From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Literature (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Literature, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Literature on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Comics (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Comics, a collaborative effort to build an encyclopedic guide to comics on Wikipedia. Get involved! If you like to participate, you can help with the current tasks, visit the notice board, edit the attached article or discuss it at the project's talk page.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

Other examples in mind[edit]

My idea of an antihero is a bit different, especially when it comes to concrete examples. In my view an antihero is a main character that is lazy, selfish and hedonistic. It's someone with low moral values and no big ideals. He's to be distinguished from the

  • hero: high moral values, unselfish, brave
  • unlikely hero: hero from a lower social class
  • villain: enemy of a hero, thoroughly evil.

The examples I have in mind are mainly from the 19th Century:

Arsene Lupin is an easily cited example, I may be able to find scholarly papers to back me up here. He is certainly an anti-hero in that he was created as a parody or foil to one to the popular hero of the day Sherlock Holmes. But besides that he's only really heroic when he meets someone worse, he steals, lies, and messes with people just because he well feels like it. (talk) 21:20, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Proposed definition change[edit]

Since the definition already in use seems to be causing so much confusion and disagreement with it, found a definition I would like to add to the main article that I found in the Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary (Bay Books and Oxford University Press (C) 1962 (1983 reprint)) I think it sums up what an anti hero is neatly, while allowing for flexability for the changing on conventions.

Hero of unconventional type in novel etc.

Why this definition?

One of the most common definition states, with minor variations depending on the source, that an anti hero is "a character with few, if any, traditional characteristics or values." That leaves the door open for villians and other non hero people to be included as antiheroes.

The other main type of definition I have come across is "A protagonist with few, if any, traditional characterists." This also leaves the door open for villians, and also means that it only refers to one person/ small group of people. That means you can't have an antihero working in the backgrounds as a mysterious figure. You can't have them popping up to help, hinder, and do what they want.

Others try to define why an antihero is different from other heroes, and limit them in that way, so the definition can't include the full range of antiheroes.

I am giving you one month before I add this to the article to present cases why you think it should not be added. Corrupt one 00:09, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Areas for clarification left open[edit]

I can see only two varibiles in this definition

The first is WHAT is a Hero. For that, I think it would be best to go to the Hero page

What is unconventional?

Does it depend on the culture, the age, the people who make them up, or what? Can an antihero become a conventional hero if that type of unconventional hero is adopted by culture and becomes a conventional type? Can the reverse occure when a culture changes and that type of hero is no longer conventional?

If anyone can find research to help clarify this for the article, I would appreciate it. Corrupt one 00:09, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with the definition proposed by Corrupt one ("an unconventional hero") in favour of the previous one ("a fictional character who has some characteristics that are antithetical to those of the traditional hero"). One reason is that Corrupt one is proposing a definition of anti-hero that describes the class of character as a hero; it's important to clearly differentiate between the two concepts rather than simply state that an anti-hero is an unconventional hero, which is vague and misleading. It's better to state, as the older definition does, that a fictional character described as an anti-hero is more than just unconventional, and possesses traits antithetical to those of the traditional hero, not just ones that are unconventional. --TM 19:46, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I was just thinking that maybe it might be benefitial to combine the two definitions. I still have a problem with using the term hero in the lead since all the definitions I've checked (Penguin dictionary, M. H. Abrams' Glossary of Literary Terms and definitions from refrain from using the term hero. (Most of those sources define an anti-hero as a main character or protagonist lacking heroic qualities.) Perhaps they could be combined into a lead like this: "An anti-hero has variably come to define an unconventional hero, a protagonist lacking heroic qualities or even one possessing traits antithetical to the traditional hero". This definition is broad enough to cover the range of definitions found elsewhere. --TM 00:47, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Actually, that may work. Mention in the definition area something like "The term antihero has a varity of definitions, ranging from unconventional heroes, a protagonist lacking heroic qualities or even one possessing traits antithetical to the traditional hero."

This will allow for all the definitions to be looked at, while not excluding any. Since the definitions are listed latter on, they can see them more clearly. It will also allow for people to understand WHY there is debate over what is and is not an antihero.

