Can a character be really, truly, without a doubt evil?
For anyone who has read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn you’ll know what I mean when I say that Amy Dunne is pure evil.
Her list of offences are:
1. She faked her own death to punish her husband for having an affair.
2. She spent a year planning how she was going to fake her death.
3. She set her husband up so that no matter what direction the police looked they would only have him to blame.
4. She purchased ludicrous amounts of things on his credit card – sadistic porn being the worst of it before she “died”.
5. She wrote a diary in which she pretended to be abused by her husband. For those who haven’t read the novel, this is all a lie.
6. She poisons herself and saves the puke so that if needed she can frame Nick.
7. She manipulates people to think of her in one way so that when she is “dead” they will only ever remember perfect Amy.
My questions to fellow avid readers are do these evil characters have any redeeming qualities? Are they really evil or just convinced that they are right and doing what must be done? Can a character truly be evil or is it a contrived notion based on the assumption that there are some acts that humans should be not be able to commit?
I think that in Amy’s case there are two sides to the story. On the one hand she lost her job, her husband has become distant and she has a lack of connections in her new home. On the other hand the lengths that she goes to seem ridiculously disproportionate to Nick’s infidelity which led to her fake death scheme in the first place. I don’t know if Amy was really and truly evil but I know that I will never forget her character because she exemplified extreme insanity wrapped in a pretty package.
What do you think?