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An antihero (sometimes spelled as anti-hero)[1] or antiheroine is a main character in a story who may lack conventional heroic qualities and attributes, such as idealism, courage, and morality.[1][2][3][4][5] Although antiheroes may sometimes perform actions that most of the audience considers morally correct, their reasons for doing so may not align with the audience's morality.[6] An antihero typically exhibits one of the "Dark Triad" personality traits, which include narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.[7]


An Archetypal Character who is almost as common in modern fiction as the Ideal Hero, an anti-hero is a protagonist who has the opposite of most of the traditional attributes of a hero. They may be bewildered, ineffectual, deluded, or merely apathetic. More often an anti-hero is just an amoral misfit. While heroes are typically conventional, anti-heroes, depending on the circumstances, may be preconventional (in a "good" society), postconventional (if the government is "evil") or even unconventional. Not to be confused with the villain or the Big Bad, who is the opponent of Heroes (and Anti-Heroes, for that matter).

Anti-Heroes are spread all over the alignment chart, tending towards Neutral types (and Good ones if the anti-heroic side of his character is less prominent). While the Knight in Sour Armor or the Classical Anti-Hero aren't actually morally flawed, and can even be pure good characters, the other anti-hero types are never pure good, as they tend towards the morally grey zone.

  • Music Five Iron Frenzy's song "My Evil Plan to Save the World" illustrates this point to an extent.

  • God Forbid's song "Anti Hero" Explore themes of anti-heroism, with lyrics like "Torn between right and wrong."

  • GWAR, sometimes.

  • My Chemical Romance's "Killjoys".

  • Sonata Arctica's "Peacemaker".

Heading down to the chorus is the lyric that'll dominate your Tiktok feed for the next several weeks. Opinions on the correct interpretation of this line differ based on the perspective of the listener. To some, the lyric is Swift's intrusive thoughts, that she knows she's the problem and that she's actually the antihero. She says later in the chorus "It must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero."

For example, consider the popular Hollywood films and genres from the mid-1940s through the 1970s. Film Noir, Westerns, Outlaw Biker Films, Cop Dramas, Mob Films and Sci-Fi Films have featured anti-heroes who have become some of the most iconic movie characters of all time, such as:

The user is an anti-hero. They have either been a victim to some kind of evil making them take a darker path, or they feel brutal methods are necessary to make a difference. They may also just like killing and have no prior explanation as to why. Users may also be reformed villains themselves who decided to use their dark skills for good.

The textbook definition of an anti-hero in a story is a lead character who lacks qualities of traditional heroes, such as courage and morality. To make up for this they might be exceptionally skilled in a certain area or have an interesting flaw that makes them more complex character.

But an anti-hero is still fundamentally good at heart and not a bad guy. They're just willing to do whatever it takes to save their loved ones instead of playing by the rules all the time. So while you shouldn't root for your hero to suffer because he's doing bad things, you also shouldn't be against them because their heart is always in the right place.

An anti-villain is the polar opposite of an anti-hero: a character with heroic qualities, who turns out to be the villain. Their intended goals are usually good, but their methods range from bad to ugly.

An anti-hero will often do what's best for their own self-interest even if it means putting other people in danger. They're not necessarily evil, but they definitely don't have the same sense of honor and duty as a traditional hero does.

An anti-hero's belief in something is what motivates them and sometimes they can be morally grey. They're fighting for the greater good, just not necessarily playing by all of the rules that a hero would follow. In this way, they can be more relatable to readers because their actions are understandable even if you wouldn't do them yourself in real life.

But because their methods are often questionable, this can also lead to a lot of inner conflict and turmoil for the anti-hero. They're doing what they think is right, but it's hard to be proud of their questionable deeds when they were selfish or done at someone else's expense.

One of the defining characteristics of anti-heroes is their unwillingness to play by the rules and live up to expectations put on them. They don't want someone else telling them what they can or cannot do, even if it's for their own good. So while a traditional hero may be loyal and follow orders from those in charge, an anti-hero will often go against these commands when given the opportunity.

