The villain. The rival. The antithesis. All very apt descriptions of an antagonist in the art of storytelling. In The Writers Journey, Christopher Vogler defines the villain as the hero of his own myth. He brings up Adolf Hitler and how he had a sincere belief that he was right, even heroic, which is a very effective metaphor when one looks back at some of the most colorful villains in cinematic history. The Joker in The Dark Knight, Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, and Gordon Gekko in Wall Street are recent examples that constantly rank up there amongst greatest villains of all time. As in Voglers description, would these characters be as memorable without their schemes and morals? Absolutely not, since their detailed agendas are what separate these compelling villains from the mundane. But however interesting the characters may be, cinemagoers are intended to label these characters as despicable and hateful because of of their misleading ideologies. In short, these men have to lose. A rare species of villain, though, is one that the viewer can sympathize. One who is not entirely at fault. Their acts may be just as barbaric, but the audience may sometimes comprehend how they may have been pushed over the limit. Whether they may not be aware of their deeds or possess a humane flaw beyond their control, sometimes a villain is more of a tragic figure than a villain. This does not necessarily mean that the audience may want to see them win, since they still are guilty of unbalancing social order. But they may have endured as much if not more pain than the hero of the story. This article will analyze seven film villains for whom the audience may feel sorry. Before you continue, be warned that spoilers lie ahead!
I'm currently enrolled in the Film Studies program at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. If you haven't guessed by now, movies and media are as a big of a passion for me as they are for you and would love to hear what you've gotta say as well!