Part One: Seasons Five and Six
"Cannot be ill, cannot be good." - Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3
Villains and heroes share one important trait - they often act to build a better world, to right perceived wrongs, to bring justice to an unjust system. They diverge, many times, in motivation. Heroes tend to act from a place of common good, a common good that is shared by the audience, whereas the villain acts from a place of common good not shared by the audience. Good villains (and heroes) are not easy to create. There is always the danger of caricaturism, of creating one-dimensional personalities that speak words but are unconvincing in both action and motivation. Good villains are ambiguous - they require the audience to sympathize, perhaps even empathize, with their acts. One of the best writers of both heroes and villains was William Shakespeare, and this essay seeks to align some of Shakespeare’s most complicated villains with Supernatural’smost complicated villain, Crowley. I hope to delve into Crowley to show how he echoes a long line of valued antagonists, how he inherits and translates the villain for today’s genre audience.