I believe the antihero trend has been around for quite some time, swinging back and forth between wholesome heroes and flawed heroes. Homer's Iliad is more historical narrative than fictional myth and without a central protagonist, per se. Agamemnon, Achilles, Patroclus, Nestor, Priam, Helen, Odysseus, Paris, Menelaus, etc., and a pantheon of gods, each heroes in their own right and light, nonetheless with self-serving, flawed motivations by contemporary cultural standards.
The current trend toward antiheroes in my considered estimation is more a consequence of fully rounded realistic characters and situations appeals than the spectacle appeal of more outrageous behaviors and situations, although I agree sagas that follow that story arc track are shortlived and shortsighted. Romanticism's poetic justice is just less common in adult entertainments of late.
The bad guy protagonist can and does often win in real life, the ends do justify the means, any means to an end, damn the consequences, better to beg forgiveness afterward than ask permission beforehand. That's what everyone else is doing, why not me? So, of course, I can vicariously like antiheroes who masterfully get away with justifiable homicide. Realism's influence is to my way of thinking prevailing because culture has become more informed, more skeptical, cynical, analytical, and less fantastically speculative than in the comparatively blissful self-serving ignorance of the past. If you don't look out for yourself, you're doomed. No one else will. Life just isn't fair and no reason given to hope it would be any different.
Last out of Pandora's Box was Hope, though. The pendulum swings, from post Postmodern questioning and challenging absolutes and authorities to perhaps a new existential paradigm, answering unanswered questions posed by the ever enduring cultural debate between predestination and free will. If there's an answer to the question What is the meaning of life? that is it. But it raises more questions than it answers; questions that tomorrow's literature can address, eh?
Last edited by polymath
on 30 Jul 2010, 10:52, edited 1 time in total.
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