Can the protagonist be evil?

The story's main character, or protagonist, is frequently considered the story's hero. They might be flawed or make bad choices, but by the end of their journey, they usually make amends for their mistakes and emerge victorious over evil.

As readers, we can empathize with the protagonist's internal drives, desires, and fears because they are presented to us. Therefore, we appreciate who they are and why they behave the way they do, and we want them to realize their ambitions and help make the world a better place.

But what if your main character possesses qualities that are considered to be "evil"? What if their inner drive is to amass power by any means necessary, or if they want to steal something precious and unique to accumulate financial gain?

Will the people who read them find a connection with them? Or will they be too repulsed to listen to the rest of your story?

Is it possible for a protagonist to have a criminal motive? Is it possible for a story's antagonist to become the primary protagonist? Let's find out.

The villain protagonist

To answer your question, yes, a protagonist can misbehave. Using a villain as the protagonist is not nearly as common as using a hero. Still, it is not impossible if the necessary character development is performed, which we will discuss in a moment.

Sometimes the protagonist will begin as a villain but mature into a more admirable character throughout the story. At other times, they will not change and continue to act maliciously.

Sometimes they may even begin their lives as heroes but eventually, turn evil. The imagination only limits the different character arcs that can be taken.

Remember that a character cannot be evil simply for evil, regardless of your chosen path.

An evil protagonist should have a backstory, just like a real human being does. This backstory should explain why the antagonist believes certain things and makes certain decisions.

Your protagonist will be uninteresting to readers if you don't explain why they act the way they do. They won't see any reason to become emotionally invested in the story if they don't know why they should. Do not give them a reason to abandon the book you are reading.

Books in which the main character is a villain aren't for everyone. On the other hand, it's fine if the protagonist of a book is someone the reader can identify with and cheer for; some readers just prefer it that way.

Some readers may look forward to the challenge of reading a story told from an unusual point of view by picking up a book that features a "bad guy" as the main character. However, it will be primarily for those individuals you will be writing to.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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