The Villain In Me
I think it is important for us to talk about the villains, particularly movie villains. How often do we watch a movie and instantly relate to the hero. Take Gladiator for instance. I think everyone can easily love Maximus and cheer him on. I think most people can relate to him, believing in what he does and hoping or in confidence believing that we ourselves would do the same thing in his position. Remember how when as kids we would watch a movie or a TV show and say “I’m the red power ranger!” We still do that as adults just on a more mature level. Instead of shouting it out and competing with our friends over who gets to be who, we instead discuss and contemplate the characters actions or we just say who our favorite character is. It’s important to relate to the heroes of movies they help to encourage the good in us and support it in others. The hero’s remind us of certain aspects of humanity that we can forget about at times or not consider at all. Movies can bring us out of our own box of culture and show us a new way of living. Sometimes.
I would hope that most people relate to Maximus but how many of us relate to Commodus the evil, insecure, power hungry, murderous Caesar? Think about how much you dislike him. I mean he killed his father so that he could be Caesar instead of Maximus, then he sentences Maximus to death, he has Maximus’ wife and child painfully executed, he is forcefully incestuous with his sister, he reopens the coliseum, he tries to use the mob mentality of the people to take power away from the people, he threatens to kill his 10 year old nephew, he has politicians he doesn’t like killed, and to top it all off he is a cheating coward. So again I ask do you relate to him. I do. No I am not a murderer, I would not dream of opening a coliseum, I wouldn’t have an innocent child and mother killed, and I’m American so you can bet I wouldn’t try and take power away from the people. I do however struggle with insecurity. I can be quite jealous at times. I sometimes wonder who has my back. I, yes a woman, even get a little power hungry from time to time. All in all I may not be Commodus but I am also not Maximus either. I am not some crazy awesome general who can fight off ten guys bigger than myself. I’m definitely not a strategic warrior. I’m not mature enough to wait and bide my time for the right moment to get revenge that would also help the entire country. I’d just get revenge. On the other hand like Maximus I do believe in upholding justice.
I am not Maximus and I am not Commodus and neither is anyone else but we do relate to both of them. They both show us aspects of our humanity, our good side and our bad. Villains are just as important to relate to as the hero. Take time to understand why you hate the villain so much, sometimes it is because you are seeing something of yourself being reflected back at you. Know thyself. As the saying goes what we hate in others is usually the thing that we don’t like about ourselves. The only way to deal with ourselves is to pay attention to who we are the good and the bad.
Then there are those villains that we do cheer on. Why? Why do we hate some but love and celebrate others? Any ideas? Be sure to let me know in the comments. I would love to have some insight from other people.