Antagonists vs. Villains vs. Anti-Villains

les-miserables-movies-russellRecently, I’ve been on a bit of a Les Misérables binge, and as I unfortunately don’t have time to go back and reread the book, I’ve taken to reading its wiki page and fanfiction instead. In my search through the internet, I came across a term that I had never heard before in reference to the character Javert: anti-villain.

From Wikipedia:

Unlike other villains in classic literature such as Iago of Othello, Javert is portrayed as a somewhat sympathetic antagonist with noble goals and viewpoints, arguably an anti-villain.

Until this point in time I had only thought about and been aware of the differences between an antagonist and a villain. I had never even considered a term like anti-villain, even though I’ve often thought about the differences between protagonists, heroes, and anti-heroes. All things considered, it makes sense that if anti-heroes can exist, there should also be room for anti-villains as well.

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