How can I become a complex antihero


Antiheroes have always had a special fascination for us. Why is that? What makes an antihero? What is “that certain something” that he brings to a story? And what are the dangers of creating an antihero yourself as an author? We'll discuss all of that in this article.

Hamlet, Don Quixote, Tyler Durden, Jack Sparrow, Deadpool and many, many others ... They all have one thing in common: They turn our traditional notions of a hero upside down. Because they are not typical heroes. You are antihero.

This type of hero seems to enjoy particular popularity in recent years. - But that's actually no wonder. Because as beautifully radiant, flawless heroes are - antiheroes are often much more complex and interesting. It is therefore quite understandable that Sil the evil Bitch wants to know what to consider when creating antiheroes.

That's why in this article we'll look at what makes antiheroes, what opportunities they bring with them for storytelling, and what can go wrong when creating antiheroes.

Antihero: definition

“Antihero” is made up of “anti” and “hero”. It's a definition ex negativo. That’s why we’re going too ex negativo in front.

The shining hero

The antihero is the opposite of the shining hero. So what makes a shining hero?

He is idealistic, brave and just pre-sprays Love for others.

Classic example: Harry Potter

Yes, Harry goes through very human ups and downs, makes mistakes, and evolves in the course of the seven books. But he always fights for the good, attaches great importance to friendship and in the end literally becomes a resurrected Jesus figure.

We identify with shining heroes like Harry Potter because they represent the good in us or are what we would like to be ourselves.

So much for the obvious. But let's go a step further and think of one of the things that The Song of Ice and Fire make so great:

Eddard Stark is idealistic, brave, and extremely honorable. And he is beheaded.

So what's the difference between Harry Potter and Eddard Stark?

They live in different worlds. Despite Death Eaters and corruption, Harry Potter's world is still essentially a good and just one, in which love triumphs over hate. Eddard Stark, on the other hand, lives in a world in which one can only be successful with intelligence, a good potion of mistrust, wise foresight and often cunning. Classic heroic traits are more likely to bring you to the grave here.

So what do you notice?

A radiant hero fits perfectly into his world. And this world is a good one. Because only in such a world can he be really successful: in a world that conforms to his values.

And here is the one in my opinion Core difference between heroes and antiheroes

The antihero and his weaknesses

The antihero is definitely a hero - but not a shining one. His strength as a character is his weakness as a person. - His greed, his envy, his mendacity, his delusion, his passivity, his loneliness and his failure.

There are many different types of antiheroes. From the clumsy outsider to the hallucinating eccentric to the mafia boss, everything is represented. So the most general definition of the antihero should go something like this:

The antihero is an unhero hero.

He is not to be confused with the villain or antagonist. Because antiheroes are usually the heroes of their respective stories, Allies of a radiant hero or at least somewhere between the fronts. They are indeed figures of identification:

We identify with the antihero because he represents the dark potential in us or shows us how we are or could become.

I admit that the line between antihero and villain often seems to be quite fluid:

With characters like Erik in The Phantom of the Opera, Lestat in the Chronicle of the Vampires or Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it really comes down to from which perspective you look at the whole thing.

Even the fallen angel Lucifer is on the one hand God's opponent, but also someone who stands up for free will.

Ultimately, it depends on whether the audience perceives the world of the antihero or villain as right or wrong. Because from this it can be deduced whether the character is a villain who threatens a good, just world, or an antihero who rebels against a false, unjust world.

The world of the antihero

And that brings us to the important characteristic of the antihero already indicated above:

He fits Not into the world in which he lives.

In fact, he is often a outsider. And also fail is something that is often associated with antiheroes.

Even Michael Corleone wins over his opponents, but he fails as a person.

The outsiderhood and failure are not surprising, however, when you consider that the worlds of antiheroes are indeed often unfair. There are depraved, corrupt systemsin which one can apparently only survive if one becomes depraved and corrupted oneself. Or you do it like Goethe's Werther and commit suicide. - Also very antihero.

And even if the antihero lives in the same righteous world as the shining hero, he at least shows it Downsides.

While Harry Potter is a good, compassionate person with a fine sense of justice, Draco Malfoy was raised quasi-racially and is under pressure to live up to the expectations of his father and the Dark Lord.

And that brings us to the opportunities for storytelling ...

Opportunities through antiheroes

As mentioned at the beginning, antiheroes seem to be very popular. This is not least because they are stand out from the shining heroes, yourself to rebel against entrenched classic storytelling traditions and a lot of identification potential bring.

Antiheroes often bring complex issues with themselves and enrich the world through moral ambiguity. Especially when the antihero is the protagonist of the story, it tends to show up Social criticism out.

But also as a supporting character, the antihero adds spice to a story. In addition to the above he does very well in a team of two with the radiant hero: for example as Rival of the shining hero (Naruto and Sasuke, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy) or as Contrast figure to the hero (Luke Skywalker and Han Solo).

What distinguishes such a hero-antihero constellation is common a very special chemistry between the two. One strengthens the effect of the other through his mere presence. The hero seems more heroic, the antihero more antihero. And at the same time they challenge each other. They are often like two sides of the same coin. - So it's no wonder that fans of their respective franchises like to make lovers.

And speaking of love romance: One or the other will certainly be Popularity of bad boys in love stories be noticed. I think their antihero status is an important factor in this. Just look at the team with the beaming Princess Leia and Han Solo. It's the contrast between the two that crackles ...

Risks with antiheroes

But as great as antiheroes are, there are a number of things that can go wrong with their creation.

First and foremost, you should do not exaggerate. If your antihero is a bundle of negativity and nothing good has ever happened in their life, then there are three problems: First, most readers will hardly want to identify with him; Secondly dulls the perception of too much negativity (The tragic feels less tragic when everything around it is also tragic); and thirdly In the worst case, the antihero slips into ridicule.

There is a certain connection with this Risk that the antihero just looks flat. Yes, antiheroes often make their respective stories more complex. But if the antihero is only busy hating the world and insulting other characters with completely out of place wannabe sarcasm, then he is no longer an antihero, but a mundane asshole.

So it appears that the antihero for all his unheroism does one or the other positive quality needs to be personable and / or interesting in some way.

And last but not least, in my opinion it is important not to create an antihero for the sake of the mere antihero. As I have hoped in the course of this article, the nature of the antihero is linked to the nature of his world. The two must be coordinated.

Also there is very many different types of antiheroeswho only have their antiheroism in common. Don Quixote and Michael Corleone are both antiheroes. So when you say you want to create an antihero it is extremely imprecise and can mean anything. A mere antihero stamp is not enough to create a really interesting antihero.

Closing word

So what is there to say in the end?

We should probably note that Antiheroes, like any other archetype, are not necessarily static. An antihero can evolve from a villain or he can mutate into a shining hero as the story progresses. There's no point clinging to an archetype if a character wants to evolve.

The antihero also has an interesting counterpart: the Anti-villain. Just as the antihero isn't heroic at all, the anti-villain isn't actually evil at all. He is heroic and has noble ends. Only the means he chooses make him the hero's enemy. Or he appears to be acting morally to achieve an evil goal. If you want, I'll add it to the list of possible future topics.

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