Evil and Dick Dastardly

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Today I want to start on a rough outline of my antagonist. In so doing it has prompted me to think about the nature of evil in literature and other media. I thought back with a smile to the handlebar twiddling character of Dick Dastardly from Hanna Barbara’s ‘Wacky Races’ in the 60s. Sure the character was successful enough to get his own spin off series, ‘Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines’ when all the other racing cars had been sold off at auctions. But evil? Terrifying? No! Along with millions of others I found his antics laughable. He was an animated pantomime villain and we know that they are as scary as party balloons.

Cruella Deville had more promise. She started off well then somehow became laughable near the end of Disney’s ‘101 Dalmatians’. I think the reason for this was that she became more and more outwardly evil as she went along until, by the end, she was as much a panto villain as Dastardly himself. What a couple they would’ve made…although I don;t think Muttley would have lasted long do you?

Image‘Eve tempted by the serpent’ by William Blake

True evil is first written about in the Bible. The serpent in Eden is not demonstrative. Never angry or obviously evil. It befriends Eve and coaxes her to work against her better judgement or conscience. Maybe my evil character has to be forever in the background causing terrible events and yet outwardly good, kind, persuasive and beautiful.

Then I thought of the idea of having two such female characters so that the reader is placed in the same position as the protagonists for a while at least, unsure as to which character is causing this, A, B or maybe even both working together.

This would mean that in the middle of my story there was a whodunnit and that appealed to me.

At the moment I feel that I am making a jigsaw, and even then only some key pieces. But each piece I make causes me to want to see the whole picture more.

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