John Willoughby Rev. Dimmesdale Professor Umbridge Curley & His Wife St. John Rivers Mrs. Norris Lady de Winter Bradley Headstone President Snow Madame Defarge
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here would literature be without villains? If there were no human evils to overcome, heroes would not embark on adventures. Damsels would not need rescued. For just about every hero in a novel, there is an evil personified in a living individual. The characters of Bleak House are tormented by the rigid, vile Mr. Tulkinghorn (among a host of other bad guys!). The Bennet sisters face a lesser but just as insidious evil in the form of the manipulative, seducing Mr. Wickham. And, of course, Harry Potter goes up against the diabolical Lord Voldemort, to save all of wizarding kind. Authors simply know that as difficult as life can be, often life itself isn’t enough of a challenge for a main character. There must be evil individuals in that character’s life, to further complicate their decisions and even to lead them astray for a time. Sometimes these evils are obvious, and sometimes they’re more cunning… such as the evil of a friend who gives bad or selfish advice.
Cinema has no end of diabolical, fearsome and even likable villains, but literature has an even deeper wealth of truly despicable figures (Dickens in particular can lay claim to a great number of them), who embark on unforgivable actions and give the hero or heroine of the tale no end of emotional trauma and bad experiences. Fortunately, what fiction also teaches us is that in the end, good wins. The villain may get the upper hand for a time, but he or she will get a nice comeuppance in time, whether that is a bullet as a result of their general unkindness or merely being ostracized from society and left to live out life with a truly
silly and insipid wife. One could argue that without the villain, the hero would never become heroic, for he would have no chance to show his goodness, his selflessness, and his true heart… either to win the girl, to save the day, or simply to survive. Herein, you will find a motley crew of nasty, diabolical, backstabbing, murdering fiends that all are memorable in some way, even if it’s simply for the fact that we utterly despise them. I’d say ―enjoy,‖ but…
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Speculative Fiction & Film Oct 31. (See our back cover for info.)
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Tell us about the ones who didn’t live ―happily ever after.‖
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Lincoln. Rhett. Scarlett. Civil War.
Is there something you love, and wish more people knew about?
May / June: Faith & Villainy
Halloween: Monsters & Madness
Those who believed it, and those who abused it.
Fiends from the darkest corners of our imagination… human and creation.
July / Aug: The Colonial Period
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Salem. Columbus. The Patriot. How did America’s Independence shape the rest of the world?
Siblings. Parents. Explore the theme of ―family‖ in literature and film.
ot all villains are bent on evil. Most do not even consider their actions evil. In their minds, they’re looking out for their own best interests or they are ―following their heart.‖ Many even have good qualities; they love and give and show flickers of morality. Mr. John Willoughby of Jane Austen’s timeless classic Sense and Sensibility is one of those villains who is
not exactly a villain, but he’s not a good man either. When he makes his debut in the story, he seems to come in the form of a knight in shining armor but in reality he is the downfall of many.
When tragedy strikes the Dashwood family, the four ladies leave their home and move into a cottage far away in Devonshire. Between silly neighbors and a colonel who is instantly smitten, Marianne
Dashwood feels smothered by her new life. As much as she loves her family, they do not understand how this new atmosphere stifles her. On a walk with her younger sister Margaret, Marianne falls and
Visit Veronica’s Blog. sprains her ankle. Almost as if he came straight out of one of the romances she likes to read, a young, handsome man happens upon her. He rescues her in her plight and carries her to safety. He introduces himself as John Willoughby of Allenham. His wealthy aunt lives not too far away; she is elderly and he will inherit everything from her. Between his good looks, charm, lively spirit and secure fortune, Marianne's romantic sensibilities are instantly piqued. Willoughby is her equal in every sense. While she is often scolded by her older and more sensible sister Elinor, Willoughby matches her in all her passions and pursuits. He seems truly devoted to her. From giving her a horse, to taking her on rides alone, to showing her the house he will inherit, Marianne is convinced it is true love and throws caution to the wind. But on the day she expects to receive a marriage proposal, Willoughby informs her he must go to London and has no reason to return. He tells her that his benefactress has disinherited him and chosen another relative,
but doesn’t disclose the whole ugly truth. His aunt had discovered that several months prior he seduced a young girl, Eliza, got her pregnant and abandoned her. The young girl is none other than the charge of Col. Brandon. While several years his senior, Col. Brandon challenges Willoughby to a duel and wins… not only for the
honor of his charge, but for Marianne as well. Willoughby genuinely loves Marianne—at least in his mind he loves her. He planned to propose to her but panicked at the idea of being penniless. When the heiress Miss Grey catches his eye, he pursues her and it isn’t long before they are engaged. Simultaneously when the Dashwood sisters arrive in town, Marianne does what she can to get in touch with
Willoughby. He manages to avoid her until he comes face to face with her at a public dance. Again, Willoughby takes the easy way out and snubs her. It’s only when his betrothed confronts him that he sends back Marianne's letters and lock of her hair, along with a coldly worded rejection.
While Marianne writhes in pain and Eliza is left to raise her child on her own, Willoughby marries into wealth and secures his future. But money doesn’t buy happiness and when he hears that Marianne is on the verge of death, he rushes to her. Elinor refuses to allow him to see her but listens to his side of the story. As it turns out, when he first met Marianne he had no intention of loving her but knowingly engaged
her affections. Somewhere along the way he fell in love with her, wanted to marry her … and would have were it not for the sake of money and security. Although Willoughby appeared early on as the night in shining armor, it is Col. Brandon who is the real hero of the story. Unlike Willoughby, the Colonel is selfless, even when Marianne rejects him time and time again. In the end, he wins her whole heart. The end of Sense and Sensibility, leaves Willoughby married to a cold woman he doesn’t love. While Marianne redeems herself, Willoughby likely continues on his path of selfdestruction. Due to his selfish ways, we can only imagine that he didn’t stay faithful to his wife and pursued happiness elsewhere. That is the result of living only for yourself and your own amusements, rather than following God’s Will and putting others first. Though Willoughby is in the wrong, we can learn from his poor example and do what is right. ♥
dultery is a sin that spreads its roots into many lives. If a pastor commits adultery he brings this sin upon the community atlarge, himself, the woman, a child (if formed), the families, the church and God. In a pastor, one hopes she can trust her soul to be cared for as a shepherd tends his flock, to find a man who is responsible, gentle, fatherly, protective and providing. Young Hester Pyrnne (married to an elderly man but alone in a small early American community) is drawn to the Oxford-trained minister, Rev. Dimmesdale… a flaming hypocrite! In writing about a villain, I wanted to find one that is less common or frequently overlooked. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, many people pick Chillingworth (Hester’s husband) as the villain. He’s driven by revenge, a despicable and unworthy husband, yet Dimmesdale is the truest villain by displaying the hypocrisy of a ―righteous‖ Puritan society. He had the letter inscribed onto his soul, hidden from everyone, while Hester was publically scorned—a reaction encouraged in the strict Puritan early American community.
