Villains (the obvious and not so obvious)

By Christina Rich

Villains don’t always take the form of man like Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter. Just look at the popular Matrix series staring Keanu Reeves. At first glance it seems as if the machines are the villain, however, is that really the case? Could it be that humans are the real villain by claiming their dependence upon the machine when in reality the machine is dependent upon humans for their existence? Terminator is another movie where the villains are portrayed as machines trying to take over the world.

And sometimes, most of the time, villains represent something else all together. Stephen King is the master of creating villains and using symbolism while doing so. Cujo, the story of a big dog  who becomes rabid symbolizes addiction. Christine, the story of a possessed car, doesn’t have a clear cut symbolism, which is the beauty of literature; it can be left up to the reader’s interpretation. To me, Christine symbolizes another form of addiction, an addiction with personal possessions. However, in an interview, King said the car represented the ‘technological age’ or the ‘end of innocence’. In that same interview he also said he didn’t know who was more the villain, the car or Le Bay, Christine’s owner. (

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair doesn’t have an obvious villain. There isn’t one man, dog or car wreaking havoc on the lives of the Jurgis family, but there is a villain: Capitalism.

The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz represents the American Wild West.

Do you remember Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors? When the musical first made it’s television debut I had no idea of anything beyond a man eating plant and a shop owner. Looking back, and of course with some help from the good old Internet, I can now see how Audrey II represents the obsession of chasing the American Dream with such tenacity that all else is consumed.

What about the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson? The black box seems to take on a villanic mode, but in fact it’s the tradition of the town to play the lottery and then brutally stone one of their citizens each year that is the true villain.

So, yeah, villains aren’t always so obvious.

On Tuesday, John asked us to write a list of our top five villains and why. Here’s my list:

5. Wile E. Coyote – Oh, who didn’t love watching Wile E. and Road Runner growing up?

4. Gru (Despicable Me) – *HUGE GRINS* I love this character. The world’s greatest, well cartoon world, villain felled at the knees by the cutest little orphans. What’s not to love.

3. Miss Hannigan (Annie) – I am quite sure I wouldn’t have loved Miss Hannigan so much if Carol Burnett hadn’t played her. She truly made this villainess memorable in every way.

2. Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol) – Charles Dickens took a very unlikeable character and made him redeemable, and those are my favorite types of villains.

1. Smeagol (Lord of the Rings) – Because, at times, I can totally relate.

Now it’s your turn, repeating John’s Tuesday prompt: Make a list of your five favorite villains, why you like them, and how the writer pulled it off.