Does a Bad Guy Have To Be Evil?

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

I’ve heard this one before and the best answer I can give is… no. The bad guy or villain in a story does not necessarily have to be evil at all. When Chancellor Palpatine said that goodness is a point of view in Revenge of the Sith, despite how self-serving his remark was, he was actually right on many different levels.

There are actual philosophies out there that good and evil are actually just varying degrees of one another. Where one person may say that what they’re doing is for the greater good, another might call it the lesser evil. In the end, good and bad in many cases are largely based around one’s own morals and values.

Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?

From one of the greatest literary classics, Les Miserables. Javert is the bad guy. There is no getting around this. He is the chief…

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