Comparative Literature | Major Characters in Western Literature: Villains & Anti- Heroes
C145 | 3190-3199 | Prof. J. Johnson


Along with happy endings, we like our stories to have heroes and
heroines to cheer for.  What happens when they end up being less
than heroic?  How do we view them if they become a menace to the
people they are supposed to protect?  What if they are heroic only
some of the time? What happens if the main character of the story is
a complete villain?  Do we want to cheer for them too?  These and
other questions will introduce us to a wide array of literary
characters: monsters, liars, hypocrites, outsiders, cowards, and
some who are just unlucky, oblivious, or obnoxious.

We will investigate such issues as the definitions of heroism and
evil, fame and infamy, the standards of society weighed against the
conduct of an individual, and the appeal of a story built around a
central negative character.  We will be sampling literature in a
variety of forms that may include drama, novels, epic and lyric
poetry, and love stories, among other genres.  Readings will be
drawn from a variety of countries and time periods, both ancient and
modern.  Individual sections of C145 may also include characters
from television, film, and music.  Some of the characters we will
encounter may include Medea, Oedipus, Cleopatra, and Frankenstein.

The course will focus on developing skills in critical thinking,
clear communication, and effective composition.  Assignments will
include 3 analytical essays, mid-term and final exams, quizzes, and
other brief assignments.  C145 must be taken with English W143 and
be followed up with C146 in the spring semester for composition
credit.