The change you propose to make would sugest that it was all part of the one definition and might of caused confusion.

My intent was to provide what I say as the broadest possible definition while not including all chacters who were not heroes, or excluding all characters other then the protagonist. If the definition I put up does not work, then mention the wide range, by all means.

Hell, I'm no expert, I just have what I admite is my point of view. Just as long as you allow people to see what there is and think for themselves, go for it. Corrupt one 02:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Just on a side thought, with all those definitions, who are NOT included, except conventioal heroes? Corrupt one 02:29, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Just thought I'd say something. The definition here for anithero is definitely a confusing one. I know that you may feel like cultural differences may change the definition of the term "hero", "villian", "antihero", etc. but surely you know that the truth is independent of what other people believe. Therefore, we the general populance, already know what a hero is and from there can say that an antihero is a hero that fulfills his role as a hero using unethical means. Always open to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism (talk) 16:17, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


I've gone through the article, mostly focusing on the first part in regards to definition. Cleaned that up so it's more presentable in the aspect of showing how the defintion has changed throughtout the years (which was previously mentioned in the beginning of the article).
Decided to remove the "examples" part at the bottom since it listed another 'specific' specific examples and the place to do that was in the body of the article. Am quite familiar with the example of Shinji Ikari and can validify such an example usage. However, Ikari's characteristics are better incorporated as a 'definition' rather than a specific example. Subject can be included in examples but with more detailed perspective.
This is just a cleanup and I have not yet removed the "clean up" notification implicated by Wiki, I leave this up to someone who can validify the actions done here. (Dave 17:03, 1 May 2007 (UTC))

Hannibal Lecter[edit]

Surely Hannibal Lecter is the ultimate anti-hero? He is a 'hero' because he helps with a police investigation in a way only he can using his considerable powers of analysis etc that the police don't have. He also makes considerable self sacrifice in self-amputating one of his hands so he can be with Clarice. He is 'anti' because he eats people etc. I think this should be put in, by am unsure of how this should be included. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:02, 9 May 2007 (UTC).

This article isn't for listing anti-heroes, that purpose is served by List of fictional anti-heroes where Hannibal Lecter is already included. --TM 17:37, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree he is NOT a conventional hero. However, he was NUTS, and although that argues in his favor to BE an antihero, you must remember that his helping people was mainly to manipulate them to do what he wants, thus the hero part of being an antihero is HIGHLY debatable. Being a hero considers a persons deeds and intents. An antihero also looks at them. If he had no heroic intent or deed, then how can he be any type of hero? Corrupt one 23:55, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Dear Caveat Lector[edit]

From the discussion, you seem to be acting as de facto senior editor for this article. You have centered the literature section around Batman (with a glaring error that he dates from late 20th century, early 21st). Judging from the date of your BA, I can fairly assume you discovered the Miller or post-Miller version of the character. If editor after editor is trying to include other examples or engaging you about the validity of Batman, there is a reason. I discovered Batman way before Miller came around. I also read the Bob Kane first stories. And there was never any question that this was a hero, not a anti-hero. It's true that I was not around in 1939 and cannot say how readers thought of Batman then, if they thought that was an anti-hero or not. However, considering he was on the tradition of earlier pulp characters like The Shadow and The Spider, I very much doubt they did. The most characteristic feature of Bob Kane's art that comes to my mind is the broad smile that he put on both Bruce Wayne and Batman face so the "brooding" description is rather limited. And it's not a question of author's intent. To the readers Batman was and has always been a hero. The preclusion of further examples has the disastrous result that Batman appears as a typical example yet few readers can agree with it and want to come up with Magneto, Anakin or Wolverine. I proposed Sub-Mariner because he's supposed to be the first one. He's also unsympathetic which, although it is not stated, may be a key characteristic that differentiates heroes from anti-heroes in people's minds. So considering this article has two tags for improvement and you only revert others people's edits per the recent history and you're very vocal on the discussion page about defending your reasons, I'd like you to cut short on the discussion, be bold and do what you think is necessary to improve it. --Leocomix 09:32, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

