Dwight Hansen

Dwight Hansen

Dwight Hansen is the main antagonist in the memoir "This Boy's Life" by Tobias Wolff. In the 1993 film adaptation, he is portrayed by Robert De Niro, who also portrayed Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America, Al Capone in The Untouchables, Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, Max Cady in Cape Fear, Frankenstein's Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Ace in Casino, Neil McCauley in Heat, Gil Renard in The Fan, Louis Gara in Jackie Brown, Fearless Leader in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinikle, Don Lino in Shark Tale, and Senator John McLaughlin in Machete.

The real Dwight from the biography stayed in Concrete, and died in 1992.


Dwight is unmistakably the antagonist of the memoir, a villain who steals Jack's happy childhood right out from underneath him. Dwight is cruel, a monster whose only motivation is to degrade and defile everyone he can. The worst of Dwight's brutality is directed at Jack, who is rendered helpless by Dwight's unflinching adult authority.

Dwight mercilessly berates Jack for his every move and, at his worst, uses physical force to make his power known. Dwight derives satisfaction from exercising his power over other people, primarily Jack and Rosemary, and needs to belittle and victimize others to reassure himself that he is important. Dwight is also exceedingly deceptive and dishonest, either making various promises he cannot keep, or simply lying outright, relishing his self-serving underhandedness. This deception is best exemplified when Dwight steals Jack and Rosemary's hard-earned wages, spending the money on himself after he has assured them both that he is depositing it into their respective bank accounts.