Archetypal Characters, Can the Skeptic be the "Evil One?"

by Keira
(TX, Houston )

Question: Is it possible to Have your Antagonist (avoid, reconsider) Character NOT be the evil guy but to be someone who wants the Protagonist (pursue, consider) Character to rethink another way to defeat the "Evil One" so to speak. My "Evil One" is the Skeptic (oppose, disbelief) the disembodied figure that whispers the doubt and mistrust in the ear Protagonist’s ear to get them to do what he wishes.

Can that work? Because the Skeptic wants the Protagonist to succeed in the Story Goal and not to believe that the others says so he plants doubt and opposes every plan that would stop him, yet the Antagonist is the one that doesn’t want the Story Goal to succeed, because if the Goal is accomplished the “Evil One” gets what he wants.

So again does this work? Can the Skeptic (oppose, disbelief) be the “Evil One”?

Answer: From your description, I'm a little confused as to whether the Protagonist is trying to defeat the Skeptic or is working for him. However, here are some things to consider...

First, you have to consider your Story Goal. Generally, achieving the Goal is a good outcome. It is what will restore balance and bring happiness to the story world. There are stories where achieving the goal is not good for the protagonist personally (e.g. Romeo & Juliet) but is nonetheless good for the world. (Of course, there are exceptions where the protagonist believes his goal is noble, but it isn't, and the story is told from the perspective of the antagonist trying to stop him.)

Nonetheless, let's assume your Evil character is working towards an evil end, and that the Protagonist is pursuing the Goal of defeating the Evil One. That suggests to me that the Evil One is the Antagonist, and all his whisperings are examples of his "reconsider" function. In other words, he tries to dissuade the Protagonist from pursuing the Goal.

The character you're calling the Antagonist may actually be the Guardian, who exercises his "conscience" function to persuade the Protagonist to focus on the long-term good of the world.

Second... If you're in doubt about the real Goal of the story, consider the Consequence, the terrible thing that will result if the Goal is not achieved. Sometimes if you flip these, make the Consequence the Goal and vice versa, the story makes more sense.

Third... You don't have to use archetypal characters. You can mix and match the functions to create variations. For instance, you might have a character driven to "avoid" and "sow disbelief." Another character might have the functions of "help" and "reconsider."

Fourth... Sometimes a main character will pursue a course of action that he hopes will solve the apparent problem (what we call the "symptom"), only to realize near the crisis that the real problem is something different that demands a different solution. So a main character can be on the wrong track for some time, perhaps because of being tricked by another.

Finally... Sometimes it is only revealed at the end of the story what the real Goal was all along and who the real villain was. The technique of hiding these facts can be used to create mystery for the reader.

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