Why do we need villains in literature?
The antagonists, (the villains or bad guys) are an essential component of literature. They are often responsible for creating the conflict that propels the story forward and provides the necessary tension to keep the reader engaged. These characters are essential components of any good story. They bring the necessary conflict, tension, and unexpected twists to the plot, and help move the story forward. Without them, a story can become dull and predictable.
Villains serve as the primary obstacle for the protagonist, and the role of the villain is to provide a challenge for the protagonist, (the heroes or good guys), to keep them on their toes, and to create obstacles that they must overcome. This conflict is what adds complexity and depth to the plot and makes the story interesting and engaging for the reader. It is the clash of opposing forces that creates the tension and drama that captivates readers.
Moreover, the antagonists are often used to highlight the flaws and weaknesses of the protagonist. By creating a character that embodies all or most of the qualities that the protagonist lacks.
Furthermore, villains can also help the reader empathize with the protagonist. The more a villain is developed, the more the reader can understand the protagonist's motives, fears, and aspirations.
Finally, villains are instrumental in the resolution of the story.
For example, in the classic novel, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë, Heathcliff serves as an antagonist, but his tragic backstory helps the reader understand his motivations and sympathize with him.
Another example, in the alternate history-magical realism novel
"The Ancestors' Secrets" by Erika M Szabo. Mora is a classic through and through villain. Yet as we learn more and more about her backstory, we're almost starting to understand what drives her and empathize with her, until her next cruel act... when we're passionately hating her again.
The Ancestors' Secrets
Tell us about your favorite antagonist in comments