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What makes a hero? What makes a villain?

15 Years Ago


So I'm writing a story about a hero that turns into a villain and I was wondering what you guys thought about these questions. What makes a hero? What makes a villain? Any feedback would greatly help the book. Thanks guys :)

[no subject]

15 Years Ago


Not sure if this is exact for me--it's just from the top of my head, but I guess that might be more real.

A hero is someone who will go the lengths, who is willing to sacrifice everything--his mind, his body, his soul, to help others.

A villian, on the other hand, is more complex--he or she is both like the hero and yet his exact opposite. Like, for example: Batman and The Joker. Both Batman and Joker have similar dark personas, who had tragic things happen to turn them into what they are, and they're opposites in that the villian, obviously, does terrible acts and is the light, jokey person to Batman's dark, brooding nature.

I hope that helps you, man. ::smile::

[no subject]

15 Years Ago


Idealism makes a hero. At least that's the theory I formulated in my little brain when I read your question.

If you're looking to create a 'classicaly trained' hero along the same vein as Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, etc. then it's idealism. Every 'hero' out there in comic book land has an idealism or a mantra they live by. For example, "With great power comes great responsibility."

Every hero has something they're not willing to do, some level they'll never stoop to in order to uphold the 'greater good' or whatever it is they're fighting for. Never kill, unless it's absolutely avoidable, always help the innocent bystanders before going after the bad guy, never leave the toilet seat up in the Watchtower, whatever.

It comes down to figuring out what that is for your hero and breaking it. Breaking them down so that they become completely diillusioned with their world view and it completely recreates itself. Maybe not right away, maybe it's a slow and painful transition full of regrets and decisions that are uncharacteristic but justified because "it had to be done."

I think there are many different approaches in the hero/villian transformation but they call come down to a change in idealism. Eventually, the hero's actions have to be different than what his 'idealism' says he stands for. Spider-man starts abusing his power for personal gain, Superman loses all restrain and establishes a dictatorship on Earth, or allows tyranny to rein unchallenged, the X-men stop fighting for a world where mutants and humans can co-exist.

Those are just some initial thoughts, I'd have to think about it more to give a good answer, I guess.

[no subject]

15 Years Ago


I think one of the main factors that separate the hero from the villain is motivation.

The hero is usually motivated to do good for the benefit of mankind.

The villain is usually motivated by self-interest. Sometimes villains do good things, but it is still because of selfish reasons.

(which also explains why there's usually better/deeper character development in a villain than a hero).

[no subject]

15 Years Ago


I think that the main thing distinguishing heroes and villians is perspective. Although many people do good things for selfish reasons, let us not forget that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Take a figure like Magneto or Hitler. They both wanted what they saw as best for the world and made many personal sacrifices for those beliefs. For this reason I try to stay away from the ideas of hero and villian as well as good and evil.
Obviously, someone who does things that they know are wrong for selfish reasons could be classified as a villian, although they might just see themselves as "unrestrained".

[no subject]

15 Years Ago


    It's really kinda of funny how thin the line is between hero and villain is. I mean take a look at the Civil War series. Both sides in that conflict were super "heroes", so who was bad. Iron man's side killed a hero, but continued because they had realized that things like that might happen on the path to the greater good.
    Anyway what makes a hero is subjective to the reader. The hero is the one fighting for something the reader thinks is right. Visa Versa for the villain. I doubt that helps, but if it does, good for me.
    It's going to be pretty hard for you to write this. Because everyone identifies with a hero, nobody wants to think that a "good" person can become "evil".