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Is this a good Freudian Excuse?:
I'm writing a villain, who is the setting's resident Complete Monster, and a less extreme version of He-Man Woman Hater. To justify his actions/feelings towards the heroine, he constantly uses or makes reference to his Freudian Excuse, which is summed up below. I. was leader of a Wolf pack/Tribe of humanoid wolf Youkai. He was, with ocassional exception, mostly fair and capable. He has a talent for war, strategy, management of resources, and rallying people to his side when he needs them. He's also very strict, holding others to their time-honored laws as he holds himself. He loved his wife, who was from a lower social class than himself within this society - marriages between different social classes are heavily frowned upon, but not prohibited. It eventually becomes apparent to him that his wife has been having affairs with other members of the Tribe, on a regular basis, for some time. Enraged and hurt, he demands to know why. Her reason is that he "couldn't satisfy [her]" - she makes this known very publicly, and word soon spreads. Having lost significant face as a leader, humiliated, and unable to cope with the fact that his wife never actually loved him, and saw him only as a way to obtain social status for herself, his mood and temperament go south. He becomes rude, prone to violence, and develops a general strong distrust of women. He becomes an unstable leader eventually, harsh in his judgments and cruel in his assumptions. Others see that action must be taken and he must be replaced. Such events happen, and he resents this deeply, as his place as Leader/Alpha is taken by a much younger male, who takes a half-demon, half-human woman as his wife (not because either of them want to, though). Said wife is the heroine. The villain treats her harshly because he sees similarities to his own wife that remind him of her, and because said heroine uses rather sexualized methods to try and tone down his violent behavior towards her (it's all she can think of, and it doesn't quite work the way she'd intended). He also knows that she worked as a prostitute prior to her marriage (something he, and others including her husband, hold against her), and uses it as blackmail. Basically, his Freudian Excuse is that all women are untrustworthy, cheating sluts good for nothing more than scullery maid work because his wife cheated on him and shamed him publicly. What do you think? Is it out-of-proportion enough? Does the character need more (there's more, I just haven't written it here)? Thanks so much!
You might want to decide what his general opinion of women was before he got married. One person, while devastating, betraying him doesn't seem enough to me to get him to hate/disrespect all women. That particular woman, yes, but not all women. Plus, it seems more like he has a legitimate grievance with a particular type of woman that might blind him to her more positive qualities/the particulars of the situation. (You probably shouldn't think in terms of "this is enough of an excuse" and more in terms of "this is why he behaves as such around this person." There really isn't such a thing as "enough of an excuse" when writing a character a particular way, just a decision.) Question; how many people know she used to be a prostitute? Because if it's widely known I don't think it would actually work as blackmail. You said even her husband knows, so it's not like she kept it a secret.
Good point. With that in mind, his general opinion of women before he got married was essentially neutral, not tipped towards "women are good" or "women are evil" much either way. That's true, and I see the flaw in the logic. I did forget to mention (how stupid of me as a writer) that I. was already keeping a delicate balance in his temperament - he has Antisocial Personality Disorder, a fact which I completely forgot to mention (a lot of confusion in what I write when shown to other people is the fact that I'm the only one who knows everything about the story, and I keep it straight in my head - I forget that sometimes when I'm in a hurry to post something. My apologies.) He seeks to control and dominate others, and thinks that the rules don't apply to him, being a Magnificent Bastard. You're right; that is a better way to think of it! Thank you - that puts it in a different light, for me. The fact that his wife cheated on him, and he feels that all women are this way, is used, in-universe, as an excuse for him to get away with things (like beatings) that he feels are justified. He uses it himself to justify to both himself and others why he acts the way he does, feeling it legitimate. I'm not saying it's a legitimate justification at all; in fact, I think it's a shoddy one - but, since the character is mentally unstable, it (and its flawed logic) certainly fits him and his temper. I might well fix the logic bit that you pointed out, though. I'm wondering now if leaving it as such doesn't add to his reputation for misjudgment and false accusation... Hmmm... Now you've gotten my wheels turning... Very few, actually: about...14 out of 190 or so. It's not widely known; by the time it comes to the husband's attention, their marriage is already in shambles, and it only serves to widen the chasm between them. She did try very hard to keep it a secret, but failed in a capacity. Basically, she was being pursued by I. and 13 others - she ran to try and get away from Domestic Abuse on I.'s part, and was chased. She ran to her younger brother's village. She begs for his help, and he refuses (he's still angry that she "betrayed" him by sleeping with the man he considered his rival/enemy). The two argue, and he lets it slip (in a moment of anger and in a childish fit of throwing out sensitive things designed to hit low), that she used to work as a prostitute. I., and the others with him, take great interest in this, while she is horrified and extremely hurt (it was something she told him in confidence - he didn't take it well). They then proceed to use it for blackmail when she threatens to do something I. doesn't like (speak back, leave, tell her husband, etc.). Thing is, her husband is turning a blind eye to the abuse, because he's also perpetrating it, and simply doesn't care. He's basically citing Screw the Rules, I Make Them! as for why he's ignoring his wife's protests and the concerns of other women. (He resents her deeply for forcing him into marriage - he was in love - and still is - with the same younger brother's girlfriend; she resents him for his high expectations, attitude, etc.) But that's a whole other can of worms. If you need clarification, read this: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=ApMAR_caNiFba8LLtcXHfJrty6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20110110202051AAWXAXj
You could maybe use the Madonna-Whore complex here to flesh him out. Basically, this is the idea that women can be divided into two groups: Incorruptible Pure Pureness virgins, and dirty cheating sluts. So, he might start out idolizing a woman, and then as soon as he realizes she's not absolutely perfect, he switches to denigrating her.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
Bigonkers! is MagicI would suggest simplifying it to something more like: His wife betrayed him for the organization that didn't believe in his cause.
@ Sand Josieph: That's a good suggestion, except there is no other organization. This is a Tribal setting, so any (immediate) opposition would be from within, not without. Of course, there are wars and clashes between the demons and the humans, but most of the conflict occurs within the Tribe.
Bigonkers! is MagicThe "Organization" doesn't necessarily have to mean some other faction outside the group. It could have meant one of the opposing sides of the tribe itself.
@ Ettina: Hmmm... I like that complex! It would be good for fleshing him out... I think he's, in-story, a decent character, but when his instability, insecurities, and prejudices are some of his main defining traits on paper (in explanation), I think he needs more. The Madonna/Whore complex sounds delicious, and (to use the hackneyed expression), fits him to a "T." I do believe I'll use it. Thank you! @ Sand Josieph: You have a point there. You don't mind if I use it, do you? It actually exists in-story, against the current Alpha-leader (I.'s successor) and I. leads the Organization, hidden in the woodwork, against the man - who, he feels, usurped him (even though the exchange of power was entirely legal and in fact warranted in light of his instability). You have my thanks!
edited 17th Mar '11 4:44:53 AM by punkreader
Bigonkers! is MagicFeel free to use the idea!
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