BY Stu Leventhal
An anti-hero character is when an author uses a hero character for his book or story who does not seem to stand up to the traditional view of what a hero should be. The anti-hero character often acts the opposite of how we would want our heroes to act or think. For instance, instead of being brave and courageous the hero or heroine of the tale is a coward. Anti-heroes are rarely chivalrous and usually self-centered. We as readers disapprove of most of their actions. Yet there is something about them that draws our sympathy.
The anti-hero is still the protagonist or at least a very important main character to the story but just not endowed with the endearing good traits of a typical hero; physical strength, high moral backbone, strong work ethic and a sense of civic duty and patriotism. The anti-hero is often a criminal but there is a much more devious and evil villain in the story whom we would rather see defeated. Author’s use the anti-hero because they are often more complicated beings than traditional heroes who tend to sometimes border on becoming stereotypes due to their predictability. Thus, the anti-hero can be more interesting as we cannot be sure of his next move, motive or reasoning.
Despite his or her imperfections and outright faults, the anti-hero character usually has a bit of charm that readers relate to which is why we find ourselves rooting for him or her to triumph.
Examples of anti-heroes characters in literature:
Michael Corleone, Mario Puzo’s 'Godfather' series.
Jay Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 'The Great Gatsby'.
Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare’s 'Macbeth'.
Arthur Dent, Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’.
Scarlett O’Hara, Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone With the Wind’.
Holden Caufield, JD Salinger's classic, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’.
*There are many more examples of anti-heroes and heroines in literature. Who are your favorite anti-hero characters in literature?