Visit Lindy’s blog. The purpose of a pastor is to protect and nurture the eternal souls of those in his congregation. God entrusts him with this noble purpose. Yet Rev. Dimmesdale falls in lust and takes advantage of Hester. To me this is painful enough, but he becomes a greater villain in my eyes by being silent when Hester is publically accused and ridiculed. I abhor the sin of silence. An act of sinning is a sin of commission; the act of being silent is the sin of omission. Both are equally grievous sins in the eyes of God.
Arthur Dimmesdale is a beloved pastor who preaches with eloquence and emotion. He seems to be a compassionate leader able to provide spiritual guidance. In the end when he tries to confess his sin in a sermon, the church believes it’s an allegorical testimony of a sinner rather than a confession. Dimmesdale’s silence in the presence of the public exposure, ridicule and punishment of Hester is what makes him a great villain. How unholy! How unrepentant! How unuseable by the Holy Spirit! How spineless!
From the beginning of the novel, the entire town is in chaos over Hester, a mother to a fatherless child. She is disgraced for adultery, made to wear a letter ―A‖ on her garment, and shunned by everyone. It’s hidden from even the reader that Dimmesdale is the father to her child. Sadly, even today a girl carries the burden of exposure and ridicule if she has a child out of wedlock because her sin can’t be hidden. Some men think it’s the price a woman pays for the chance she takes, so they bear no responsibility to her, especially if they have no emotional feelings for her. How sick this sounds and how sad! While the girl bears her shame in front of all, the man doesn’t have to confess publically. (Now a woman can avoid this through the sin of abortion! Hester couldn’t hide or abort it!)
Hester Prynne, wearer of a patch of fabric in the shape of the letter ―A‖ that marked adultery, was a guilty girl married to an absent elderly scholar, Chillingworth. But as in life, a hidden sin is often much more serious than what is known. It goes on to create destruction: evil festering, growing and infiltrating more lives. One person cannot be a lone adulterer. It takes two to commit that sin. The Puritan community spends no thought or time seeking out the guilty man and Hester is unwilling to reveal his identity. Therefore Chillingworth does the duty that should be done by the entire community—seeking to find the responsible culprit who is hiding his sin. As holds true to many who try to discover the facts and root out deception, Chillingworth is seen as a revengeful,
judgmental, and a very disliked man. He lurks in disguise seeking out the sinner. Undeniably he is despicable in his pursuit of Hester’s anonymous lover, but he alone searches for the truth. It’s much like the female adulteress written about in the New Testament. Jesus saved her from being stoned by a mob of religious men. Again, only one person was accused and shamed—the woman. And it is with this in mind that Nathaniel Hawthorne crafts his classic novel by allowing Hester to make substantive observations about the treatment of women in such matters. Her elderly husband, who sent her to live in America alone and never followed her, carries the weight of her sin morally but not in the story. He is guilty of setting her up for temptation, which the Bible warns us against as husband and wife. It was during the time that she waited for her husband that she had an affair with Dimmesdale, which led to the birth of her child. The townspeople spread rumors that the girl’s true father is the Devil, thus causing her also to be feared and shunned. This shows the handiwork of the Devil’s plan to destroy all lives. Not only does the sin destroy Hester, but her child’s reputation and well-being as well! We can learn much from this classic novel. It teaches us to be watchful of sin in
our lives, to take personal responsibility, and to take responsibility for our sinful actions even if they aren’t evident to others. We must not think the greatest villains in life are those who are exposed, but look first within our own souls to examine ―hidden‖ un-repented sins that provide a place for a deadly foothold to grow. In the end, Dimmesdale’s guilt of hypocrisy does lead to his death, though a careful observant reader would know they’d been watching this villain’s slow internal death throughout the novel. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Therefore, we should go to God, willingly confessing our sin to receive forgiveness. God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. By dealing rightly according to God with sinfulness, we are collecting potential testimonies to be used as trophies of grace for God. One can only imagine the outcome if Dimmesdale had openly confessed his sin when it mattered most! How could God have used his life’s testimony to bring about genuineness in the Puritan mindset? But alas, this is simply a character of a novel… is it not? ♥
ord Acton first said, ―Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.‖ Professor Umbridge of the Harry Potter series presents an excellent example for that phrase. We first meet her when Harry is brought before the High Court. Though toad-like in her appearance, her honeyed voice masks a desire to get what she wants, no matter the cost.