I did not add the section mention of Batman. It was kept there by a consensus that I did not agree with, but let stand because it was the consensus. I do not think that these examples should be in this article, and I do not think that adding examples improves the article at all. When I found this article, it was a complete mess, and it's terrible twin sibling was up for deletion. The article basically consisted of a long list of characters who random editors just 'thought' that they were anti-heroes (and thus, added them, including Achilles of all people, whose addition was justified on the basis that he doesn't meet the modern conception of a can see the problem with that, I imagine). I cleaned up the article, tried to come to a good language, and even tried to source as much as I could. I added the improvement templates to draw more attention to the article and to get editors who were interested in building a sourced, well written discussion of the anti-hero trope which was not merely a list of their favorite characters or of those who they thought were anti-heroes. I felt you edit fell into both of these categories, so I reverted it.
And I did so not because I do not think that Namor is or is not an anti-hero. I don't know enough about him to know that. This is actually precisely the reason why I took his name out: his inclusion was unsourced. You seem to know a lot about him, and you even claim to know a lot about the history of the anti-hero in comic books, where the trope is observiably present. However, we cannot add these observations because they are original research. Your opinion that Namor is an anti-hero does not matter. I felt that Batman was an anti-hero, but I argued against his inclusion because I knew that this did not matter. WE need sources. So, since you know a lot about comic books, can you find a reliable source that deals with the tradition of the anti-hero in comics? If you can, please do use that source and improve the article. Until then, I have tagged the section that discusses comics with an 'unreferenced' tag. If it remains unreferenced for a long period of time, we'll have no choice but to take it out of the article, unfortunately. CaveatLectorTalk 21:25, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, thanks for clarifying. Adding a tag asking for a source is the correct thing to do. I have seen no consensus on Batman from the talk page. If we have to keep Batman which to me is a bad example of an anti-hero in the comic book tradition (there is a person in the talk page that expressed the same opinion), then I feel it is necessary to include more examples. I am not a fan of Sub-Mariner if that's your concern. It's just that as anti-heroes go in comic books, he's a famous and early example. As for the list, I agree, it should be deleted again. --Leocomix 22:42, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Proposal: Develop a new term to replace Anti-Hero[edit]

It seems that the term "anti-hero" is pejorative and subjective - it presupposes that there is an "authority" who defines heroic, villainous and anti-heroic values, qualities and attributes.

I propose the following:

It is agreed that the Western Christian tradition is dualistic.

Furthermore, the this tradition divides Creation between the Spheres of Good and Evil. (Regardless of how culturally created these spheres are.)

That the Classical Hero exists in the Sphere of Good.

That the Classical Villain exists in the Sphere of Evil.

That the anti-hero exists on the shifting borderland between Good & Evil. (Otherwise known as Liminality.)

That the anti-hero is a Liminal Being.

Therefore I suggest that the Anti-Hero be renamed.

I suggest the neologism: Limenethos to describe a character who exists in an ethical borderland. (from the Latin "limen"-threshhold, from the Greek "ethos"-moral character.)

As a side note, judging by the etymology of the key words, "Anti-hero", "Hero", "Villain", "Protagonist" and "Antagonist" none of these terms serve a useful descriptive purpose:

"Hero" - from the Greek meaning "demi-god" - does this mean that the Anti-hero is the "against demi-god"?

"Villain" - from the Latin meaning "farmhand"

"Protagonist" - Pro-"in favor of", agonizesthai "to contend for a prize"

"Antagonist" - Anti-"against", agonizesthai "to contend for a prize" (Is Austin Powers a villain because he contends against Dr. Evil's prize of ruling the world?)

Eh?Why? 14:38, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

First of all, 'anti' does not always mean 'against'. It can mean 'the opposite of' or something that's not really an opposite, but backwards or swapped in a way, like a reflection in a mirror. Antithesis is an example of this. It's not negative or pejoratives. Secondly, we do not 'develop new terms' on Wikipedia. We write articles on terms that already exist. See WP:NEO. CaveatLector Talk Contrib 21:42, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

I am strongly opposed to trying to change the term Anti-hero. It is an accepted word. We do not MAKE words, but make an encyclopdia of words that already exist using referances from the real world.

Also, a few other things. If we DID somehow rename antiheroes, we would still have to have an article on antiheroes to show what they are, since people who know the term will look for it.

