If you remove the kind protagonist mask: We all wear a kind protagonist mask most of the time. We tell ourselves that we’re doing what’s right, or that we always try to do the right thing. But is that really true? When you strip away the mask, what’s underneath? Maybe instead of heroism, there’s self-interest. So Maybe we just want to be accepted by others and act in ways that make them happy. Maybe we’re just trying to survive and get through the day without too much pain. And maybe beneath all that lies something darker, something that wants nothing more than revenge and destruction. That’s why it’s so important to be careful about who we let into our lives—we may not realize it at first, but they could be wearing a kind protagonist mask too.
If you remove the kind protagonist mask
If you remove the kind protagonist mask, what is left?
In order to truly understand the motivations of a character, you need to look beyond their good intentions and see what lies beneath. This is typically done by removing the kind protagonist mask that we place on every person in order to make them more believable. In doing so, we can gain a better understanding of why they do the things they do and understand their true motives.
This was highlighted recently in an article entitled “The Dark Side of The Hero” by Marieke Nijkamp. The author discusses how often we see characters in stories who are good on the outside but have darker motivations that go beyond simply helping others. These characters can be ruthless in their pursuit of goals, even if it means harming others. By examining these types of characters, we can better understand why they behave the way they do and hopefully learn from their mistakes.
By removing the kind protagonist mask, we can start to see characters for who they really are- flawed individuals with motivations that may not be immediately clear. It’s this realism that makes these stories so compelling and allows us to empathize with the characters even as they inflict pain upon others.
If you remove the protagonist mask
If you remove the protagonist mask, what is left? Numerous characters that are all shaped by their own individual histories and motivations. In many cases, these characters are not remotely similar to the ‘hero’ archetype we’re so used to seeing in popular media.
Take a look at some of the most common examples: The anti-hero, who breaks the law but doesn’t necessarily care about right and wrong; the quirky sidekick who provides comic relief; or the villain who is motivated by revenge rather than pure evil.
There is no one correct way to play these roles, and as such there is plenty of room for creativity and individuality. The key is to let your character take control and tell their own story.
If the protagonist is not kind
If the protagonist is not kind, they may come across as selfish or ruthless. They may be unaffected by the suffering of others and/or feel no empathy. This can make them difficult to like, and can lead to a diminished understanding of their motivations. It can also make it hard to sympathize with them or root for them in their quests.
If the protagonist is kind
If you remove the kind protagonist mask, what’s left is a frustrated and often angry individual. A recent study from the University of Missouri found that happy people are more likely to act prosocial (helpful) than unhappy people. But the key to being happy isn’t simply trying to be kind – it’s also practicing self-compassion. When we’re hard on ourselves, it’s tough to open up our hearts to others. The antidote? Be okay with making mistakes and learning from them. Imagine yourself in other people’s shoes – would you want someone who was constantly critical or one who was forgiving, understanding, and compassionate? Taking care of yourself will go a long way in taking care of others too!
If you remove the kind protagonist mask, you’ll start to see that everyone is writing for an audience. And it’s not just people in a position of privilege who have this problem- anyone with an interest or perspective can find themselves trying to tell a story in a way that benefits them, even if it means excluding key aspects of the story. We need to be careful not to let our own biases affect our writing- and remember that readers are always looking for reasons to dismiss our work. So, when crafting your stories, make sure to ask yourself how your story might benefit from a more universal lens.