Why Evil Characters Make Great Stories


The concept of good and evil is a mythological one that ultimately relates to morality. It’s especially prevalent in biblical works and resonates strongly within stories and screenplays.

Terms such as Satan, Devil and Fallen Angels illustrate various depiction of evil characters which are conflict with what is good and wholesome to our spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and moral wellbeing.

This conflict is often portrayed as extreme to heighten its dramatic impact.

There are some key elements that apply to these evil character archetypes:

  • They have consciously committed a terrible act
  • They have disgraced themselves
  • They have been banished from society, perhaps never to return
  • They maybe awaiting judgement/ further punishment
  • They have rejected their communities’ values and left voluntarily
  • They seek revenge, acknowledgment, forgiveness or change to the status quo

FALLEN ANGELS

These were once exalted figures holding privileged posts in society and have taken a steep fall. They transgressed some moral code and banished from heaven to hell. This is more than exclusion from a positive place, but rather eviction to a place of contemplation. Often, they are depicted as dark, gloomy prisons locked in chains until a trial determines a suitable punishment.  Fallen angels may return from grace if an injustice was done, or remain imprisoned until their debt to society has been repaid.

LUCIFER

There are many biblical interpretations of Lucifer. It literally means “bringer of morning light/ dawn”. In some scriptures, Lucifer is an evil savior or liberator.

SINNERS

In simplest terms, a sin is an act that violates prevailing social moral standards. In a deeper philosophical context it relates to unconscionable acts commit without a higher purpose or care for their effects on others. Such characters show selfishness, lack of restraint, lack of values and moral compass.

SATAN

Satan was thought to be an angel that opposed God’s will and encouraged humanity to partake in one of the seven deadly sins; temptation. This can be interpreted as a metaphor for consciously ignoring mainstream values in favor of individualistic ones. Most of the time, these values are detrimental one’s moral and spiritual wellbeing.

DEVIL

This term is often used interchangeably with Satan, but there are subtle differences. These characters are a broader obstructive and evil force. They are opposers with purpose. They have valid personal, ideological and moral reasons for fighting against the status quo. They are the rebels and misfits fighting injustice.

DARK LORDS

These are the most extreme villains. They are the super villains or Dark Knights. They are hellbent on chaos, death and wanton destruction. They lie, mislead, steal and cheat to attain their goal. They demand complete control over everything and absolute obedience.

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