Another matter; I believe you know that litteral translations do not count as the meaning of things. I base this on the fact that those examples you gave would mean you had a pretty stuffed up educvation if you believed they still meant their original meaning I state quiet freely that I believe you are trying to stir things up. I can appreciate it; just try to be more subtle and amusing in the future. Corrupt one 00:32, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Difference between Byronic hero and anti-hero[edit]

The articles don't seem to be clear on this. Although the two are very similar, the difference is not outlined. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:09, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

McMurphy (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)[edit]

McMurphy is a couragous, idealist and has fortitude throughout his adventure of the story. He is proof that you can still be an anti-hero and have those traits. He lives by his own rules and does everything for his own benefits. He uses the patients in order to obtain better fortune for himself —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Antiheroes as a evolution of heroes[edit]

Here is something from the part on contemporary littrature

"In modern times, heroes have enjoyed an increased moral complexity. From this, one could say that the popularity of the anti-hero has seemingly boomed but this is part of the continual evolution and redefinition of the hero"

My only prroblem with this is there is no referance, and without that, it may be deemed OR. Will someone please find some referance to support this? Corrupt one (talk) 22:43, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I noticed my recent addition has been removed; reading through the discussion list, I wonder if it was thought to be a "random list" that did not further the substance of the artice. However, I did not present the characters as random examples; rather, I was trying to point out that the antihero character seems to be common in pop culture today. I listed three well-known and critically acclaimed TV shows, and provided documentation from NY Times that supported the exact point I was trying to make. I am respectfully asking for an explanation why my edits were removed. It's very frustrating to spend an extended bit of time on an entry only to have it completely wiped a day later. (Oh, and my reward for asking this question once already is that the discussion suddenly gets archived and my post disappears). SgtOsiris (talk) 17:49, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Sorry but if these were your additions it really is simply a list of three examples of anti-heroes with overly lengthy descriptions. We have a list for examples. --TM 23:09, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes that's what I was referring to. I have visited the list entry. Is there any relevance to the point (and, subsequently, any better way to address the issue) that antiheros are more common in entertainment (esp. TV) than in the past?
For example, reviewing the TV lineup from 20 years ago, "hero-based" shows included "Magnum, P.I.", "Spenser: For Hire", "The Equalizer" and "Miami Vice". Even the latter two, though they are edgy, have a clear-cut good/bad delineation. Even in 1993, you had only the beginnings of this movement, with debuts of "X-Files" and "NYPD Blue", although I'm not sure I would definitively put Fox Mulder in this category and Andy Sipowicz is a little bit closer (more of a tragic hero than antihero) -- but you get the point that these were shows that moved us along the spectrum to where we are now.
On the other hand, Vic Mackey's line from "The Shield" pilot, "Good cop, bad cop have gone home for the day. I'm a different kinda cop," nicely sums up his character and the stories: that is, as dirty and corrupt as he seems (, torture suspects, killing cops, robbing organized crime, partnering with drug dealers), he still becomes a quasi-noble character, either because others around him are equally decietful and ambitious, he's trying to look after his family, or his motivation is the greater good (deal drugs OK, but don't deal them in/around schools to kids). [Indeed, the show is appropriate for the time that we live in, where good/bad are gray areas -- isn't that the point, e.g. phone tapping by government is bad -- except to do it to catch terrorists is OK].
While I understand that you don't want this article to become a laundry list, I stress again that was not my intent. So please let me know a) if my greater point is a worthwhile contribution to the article (again, I think so since it shows evolution in media) and b) if it is worthwhile, how do I approach it without it being perceived as a so-called laundry list. Thanks. SgtOsiris (talk) 16:40, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
I personally think the greater point is very worthwhile. The only thing I and others have been trying to avoid with this article is getting bogged down with examples and summaries. While the whole article you cited is good in terms of verifiability, I think the most relevant and most credible aspect of it is the comments by the Syracuse University professor. Here are a copy of his comments:
' "These kinds of characters are so satisfying to male viewers because culture has told them to be powerful and effective and to get things done, and at the same time they're living, operating and working in places that are constantly defying that," said Robert Thompson, the director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.Consequently, whereas the Lone Ranger battled stagecoach robbers and bankers foreclosing on a widow's farm, the enemy of the contemporary male TV hero, Dr. Thompson said, is "the legal, cultural and social infrastructure of the nation itself."
"On one level you could see the proliferation of these types of characters as an indication of the decline of American civilization," he said. "A more likely interpretation may be that they represent an improvement in the sophistication and complexity of television." If you accept that view, he added, "Then the young male demographic has pretty good taste." '
Sourced criticism like this is really what the article needs more of in my opinion. --TM 22:50, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
OK, thanks for the feedback. I see your point ... I added the examples as evidence of the proliferation of these type of characters; however, more to the point is why there is such a proliferation, which the article from NYT delves into. I'll do some more digging and try a rewrite with some more substance. I appreciate the help! SgtOsiris (talk) 00:39, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

