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Wicked Nerdery

Where psychology, pop culture, and true crime collide

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Walter White

How Villains Force Us To Look At Our Inner Darkness…

From Marvel’s supervillains and Darth Vader to the (slightly) more realistic Walter White in Breaking Bad, villains are fascinating; you can’t take your eyes off them. But why? What is it about those so clearly, classically wicked that makes them so compelling to an audience? One possibility is that, in experiencing these villains on-screen, we can face our own inner dark side.

Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed everyone has a darker side, a shadow-self, within their personality. This shadow consists of everything the person considers unacceptable to express: envy, rage, selfishness, the desire for power and baser animal instincts. It’s not something that the person is consciously aware of but something they must acknowledge and face in order to grow as a person.

This is where villains come in as archetypes, representing the clearest forms of those negative aspects of one’s personality. With their bad traits on the forefront, villainous characters allow for easy access to the audience’s shadow self.

Continue reading “How Villains Force Us To Look At Our Inner Darkness…”

An Analysis of Walter White: It’s All About Me!!

So a married, middle-aged, high school chemistry teacher with a disabled teen son and infant daughter on the way is already floundering financially when he finds out he’s got cancer…what does he do?  Start a meth business with a drug-addicted former student of his to ultimately become an international drug kingpin, of course.  Fascinating character arch, but who on Earth would do such a thing?  What kind of man would go from mild-mannered to cold-blooded in the course of about a year?  A man like Walter White, apparently, which brings us to the question…what kind of man IS Walter White?

Continue reading “An Analysis of Walter White: It’s All About Me!!”

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