Storybook villains and their symbolic importance
Storybook villains and fairy-tale bad guys antagonize our children's favorite characters and heroes. It can be tempting to brush them off: "don't be scared, they're only make believe." However, there is a case to be made for exploring the topic with your little ones a little further.
Why is the scary King being cruel to the people of his Kingdom?
Why do you think the evil witch wishes the princess harm?
Why does the beast lock Belle in a tower?
There is fear, there is a lack of understanding, there is jealousy, and there is pain.
And these things grow into prejudice, into rivalry, into selfishness, and ill will.
There is a stem from which these personalities come to be and children know well enough how to connect dots to understand cause and effect. It is so often just "a witch is a witch" and "a snake is a snake."
If children know how villains grow they may be better equipped to combat their own demons and those of their peers.
Jealousy is natural, but sabotoge is a choice.
Fear is an instinct, but aggression is calculated.
Understanding is a process, but ignorance need not prevail.
There is a point in which a human becomes a villain.