As the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, she quickly makes it known that even Hogwarts is not safe from her prying fingers. Before long, the Minster of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints her High Inquisitor and she does everything she can to rule the school. Instead of letting the teachers and Dumbledore enforce the rules, she constantly finds new things to ban. If someone challenges her power, she finds a way to make that person pay. When Harry challenges what she teaches during class, she forces him to write with a pen that uses his own blood to engrave a message on the back of his hand. She became High Inquisitor because Professor McGonagall dared to contradict her authority. And when Marietta refuses to utter another word after being
branded a sneak, Umbridge shakes the girl to get the truth from her. Umbridge looks for those who are weaker than she is. She constantly acts as if Hagrid speaks barely passable English as a way to fire him. She makes fun of Professor Trelawney and enjoys the woman’s distress and fear when she fires her. Part of the reason Malfoy and his friends admire Umbridge so much is that they are finally given free reign to act as they want. They can treat those who are like them favorably and take points away from those who oppose them. They are even encouraged to use curses against Harry and his friends. Quick to be offended, Umbridge’s voice grows high-pitched and sweet to hide her growing anger. Though her desire for power and control is limitless, her abilities are rather mediocre. She can’t reverse Hermione’s jinx on Marietta, nor can she clean up the swamp the Weasley twins leave behind when they quit school. She expects Snape to instantly create a potion that takes a month to brew. Many students suffer ―Umbridge-itis‖ when around her and she is unable to find the cause. With such lackluster magical
abilities, it becomes obvious that she rose to power through nothing more than guile and manipulation. What makes her such a loathsome person, though, is that somewhere deep inside of her is some good. She is able to produce a Patronus, something Death Eaters can’t do since that is the opposite of what they stand for. To produce a Patronus, you must have some good inside you, and if Umbridge truly did, that means she knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses to do what is wrong. Even her wand indicates her true nature: a short wand often reveals a stunted, or undeveloped, emotional nature. Umbridge acts despicably toward all who stand up to her, and this is what makes the ending of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix so satisfying. She pays for her hatefulness, cruelty, and bigotry in a way that makes the reader cheer. To top it off, Dumbledore,
in a show of his alwaysgood nature, rescues her. But she never thanks him; instead, she continues to hate those she does not understand. For not actually being the main villain in this novel or indeed of the series on the whole, Umbridge is a nasty piece of work. She claims to love the rules but all she loves is power. In the end, though, all that power led to her demise. Her life is a vivid picture of how unlimited power will lead to total destruction. She tries to destroy the lives of those around her, but ends up destroying herself. ♥
ohn Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is story of two friends in the Depression. George Milton and the mentally-challenged Lennie Small search for work after being run out of their last place of employment due to a somewhat serious mishap by Lennie. They eventually find work at a ranch and manage to make new friends as well as a couple of enemies. Both of them, especially Lennie, draw the ire of the boss's son, Curley, a bully with a bad temper and an inferiority complex, as well as Curley's wife, a femme fatale who finds living on a ranch with its all-male inhabitants to be insulting. Although the two men make only brief appearances in the novel, they represent the evil of the story. Most folks find bullies to be evil. Bullies have no purpose in life other than to make those around them miserable or hellish. School yard ―toughs‖ enjoy picking on others half their size and avoid those much bigger than them. Now imagine the schoolyard bully as an adult. His attitude doesn’t change and neither do his violent habits. Curley fits the description of a school bully. To make up for his
short stature, Curley takes on a ―tough guy‖ image by threatening to beat up anyone who looks at him funny or as much as talks to his wife. He doesn’t hide his hatred for men twice his size, especially Lennie, who is a giant with the heart of a child. His background as a lightweight boxer does give him some leverage, but Curley's hair-trigger temper gets the best of him and he takes it out on Lennie because the latter allegedly smirked at him (which was not the case). As a result, Curley beats the poor man almost senseless until Lennie manages to break Curley's hand by crushing it with his own. Despite Lennie's mental capacity, Curley is not above beating him up. Being able to pick on a bigger man, win or lose, makes him feel tough to compensate for his short stature. Because of his temper and attitude toward ―weaker‖ men, he is truly this story's villain… or is he?
While not as evil-minded as her husband, Curley's unnamed wife has her share of sins. Being the only woman around, she grows bored and tries to flirt with the ranch hands. Fortunately for them, they distance themselves from her knowing full well that they’d encounter the wrath of her husband if they ever reciprocated her advances. What makes her evil is her attitude and her insults to the men. She, being the beautiful trophy wife, feels living on the ranch is beneath her and would much rather be ―in pictures.‖ She claims she was with men who promised her a career in film. She insults the employees by not only calling the black stable hand Crooks, a racial epithet, but also threatening to have him lynched if he ever crosses her path. She also calls Lennie a ―dum-dum,‖ but succeeds in ―tempting‖ him to sit and talk with her. This looks like a deliberate attempt on her
part to have Curley beat him senseless should they be spotted together. Although she seems harmless, Curley's wife is anything but, to any man who crosses her path. Literary villains are all despicable in their own right. Some are sleazeworthy seducers, some are cold-blooded killers, and some are just plain indescribably evil. Of Mice and Men has few villains but these two in particular stand out. The story's two protagonists, George Milton and Lennie Small, both have big plans of saving enough money to purchase a home and a plot of land to take care of. Their employment on the ranch is a means of succeeding in this venture and surviving during the Depression. But Lennie's large stature and limited mental capacity leave him to be victimized by a man smaller than himself but with an ego twice as big. It’s a tale of dreams confronted with subtle evil in unexpected places. The plans and hopes of these two friends are threatened by the novel's antagonists, whose true villainy is shown in their behavior, despite the fact that their own way of life isn't threatened by the heroes. ♥
or my literary villain, I offer a minister and aspiring missionary who wants nothing more than to do what he is called to do; a man called good by all the people who know him; a man who believes serving God as a missionary is the greatest thing anyone can do; a man willing to give up everything important to him to go out and live, serve, and die in India, doing the work of God; a man determined to help preserve the virtue of a young woman he knows and admires and offers her the chance to do what is truly noble and serve God by his side. This man is Jane Eyre’s St. John Rivers, one of my least favorite fictional characters of all time. As an aspiring theologian and missionary myself, I love missionaries and ministers in fiction, and other characters who are bound and determined to do God’s will against all obstacles. But I can’t remember a character who agitates me to the degree that St. John Rivers does, every single time I read Jane Eyre, which is frequently. For those unacquainted with the plot , here are some spoilers necessary
to understanding my view of St. John as the villain of the piece. Little, plain, impoverished, and intelligent Jane Eyre, after a loveless childhood and harsh education, becomes a governess for a child in a mysterious manor house in a remote area of England. She meets, falls in love with, and becomes engaged to the master of the house, Edward Rochester, a peculiar, ugly, mercurial, none-too-virtuous but ever so compelling man with a secret. The secret, which makes a Gothic novel of the book, is that he is already married and has his thoroughly insane wife locked in the attic. When Jane finds out, she flees the temptation Rochester holds out to her of moving to the Continent and living in a false marriage. After hardship, she is taken in by her cousins Diana, Mary, and St. John Rivers, lives and works with them, and is eventually offered the chance to leave England, and all its painful associations, and go to India as St. John’s wife to live and die a missionary. She chooses to find out what happened to Rochester in her absence before making a final decision, learns his wife is dead, and marries him.
There’s no real bad guy in this story, no real villain, other than circumstances and personal temptation. By all accounts, Rochester should come closest because he tries to trick a virtuous and godly young woman into a bigamist
marriage and then tries to tempt her into becoming his mistress. His rival, the handsome St. John, is portrayed as ―good,‖ upright, and selfsacrificing yet I call St. John the antagonist, not Rochester. Wikipedia
loneliness to try to take what comfort he can in the piquancy of Jane’s presence, unaware of the forgiveness and comfort of Christ. He truly loves plain, insignificant Jane. He is a protagonist, and we long to see him find joy and love with Jane.
says, ―An antagonist is a character, group of characters, or institution that represents the opposition against which the protagonist must contend.‖ The opposition St. John offers Jane Eyre nearly undoes her.