How come this site lists the Doctor (Doctor Who) as an anti-hero[edit]

How come Wikipedia has listed the Doctor as an anti-hero? What traits make him that and does it really apply to all Doctors? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:27, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

He lacks traditional heroic characteristics or values. he messes with time for fun, goes all over the place and time with little regard for other, and many other such things. Corrupt one (talk) 23:00, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that is the case, especially not in the current incarnation, I think he fits better the tragic hero model than the anti-hero. The Doctor after all places life as beyond value, risks his life for companions, is brave, caring, etc. which are all characteristics of a classic hero, he does have major flaws, but he is not an anti-hero. —Preceding unsigned comment added by JasonJD48 (talkcontribs) 16:52, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

That's correct. This article mistakes the defintion of a tragic hero with that of an antihero. (talk) 00:18, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

The Doctor first killed someone as a child. He killed a bully named Torvic.[1] He continues to kill again and again. It would not be exaggeration to say he's committed genocide many times over. [2] Even if you find a justification for every single incident that's still countless deaths. There's a reason he's known as a "Nameless terrible thing soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:16, 25 November 2013 (UTC)


I found a few referances to Spider-Man as an archtypical antihero, and I figured I wllet you look at the bits I selected. I put them on the Spiderman talk page. They list WHY he is an antihero, and an archtype of that kind of antihero! Corrupt one (talk) 23:06, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Slayers & "Sam & Max"[edit]

Slayers' Lina Inverse is deffinately an anti-hero; she always accidently destroys whatever town she was paid to save & recklessly endangers it's citizens, but always saves the day...& then demands a lot of money if no one is chasing her out.

Sam & Max would be anti-villians if they weren't the protagonists. These vigilantes drive recklessly shooting at cars, shoplift, torture rodents, tried to launch missiles at Antartica (& Crypton), break in & enter homes & sieze things without a warrent, make crank calls, tried to sell America to Canada, Max wants to destroy congress, & Max can't tollerate the idea of a world ruled by love & peace. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:17, 15 June 2008 (UTC) How does being the protagonist not make them anti heroes? do you even understand what anti hero means? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:13, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Change in meaning[edit]

I noticed there was some changes in the article as they could not find any definition of the word Antihero, so they could not mention its change in meaning. This is interesting, since a while back I provided a list of definitions for the word, and provided refferances, using about six or seven dictionaries and encylopedias. I wonder what happened to the list, which allowed up to view the changes of meaning over some time?

Maybe we can call them back and put them in a section all of their own. Corrupt one (talk) 23:35, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

1940: Merriam-Webster New International Dictionary, Second Edition, lists the word but without a definition.

1962: Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary defines it as "Hero of unconventional type in novel, etc."

1992: American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language defines anti-hero only as "a main character in a dramatic or narrative work who is characterized by a lack of traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism or courage" .

2004: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, says: "(1714): a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities."

