Saturday, June 27, 2015

Good vs Evil in Characters

Every person has good and bad traits, everyone does both good and bad things and we certainly have plenty of examples emerging from our various media. There is a precipice each character stands on--one side is too good to be true, the other side too evil to exist. What makes a character too good to believe? How evil can a main character become before they are irredeemable?
Rhobin chose an interesting topic this time. Good vs evil – is it inborn? Does environment play a part? Do situations in life cause a person to change?

How many times have you heard people say after a serial killing, but he always seemed so nice?
I believe that it can be all or a mixture of these things. I truly believe that occasionally a person can be born evil – irredeemable. Most likely it is from the environment; parenting, siblings, school, the physical home, bullying, even nutrition and definitely the love they receive or don’t. But even then, two people, even twins, could be raised exactly the same and one becomes a minister and the other a murderer. I have no explanation for that one.
The other situation is when disaster hits. Someone’s family is murdered, or they are fired from a job. This critical incident can turn that good person into a killer.
If they have a history of violence and cruelty and show no remorse at any time, I would say they are irredeemable.

It’s much easier to discuss how a person turns evil, but a truly good person can develop out of similar situations. They can be born good; always happy, always helping people.
Their environment can help, especially if one person shows an interest and is their mentor. And again, after a major incident such as killing someone and going to jail. They may change and become a good person.

It’s an interesting topic and I’d love to here what others have to say. I’m off to read the other blogs on this topic. Please join me and check out:
Skye Taylor
Judith Copek
Marci Baun
Connie Vines
Rachael Kosinski
Helena Fairfax
Fiona McGier
Rhobin Courtright


  1. Your comments are so right-on. It's all a big question. Nature or nurture always seems to sum it up, but there is so much more involved. Good post, Beverley!

  2. I love when an author can take a villain and turn them into a hero in another book.

    1. That's an interesting point, Melissa. I hadn't thought of it. I don't think I've read any books like that.

    2. The film Maleficent is a perfect example of this.

  3. I think it depends on how far gone a person is whether they can realistically turn good. A serial killer or a pedophile? I don't know. Honestly, I don't think I'd believe that.


  4. I agree Marci. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. I think we find it easier to believe that a person can "turn" evil, because it's easier to misbehave than to exert control over your behavior and behave. An evil person turning good has to have a very good reason for it to be believable.

    Re: Melissa's comment, the red-headed biker queen from one of my books, was an evil presence to the hero in that book. But she's the heroine of the next book in that series. I just found her so damn interesting, and when I wondered who to write about next, her story screamed to be told!

  6. It’s much easier to discuss how a person turns evil, but a truly good person can develop out of similar situations. They can be born good; always happy, always helping people. Beverly, so true. How much in genetic, how much in environment, in these situations?

  7. So true. Sometimes good people come out of horrible situations and bad people have everything including love and are still bad. These things keep us reading and wondering and thinking. And writing, too.