The Villain Women Characters as Archetypes in Literature

Görmez A., Yıldız F.

International Symposium on Literature, Culture and Language, Van, Turkey, 26 - 28 May 2022, pp.462

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Van
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.462
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


The antagonist is as important and interesting as the protagonist in a literary work. And it is quite striking if the bad guy is no one but a woman. There are various reasons why writers choose cruel female characters rather than or in addition to bad men: politics, culture, traditions, religion, education or some other factors could be involved. Whatever is behind this phenomenon, there are numerous examples of the kind in literature from the Bible so far throughout history: beginning with Eve in “Genesis”, the Bible, Medea in Euripides' Medea, Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Miss Havisham in Dickens’ Great Expectations, Jadis the White Witch in Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” of Narnia Chronicles, Nurse Ratched in Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are just a few to name. Do these cruel ladies have anything to do with archetypes? If so, is monstrosity an indispensable part, a sine qua non, of a woman’s nature, or something they adopt later in life? This paper seeks to answer such questions giving examples from the above-mentioned literary works as well as those not mentioned together with the theoretical background of the subject.

Keywords: Cruel women, archetype, culture, literature, feminism.