While Rochester creates opposition for Jane by tempting her to sin with him, she is strong enough to oppose him and run away. Rochester is a sad character, as much sinned against as sinning, driven through pain and
St. John, on the other hand, is a man seemingly of virtue and godliness, a minister with Christian authority but no Christian love. He has no love for his intelligent little cousin Jane. He only knows she would make a good fellow laborer. Love, and with it gentleness, mercy, and forgiveness, is not part of St. John’s Christianity. He is a cold man, a harsh man, and what is more, an arrogant man. He believes his will is God’s will, and anyone who opposes him and his agenda, as Jane tries to do when he proposes coldly to her, is opposing God. When Jane at first refuses to marry him, believing his diamondhard character will kill her if she is forced to submit to him, he believes she is denying God in her life and is worse than the heathen. He treats her with cold, hard anger and unforgiveness. By the end of the book, he has nearly brainwashed Jane into believing he is right. By his coldness to her when her whole being cries out for the love and kindness of family, he
manipulates her into almost agreeing to his request. She can stand up to the fire of Rochester but not the ice of St. John. But we, the readers, know his agenda is all wrong. Jane’s purpose is not missions in India, as good and noble as missions in India is. Jane belongs with Rochester. The point of the whole book is that she belongs with him. In fact, when Jane returns to Rochester, she performs her own missionary work, because her return brings him to an understanding of God’s love and forgiveness. In obeying St. John, the missionary, she would have been false to her true Christian purpose. St. John Rivers is not a classic villain, nor do I think Charlotte Brontë intended to write him as one. But he stands in the way of the story’s fulfillment, which makes him an antagonist, and he inserts his will for God’s, which makes him even worse. He is a more immoral character than even Rochester, because in all his claims to godliness, Christianity, ministry, and following God’s will, he gives no room in his life for the love and mercy that make a true believer. St. John Rivers nearly destroys our protagonist, and that makes him the unintended villain. ♥
he may not possess nefarious magical powers used for ill. She may not live in an eerie castle or have a deadly criminal past. Her goal in life is not world domination. But Mansfield Park’s Mrs. Norris is so mean and false in her attitudes and impressions that she makes people’s lives— namely her niece, Fanny Price—ever the more difficult and unhappy. Mrs. Norris loves money. On the one hand, her preoccupation for it is understandable because unlike her sister, Lady Bertram, she didn’t marry a wealthy man. Mr. Norris was a parson and friends with Sir Thomas; while they are not ―contemptible‖ towards one another, the union appears to be one of convenience and obligation. Mrs. Norris learned to manage a frugal household not only to accommodate their needs but also to make ―a yearly addition to an income which they had never lived up to.‖ While she is economical when it comes to her own household, Mrs. Norris has no problem ―spend [ing] that of her friends.‖
Despite bearing little love for her own sister, Mrs. Norris is constantly at Mansfield Park, managing the household and always ready to enjoy the comforts of their home. Her love for money and the comforts of the upper class can be seen in the way she treats her nieces, Maria and Julia, whom she reminds every so often of how many of their accomplishments are the result of their socioeconomic status. Coupled with her love and concern for money is ―her love of directing.‖ She especially likes to tell people of her role in certain developments or subject matters, saying things like ―owing to me‖ to credit herself in the discussion. She enjoys her role as confidante to her brother-in-law, influencing and advising him, so much so that it seems she is closer to Sir Thomas than his own wife. She is greatly proud of Maria’s engagement to Mr. Rushmore, a wealthy man. When Tom Bertram and his friend Mr. Yates decide to put on a production of Lovers’ Vows during Sir Thomas’ absence, she places herself in charge
of helping put together the set. Her pride in her own schemes is so great that she becomes upset whenever someone revises it, like when Edmund offers to stay at home so Fanny can join Mrs. Norris and his siblings in visiting the Rushmores. These characteristics come together to form one particular vice that resonates in Mrs. Norris’ character throughout the novel: vanity. On the outset she seems ―thoroughly benevolent‖ and likes the appearance of ―being the most liberal -minded sister and aunt in the world.‖ But her actions don’t support her words; although she is the one who proposes the idea of bringing Fanny to Mansfield Park and agrees to share custody in raising her, Mrs. Norris later talks her way out of her obligation of bringing her into her home, arguing that she is in no position to care for a young person with her reduced income and widowed state. Her desire to look useful also compromises her responsibility as an adult such as failing to put a stop to the makeshift play—knowing that Sir
Thomas won’t approve— and setting a proper example of kindness and right conduct to her nieces. Mrs. Norris’ treatment of Fanny over the course of the novel shows how contradictory her actions are to her words as well as how uncaring she can be. She has ―no affection for Fanny‖ and has ―no wish of procuring her pleasure at any time,‖ to the point that she will deny her simple comforts such as the use of a carriage to take her to dinner at the Grants’ home or a pleasant conversation with Lady Bertram while working on a hem. She constantly reminds Fanny that she is socially ―beneath‖ them and she should be thankful for Sir Thomas’ generosity. She both encourages and exacerbates Fanny’s timid, introverted nature by telling her time and again, ―wherever you are, you must be the lowest and last.‖ Saying such things also reinforces Fanny’s status as an outsider in the Bertram household, despite spending her formative years in their tutelage. Like the stepmother in Cinderella, Mrs. Norris
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is very bossy toward Fanny, putting her to task with chores around the house. She often scolds Fanny, especially whenever she catches her in a moment of rest. Mrs. Norris has absolutely no regard for Fanny’s well-being, leaving her out to work on the garden in the sun despite knowing that her health is generally fragile. Mrs. Norris’ unkind behaviour eventually pays her in kind. Upset by Maria’s downfall and blaming Fanny for refusing Henry Crawford’s proposal, Mrs. Norris leaves Mansfield Park to take care of her niece. Rather than feeling sad by her departure, her relations are relieved and she is ―regretted by no one at Mansfield.‖ Sir Thomas lost his good opinion of his sister-in-law after he returned from Antigua and ―felt her an hourly evil.‖ Although Maria
