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  1. #1
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
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    Default Heroes, Villains, and MBTI

    Something that I have been curious about for a long time is that in movies and books (like in real life) every MBTI type can be portrayed as a hero, but just as well as a vilain.

    A good example are INTJs who often are used as the quintessential villain character, but just as well may represent the smart hero (esp. in crime novels and movies). A particularly striking example may be "Silence of the Lambs" where both the villain (Lecter) and the hero (Starling) are usually typed as INTJ.

    As far as I can tell, this is true for all other types as well.

    Now, on a very superficial level, this is a no - brainer: "... there are good and people everywhere...". If you think more about it, it is surprising, though: if MBTI captures (to a certain point , at least) the essence of a person's psychological structure, how can it be that something so central as morality does not find its way into the system ?

    Any thoughts ?

  2. #2
    To the top of the world arcticangel02's Avatar
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    There are certainly some types who are less likely to be 'criminals', i.e. the ESxJ types especially have quite a powerful sense of 'right' and 'wrong', and value lawfulness. So you're not really going to find them as the typical hollywood villain.

    But I think it's oversimplifying it. Any type can be good, any type can be bad, but 'villain' I think implies too much the hollywood/movie stereotype. Which, when it comes down to it, is quite a narrow band of personalities.

    So, my question is, developer, how do you define 'villain'?
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  3. #3
    Rats off to ya! Mort Belfry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by developer View Post
    how can it be that something so central as morality does not find its way into the system ?
    Because morailty is subjective. Our own personal morality is created by our dominant functions and most people think they are good people and a lot of people think the people they're not are evil.

    Hannibal Lecter's an interesting point, I've always wondered if there's a serial killer for every mbti type. I'd be surpirsed if there wasn't.
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  4. #4

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    Of course when we put heroes and villains on screen they become incredibly stereotyped. Please keep that in mind as I relate the following half-baked opinion (It is nothing more than a musing, not something I believe).


    I think xNTJs make the coolest classical villains because they conjure up adversaries that are difficult to beat. You can have them display both startling foresight, and iron will over their environment without suspending disbelief too much.

    Also beating NT villains pleases audiences, because knocking NTs of their "high horses" is something all temperaments (including NTs) like to do.

    NFs and SJs are hard to put in the role of classical villains, because they too often remind people of "good" people we know. You usually have to put SJs into some "stodgy" bureaucrat role, where they represent oppressive "establishment." NF may have to be drawn as histrionic, spoiled or controlling. They work better as villains in plots that rely on a strong psychological element and identification with the hero/heroine.

    STPs are the most common hero/heroine in story lines. There is more to watch with STPs. They are either taking action, or creating some plan to take action. That is easy to make exciting on screen. Of course you can make them good bad guys for the same reasons.

    Informative types (Behind-the-Scenes, Get-Things-Going), in general are hard to create leading (or lead villain) roles for. Because they are more naturally behind the scenes or getting things going in the story. Supporting roles, sidekicks, lackeys, etc. are better. If put in a leading role, will need a more directive partner or secondary character to move things along. Of course, a more psychological or emotional plot allows for more leeway in general.

    xNFPs make excellent character/narrators, because they can naturally relate the other characters motives as well as the symbolism.

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    Last edited by ygolo; 01-20-2008 at 06:11 AM. Reason: The typos were bad enough to make this post more incohernet than usual

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  5. #5
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arcticangel02 View Post
    So, my question is, developer, how do you define 'villain'?
    Well, this answer probably is not very sophisticated: the villain usually is a person who intentionally does significant damage to others for personal gain. You may define "significant damage" as you like, and also "personal gain" can be viewed in different ways, but that is the quickest answer I can come up with.

  6. #6
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    You usually have to put SJs into some "stodgy" bureaucrat role, where they represent opressive "establishment." NF may have to be drawn as histrionic, spoiled or controlling. They work better as villains in plots that rely on a strong psychological element and identification with the hero/heroine.
    That was also the way I was looking at it. (Evil) school directors or prison wardens are often portrayed as ISTJs in movies, and ENFJs are sometimes used for the role of the manipulative con artist.

  7. #7
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by developer View Post
    Something that I have been curious about for a long time is that in movies and books (like in real life) every MBTI type can be portrayed as a hero, but just as well as a vilain.

    A good example are INTJs who often are used as the quintessential villain character, but just as well may represent the smart hero (esp. in crime novels and movies). A particularly striking example may be "Silence of the Lambs" where both the villain (Lecter) and the hero (Starling) are usually typed as INTJ.

    As far as I can tell, this is true for all other types as well.

    Now, on a very superficial level, this is a no - brainer: "... there are good and people everywhere...". If you think more about it, it is surprising, though: if MBTI captures (to a certain point , at least) the essence of a person's psychological structure, how can it be that something so central as morality does not find its way into the system ?

    Any thoughts ?
    It makes sense. People in their average state aren't strongly evil or good, so morality wouldn't be involved. But if things go a certain way or they make a certain choice, their morality can be corrupted (or exalted)... no matter who they are. SJ's could have this happen if the standards they've been taught become worthless because things change too quickly. N's could have this happen when they become so caught up in their vision that they neglect what's being sacrificed along the way, or not stopping to ensure that their current vision really is the right/ideal one.

  8. #8
    Rats off to ya! Mort Belfry's Avatar
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    Would the Vogons from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy be typically SJ?
    Why do we always come here?

    I guess we'll never know.

    It's like a kind of torture,
    To have to watch this show.

  9. #9
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    INTJ's are often the villains in movies and such, because they make the story more interesting. What makes a better story: a mastermind with a huge elaborate plan and many back up contingencies, or an ESFP that is just kind of winging it and doing what their emotions tell them from one moment to the next? An ESFP won't be an archvillain in action, adventure, sci-fi, etc... type movies, but they might be the "cheating spouse" type villain in a Lifetime movie. It depends on the story you want to tell as all types have positive and negative traits. But in an epic, larger than life story an xNTJ is going to make the most interesting villain.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member JustDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mort Belfry View Post
    Would the Vogons from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy be typically SJ?
    IMHO, yes.

    As I understand it they thrive on order, continuity, routine and are very pedantic. To me they are the quintessential ISTJ.

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