Are Dark characters unlikable?

by Uchiha Sasuke

Question: My main character has an extremely dark and emotionally traumatic past, and it has made him him extremely dark and pessimistic in the current story line. He is going to heal throughout the story, but until maybe the last fourth of the book he's very dark. I think this is realistic, but Is this really unlikable?

Answer: There are plenty of dark tormented characters with huge fanbases. Batman, the Silver Surfer, and Rorschach are three that come to mind from the comic books. Ebenezer Scrooge, Captain Hook, Sherlock Holmes, Malcolm Reynolds (from Firefly), Richard Blaine (from Casablanca) and the Phantom of the Opera are popular, despite being pretty morose.

Many of these characters fall into the category of the Byron-esque hero, which is a superior person who has become disillusioned with others of his class (perhaps because of tragedy or betrayal) and instead now lives the life of a criminal or vigilante, surrounded by those he deems beneath him, and occasionally seeking revenge on the corrupt elite. Such characters, despite their villainy or lawbreaking in some areas, hold to a strong morality in other areas. They tend to be intelligent, powerful, proud loners.

The appeal of such characters lies in the fact that many intelligent people find the illusions that keep society together to be shallow or false. Many people have had tragic, disillusioning events in their lives such as coming from a broken home, fighting in a war, being betrayed by someone they trusted. They can therefore empathize with a dark hero more than a traditional idealistic hero.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero