Why I’d Rather Be a Villain
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Villains are evil, morally corrupt, and have no regard for human life or any life for that matter. Why would you want to be that?
Let me make a case for the beloved baddies with my top five reasons why villains deserve more recognition:
Most villains don’t have a socially acceptable sense of right or wrong. What this means is that they can do whatever they want whenever they want and won’t feel a single drop of remorse (unlike the hero). They have no moral compass telling them that “with great power comes great responsibility.” They use their great power anyways. One of the best examples in literature is the character Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series who has incredible powers but only uses them to reach his evil goals.
A lot of the time, villains have a more intriguing backstory than their arch-nemesis. They carry out their actions with purpose and relish and rarely regret them. They truly believe that the things they do are right, and if the writing is done well, it is easy to understand why based on their rich history. Compare this to the goody-two-shoes hero who is every bit predictable and can be a little too perfect.
Admit it, the bad guys get better costumes than the clean-cut hero. Their costumes are always instantly recognizable, stylish, and smart. Think of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula vs. Jonathan Harker’s costume. Who gets their outfit worn at Halloween every year?
Think about your favorite movies. The antagonist gets the most iconic dialogue that is always endlessly quotable. Some of them are just downright chilling like this line from Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, “A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone.” Terrifying but totally enigmatic.
It would be way too boring to have to save the day all the time. No one thanks you, you still have to carry on with “normal” life, and you must always stick to what is right or risk being vilified by the public. Sounds exhausting, right? On the other hand, villains have no obligation to do any of that.
In a way, we might empathize with villains because they are realistic at their core. Not everyone is either good or bad. It’s not that simple. Good villains can show us that no one’s perfect; it’s just how you make decisions for the greater good or evil.
With that, I leave you to re-think why you would ever want to be a boring, bland hero when you can be a beautiful and brilliant baddie.