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A true adversary

May 3, 2018

 

DONOVAN ROBBINS

Staff Reporter | djr029@latech.edu

 

ROBBINS

 

An antagonist is an essential aspect to any good story. They can literally make or break a story depending on how they are presented. If an antagonist is presented poorly, the story could lose a lot of its depth and the audience could lose interest. There are certain things an antagonist has to be able to do in order to be considered an effective adversary.

 

One thing that makes a good antagonist is motivation. The villain has to have clear motivation for their actions. Take the Joker from “The Dark Knight” for example. Instead of simply wanting money or power, he wanted to cause chaos and expose Gotham for what it really was. He wanted to expose the fact that anyone can stoop down to his level given the opportunity, and he wanted to show Batman and all of Gotham how flawed their justice really was.

 

The thing I like most about Joker’s motivation is that it is actually realistic. It is not hard to imagine that there are people like the Joker in our civilization. The kind of people who want to expose society and make others stoop down to their level. I feel like giving the villain a strong motivation that is also realistic can really add a lot to a story and give the villain more character.

 

Another thing that is essential for any great villain is being able to attack the hero’s weaknesses. A villain has to be able to exploit these weaknesses in order to truly instill a sense of fear into the protagonist. For example, taking the hero’s loved ones hostage can be considered as exploiting their weakness since the hero would likely do whatever they could to get them back, including cooperating with the villain.

 

An adversary also should be able to give the protagonist difficult decisions. These decisions should be able to affect the main character on a psychological level and give them some sort of inner conflict.

 

For example, the Joker gave Batman several difficult choices throughout “The Dark Knight.” The most notable one would be Batman’s decision to save Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes. In the end, he decided to save Rachel but due to Joker’s false information, he ended up saving Harvey instead of Rachel. Joker was able to get Batman to make a difficult decision and deceive him, and I think this is the kind of action that is fitting for a proper antagonist.

 

All in all, there are other things that an adversary needs to be capable of in order to be considered a good opponent. To me, an antagonist is the most important part of the story and having an antagonist that is done right can make almost any story great.

 

Donovan Robbins is a sophomore graphic design major from Vicksburg, Mississippi, who serves as a staff reporter for The Tech Talk. 

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