• Tim Hehir

Who makes the best villains?


Frankenstein's monster

Mary Shelley's creation of the 'creature' in her novel Frankenstein is probably one of the best known and best loved villains in literature. Why has he endured in so many spin-off novels, TV dramas, movies and plays? I think it is because he is a person in conflict with himself, a gentle creature who wanted to be allowed to live and love, but who was thwarted, and turned into a hateful monster who wanted only to destroy. We feel for him, because most of us will have experienced a flavour of what he had gone through. But at the same time we revile him because he allowed himself to be taken over by hatred. We care enough about him to wish he had taken another course. Like almost all villains, he does not regard himself as the bad guy in the story. The creature sees himself as the victim born into a hateful world which only wants to hurt him. From his perspective it makes perfect sense to repay like for like. In this sketch of did of the creature I have tried to capture both sides of him—the cruel destroyer, but with a hint of regret that it had to be that way. He would have loved us if only we had let him.