I meet a lot of students who want to become detectives, criminologists, and/or FBI profilers. It might be due to the popularity of CSI-styled shows during the last two decades, or maybe they are inantely passionate about injustice. In either case, these types of students enjoy analyzing characters through psycho-analytic criticism, which is a great way to approach a text.
For students who want too peer into a dark mind of a literary character, say perhaps such as an Iago or a Lady Macbeth, I have come up with an entertaining little prompt, a series of questions in which the student attempts to answer from the point of view of the villain.
Here's the prompt...
Antagonist / Villain Profile (Pretend you are the character)
What do you see in the inkblot?
What do you want most out of life?
How do you feel about the protagonist? Explain:
For each emotion, write the first word or phrase that comes to your mind:
What do you hate? (Why?) What do you love? (Why?)
Do you have any regrets? Why / why not?
Have you ever experienced a downfall due to hubris? If so, explain:
One of the creepiest characters in our literature textbook is Arnold Friend from "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" A UC Davis student created an excellent character analysis of this villain, positing the idea that Arnold might be the devil himself.
Read Spencer Martinez's essay: "Satan Drives a Convertible."