Saturday, April 14, 2012

I like my boys dirty.... (antiheroes)

Dark, Dirty, Violent, Mean...

No, I'm not talking about my last boyfriend... but my favorite kind of hero. 


A dear friend asked what defined an antihero, and I pondered it. What qualities do they share? 

1) The Ends Justify the Means- 
     An Antihero is a True Believer. It doesn't matter particularly what her/his cause is, who they are defending, what they are trying to accomplish. The Antihero attacks their duty with a sort of blind devotion. Anyone or anything that gets in the way is toast.

2)They Aren't Evil, They were Drawn that Way-
    Something happened. Something awful. And When it did, something inside of our hero was broken. Whether she was pushed in front of a Train and lost her legs and fractured her mind or his best friends sent him to Hell alive, something set them on the path they are on.  

3)They Did it THEIIIIIIR Way-
   Righting the wrongs of the world should be heroic type stuff. Golden boy stuff. Not the purview of the dregs of society. But, thing is, *if* an antihero *could* do it the *right* way... they probably wouldn't. But it doesn't much matter, cause our beloved antiheroes have problems that can't be taken to the local constabulary. Things are complicated. The Antihero's answer tends to be simple. Keep going till the wrongs have been righted.

Okay, kids, what are your thoughts? Who are your favorite Antiheroes? Did I miss an important characteristic? 


Cathy Yardley said...

This reminds me of Zsadist in the Black Dagger Brotherhood trilogy... sort of "he's a larger-than-life hero, but incredibly damaged and it's probably better if you're not alone in a room with him." Or Russel Crowe's character in L.A. Confidential. He has his own personal code, and if it agrees with the law, fine... but usually it doesn't. The only characteristic I'd add is they might have been true heroes at some point, but were thwarted -- made to believe their heroism was wrong, punished and derided and cast out for their code. Fun post. :)

L Gwenn said...

Thanks, Cathy.Those are both good examples.

I think a lot of Antiheroes come from a "outcast hero" place, Roland from the Dark Tower comes to mind. But others are guys who wouldn't have been heroes at all- Sandman Slim comes to mind. He might have ended up a scumbag if he hadn't found something worth fighting for.

Louise Sorensen said...

Good question. You've got me thinking!
An antihero is the guy that saves the world. But he's not thinking of everybody when he does it, only the people he loves. SO I would call him a sociopath. He kills without too many qualms, and forges alliances, but you can't trust him too far. I think he does have a strict moral code of some kind, so you can predict some/most of his actions from this. The only one that comes to mind atm is Clint Eastwood's characters from the spaghetti westerns, and possibly Dirty Harry.

L Gwenn said...

All good points! Thanks for stopping by, Louise. :D