was her favourite, she had no genuine love for her, or vice versa on Maria’s part. In the end, Mrs. Norris and Maria were stuck together in the countryside; even
Jane Austen supposed in the narration ―that their tempers became their mutual punishment.‖ Mrs. Norris is a miserly woman whose love for
money and appearing resourceful and generous contributes to her poor behaviour toward other people, especially her niece, Fanny. She actively seeks to keep Fanny from truly enjoying the company of the family who took her in. In a way, she also contributes to the dysfunction of the Bertram household through her reinforcement of snobbish attitudes of social standing, especially amongst her nieces. Mrs. Norris leaves some ―bitter remembrances behind her,‖ but the people who were most affected by her behaviour— namely Fanny—survived her company without reciprocating her meanness. ♥
ometimes, no matter how hard you look for a glimmer of goodness in a person, you won’t find it. There are times when a man or woman has zero redeeming qualities and, in fact, they are rotten through and through… evil to the very core. One such man is Captain John Claggart, the antagonist of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd. Based on the 1949 stage adaption of the novel, Billy Budd is a 1962 period drama starring the sensational Robert Ryan. Peter Ustinov, who also directed the film, stars with Ryan, while the title role introduces newcomer Terence Stamp (in an Oscar-nominated best supporting actor nod). David McCallum and Melvyn Douglas are the supporting players. While on a wartime cruise in 1797, The Avenger, a ship of the British Royal Navy, stops the merchant ship The Rights of Man which is bound for the West Indies. Needing to impress one of that ship's men into naval service, the officers board The Rights of Man and come away with Billy Budd, a
teenager. A simple boy, Billy can’t read or write, and when he gets nervous, is unable to speak and instead he stutters. The Master at Arms on The Avenger is John Claggart (Ryan), a man as evil as the day is long. Cruel and sadistic, he rules over the crew with viciousness and brutality, finding pleasure in having the men flogged, often for infractions they're not even aware of. All the men despise Claggart, which delights him. Billy Budd, on the other hand, is kind, friendly, and good. When all the men complain about the Master at Arms, Billy insists that since no man takes pleasure in cruelty, there must be a reason when someone is flogged or put on report. Even after Claggart forces a sick man to stand watch, Billy believes he must have had a reason for doing so. It is not in Billy to consider that one human being would purposefully, and for no reason, hurt another. Believing Claggart to be good deep down, Billy seeks to befriend him while topside one evening,
an act which causes the man's hatred towards Billy to increase; and when Billy refuses to take part in an assassination attempt on the master at arms, his fate is sealed. The evil in Claggart is so infuriated by the good in Billy that he will stop at nothing to destroy the boy. Billy Budd is gripping and amazingly acted. The always-brilliant Robert Ryan positively oozes evil in this film. While Mr. Ryan often portrayed "bad guys" and did a fantastic job doing so, I find this role to be perhaps his most wicked. There is absolutely nothing decent or redeeming about Captain Claggart. He is simply rotten through and through, and Mr. Ryan’s portrayal of the evil,
malevolent man is completely stellar. The Billy Budd character is kind, forgiving, caring, honest, trustworthy—the kind of person we wish there were more of in this world. Terence Stamp does a beautiful job bringing Billy to life. Peter Ustinov, who produced, directed, and starred in the film, is quite good in his role as the ship's captain… a man torn between justice and mercy. Fostering such questions as ―Is black always black and white always white, or are there gray areas?‖ Billy Budd is a great discussion piece. . Be warned, it’s not a feelgood story, but it is incredibly thoughtprovoking and well worth watching. ♥
appy 110th birthday to one of the classiest gals of Hollywood's golden era (or any era!), the lovely Miss Claudette Colbert (September 13, 1903 - July 30, 1996). Born Emilie Lily Chauchoin (or Lily Emilie, depending on the source) in Paris, Claudette Colbert was one of those actresses who could do it all— comedy, drama, stage, silents, talkies, TV. Having moved to New York with her family when she was nine years old, Lily (who had changed her named to Lily Claudette) began her show business career on the Broadway stage. The stage would remain a love, and it would draw her back regularly through the years. In a career spanning over six decades, Claudette made 62 films, earning a Best Actress Academy Award for her work in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night. She would be nominated two more times for that award. Her appearance in the 1987 TV mini-series, The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, garnered her an Emmy Award nomination (Best
Get reviews of his films on Patti’s blog!
Supporting Actress) and a Golden Globe win. Her stage work brought a Tony Award nomination her way. Not many actresses can boast of having Oscar, Emmy, and Tony nominations, but this "can do it all" gal did. Over the course of her long career, Miss Colbert was paired with a variety of leading men, including Don Ameche, Clark Gable, and Fred MacMurray. The lovely, classy Claudette came into my life through It Happened One Night. It was close to seven years ago, when, having long-loved It's a Wonderful Life, I went on a quest to see more of Frank Capra's works and
discovered the completely charming "bus movie." I fell in love with Miss Colbert; she’d been one of my favorite actresses ever since. I think she's classy, elegant, sophisticated, feminine, and always a delight to watch! So, Miss Claudette Colbert, here's to you on your 110th birthday. You were a wonderful actress, and you will always be one of my favorites. Thank you for making so many terrific movies, including two (It Happened One Night and Imitation of Life) which are among my 20 favorites of all time. ♥
is the November Star of the Month!
Patti loves the golden age of Hollywood! If you do too, you’ll love her blog!
