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What makes a character irredeemable?

last activity 7 months ago by System

Attribution notice removed by user avatar System · 2020-01-03T20:41:58Z (6 months ago)
Source: https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/48204
License name: CC BY-SA 4.0
License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
Initial revision by user avatar System · 2019-12-08T13:02:17Z (7 months ago)
No character is irredeemable. If professional wrestling teaches us nothing else it teaches us that any character can make a face turn just as any character can make a heel turn.

But authors don't really write that way. If an author intends to redeem a character, they lay the groundwork for that redemption from the beginning. (Everything in fiction is about set up.) If a bad character is to be redeemed, it is hinted that they have some redeemable feature, or that there is an external reason for their current bad behavior (an abusive childhood being the overwhelming favorite in this psychology-ridden world).

It is not a question of a character being redeemable or irredeemable, therefore, but of the character being set up for redemption or not set up for redemption. The degree of sinfulness does not matter. If a character is not set up for redemption, even minor sins will not be redeemed. If the character is set up for redemption, even the blackest of villainy will be redeemed in the end. If the author suggests either:

- The evil character has a spark of goodness in them (they are kind to small animals)

or

- Their evil behaviors is caused by the evil done to them (daddy would not let them keep small animals as pets)

then they are going to be redeemed in Act 3.

And if not, not.

Attribution notice added by user avatar System · 2019-12-08T13:02:17Z (7 months ago)
Source: https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/48204
License name: CC BY-SA 4.0
License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
Imported from external source by user avatar System · 2019-09-25T23:52:07Z (9 months ago)
Original score: 25