Strawman evil - trope to avoid

A Strawman evil character is a villain who goes out of their way to hurt the innocent even if it gains them nothing or puts them in danger, just because "mwahaha I'm evil and I like it". The trope is an inaccurate portrayal of evil; people in real life do evil things, but only when it gives them something they want. There's no such thing as a positive desire to be evil. (Sadism does exist, but it's generally targeted.)

But also, I think it's very destructive. Portraying evil as a senseless, incomprehensible thing divorced from self-interest harms our ability to understand the causes of real evil and how it can be fought. You cannot change behavior without understanding it.


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