few months ago, author Neil Stephenson stated in an interview that his novels never have female villains because for a villain to be convincing, they have to be powerful. Ouch. Apparently Stephenson never read Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, which features one of the best villains in literature, man or woman: the mysterious and sly Lady de Winter. Like Cardinal Richelieu, Lady de Winter is a major antagonist for the Musketeers; unlike Richelieu, she’s described as ―evil‖ and ―a demon.‖ Known by various aliases—Lady Clarick, Milady, the Comtesse de la Fère, Anne de Breuil, and Charlotte Backson, among others—the true identity, even nationality (she can pass as English or French, as she chooses) of Lady de Winter is an enigma. The reader doesn’t even start connecting her identities until nearly halfway through the novel, and her various plots take even longer to unravel. Let’s take a look at this ―demon’s‖ various crimes: as a spy for Cardinal
Richelieu, Lady Clarick plotted to kill the Duke of Buckingham and steal diamonds given to him by Queen Anne of France. She hired men to kill d’Artagnan after an assignation between them, and she tried to kill her brother-in-law and
the heir to the de Winter estate numerous times. But by far her greatest crime, at least as far as the Musketeers are concerned, is that she broke Athos’s heart. Athos is everyone’s favorite Musketeer because he has a Dark Past, and the key element to that Dark Past is that before he joined the Musketeers, he was a
nobleman who fell in love with a poor young girl. Athos’s sun, moon, and stars revolved around her until one day he saw a fleur-de-lis brand on her back, a sign that she was, in fact, a thief! Quelle horreur. So what did Athos do? He sentenced
her to death by hanging to pay for her crimes, of course. Then he ran off and spent the next decade whining about how women are completely untrustworthy. So here’s the thing about Lady de Winter: like all great villains, even though her actions are morally reprehensible, you can totally understand where
she’s coming from. Can anyone really blame her for running off and marrying a count after her first husband tried to kill to her? I think that’s generally filed under ―relationship ender.‖ And I would have wanted to kill d’Artagnan after the way he behaved, too! I wouldn’t have done it, of course, but I’m not the villain in an adventure novel. Villains are gonna be villainous! Not only that, but one can’t help but admire Milady’s cleverness, even while thinking, ―Ooooh, she is sooo eeeeeevil.‖ For example, when Lady de Winter escapes from the prison her brother-in-law throws her into by convincing her guard she’s a persecuted Puritan. Pure genius! For someone who was apparently born with nothing but her brains and her good looks, she made it pretty far in the world by the time the Musketeers showed up. She’s not just a passive character, either: her actions during the course of the novel drive much of the plot. For proof, just look at the film adaptations of The Three
Musketeers: even though Hollywood tends to marginalize female characters, they all feature Milady prominently because there’s no way you can tell The Three Musketeers without including Lady de Winter—you wouldn’t have the second half of the book! Lady de Winter takes the weaknesses of every male character she meets and uses them against him. With Athos, it’s his heroic nature; with d’Artagnan it’s the fact that he falls in love with every woman he meets. With the prison guard, it’s his religion, and with her brother-inlaw, it’s his arrogance. Her ability to manipulate men, almost turning them in their own worst enemies for her own personal gain, must be pretty terrifying. She may not be powerful in the way Cardinal Richelieu is, but she is the smartest, most Machiavellian, and most resourceful character in The Three Musketeers. At some point Richelieu and the Musketeers reach a détente because of the war with England; Milady, on the other hand, is forever
condemned because, in the long run, Richelieu’s scheming seems silly in comparison to hers. Of course, that’s all fiction—right? Wrong-o. Dumas based Lady de Winter on historical accounts of actual women. In the memoirs of 18th century French naval officer Hubert de Brienne, he described a woman named Lady Clarick de Winter, who actually did scheme to steal Queen Anne’s diamonds from the Duke of Buckingham. Another French writer, the Duc de La Rochefoucauld, related the story of an Englishwoman named Lucy Hay, the Countess of
Make sure to check out Tasha’s Blog! Carlisle, who was involved in numerous political intrigues in the court of Charles I and pawned a pearl necklace to support both sides during the English Civil War. She was summarily locked in the Tower of London, but eventually managed to escape, much like our intrepid Lady de Winter. Dumas knew that women could be powerful enough to serve as formidable villains based on history, and that was a nineteenth century writer looking to
17th- and 18th-century females for inspiration! The Three Musketeers is hardly a work of feminist literature (although it does pass the Bechdel Test), but it still has believable women characters with their own motivations who drive major events of the story. Lady de Winter is only one of those characters, but she’s definitely the most memorable and a woman that everyone loves to hate. ♥
harles Dickens wrote many memorable and heinous villains in his time. One of the defining characteristics of his stories is that most of them have more than one villain. Sometimes, there are many, of varying levels of evil intent and impact on the plot. Our Mutual Friend fits well into this generalization, as Silas Wegg, Mr. and Mrs. Lammle, Rogue Riderhood and Bradley Headstone all impact the storyline in different ways. However, of this collection of people with villainous intent, Bradley Headstone makes the most impact on the reader because he is a fascinating psychological study, descending ever deeper into a madness brought on by obsession. He is introduced as a decent, morally upright, rule following, lawabiding schoolteacher. He appears to be quiet, constrained and utterly respectable. He is not wealthy but earns enough to make a comfortable life for himself and is set up at the beginning as a fitting suitor for someone of a similar social standing. This is simply the surface of the matter. Under his cool exterior, Headstone hides a boiling pot of
emotional turmoil and conflict. He is proud to a fault and repressive of his emotions but capable of violent temper. This hidden nature is aroused by the introduction to his life of the beautiful and virtuous Lizzie Hexam. Lizzie’s brother Charlie is one of Headstone’s students and Charlie hopes to help educate his sister through Headstone. His admired and trusted mentor is thrilled at the opportunity to tutor Lizzie, whom he has already fallen for. But two things put a damper on Headstone’s passion. He discovers a rival for her affections in Eugene Wrayburn, a man of higher social standing who has already procured a tutor for Lizzie… and Lizzie doesn’t care for Headstone and rebuffs his attentions. These things serve as a burner to ignite the fire of his inner demons and to propel this troubled love triangle towards certain conflict. As a villain, Headstone isn’t particularly wicked. This isn’t a story of high stakes, political intrigue, power, greed, money or scheming. Rather, Our Mutual Friend revolves around obsession. The triangle of Eugene, Lizzie, and Headstone has her as the object of longing and her two suitors as rivals and opponents, both for Lizzie’s affections and against one another.
The enmity between the men begins with their discovery that they are chasing the same woman. This escalates when they also discover they truly despise one another as men. Eugene’s arrogant, high born nature, haughty attitude and ambiguous intentions and lust for Lizzie make him a sort of anti-hero for most of the story, and give Headstone good reason to dislike him; Headstone’s cold, calculating demeanor and violent jealousy give Eugene reason to dislike him, and what ensues is a game of cat and mouse.
deepens upon seeing her again. He ponders taking her by force since she will not acquiesce to his overtures, despite her being in love with him, but he is stopped from doing anything rash by the appearance of Headstone, who followed him there. Seeing Eugene and Lizzie together is the final straw for Headstone and he attacks Eugene, beating him and throwing him in the river to drown. This murder attempt almost succeeds, but the true hero of the story, Lizzie, saves Eugene in time.
