It is I: Oxymoron Man
Surely to be the “greatest villain” is a bit paradoxical. I think the word ‘great’ is inappropriate when describing someone’s ability to commit wicked acts.
However, I reckon that villainy has been largely drummed out of existence as a result of political correctness. Villains used to be the outsiders – monsters and the monstrous cast out or shut off from society, motivated by revenge – to settle the score for their marginalisation: there was Grendel, the wandering outcast; Dracula in his castle, not allowed to get a word of narration in the whole book; poor old Frankenstein’s monster sent away by his creator…
Ogres of the past have been redeemed through characters like Shrek and the vampires of the “Twilight” series. The traditional baddies have been given a shot at the microphone, a spot in the limelight. It is as if today’s culture is uncomfortable with the thought that anyone is truly evil.
And maybe this is all good – we are into inclusion. Bring the monster in, and they lose their monstrousness that was generated by their isolation or exile.
All very nice.
Stock characters are only characters. People are evil, in real life. Human beings have an appalling capacity for evil. Although many choose to live well, some choose to steal, kill and destroy. There are villains in the real world. None of them are great.