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The Evolution of 21st Century Antihero’s And Their Rise In Popularity
When people used to tell a story, there would be two characters you’d remember the most
about; the hero and the villain, otherwise known as the protagonist and the antagonist
(Heroes and Villains, Psychology Today, 2016). But as the years have moved forwards and
storytelling became the foundation of the world we know, people have become more invested
in different types of stories and characters that aren’t good or bad. By definition, an anti-hero
is “Not the antagonist or villain. They are a central character in a narrative or drama who
lacks the admirable qualities of fortitude, courage, honesty, and a decency that are usually
possessed by traditional heroes” (Oxford Languages 2010).
American actor Meghan Gallagher stated, “There has been a huge shift in focus over the past
few decades, towards more academic and complex television content that mirrors cinematic
style. Audiences no longer only wish only to be entertained but also challenged” (Gallagher,
Hero or Villain? : Essays on Dark Protagonists of Television, 2020) thus suggesting that over
recent decades, audiences would rather watch characters who are different and challenge
traditional ideas, for example, antiheroes.