Obsession is the central component in this game. Both men are obsessed with Lizzie, something that frightens her into running away and hiding from them. While the men are in the dark as to her whereabouts, their obsession with her turns into an obsession with each other. Headstone takes to following Eugene everywhere in hopes that he’ll locate Lizzie. His sanity and grasp of reality deteriorate during this period as his focus blurs and twists in his jealousy. He sees Lizzie as an unattainable object of desire and Eugene as the reason for his problems. In his obsessive misery, Eugene enjoys tormenting Headstone and actively misleads him. Through less than morally upright means, Eugene locates Lizzie. His desire for her
Eugene’s brush with death changes him and he is ―reborn.‖ He recognizes the error of his ways, marries Lizzie, and comes to forgive Headstone, refusing to name him as the attempted murderer, knowing that Headstone will punish himself enough. Indeed, fear of discovery, unresolved violent passion, unrelenting obsession and insane jealousy eat away at Headstone. His fears all come true when another villain, Rogue Riderhood, reveals that he knows all about the murder attempt and tells Headstone of Eugene’s survival and newfound happiness with Lizzie. Riderhood tries to blackmail Headstone with this information, but with nothing left to lose, Headstone takes the man down with him, drowning them both in the icy
waters Eugene survived. Obsession with anything is never healthy, but obsession with another person is especially dangerous. Headstone falls down the rabbit hole of murder and passion into insanity as he changes from respectable schoolteacher to deranged stalker and would-bekiller. He is effective as an antagonist because his brand of villainy is something that we can easily find in society at any time. People who harbor dark obsessions too often turn into case studies on Dateline and 60 Minutes because their actions become murder or kidnapping. The desire to possess is what first drives Bradley Headstone down his dark path. When he is spurned, by what he perceives as Lizzie’s interest in Eugene, his passionate desire turns violent and his obsession envelops Eugene too. Headstone perceives Eugene as the one who has taken his object of desire, as the source of his problems, as a wall that must be taken down to get to the peace and happiness on the other side. Headstone conceives wrongly that by taking down Eugene he can obtain Lizzie. In fact, what lies on the other side of the wall is the emptiness, fear and self-loathing that the path violent obsession inevitably leads to. ♥
now. What is it? Is it just a frozen drop of rain or the sign of a new beginning? When snow begins to fall and cover the ground we know that winter is here. Those living in warmer climates see snowcovered towns during the winter and look at it in awe. Many who live in snowy climates might even see it as a nuance. However, for the most part, it has been a symbol of purity and even innocence. That makes us wonder why author Suzanne Collins penned the name President Snow on the heartless ruler in the Hunger Games Trilogy. President Snow is anything but pure or innocent. In fact, he’s ruthless, cruel, and just plain evil. In the Hunger Games Trilogy readers go on a journey with Katniss, Peeta, Gale and a band of rebels as they face down President Snow and his minions. When Katniss stands up against the terrifying ruler of Panem, President Snow finds that his world has been turned on its head. What is this world that he and
the others live in? Well, annually for the past 74 + years the 12 Districts (what is left of America) provide two ―Tributes‖ to fight to the death in The Hunger Games as a form of punishment to remind the 12 Districts, that like the infamous District 13, if you rebel they will blow you off the map. This is a reminder of who is truly in power. What makes this even worse is the ―Tributes‖ range in age from 12 to 18… they’re children. What makes a man or a society accepting of the fact that children are put into an arena to fight to the death? What truly happened to this world? What happened to this particular man? We often wonder what our society would do if something catastrophic happened. Would we band together and hold each other up? What if those we depended on, the President, our Military, the police, was no more? Could we keep our humanity and rebuild? That is the question the Hunger Games Trilogy tries to answer. In Collins’ world, it isn’t all sunshine and butterflies.
President Snow takes advantage of a struggling society for his own gain. Much like your average dictator, he rules with an iron fist. However, like a thief or snake, he stays in the shadows… scheming, pretending to be a truly merciful ruler… until he strikes. Like many successful dictators, he is able to control an entire population with a few words, a threat and even the shining, gleaming lights of the Capital. He knows exactly how to manipulate people as well as control them. He doesn’t even blink when he is told how his citizens are starving or when an innocent child dies in one of his ―Games.‖ This lack of emotion is a telltale sign of a sociopath… to put it bluntly. He lacks any kind of empathy and compassion where most people would be crushed under the emotions of the devastation caused through their role in sending children to murder one another. Snow revels in the fact that he strikes fear in Katniss. It’s as if he thrives off that fear and without it, he’d shrivel up and wither away.
Collin’s description of Snow, at first glance, is unassuming. She almost teases us with him. In fact, we don’t know much about Snow other than what Katniss tells us. He’s just a man with white hair, a white suit and a red rose pinned to his chest. Then we learn he isn’t as pure as his suit. Katniss tells us that his breath smells like blood, a metallic scent that makes her sick. This is the perfect example of a villain. He is polished and poised on the outside, but inside is rotten. He is the symbol, in every fashion, of his beloved Capital. On the outside there is glitz and glamour, but underneath the layers of money and fashionable taste is a dead society of truly lost individuals. Since President Snow is such a sly character and so able to control the masses, and Collins’ books take place in what is left of America, it leaves one to wonder, could that really happen here? Could we or would we allow someone to control us the way Snow does Panem? Would we sacrifice just a few of our
young so that others have the chance to live? We could take many aspects of the world of Panem and correlate them to our world today. First, we allow President Snow type characters to control our minds. We’ve seen it through the ages in ancient civilizations such as the Mayans, who sacrificed their people to appease their gods, Vlad III, who impaled those who opposed him on stakes, and Hilter, who controlled an entire country by hating a single race into near extinction. Secondly, we let ourselves be hypnotized by the sparkles of Hollywood and celebrities, much like the people of the Capital. Lastly, and on a lighter note, we know how to band together. Even if there are times Americans lose sight of what is important, giving in to a President Snow character or just lead astray by something shiny, we have always come to our senses and realized that together we can overcome any obstacle. ♥
The Darkness Trilogy
Begins with “The Shadow” Christian Speculative Fiction / Fantasy! Out Now! Buy it on Kindle & Paperback Add on Goodreads
Read more about author A.G. Porter on her Goodreads profile and her blog (where she also hosts lots of fun giveaways!).
This article contains spoilers.
for the right moment to boil over and scald everything in its path.
he appears so quiet and calm at first glance—the wife of a Parisian wine vendor, focused on her knitting, self-contained and selfsufficient. But looks can be deceiving. Inside the quiet woman is a seething cauldron of suppressed rage, hatred, and vengefulness, just waiting
If Madame Defarge looks meaningfully at you as she knits, believe me, you will live to regret it.
In fact, Thérèse Defarge personifies all the terror and vengeance of the French Revolution, in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Like many other historical novelists,
when dealing with the sweep and force of a major event from the past, Dickens created a handful of individuals to represent that event for us, and thus to place it on a more human, more comprehensible scale. The revolution arose out of many complex factors and causes, but in Dickens’s retelling, all the bitterness, injustice, and unrest are distilled in one woman who, after many
patient years of waiting and plotting, at long last exchanges her knitting needles for a dagger. The tragic events that spur Madame Defarge’s rage are buried deep in the past, not to be unearthed until late in the story. She was born into a peasant family who were mercilessly tormented by the St. Evrémondes, an aristocratic family who,
for all intents and purposes, owned them. Thérèse’s sister, brotherin-law, brother, father, and unborn niece or nephew all died at the hands of these corrupt and cruel aristocrats. Thérèse herself only escaped their brutality because her brother was able to smuggle her away and hide her before they could get hold of her.
