Saturday, April 7, 2012

G for Good vs Evil

Welcome to the A to Z challenge! You can visit the home page HERE.

Perspective: The villian normally sees himself as doing the just thing, or he can also see himself as doing something that, in the end, will only satisfy himself. While that person sees himself doing right, another will most assuredly say that he is doing wrong, and human nature will usually oppose it.

The conflict between good and evil is one of the most conventional themes in literature and is sometimes considered to be a universal part of the human condition. There are several variations on this conflict, one being the battle between individuals or ideologies, with one side good, the other evil. Another is the inner struggle in characters (and by extension, humans in reality) between good and evil.

From the earliest times, writers have thematized the conflict between good and evil in religious terms. In the old testament, Yahweh (God) asks the prophet Jeremiah: "The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse - who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)

While certainly not as widely seen as the direct good vs evil conflict, the concept of "individual vs self" is often much more compelling to a reader, especially if it is the protagonist. It requires well written character development in order to truly succeed.

The struggle of good vs evil in my own sphere of influence has given me much to use as material for developing my stories. Each person has their own diverse life experience that is worthy of using in character development for their protagonist and antagonist. A good story will speak to the heart and will foreshadow the struggle of the human condition in its characters.


  1. Fascinating subject.

    I think you'll like this quote... he wrote a lot about the struggles of the human condition, our inner struggles, and the "maturing" of our souls:

    “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
    ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

    1. Rettakat: What a wonderful quote! And how true?

      Volumes and volumes have been written about this subject and it seems like everyone has to find their own voice about good vs evil. Others choose to embrace the evil and abhor the good. So it is an individual choice, as are most things in our universe.

  2. For developing characters and motivation, I find it helps to ditch the good/evil labels and embrace the notion that every character is the hero/heroine of their own story. This is close to what you say in your first paragraph. Follow it through, and you force yourself to explore why the characters act the way they do, with good and evil actions emerging from their individual situations.

    1. Each person is a mix of good and evil inside. It's how and what that person decides to embace that makes them what they are. A very good thought you bing to the discussion. Thank you!

  3. This is the oldest source of conflict in fiction.

    Look forward to your challenge run…
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

    1. Damyanti: Oh absolutely! Where would be be without it?

  4. Excuse the error, where would we be without it?