Don’t you just love when an author manages to surprise you with his story? I talked the other week about books with unexpected endings so today I will propose to you, novels in which a character gradually becomes evil.
1. Ordinary Men – Christopher Browning
“Ordinary Men” is about a unit of German soldiers from World War II. They are normal people, that had average lives before the war. They were happy and friendly working-class men, with no fanatical Nazi views.
Major Nagel, was summoned to discuss “a basic Jewish action” scheduled to take place on August 31 and September 1.
Christopher Browning manages to tell the story of the enormous transformation regarding the “Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police”. From the “Ordinary Men” they once were they turn into cold-blooded mass murderers, killing thousands of Jews.
The tale is very well researched and tells a true story of a specific unit from World War II. However, the author insists on the fact that most people turn into something they are not by being pressed by a group and not as individuals
2. Vicious – V. E. Schwab
“Vicious” is a story about two very smart roommates from the Lockland University: Victor and Eli. When they need to choose their senior thesis topic, they decide on studying ExtraOrdinaries (EO’s). They pick this topic after Eli discovers that some people who have some kind of superpowers have recovered from near-death experiences.
Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.
Fascinated by his colleague’s assumption, Victor wants to be a test subject for their research. Eli’s speculations turn out to be correct, but everything has a price.
3. The Strange Case of Dr. Jecyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
I am not truly sure that “The Strange Case of Dr. Jecyll and Mr. Hyde” belongs to the category of books in which a good person turns into an evil, but I will add here nevertheless.
Because it is a very popular story, I will not linger too much on its plot. George John Utterson is a legal practitioner who investigates the evil Edward Hyde. He soon comes to think that Hyde is blackmailing his friend Dr. Henry Jekyll into paying for the damages he was doing, but also to become the doctor’s only legal heir. However, as you probably know, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde have a much deeper connection that Mr. Utterson thinks.
All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone, in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil.
Robert Louis Stevenson was always fascinated by human personalities and how can one be both good and evil. So if you want a classic story on this subject that is also written in a very good manner, you should pick a copy as soon as possible.
4. East of Eden – John Steinbeck
Steinbeck’s novel is an all-time classic. Cathy Ames is from my point of view one of the greatest villains ever created. However, today, I will not talk about her, but of Caleb (Cal), her son.
He might not be the perfect “good turns evil” character, because he realizes that he might be vicious as his mother and fears the possibility. The biblical persona of Cal’s is, of course, Cain, and even though our character doesn’t actually murder his brother, Aaron, as Cain did, he has and involvement in his death.
It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.
“East of Eden” is still one of the best books we’ve reviewed, so althogh Caleb might not be the perfect example of a good person that turns into an evil, we still encourange you to read it.
5. The Shining – Stephen King
“The Shining” is my all-time favorite book by Stephen King and a story that I always like to read around Halloween. The main character is Jack Torrance. He is an aspiring writer who is recovering after alcohol addiction. He accepts the job offer to be the off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel and he moves there with his wife and child. Soon after their arrival, Danny, the son starts seeing ghosts and have visions. The haunted hotel starts possessing Jack and uses the ghost of the former caretaker Grady to make him kill his family.
Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.
This novel is the perfect example of a story in which a good person turns into evil. Jack starts as being a good character who desires to do good in everything: marriage, parenting, and career. However, Stephen King manages to turn him into one of the best antagonists ever created.
6. Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien
“Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien is not just a book series. It is a cult classic. It was the start of a genre, a birth of species, languages and so much more. The character I want to talk about today is Saruman, but first, let me tell you just a few words about the story.
When Lord Sauron creates a very powerful Ring, the world goes into chaos. So all the species that lived and were not under Sauron’s influence decided it must be destroyed.
The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
Saruman is the leader of the wizards sent to Middle-Earth to fight against Sauron. He doesn’t stay too much on the good side. On the second volume of the series “The Two Towers”, the craving for power overtakes Saruman and he desires the Rings for himself wanting more than everything else Sauron’s power.
7. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
“The Godfather” is my favorite mob story of all time. I like it so much that I can’t decide if I appreciate the book or the movies better.
Michael Corleone is the main character of the novel and he is another perfect example of a good person that turns into evil.
We first meet him at his sister’s wedding. At this time, Michael doesn’t want to have anything to do with the family business. He wants to live a normal American life along with his college sweetheart, Kay Adams.
I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.
However, things don’t go as plan. He has to step into his father’s (Vito Corleone) shoes and till the end, he becomes a sadistic bastard that you want to hate.
These being said, can you add any more characters that start as good and till the end they become the antagonists?