―Imbued from her childhood with a brooding sense of wrong, and an inveterate hatred of a class, opportunity had developed her into a tigress … It was nothing to her, that an innocent man was to die for the
It’s noteworthy that we only see Madame Defarge responding to the events of her past with anger and hate—as a ―tigress.‖ At some point, she must have felt terrible sorrow and grief, but never for one instant do we, the
The destruction of her family was, naturally enough, the defining event of Madame Defarge’s life. Bent on avenging her family and punishing all aristocrats —especially Charles Darnay, the descendant of the St. Evrémondes— she has become a woman without mercy. Having lured her intended victim from England back to France, she toys with him like a particularly masterful cat with a particularly naïve and helpless mouse. Dickens writes of her:
it does to us. As she methodically plans to wipe out her victim and his entire family, Madame Defarge tells her compatriots: ―Tell Wind and Fire where to stop … but don’t tell me.‖ She has become more a force of nature than a human being, and a force of nature has no heart. It has no ability to hear, to feel, to experience any sort of genuine connection with anyone. The real tragedy of Madame Defarge—a tragedy that she never recognizes, and probably wouldn’t care about if she did—is that she has become what she hates. Just like the men who tortured and killed her family members, she persecutes the innocent. Their family connections are enough to blacken them in her eyes; she cares about nothing else. It’s chilling to see how she has become the perfect reflection of the evil men who stole her family from her.
sins of his forefathers; she saw, not him, but them. It was nothing to her, that his wife was to be made a widow and his daughter an orphan; that was insufficient punishment, because they were her natural enemies and her prey, and as such had no right to live.‖
readers, see those emotions in her. They have all been transformed into a burning desire for revenge. I think there’s a reason that Dickens never lets this character show a softer emotion. I think he’s trying to show us something about the nature of hate, and what
While A Tale of Two Cities as a whole tells a beautiful story of love and redemption, Madame Defarge haunts it like a dark, foreboding shadow—a picture of what life looks like without those things in it. That bleak picture should give us pause before we allow hatred—no matter how justified—to infect our own lives. ♥
Visit Gina’s Dickensblog and BreakPoint.
o villain is more remembered than Hannibal Lecter, the charming serial killer in Thomas Harris’ novels. Dr. Lecter is a contrast of manners and sadism… a cultured art-appreciating murderous cannibal (such is his disdain for the rest of humanity) who exploits others’ vulnerabilities for his own amusement. Dr. Lecter began as a minor character but audiences couldn’t get enough of this terrifying genius. There are four books in the series: Hannibal Rising, Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. The most disliked book by fans is Hannibal Rising, which establishes the reason for his actions as ―revenge‖ for a childhood incident. When his little sister is killed during WWII, he tracks down those
responsible and kills them. Some readers believe this lessens his impact as a villain, since it makes him a victim, thus igniting that age-old debate, ―are sociopaths born or created?‖ Red Dragon has him in prison after being found out as the Chesapeake Ripper. He is consulted by an FBI agent and former
victim, Will Graham, on a current serial killer, but manages to come out on top when he sends the murderer after Graham. The Silence of the Lambs introduces him to Clarice Starling, an FBI agent in training who is neither intimidated by him nor afraid to play his games. He leads her to a killer, and she unwittingly aids in his escape. Hannibal pits him against an old adversary/victim who wants revenge and uses Clarice as bait. The novel ends with Clarice living out the rest of her life with Dr. Lecter.
Anthony Hopkins first brought the character to life in the award-winning Silence of the Lambs. It launched a film franchise that covers the rest of the books (with degrees of accuracy, although the controversial ending to Hannibal is changed). More recent is NBC’s Hannibal, a unique take that starts before Lecter’s capture. Certain aspects are changed (characters, motives, conclusions) but its brilliance lies in the gradual build-up of its leading character and his influence over the life of Will Graham. This is Dr. Lecter before he is caught – manipulating everyone to where he wants them, using subtle cruelties, taking quiet pleasure in crime scenes, and often
manufacturing a ―human response‖ that melts into a total lack of empathy as soon as someone’s back is turned. Everything is calculated, down to his responses. The series follows his relationship with Will Graham and Abigail Hobbs. Graham is a brainy but sensitive man who feels remorse and trauma when stepping into the minds of killers. (The FBI uses him as a consultant in criminal cases.) Lecter, under the guise of his therapist, emotionally manipulates Will to the point where he doubts his own sanity. He also builds a mentor relationship with Abigail Hobbs, the daughter of a murderer. She’s enough like Lecter to figure him out before anyone else but different enough not to become what he wants her to be, a remorseless murderer. What becomes of her and how Will reacts leads to one of the most
chilling confrontations in the history of television. Mads Mikkelson plays Lecter not as ―a villain but an incarnation of the devil.‖ It’s a brilliant interpretation a figure that enjoys torment, lets others fall into pits of their own making with a little bit of help, has no empathy, and uses people in cruel ways. This symbolism is carried on in the subtle influences of the scripts and staging. One can see similarities in Will’s struggle against Lecter to the plight of a believer falling into sin; Abigail’s victimization by Lecter is reminiscent of a life without Christ. Even the structure of Lecter’s office and his interaction with other characters smacks of symbolism… characters that start out ―aloft‖ on his balcony ―descend‖ into his office and realm of influence, often by taking his hand.
Early scenes find Abigail or Will aloft (on the moral high ground) but as his influence over them grows we find Lecter elevated to a place of superiority and influence, coinciding with their demise. Hannibal Lecter’s evil is terrifying because he has ―no motive.‖ He has no reason to be cruel or manipulative except that he enjoys it and feels no remorse or empathy for his actions. His brilliance is used to destroy others. This purposelessness in evil both fascinates and disturbs us, and sets Dr. Lecter apart from other literary villains who are motivated through lust, greed, ambition, or even moral superiority. Lecter is proof that evil doesn’t need motives; it can simply exist. And that, for any reader or viewer, is the most terrifying realization of all. ♥
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Speculative Fiction & Fantasy
Speculative Fiction takes place in ―our world‖ or one similar to it, but with fantastical elements … magic, vampires, werewolves, that sort of thing.
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Some of the upcoming articles include: The Horatio Lyle Series, The Invisible Man, The Firebird Trilogy, Early Edition, Lisey’s Story, Going Postal, Inception, Star Trek, The Parasol Protectorate, The Raven, Orphan Black, The Dresden Files, Star Trek, Once Upon a Time, and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. There are still open spots! Want to write something? Claim your topic today: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Inside: John Willoughby, Reverend Dimmesdale, Professor Umbridge, Curley, St. John Rivers, Mrs. Norris, Lady de Winter, Bradley Headstone, P...