscious despite all their struggling to remain in darkness. Dracula's abhorrence of sunlight is a symbol of the Shadow's desire to remain unexplored.

Villains can be looked at as the hero's Shadow in human form. No matter how alien the villain's values, in some way they are the dark reflection of the hero's own desires, magnified and distorted, her greatest fears come to life.
So, how can you make your own villain appear the complete opposite of your hero? Think of physical attributes as well as emotional, mental, and ethical reasoning.

Who are some of your favorite villains?

14 comments:

Taryn Tyler said...

Intriguing analysis.

I actually try to avoid demonizing my villains too much. They want different end results than the protagonist and so they are certainly a point of conflict but I try not to associate them --at least in my head --with thoughts like "evil" or "demonic". What the protagonist thinks of the villain on the other hand is outside of my control . . .

David P. King said...

You hit the nail on the head, psychologically speaking. :)

Life SPW said...

I never considered villains being the character opposite of heroes. I thought that vilains were evil in their own right. I find your thesis interesting. I like your blog.

J E Oneil said...

My favorite villains are the ones that aren't total opposites. It's so much more gripping when the bad guy isn't totally bad.

S.K. Anthony said...

Demonization-love the word! I agree that they can be viewed as the hero's Shadow. "the dark reflection of the hero's own desires, magnified and distorted, her greatest fears come to life." How TWISTED and awesome!

Liz Blocker said...

I love the psychological take on this. It's a great way to look at it! It also makes total sense, and is a fantastic way to create a villain. Thank you!!

Maggie said...

I love the analysis. I like how you've taken metaphors and explored them. The Dracula hating sunlight bit.

The 2 AM Writer

Maria Dunn said...

Sylvia, Your posts are always so helpful. I'm sure you are a great teacher. Thanks, Maria from Delight Directed Living

Sheena-kay Graham said...

First top in my head Lex Luthor. One of my faves, The Wicked Witch of the West. A villain I think is the opposite of my 'hero' would be Brandon in my w.i.p. Shade Me. He is confident and open about himself while my protagonist hides her true form and is unsure of herself.

Rebecca Bradley said...

At the minute I'm loving Thor's brother as a villain! Though when writing, I tend to make them a little less villainous, more believable I suppose. But when you're writing for The avengers, you can write what you want! :)

Just stopping by from the A to Z challenge. Have a great month!

Deaf Mamma said...

You hit it on the nail when you concluded " villain's values are the dark reflection of the hero's own desires".

Poor hero sometimes is caught in the public image and deep inside crave for wrong doings in sub-conscious way.

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Rajlakshmi said...

I never though it that way. Wonderful thoughts. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

#AtoZChallenge

Rajlakshmi said...

I never though it that way. Wonderful thoughts. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

#AtoZChallenge

Mary Horner said...

I have always loved exploring the dark and light aspects of characters, and appreciate your insights!