Evil Motives

As I’ve said before, I have a habit of judging works of fiction by their bad guys. I therefore pay a lot of attention to my own bad guys. One thing I initially had trouble with, but have since gotten good at, is coming up with motivations for the bad guys. After all, even if you’ve come up with a memorable and dangerous supervillain, you still have to be able to answer the question of, “Why is he being evil?” Here, therefore, is a list of possible answers to that question, with examples in parenthesis. There are, of course, other examples than the ones I list.

Warning: Many of these links are to YouTube videos. There will be sound.

  1. Wants to take over the world (Sauron, Emperor Palpatine, and Voldemort all qualify, but Pinky and the Brain are this straight up)
  2. Wants to destroy the world (the Burning Legion)
  3. Instinctively attempting to feed (the Tarrasque, most zombies)
  4. Instinctively attempting to defend itself or its kind (the Horta)
  5. Doing it for sport (the Joker)
  6. Wants money (Gordon Gekko)
  7. Wants revenge (Nero)
  8. Wants to destroy a specific group (There was this one German guy whose name escapes me)
  9. Wants a specific group to rule (Many flunkies — distinguished from wanting to take over the world in that self-sacrifice might advance the cause)
  10. Is utterly insane (Kefka)
  11. Is a religious fanatic (the Prophet of Truth)
  12. Wants to torment a specific person / people (Draco Malfoy, in the early books)
  13. Wants to use people’s bodies (the Yeerks)
  14. Wants to trick the good guys into destroying a 3rd party (Mr. Boddy, Clue, 3rd ending)
  15. Afraid of good guys and wants to destroy them preemptively (the Tribunal, Metalocalypse)
  16. Wants to maintain the secrecy of a conspiracy (the Operative)
  17. Wants to capture the princess (Bowser)
  18. Wants to prove self to someone more evil than them (Draco Malfoy in the later books)
  19. Wants to summon an even greater evil (Zuul)
  20. Wants to be restored to former evil glory (Sauron)
  21. Wants to corrupt good guys (Darth Vader, Palpatine, and pretty much all the Sith)
  22. Wants to assimilate everyone (the Borg, the Flood, the Zerg, the Scourge… surprisingly many)
  23. Wants to overcome some weakness at any cost (the Vidiians)
  24. Already rules, wants to stay in power (O’Brien)
  25. Wants to conquer new area (the aliens from Independence Day)
  26. Wants to affect major societal change (Adrian Veidt)
  27. Wants to remake the world in own image (Dr. Eggman / Robotnik)
  28. Believes self to be fulfilling prophecy (Agent Smith, in the last movie)
  29. Wants to get away with a murder / crime (Carmen Sandiego)
  30. Wants to remove competition for lover’s attention (Gaston)
  31. Insanely jealous, willing to kill lover for betrayal (Anakin, at the end of Episode III)
  32. Wants to thwart rivals (Gary Oak)
  33. Is a spy/mole for enemy (every character that has appeared on 24 except for Jack, Chloe, and David Palmer)
  34. Following age-old rivalry (King Thobis)
  35. Self-aware computer wants to survive so it can follow directives (HAL 9000)
  36. Is pure evil incarnate (Giygas)
  37. Is bored and looking for fun (King P)
  38. Is bored and wishes to remain bored, stopping anyone from having fun (Squidward)

I’m sure there are more out there, of course. Any other good ones? Let me know in a comment.


2 responses to “Evil Motives

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