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The Antiheroes

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Among the more prevalent trends in film, television, and literature is that of the antihero. While good guys used to be good guys and bad guys used to be bad guys, now the good guy can also be somewhat of a bad guy, and the bad guy can have some redeeming qualities. Much has been made to how and why antiheroes have become more common. As for the how – popularity leads to followers, so if something works it is going to be copied. The why is more difficult, but in simplest terms – antiheroes are both more fun to read, and more challenging. They are fun because they are unpredictable, and they are challenging because they push the audience to question their support.
Since stories are among the many mediums used for escapism, the best characters are ideally ones different from the reader. An office worker does not want to read a story about an office worker; they want to read about an adventure hero, or a suave romantic – someone who is not just stapling documents and scanning files like they are. The preferred protagonist used to be the unequivocal good guy – a friendly, well-groomed stranger who wore a white cowboy hat and saved women tied to railroad tracks. There were never any added dimensions to the lead character because there was no need for them. Heroes gave the audience someone to root for. But as the times changed, the archetypal hero became less and less interesting. As Eric Deggans wrote in “Television’s New Antiheros: Creating Sympathy For The Devilish,” “In a world filled with war, recession and cynicism, straight-up heroes feel fake as a three-dollar bill. So the confused guy who does bad things for the right reasons just might be the best reflection of where we are today.” Now we are at a point where authors have rea...

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Deggans, Eric. “Television’s New Antiheros: Creating Sympathy For The Devilish.” NPR. 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/12/15/143753533/televisions-new- antiheroes-creating-sympathy-for-the-devilish
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Random House, 1959. 520. Print.
Jensen, Jeff. “The Evolution of the Antihero.” Entertainment Weekly. 6. September. 2013. Web. 11. Nov. 2013. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20734160_20729324,00.html Moore, Bo. “The Antihero’s Journey.” Wired. Jan 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. http://www.bomoore.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/21.01-Antiheroes-The- Antiheros-Journey.pdf
Smith, Briony. “Antihero Worship.” Flare. August. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
http://www.flare.com/celebrity/peter-sarsgaard-talks-antihero-worship/
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