Right from childhood we have been taught that good is ultimately rewarded and evil punished. Being good is nice and has a big pay off. This mental set up sees us disliking every villain we come across, whether in real life, or in our literary life. We know that in life every good deed however small is rewarded and no bad deed goes unpunished. When an antagonist is thoroughly whipped by the protagonist, our hearts swell with joy. We as readers know that justice has been meted out. That truth, honesty and goodness has ultimately triumphed.
For Writers - To make an antagonist absolute vile we have to make him do evil things not just to the protagonist, but also to other characters who the readers have started to love. The antagonist has to be full of vices, he has to be completely evil, his lust for greed and power should be unquenchable and unsatiated. He must torture everyone (not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and psychologically too). If an antagonist is extremely powerful or invincible, then his or her downfall is all the more welcome. Everytime the villain torments other characters; especially the main character, he accumulates plenty of hatred from the readers.
Even if a protagonist is not very likeable, we stick on with a story if our dislike for the antagonist overrides our love for the main character. In this case hate really works in capturing a reader’s attention and eyeballs. For this we have to create a vile, vicious and a sadist villain who has made evil his main profession and who can stoop to the lowest level to get his way.
Is it important for you to hate the antagonist? Do you feel that you are glued to the pages if the antagonist is loathsome? What do you do to make the antagonist evoke hatred from the readers? We all are eager to know as we have our own vicious villains to craft.