Tragic Villain - Villainous Foil

Villainous Foil

In fiction, villains commonly function in the dual role of adversary and foil to the story's heroes. In their role as adversary, the villain serves as an obstacle the hero must struggle to overcome. In their role as foil, the villain exemplifies characteristics that are diametrically opposed to those of the hero, creating a contrast distinguishing heroic traits from villainous ones. Others point out that many acts of villains have a hint of wish-fulfillment, which makes some people identify with them as characters more strongly than with the heroes. Because of this, a convincing villain must be given a characterization that provides a motive for doing wrong, as well as being a worthy adversary to the hero. As put by film critic Roger Ebert:

"Each film is only as good as its villain. Since the heroes and the gimmicks tend to repeat from film to film, only a great villain can transform a good try into a triumph."

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Famous quotes containing the words villainous and/or foil:

    I think this be the most villainous house in all London road for fleas.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers,
    We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate
    hence-forward,
    Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold yourselves
    from us,
    We use you, and do not cast you aside—we plant you permanently within us,
    We fathom you not—we love you—there is perfection in you also,
    You furnish your parts, toward eternity,
    Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.
    Walt Whitman (1819–1892)