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Regardless of how morally sane they are, it’s not surprising how people secretly root for villains. Somehow, they can be more passionate and, not to mention, more remarkable characters.

From the most frightening villainous character, Hannibal Lecter, to the more entertaining ones like The Joker and Loki, there’s an undeniable yet controversial charm around some antagonists.

Liking these characters is something people take pride in and shame in. It gives off a similar feeling to succumbing to sins and participating in the crimes committed. Yet, there’s also something appealing about resonating with the misunderstood, a track rarely taken.

People have a long history of liking villains. Some do so to be different, while others genuinely see reason to do so. But how do they overlook their evil misdeeds to root for them nonetheless?

More Than Evil, Why People Secretly Root For Villains

Heroes hold the light in novels, while villains aim to blow these off. These characters love the grimness that the audience commonly dislikes. Yet, beyond this embodiment of evil, villains possess an undeniable allure, an enigmatic presence.

It’s not about wishing doom would befall humanity or loving seeing someone get hurt. Instead, this fondness for villains runs deeper and is besides tolerating the consequences of their choices.

They may not root for evil and desire a sad ending, but people secretly root for villains for other reasons. They don’t necessarily have to agree on every decision these characters make. But they somehow relate to their whys. People secretly root for villains because it’s not difficult to understand their motives. Everyone has had their fair share of hopelessness and powerlessness, which fuel villains’ questionably wrongful decisions. Villains aren’t born criminals. Instead, they’re molded by their circumstances, which aren’t foreign to normal audiences.

The audience supports villains who aren’t strangers to their situations. They veer towards characters that somehow share similarities with them. Villains aren’t completely and utterly lovable. Hence, nobody can honestly blame those who may subconsciously cheer when their plans initially work. Instead, these villains have been crafted to make erroneous decisions due to their miserable backgrounds.

This is an impressive way of flirting around the audience’s empathy, making their hearts unconsciously softer and fonder for these villains.

Though Forbidding, The Dark Side Can Be Attractive

Multiple studies have shown that people secretly root for villains. Whether these are antiheroes, main characters who aren’t conventionally good, or pure villains, evil, people show fondness for them. With this fascination, it’s no surprise how the market has seen a rise in antiheroes and likable villains. They proliferate the mainstream media, making people question their moralities.

For instance, author Count S. A. Olson has made it his forte to make what’s commonly unlovable become characters people adore. In both books, the author has crafted his protagonists from the known morally gray figures of literature. Count Olson has shown how authors have understood the reasons why people secretly root for villains and have played around this to enhance their stories.

These Characters Have Admirable Qualities

People secretly root for villains who aren’t just evil. They look for characters who exude confidence in their strides, intelligence, and passion to take over the world. Although used for evil, these traits are undeniably alluring. People want to embody these. Hence, they may subconsciously look up to villains who epitomize these values. They show what it feels like to be such, presenting a sense of empowerment and strength in their wickedness.

Villains break societal norms, challenging the typical and standing against authorities. This intrigues people who subconsciously yearn for rebellion. In this lens, people secretly root for villains because they show how it is without the typical constraints of life. This allows them to vicariously live in a desirably dark world through the villains’ complexities.

These Characters Provide A Sense Of Catharsis

Although their actions are governed by their moral compass, humans have a darkness within them. Villains provide a sense of relief by representing this. They’re a symbolic representation of the repressed chaos that exists in the human psyche. People secretly root for villains because by allowing their plans to unfold, they’re also confronting their inner demons. Perhaps in seeing evil masterminds fail, readers feel reassured that their evil won’t win regardless of the opportunities.

People confront these demons in a controlled environment through vicarious experiences. This allows them to understand themselves and humanity’s complexities better.

These Characters Have Complex Yet Interesting Motivations

One of the reasons why people secretly root for villains is because they’re interesting. While heroes typically act to save the world, villains want it destroyed because of a complex history. They’re commonly given a background readers can’t help but empathize. It seems like an evil thing to feel, but most villains have figures that make people fond of them.

Most of them aren’t born evil. Instead, they’re shaped by their experiences, adding depth and complexity to their character, making people veer toward empathy and skewing their moralities.

People secretly root for villains because they’re captivating with intriguing and powerful histories. Their motivations and decisions spotlight the darkness existing within everyone, allowing the audience to explore this side of themselves vicariously without the danger attached.