A to Z Challenge – L

L

My theme for the A to Z challenge is Villain Archetypes.

Yes, 26 descriptions of some of your favorite villains of literature, TV, and movies.

April 14 – L is for Lothario

If you aren’t at all familiar with the term Lothario, Webster defines it as “a man whose chief interest is seducing women.” Essentially, this is the heart-breaker, the smooth-talker, the home-wrecker. It’s a monicker that originated on the stage, from the 18th century play The Fair Penitent by Nicolas Rowe. The villain Lothario (his actual name), seduces and then abandons the fair Clarisa, labeling an entire sub-class of antagonists for centuries.The archetypal Lothario villain puts his own physical desires over the well-being of anyone else. His victims, their families, the world-at-large; all are secondary to his desire for carnal conquest. And even though the antiquated definition couches it strictly in heterosexual terms, there are examples of same-sex Lothario antagonists of both genders throughout literature, TV, and film. We do not discriminate here at the Gentle Sandman. Everyone gets a chance to be a villain.

The Lothario is definitely more prevalent in certain genres as an arch-villain, Romance being the first that leaps to mind. These cads toy with our hero’s (or heroine’s) emotions, with empty promises, lies, and subterfuge, until they eventually get what they want. Then, it’s on to the next uncharted territory, guilt-less and care-free, while the more invested protagonist (or very often friend or family member of the protagonist) is left emotionally wrecked, shamed, and alone. In the non-romance genre, these villains tend to be henchman (or henchwomen) with a talent for seduction, often employed as a tool by an arch-villain to sow discord or lure a hero into a trap. The less-sympathetic seem to enjoy this work, or take a cold joy in manipulating others with only their wits and wiles. Potential anti-hero candidates may be blackmailed into using their beauty or skill to ensorcell an unwitting protagonist, or they may feel guilt or other mixed emotions about being an instrument of evil.

Most Lothario’s that don’t regret their sinful, misleading ways and become anti-heroes or sympathetic characters tend to get what they deserve. They may in turn get seduced, fooled, or embarrassed by a hero, they may meet a particular violent end, or they may be discarded by the arch-villain in the same manner they tossed aside their sexual conquests. Lothario’s can run the gamut from incredibly intelligent to appallingly dense, and may be strong or weak of will and body. One thing they all have in common however, is beauty, and the rampant sex appeal that is a key component to their  seduction ability. Cads, harlots, rakes, and casanovas, whether amateur or professional a Lothario can be called plenty of other names. We love to hate these characters (as long as they aren’t too sympathetic) primarily because they hit close to home; most folks have either experienced, or know someone who’s experienced, a real-life Lothario, and when we read about them or see them on the screen, it stirs up those old emotions and makes this archetype one of the most delightfully detestable bad guys of all time.

Some Famous Lotharios:

  • Lovelace (Clarisa)
  • Valmont (Les Liaisons Dangereuses)
  • Don Juan (Various)
  • Pussy Galore (Or just pick a Bond girl)
  • Emma Frost (Marvel; not exclusively, but on occasion)
  • Prince Xizor (Shadows of the Empire; he was many things, but a Lothario was one)

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11 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – L

  1. I had never heard the term. If Webster’s specifies it’s a male, is there another term for the female counterpart? Or I’m assuming it’s interchangeable? It seems to me that physical attractiveness is also a key component to these characters; their looks tend to garner sympathy–no one wants to see a hottie get killed. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t sure if there was a female counterpart, since the character it was named for was a male. I looked though. This Sandman does not discriminate. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  2. Awesome post and so well written 😉 I do so love to hate the lothario archetype and I’m glad that you expanded Webster’s definition to include women as well and all sexual orientations. Treacherous seduction is not reserved for one type of person at all, it translates across all types of people and reminds me of a particularly creepy book that someone bought me when I re-entered the dating scene – “the Art of seduction.” ugh. In this book, the author describes parts to play depending on what type of person your “target” is. Terrible and terrifying, but clearly an important tool for real (or fictional) lotharios.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As ghostwriter I’ve had to write on or two (or a hundred) of these but never once used the word Lothario. All that changes today! Thanks for the post and good luck with the rest of the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

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