A Structure of Antipathy

Constructing the Villain in Narrative Film

in Projections
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  • 1 Aarhus University, Denmark jkc@cc.au.dk
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Abstract

Many narrative films feature villains, major characters that audiences are meant to condemn. This article investigates the cognitive-affective underpinnings of audience antipathy in order to shed light on how filmic villainy is constructed. To that end, the article introduces an analytical framework at the intersection of cognitive film theory and moral psychology. The framework analyzes villainy into three categories: guilty intentionality, consequential action, and causal responsibility.

Contributor Notes

Jens Kjeldgaard-Christiansen is a graduate student in the Department of English, Aarhus University, Denmark. His research applies perspectives from cognitive media theory and moral psychology to the heroes and villains of fiction. His work has appeared in such journals as Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture and The Journal of Popular Culture. Email: jkc@cc.au.dk

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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