"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Can Evil turn Good?

I had some time on the freeway today to think random thoughts and sooner or later, Good versus Evil made the list. The word "evil" made me think of "queen." For some reason, I got a scene from ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010) stuck in my head, where the Red Queen is asking Stayne (the Knave) if it is better to be feared than loved.

There have been many evil queens throughout fairy taledom, not to mention the real-life women and men who ruled with cruelty. I've never spent time with any king or queen, whether benevolent or not, but I have known people who I suspect could have been diagnosed as psycho- or sociopaths. My general feeling about these people is that cruelty to others gives them a release (emotional, sexual, etc) that they interpret as happiness.

But rulers... often their cruelty is about control, about having everything their way and behaving like a toddler having a tantrum when they don't get it. I suppose the one thing they have in common with serial killers is they have no identification with people, no respect for human life.

Still, if the Red Queen considered being nice and ruling with kindness, how long would it take her followers to learn to love her? What kind of assurances would she have to give to earn their trust? How long would it take her to learn to balance love and respect, and not execute those people who would try to treat her like a doormat?

What about other evil characters? Could Maleficent control her impulse to turn into a dragon and fight the prince for Aurora's freedom? Snow White's stepmother is jealous beyond belief - think she could get a handle on that feeling? Maybe meet with a shrink?

The TV show ONCE UPON A TIME has done an interesting thing with the evil queen, Regina. She's trying to come over to the good side, with mixed results. I love a good redemption story, and her constant temptations make me want to keep watching.

Who would you write a redemption story for?

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