Faulks on Fiction: The Villain

In the final episode of Faulks on Fiction, he looked at The Villain, an oddly alluring character in fictional form. As The Villain in fiction has no limits, they are enjoyable as a character because they are the catalyst who makes things happen and drive the plot forward as they control the plot.

  • Samuel Richardson - Clarissa (1748): The first great villain was Lovelace from Clarissa who made it his aim to seduce as many women as possible, and this included Clarissa. He has no self-doubt, seeing himself as God, and thinks he's heroic. Lovelace rapes Clarissa, which causes her undoing, but he was such a powerful villain that he was the character responsible for the book's success! 

  • Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist (1838): Fagin corrupted innocent children to do his dirty work with threat of death, and he's the one who engineers the death of Nancy. He's a villain through and through but because of screen ans stage adaptations, he's wrongly portrayed as a lovable one.

  • Wilkie Collins - A Woman in White (1859): When the first detective force was set up in London, this impacted literature as it raised the stakes for fictional villains, too. They now needed to be clever to escape detection and Count Fosco is. He relishes his power over people and uses science to hide behind.

  •  Mervyn Prake - Gormenghast (1950): Steerpike works as a kitchen boy but has the ability to manipulate, which he does, with no regret.

  • William Golding - Lord of the Flies (1954): Jack is depicted as "angelic" as he's a 12 year old choir boy, but his pride is hurt when Ralph is elected leader of the island. The book shows the growth of evil in the most innocent as the children descent into anarchy. 

  • Paul Scott - The Raj Quartet (1965): Merrick is an outsider, but he's still a villain we can engage with. The fictional villain almost always tends to come to a bloody end and he is no exception. 

  • Zoe Heller - Notes on a Scandal (2003): It's harder to spot the villain in modern times, as the villain could be "you" with how they are. Villains, like Barbara, can teach us about ourselves. 

Out of The Hero, The Lover, The Snob and The Villain, which is your favourite type of character in fiction? Mine has to be The Lover, I think! {^_^} x

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