By: Stephanie Norman
An antihero is the central protagonist in a literary piece, movie, or comic book who lacks the conventional attributes of a hero. Unlike a traditional hero, he is characterized with aggressiveness, clumsiness, dishonesty, or other terrible habits that make him more flawed and distasteful. Nevertheless, he is still the hero of the story because his magnificent traits make him more appealing than loathsome.
Antiheroes are flawed, just as all people are. The light and the dark sides are in a never-ending battle, and their souls are the battlegrounds. Of course, the good in them has to win at some point. Otherwise we would simply call them villains.
A traditional literary hero is the perfect role model. He is brave, strong, and focused. This character always does the right thing, no matter how tempting the situation is. He is Odysseus, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the Little Prince.
Idealistic heroes rarely work for contemporary readers though. The modern heroic qualities are somewhat similar to the traditional ones, but they gravitate towards the dark side too. Readers want to see complex characters that don’t always do the right thing but are heroes nonetheless.
What’s the first character that comes to mind when you’re trying to think of the perfect antihero?
With all that Star Wars hysteria going around, it’s probably Darth Vader. Some people would categorize Vader as a pure villain, but the character is much deeper than the initial impression he gives. Was he always selfish, or was he more complex and even a man who loved? The stereotypic characteristics make him the villain in the story, but he is still the one who brings balance at the end. To careful observers, Vader is a well-conceptualized antihero.
Let’s name few literary characters that can be classified as antiheroes: Tyler Durden, Jay Gatsby, Alex from A Clockwork Orange, Huckleberry Finn, Dmitry Karamazov—the list can go on for pages. All examples prove the same: antiheroes are pretty awesome. Readers love them because they can understand them and maybe even relate to them.
How can you create a flawed character that your readers would love? These 7 tips will help you understand what is it that readers want to see.
1. Make the character flawed
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