Here is what I had put up. There had been a few other entries that were basically the same, I remember. Corrupt one (talk) 23:45, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I think that a villain could go under that definition, if he is the protagonist of the story, since that definition does not make a diference between good and bad, as do the terms heroe and villain. Uberflaven (talk) 14:09, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
That's correct. An antihero is often a villain. However, many villians have powerful or heroic qualities, which would disqualify them from being an antihero. Napolean Dynamite is an antihero. He has no heroic qualities and is the protagonist of his story. (talk) 00:22, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. The only main characters that do not fall under any of these definitions is a conventinal type of hero. I think it is important that such a wide range of possible characters is mentioned so people do not make the mistake of thinking that what other people list as antiheroes are not actually so, and try to edit their work. Corrupt one (talk) 10:14, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Confirmation of spelling[edit]

The three largest American dictionaries all spell it as a single word, without hyphen: Merriam-Webster Online; Unabridged (v 1.1), based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2006; and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000.

The term is also one word in The New Yorker, in such academic books as Antiheroes: Mexico and Its Detective Novel, Avatars and Antiheroes: A Guide to Contemporary Chinese Artists, and In Praise of Antiheroes: Figures and Themes in Modern European Literature, 1830-1980. --Skippu (talk) 19:10, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Where did Antivillain article go?[edit]

Didn't there used to be an antivillain article? I can't seem to find it anywhere. If it was deleted, for what reason. An anti-villain is different than an anti-hero. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:38, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

It was deleted, here was the discussion: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Anti-villain, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Antivillain. --TM 12:28, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Anti-villain redirects here. I think it's inappropriate to redirect to a page that doesn't mention (or at least in an obvious way connect to) the word you are redirected from. I came across the term "Anti-villain" in a review, and I thought: "Interesting concept! Wonder if it is in common use, and if so, how it is used." Googling, it seems to be "not uncommon", but perhaps still a bit of a fringe thing. I think it would be great if someone could put together a few lines to be included in Antihero (or more lines to make up an independent article), but of course it must be properly sourced, not OR. -- Anyway, if the concept is a fringe thing rather than being used by serious critics and academics, I think it must be because villains with redeeming characterstics are so commonplace that this neologism seems inappropriate to describe them - not because they are rare! Or maybe it is because a satisfying and clear definition making the concept distinct from "antihero" is not as easy as some might think.-- (talk) 13:44, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Evil Ernie as anti-hero?[edit]

The chaos comics character evil Ernie has been described as an anti-hero. I just want to know if chaos having defined him as an anti-hero (even though he IS also a villain) would change the definition of anti hero here because it seems your definition of anti hero is simnply that an anti hero is a very flawed hero but chaos defines anti hero as something different. So what is an anti hero really? If Evuil Ernie can pass as an anti-hero then your definition of anti hero needs revising. -Anonymous- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Holden Caufield[edit]

I think he is a hero, not antihero, because he has several redeeming qualities, and reader cheers for him. Can someone confirm? Turidoth (talk) 02:35, 11 June 2009 (UTC)


I´m sorry if I have missed a point, but one thing seems very strange to me. After all this discussion, the definition on the top of the article says that an antihero has to be a protagonist.

Most of the discussion, opinions and reference definitions here seem to say otherwise.

As Corrupt One says: That means you can't have an antihero working in the backgrounds as a mysterious figure.

Duckthor (talk) 12:16, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Article Not Consistent with Current Use of Word “Anti-Hero”[edit]

This article as completely at variance with the term as I learned it in high school and college and as it is used in literary circles, though it is consistent with the way it is often misused in common parlance. Most of the examples I’ve seen in the article and in this discussion (and I haven’t read the entire discussion page) are examples of Byronic heroes. Most of them have, in fact, many of the qualities associated with heroes, most notably courage, often great competence, intelligence, perseverance and ingenuity. An anti-hero, on the other hand, would be better represented by Woody Allen than by Hannibal Lecter, and by John Updike’s Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom than by Karl Wagner’s Kane.

This is a serious issue; I believe this article to be so off-base as to misinform those who turn to Wikipedia for such information. No offense.

Be sure to sign your posts using four tildas (~). Also, if you can come up with some reliable sources that confirm a solid definition of an anti-hero, I for one would welcome the contribution to the article. However, just stating that you heard something in high school and college just isn't enough. --CaveatLector Talk Contrib 14:29, 19 September 2009 (UTC)


an antihero is a self covered base of human defence someone who acts like they left money in a burning building when its really their lover, detests comic heroes calls them cruel an antihero is by heart not head unlike comic heroes antiheros are not pompous but coragous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 2 November 2009 (UTC)


Why is Batman mentioned so frequently in this article?

