There are two points of contention that can be perceived from the statement. The first is whether or not this difference as described by Marchetti is a characterizing trait that is dominantly for villains in creative literature. The second is that the villain storyline dynamics of action-adventure stories are generally about revealing the true nature of a villain despite his positive traits. This paper would disagree with both contentions and prove subsequently within the next paragraphs that 1. ) Difference as described by Marchetti cannot be considered as a characterizing trait for villainy in stories, and 2.
) Villains in action-adventure stories do not necessarily need to be stripped of their positive masks in order to be exposed as villains. In order to support the first thesis, this paper makes the argument that the difference that Marchetti explains is drawn from the dynamics between order and chaos which is independent of the dynamics between heroes and villains. The order-chaos dynamics as explained by Gary Gygax, is set on opposite poles which are equally likely to be found in heroes and villains alike (Gygax 45).
Order is characterized by a systematic mind, or a conforming nature. Characters in stories that are partial to order conform to rules of battle and usually have their own strict codes of conduct. Characters that dwell on the side of chaos on the other hand are deviants from the norm. These usually exhibit flamboyant natures due to a desire to be different. (Borgstrom 122 123) If we look into this order-chaos dynamics, we see that this is separate from the idea of heroes or villains.
A hero may just as well be partial to order such as the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope (Bailey 5), or partial to chaos such as Conan the Barbarian. The same can be said for villains. Stories that feature the villains as beholden to some higher evil power such as Children of the Corn portray the villains as fanatics who follow their evil lords decrees to the letter (King 78). These villains do not show any signs of wanting to deviate from the norm and in fact, it is a film where the deviants are actually the heroes.
Several other books can be seen to have this pattern which runs contrary to Machetti, an example is Marvel Masterpieces: Iron Man is a graphic novel portraying rich and powerful industrialist Tony Stark as the hero behind the robotic suit (Lee 14), another graphic novel Barb Wire, has a sexually promiscuous heroine whose tight leather costume has a bondage-type whip in its arsenal (Warner 3). This shows that heroes can fit into the same chaotic criteria as easily as villains do. This means that the difference that is supposed to generally separate villains from heroes does not do the job.
In order to support the second thesis, one argument that this paper would put forward is that there is also a wide range of stories that feature a villain without any such advantages like attractiveness, power, intelligence, and so on. First is the class of villains under thugs. Thugs are you usual dark alley muggers or brutish henchmen. Although they are normally not the primary villains in a story, they are nonetheless villains and they are villains who are devoid of the positive traits mentioned. Most of them are ugly, deformed, and not very smart.
Thus, the existence of these villains in a good many action-adventure stories makes it impossible to generalize that the villain storyline dynamics of these stories involve the exposition of the villains true nature. The second argument in support of the second thesis has to do with the major villains in action-adventure storylines. The argument is that although the exposition of the evil nature of villains possessing positive traits has been used in many storylines, it cannot be considered the norm because these are just constricted to specific sub-genres of action-adventure stories.
There are a lot of stories wherein the main antagonists as monsters such as Davey Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean II or generally distasteful individuals like the Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood or the deformed Tyrion Lannister in A Game of Thrones, the smart calculating dwarf who was as rich as he was ugly but maintained his disposition in the story from beginning to end (Martin 1 694). This means that the action-adventure genre is not dominated by a fixation of unmasking villains, the positive aspects of power or intelligence meld quite easily with villainy and need not be stripped to show the villains true nature.
In fact, the true nature may coexist with the positive natures at the very onset of the story. In conclusion, this paper has answered the two questions posed by reading Marchettis passage on villains. Firstly, the difference is not a defining trait of villains, simply because it is drawn from the order-chaos characterization dynamics that is independent of being a hero or a villain. Secondly, there is no necessity of stripping positive qualities of villains in action adventure stories in order to reveal their true nature.
This was supported by the existence of villains who do not have positive aspects to begin with, and by villains whose positive aspects meld with their villainous aspects naturally making the two inseparable. Exciting villains do not need to be deviants in order to work well in a story; a story should choose the proper villain that can enhance its creative value. Overuse of any of the usual characterizations makes a story boring, while a villain who is boring in nature might make a story very exciting when his character is used in the right manner.
Gygax, Gary. Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition. Wizards of the Coast: 1989. Borgstrom, Sean R. Nobilis. Pharos Press: 1999. Bailey, T. J. Devising a Dream: A Book of Star Wars Facts And Production Timeline. Wasteland Press: 2005 King, Stephen. Children of the Corn. Penthouse Media Group: 1977. Lee, Stan. Marvel Masterpieces: Iron Man. Marvel Comics Inc: 2001 Martin, George. A Game of Thrones. Bantam Books: 1996. Warner, Chris. Barb Wire Retold. Darkhorse: 1998.