You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
~ Two-Face's prophetic quote about him becoming the villain.
A villainous protagonist is a character who is the central focus of a story, yet does not have the traditional "heroic" qualities of a classic protagonist. In short, these are the villains that are the main characters of their own stories. Should they have heroic qualities, the audience commonly nickname them "anti-heroes".

There can be more than one villainous protagonist in a same story, but each one has to share the same amount of screen time in order to qualify. In Video games, any playable character can qualify (e.g. Michael De Santa, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips who are the protagonists of GTA V). Also, former protagonists who became antagonists (usually due to a tragic event in their life) can also be included, even if they no longer function as heroes.

Examples of this kind of character would be the Brain (who sought world-domination), Zim (who wants to conquer the world), Eric Cartman (many episodes focus on it when it comes to Jewish xenophobia) or Dan from Dan Vs. (who formulates destructive revenge plans against anyone he thinks has wronged him).

Some can be falsely seen as the "protagonist hero" as he/she is seen on the cover of the movie/book and there for the reader/watcher are being lured to believe that the character is the main hero of the story, while they are in fact the main antagonists. One example is Major Chip Hazard from Small Soldiers.

These characters are quite rarely Pure Evil, because it is very unlikely (and odd) for a leading character to be actually that evil. Though, there are huge exceptions (usually found in horror medias), such as Freddy Krueger, Lucius Wagner, Maegor I Targaryen, Darth Bane, The Crusader of Hatred, Needles Kane, and Sauron from LotR: Conquest (in the Evil campaign only; in the Good campaign, he is the main antagonist).


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