For example, Batman is one of the most famous anti-heroes because he's extremely wealthy but also has to spend his nights fighting crime as a vigilante. Because of the death of his parents, Batman has a cynical view of Gotham city and the criminals in it which can cause him to be aggressive and combative to reach his goals.

One of the reasons anti-heroes act differently than heroes is because they've probably experienced some pretty traumatic events in their lives. This can include losing someone close to them or getting betrayed by people who were supposed to be trustworthy.

They develop into becoming better people through the story usually by letting go of their anger or cynicism and coming to terms with what they've done. But this doesn't necessarily mean that the anti-hero becomes a traditional hero at all either, as sometimes their selfless actions can be motivated by selfish reasons such as wanting people's approval or just being bored of doing nothing.

What can really make an anti-hero compelling and can get the audience to root for your anti-hero is to give them instances where they are trying to be a better person. As long as your anti-hero isn't enjoying being bad, they'll root for your character.

Dexter is an interesting anti-hero because on the outside he seems like a regular guy. But unbeknownst to most people, Dexter is actually a serial killer who only kills bad people. He has an ethical code that he lives by, which means that the average person is safe from his wrath. But because of his double life and all the killing he does, Dexter often struggles with mental health issues.

As mentioned earlier in this article, Batman is the quintessential anti-hero of all of superherodom. He's wealthy, intelligent and skilled in many martial arts - but instead of using these talents for good like traditional superheroes, he uses them to fight crime at night. He has a cynical outlook on the world and often feels like he's carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Michael Corleone is another great example of an anti-hero because his motivations for doing what he does are never quite clear. He goes from being a naive kid who just wants to help his family, to becoming one of the most ruthless mobsters in history. And along the way, Michael kills a lot of people - but often because he feels like he has no other choice.

Much like Dexter, Walter White is a well-written anti-hero because he's not purely good or bad. At the beginning of Breaking Bad, Walter is just an average guy who gets cancer and needs to provide for his family. So he starts cooking meth in order to make money quickly. But as the series progresses, it becomes clear that Walter is actually a very dark and dangerous person. He's capable of doing terrible things in the name of protecting his loved ones.

Anti-heroes can be some of the most fascinating characters in all of story. They often have motivations and personalities that are very different than what we're used to seeing in protagonists like being morally ambiguous. They don't always want to do good, but they usually end up doing it anyway - for better or worse. So if you're looking for a character that's a little different than the norm, then an anti-hero is definitely worth exploring.

Anti-Heroes are somewhat the opposite of Anti-Villains; while an anti-villain plays a villain's game and does bad things for noble causes, anti-heroes fight for good with selfish or questionable motives. They lack conventional and important qualities compared to regular heroes as they can be rude, selfish, obnoxious or violent in nature but still fight on the side of good whether they are willing or forced to. They are not as kind, noble or heroic as other heroes but ultimately the heroes of their stories in spite of their attitudes and unpleasant tactics. Simply put anti-heroes are heroes with bad qualities who never stop functioning as such.

However, they do not have to be selfish, rude or criminal all the time; they can be more polite due to not being good or evil but everywhere in between. Another case is that they treat enemies with equality and without hostility which is obviously an unusual trait in heroes. They also can be a True Neutral depending on their alignments (though anti-heroes are not necessarily True Neutral). Alternatively, characters meant to be seen as heroes but not really all good such as Heroes by Proxy are usually this.

One thing most anti-heroes have in common is that they live by the philosophy "the ends justify the means", meaning they employ harsh or pragmatic methods to reach their goals. Due to these characteristics anti-heroes sometimes have been classified as villains as well, particularly those who have so much bad qualities to the point that their good qualities are overshadowed.

This type of anti-hero is the mirror image of a classic hero; they are flawed, insecure, and morally ambiguous. They still have ethical actions in their behaviors, but usually their journey to pass their limited and goals reached. Some classical anti-heroes on the movies in this type like Jeffrey Lebowski in The Big Lebowski or Catwoman in the Batman franchise. 041b061a72


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