What is an antihero?

In this post, we'll briefly go over (1) what is an antihero, (2) the characteristics of an antihero, and (3) types of antiheroes, along with a list of examples.

An antihero is a fictional character with characteristics and behaviors that differ from traditional heroes. Typically, the antihero is a parody of the hero archetype. Although an antihero's actions are generally heroic, their goals tend to be much more selfish than your typical hero.

Characteristics of an Antihero

The most important characteristics of an antihero are:

  • In contrast to the hero archetype, who is always the main character, the antihero is the antagonist.
  • It has its moral system and code of honor, even if it does not coincide with that of society.
  • He is usually antisocial, intelligent, lonely, insecure, and fearful.
  • You can commit criminal or immoral acts.
  • With a difficult past that justifies his way of being in the present.
  • Little faith in the human being.

4 Types of Antihero

There are four antihero archetypes:

The antihero from a humorous perspective. His features are a caricature or satire of the hero's values. An example of this is the Don, as mentioned earlier Quixote.

The rational and cynical antihero has no hope in the human being, but he is useful to society since he solves problems thanks to his intelligence. This is the case with Sherlock Holmes and Doctor House.

The Dark Past Antihero. Frustrated and disappointed in the world, capable of breaking the law or doing actions questionable by society, but always true to his code of honor. The characters of Hammett or Chandler would be within this archetype.

The “Rogue” Antihero. This archetype was born in the Golden Age. He is generally a child or a young man from a very low social stratum who must put his ingenuity to the test to survive in a decadent world. As you know, he sometimes performs dishonorable and even criminal acts. For example, The Lazarillo de Tormes.


List of Examples of the Antihero in Popular Culture

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bonte.
  • Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson's Millennium series.
  • Vegeta from Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball.
  • The Darkness comic character.
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
  • Lady Macbeth by William Shakespeare.
  • Deadpool from Marvel Comics.
  • Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta character.
  • Wolverine from X-Men.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
  • The characters of the paper house.
  • Walter White from Breaking Bad.
  • Elsa from Frozen.
  • Mr. Bean.
  • Negan from The Walking Dead.
  • Disney Donald Duck.
  • Warner Brothers Coyote.
  • Horacio Oliveira from Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar.
  • Holden Caulfield, star of JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Selina Kyle, Catwoman.
  • Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler's character.
  • Jay Gatsby is a character in The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther.
  • Maxwell Smart from Super Agent 86.
  • The Chaplin Colorado.
  • Aureliano Buendía , protagonist of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.
  • Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill.
  • Joker.
  • Sarah Connor from Terminator.
  • Travis Bickle from the movie Taxi Driver.
  • The Big Lebowski by Joel Coen.
  • Bob Harris from Lost in Translation, a film by Sofia Coppola.
  • Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones.
  • Marvel's Loki.

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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