Day Five: Eccentrically Ethical Evildoers

Welcome to Day Five of the A to Z Challenge. For this year’s challenge, I’ll be examining different types of characters that can be found in international fiction. Today I’m looking at eccentrically ethical evildoers.

These characters have what most would consider a pretty twisted view of life. They have an unconventional code of ethics that justifies their dirty deeds and in many cases drives them. These characters share a set of principles that make them predictable and goals that tend towards destruction.

Warning: This posts contains spoilers for Silence of the Lambs, No Country for Old Men and Avengers Infinity War.

Predictable Principles

Though these characters actions aren’t always predictable to the reader/viewer, they are known by characters in the story. Clarice in Silence of the Lambs, for example, knew that Hannibal Lector wouldn’t pursue her because she knew he would consider it ‘rude.’ Thanos in Avengers Infinity War, was easy to find because everyone knew his path of destruction was illuminated by the pursuit of infinity stones. Carson Wells in No Country for Old Men knew that Anton Chigurh would come for Llewelyn Moss and his wife because he understood Chigurh’s code.

Destructive Goals

These characters’ compass always point towards destructive goals. In some cases, these goals, in the characters’ mind, will be bring justice or balance to the world, like Thanos destroying half of all living creatures or Yagami Light in Death Note killing off criminals by writing their names in a book.

Perhaps the spookiest thing about these villains is that they are often the victors in the end. Like broken battlers they can be found across different genres including horror, suspense thriller, speculative fiction and historical drama. Other examples of this character are Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, John Doe in Seven, Fletcher in Whiplash and Elijah Prince in Unbreakable.

Can you think of any other examples of eccentrically ethical evildoers?

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