An anatomy of Villains

If I ask the definition of a villain to a kid, the most probable answer would be – a bad person who always fights with the hero; a definition in which its existence has been dwarfed by its counterpart (Hero) from time immemorial. Now if I toss the same question to a teen he would embellish the definition with some of the character’s attribute – starting from cruel, vicious, ruthless, malicious, evil doer and ending on devil. But to a curious person a question could pop up- who is a villain exactly? Why does he exist, what’s the damn need? What is their psychology and philosophy? Are they just a character in a story doing wrong deeds? Nah! I don’t think so nor does Bill Finger and Bane- the creator of Joker.

The existence of villains would be fairly conceived if we take a trip of inspiration to our great epics. Ramayana had Kekai while Mahabharata had the Kauravas; the evilness differed in each background as they sought for different things with varying intensity. But the longing for power brought them together and it contributes to most of the instances -the reckless and ignorant hunger for being the superior. On taking account of villains, we come across with an array of villains amongst which Gabbar is one of the mostnotablefrommovie‘Sholay’.

He surpassed the prejudiced fame of what a villain usually received and his accomplishment shines today as such he has become a metaphor for a fierce villain. He was widely accepted by the audience because of his unlikely and quirky behavior. He was not the quintessential industrial malevolent villain who oppressed his workers and took advantage of their wives; but an unconventional bad man. His eerie mannerism and selection of words pulls off to alleviate his terror – “Naach nai to ye gori chamri ko khurach k udher dunga” implying the girl is a mere animal whose skin is to be ripped off in order to get his work done. But what was his intention again? He was a bandit leading a plundering gang; he was illiterate spending a comfortless life in the hills with no mistress. So how exactly this hermit dacoit became a villain? His sadistic personality comes to light when he ruthlessly slays everything and anything coming in his path so as to protect his gang and continue his status. He craves for revenge that is his story. Gabbar cuts off only Thakur’s hands as they were responsible for handcuffing him; he abducts Basanti, makes her dance over shreds of glass but for not once he tries to sexually harm her. He is sadistic yet he has humane moves which make him more intimidating.

The literature pictures a beautiful portrayal of the villains, especially Shakespeare. Be his tragic plays or romantic comedies, he has brought to life some eternal villains, who not only bind the readers and audience to have catharsis (pity or fear for the tragic heroes) but explains the psychology of the characters “villains” to a depth. The three Witches are one of their kinds reflecting a spellbinding aspect of conflict and temptations.

They have no impulse for power nor do they revenge, they are actually ministers of evilness to its purest form. Their presence is fairly deluded between reality and supernatural bringing a moral conflict by setting vicious baits for a path for self destruction. On the other hand The Lady Macbeth, another Shakespearean villain, kindles up the fire of ambition in Macbeth and to gain unlimited power she proposes to kill the King Duncan. So we see two types of villains in the same plot, an art in which Shakespeare mastered.

Most of the times, there is a justified reason for the villains to be the bad guy with their intriguing past and environments such as in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho. But there are some villains who have absolutely no reason or motive whatsoever. They generally exist in the form of Psychopaths or Sociopaths – their intriguing past develops a shallow motive in them such as seeking attention for their existence in order to feel worthy. The history and psychology of villains would be dull if we skip the greatest of them – The Joker.

But have you ever wondered who is he? What is his story? What is his purpose? His history is as twisted as his character is- with no definite records; even the past behind his disfigurement is highly debated. When this character first appeared in the DC Comics, it was a trivial one, a homicidal maniac, a criminal. But as time rolled, this character evolved and became the perfect definition of evilness. He got bored of the petty crimes and cultivated an uncanny affection for the Batman, the hero- the savior of Gotham. His insanity accompanies well to his genius mind which focuses on just one thing – to bring down Batman; and make people realize how he is equally debased as everyone else is. To establish this fact, with subtlety, he frames situations to fetch the godly image of batman to dust. And when you are no more a hero, people are going to rip you apart. So he is in a constant attempt to bring out the reality of morals, to reveal the darker side of every human. Moreover, he believes himself to be the only criminal worth facing. This is because he has a brilliant mind which he absolutely doesn’t want to waste; he wants to make the best use of it to achieve his goal. He is not only a smart schemer but an equally impressive executor as well; he always sets off to his mission with back up plans as he knows you can’t really believe anyone these days. He has been engaged in a war of minds with Batman and this would continue as long as they live.

The objective of this article is not to describe various villains but to make the general audience and readers able to contemplate about their existence. They are not supposed to be hated once you leave the theatres; they are to be adored, applauded and relished. They deserve equal attention and regard as the heroes do.

In Macbeth, Banquo rejected the luring seed of desire placed by the three witches because he had the wit to defy appealing prophecies. He knows the parting line between having ambitions and having inordinate desires and greed. So it’s always your choice, you know what is to be done and what is not. You can be either the Joker or Batman [I know majority of people would die to think like Joker].

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