Posts Tagged Trope

Designated Hero, and “Villain”

Yes, another post about tropes.  This one concerns supposed “heroes” and “villains”.  Many times, movies will assign moral alignments to characters to make us empathize with them more.  Protagonists tend to be heroes, while antagonists tend to be villains.  Though there are also villain Protagonists and hero antagonists too, only one side is going to receive the sympathetic Point-of-view.  However, sometimes the perceived “hero” isn’t as moral as one would think.  And the villain is actually partially justified.  One of the most iconic examples in film is the 1980’s classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.  Ferris, the charismatic hustler skips school and openly defies authority figures, is liked by everyone.  Whether this is due to his actual deeds of consideration or manipulative behavior isn’t made clear.   But like other characters, we are drawn to do what Ferris is doing.   We believe that he is our hero, that he serves as something of a role model.  Upon becoming

Our manipulative, dastardly, villain

more aware, we start to show disillusionment with these “heroes”.  We realize regardless of his personality, he’s been skipping school for a number of days, and breaking the rules.  So by that logic, Mr. Rooney should be the good guy, right? ……

Not all conflicts are all about “good” and “evil”, or adhering to a certain moral code .    In works of fiction, it is often hard to apply any real world morals; one must consider the circumstances and situations involved.  Also, people can exist with extensive codes and lines that they dare not cross.  While other characters will blatantly disregard other lives for their own benefit.  I found Ferris to be a relatively likable protagonist.  Sure, he’s skipping school, but it’s not like he doesn’t care about his friends.  He’s manipulative, but perhaps not heartless.

Even if you take the more pragmatic approach, Rooney doesn’t come off as a “good guy” either.  As the Dean of high school, he doesn’t show much true concern for Ferris.  He makes it clear that he’s only out to get him to ruin his life.  Maybe this is an example of “Tv tropes will ruin your life” but am I wrong for siding with the Designated Hero?  And does a Designated Hero automatically make the opposition “good”?


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