This article focuses as much on the definition of the word antihero as its history. So why are comic book characters or pulp culture movies referenced almost exclusively?

Can somebody over the age of 17 please update this page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:16, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Distinction from unlikely heroes?[edit]

I have noticed that the "Distinction from unlikely heroes" section seems to focus solely on the distinction between traditional heroes and unlikely heroes. This seems like it could be somewhat misleading. It is not made clear whether or not there is a difference between an unlikely hero and an antihero and what such a difference may be. The reader has to therefore rely upon the other sections to determine whether there is such a difference or not (or they must rely upon their knowledge of how a traditional hero and an antihero differ... that is, if they know how a traditional hero and unlikely hero differ and how a traditional hero and an antihero differ, then they can figure out to a certain extent how an antihero and unlikely hero are different. Of course the problem with this, besides it being a roundabout way of going about things, is that when you complicate things like this (as far as language is concerned) misunderstandings inevitably result, but I must apologize for my digression) since antihero is not being clearly defined in the aforementioned section. I feel it would be better if unlikely heroes and antiheroes were both clearly defined beforehand and then the comparison was made between antiheroes and unlikely heroes, as opposed to the current form where the distinction seems to be between unlikely heroes and traditional heroes. As it stands, I'm somewhat unsure about the relevance of the given section. It's almost as if somebody took this from another page and forgot to edit it so that it would apply to antiheroes. Or perhaps antiheroes and unlikely heroes are one and the same? But if that is the case, then shouldn't the title for the section be "Distinction from traditional heroes"? (talk) 01:07, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Confusion between evil heroes and those who fail to be heroic[edit]

In lit crit the latter definition is the only one that I can recall being accepted.

The Clint Eastwood character in the spaghetti westerns is a hero. The one is Unforgiven is an anti-hero. Tirailleur (talk) 18:03, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Unique definition of antihero here is improper[edit]

This article is unique for confusing its definition of an anti-hero with a tragic hero. The assertion that an antihero has heroic qualities but has character flaws is the definition of a tragic hero. The references to blogs with that mistake is an effort to perpetuate their mistaken definitions that exist nowhere else. That is not the purpose of Wikipedia. The references to Merriam-Webster, Encyclopeida Britannica, and other online dictionaries in no way support the mistaken definition attempting to be espoused here. (talk) 00:14, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. The definition talked about this article has absolutely no standing in literature criticism. The hero of a literary work is its main protagonist. If the main protagonist is evil, he's still a hero, just an evil one. An anti-hero is always understood as someone who fails to be heroic. Prince Hal in the Henry IV plays is an anti-hero, Falstaff is an anti-hero, but Richard III is a hero because although he's a villain he's still a hero.
The problem with the article is that it tries to impose its misunderstanding of the term onto traditional examples of good and evil heroes and somehow make it work. This is doomed to failure. Arguably the article needs splitting into two, so as to distinguish the anti-hero in his strict literary sense of non-hero from the anti-hero in the modern sense of bad guy. The issue with doing this though is that we already have a perfectly serviceable term for the latter meaning - it is, in fact, bad guy - so maybe we should simple redirect to the article for that?Tirailleur (talk) 09:58, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I like the definition here:
... An anti-hero is a protagonist who typically lacks the traditional traits and qualities of a hero, such as trustworthiness, courage, and honesty. If he were assigned a color, it would be gray.
Often, an anti-hero is unorthodox and might flaunt laws or act in ways contrary to society’s standards. In fact, and this is important, an anti-hero often reflects society’s confusion and ambivalence about morality, and thus he can be used for social or political comment. ... --PLNR (talk) 10:08, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Antihero definition limits media formats.[edit]

The current page describes an antihero as "...a leading character in a film, book, or play..." But other forms of media use anti-heroes as well, including games (Disgaea's Laharl), poems(Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - Lord Macaulay), and comics (Deadpool). We should consider changing this line to " a story..." so that all forms of storytelling media can be accounted for. (talk) 18:38, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).