Unravelling a Villain's Mind

Villains: the foil of every hero’s valiant plan, the epitome of manifestation of monstrosity, the nightmares that haunt the slumber of innocent children alike and most conspicuous description of all, the bad guys to every fictional plot. Through the sliver screens, villains have garnered nothing less than an infamous reputation over the years, in which they are often depicted as the generic ‘bad guy’ — nothing more, nothing less. However, have you ever wondered why these characters chose to venture into the corrupted path instead of the righteous path in the first place? What exactly drove them to make such an egregious decision?

In the most conventional cases, most people become villains due to excessive greed, one of which involves world domination. Come on, you have to admit that you’ve dreamt of basking in eternal glory as emperor of the world at one point in your mundane lives. Of course, for normal folks, this dream is only ephemeral and you soon grow out of this fantasy as the tides of time wash over your subconscious. However, some people take this dream too seriously and would be willing to go to extreme lengths to accomplish this feat, even if that means harming the lives of innocent citizens. They have grown into power and control-crazy individuals. There are sad instances when these villains who seek world domination are deep down just poor souls who only want to be acknowledged by the public but unfortunately, choose the wrong the path in doing so.

Moving on, villains are also born when the revenge plot is introduced. According to most fictional stories, villains begin to plot elaborate revenge plans when a tragic backstory is involved or when the world has done them wrong in any way possible. From a villain’s perspective, wouldn’t executing revenge be the utmost satisfaction that anybody could ask for? Wouldn’t you agree that it is oddly rewarding looking at the dismayed face of your enemy after they experience the taste of their own medicine?

There is evil in every single one of us and the hatred deep within our hearts may spur a string of events, which may potentially lead to a quest of revenge. Let’s take the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s villain character, Loki, for example. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this character, Loki Laufeyson is the adoptive brother of the Asgardian Thunder God, Thor. The father of the siblings, Odin, had loved his sons equally and hoped that either one of them would be worthy to inherit his throne when the time came. However, the adopted Loki soon became aware of his family roots and discovered that his biological father was actually the leader of the Frost Giants, enemies to the Asgardians. Anger consumed his soul and Loki blamed Odin for lying to him, knowing there was no chance of him, as a descendant of the Frost Giants, to be king. Buried by the bitterness in his soul, Loki sought to execute revenge on the Asgardians.

How do you feel after reading Loki’s miserable backstory and the reason behind his drastic turn of heart? Being deceived your whole life by the man who you loved and thought was family is definitely not a predicament to be in. Try standing in his shoes for a moment and do not tell me that you won’t be infuriated over this matter — everyone will. Unlike ordinary stereotyped villains, Loki has a strong reason and purpose as a villain, building up concern in his malicious character further. Somehow, this makes his persona more understandable and all the more likeable for us viewers. A little fun fact: due to his witty monologues and relatable diabolical mindset, he is more cheered on compared to his brother and the franchise’s main protagonist, Thor!

Furthermore, inadequate amounts of proper teachings and lessons may also lead to the birth of a villain. When a child is not brought up with the appropriate care required, he may develop a sense of curiosity towards the darker side and thus eventually forming violent tendencies. As the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat. Ironically, in this case, curiosity kills the people. In addition, psychological factors play a part in the convergence of a villain as well. A man burdened with mental illness is most likely to become a deranged murderer with no sense of humanity in his bones. These type of villains are normally associated with an ilk of obsession that drives them to commit killing sprees.

All in all, villains are not mere characters who exist solely to fulfil the plot’s ‘bad guy’ space. They are characters with underlying significance and without them, the story will definitely not be same. Remember that villains were once mere humans like you and me; what turned them evil is an entirely different story.

“We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realised they were inside us.” - Joker


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