Ugly as Sin or Ugly is as Ugly Does
Putting the UGLY in Ugly
Words have associative meanings in its positive and negative contexts. Beauty and attractiveness have always been associated with goodness, purity, wholesomeness, and virtue. It is also has been associated with innocence and friendliness. Beautiful and attractive people are deemed to be nicer and more genuine because of their appearance. Beauty and other forms of physical attractiveness has always been according the most positive attributes.
To go even further, when one states that one has an angelic and/or cherubic appearance, this means that his/her appearance is pleasant and he/she is good looking. Being good looking has always been associated with pleasantness and positiveness. Unattractiveness and ugliness have negative connotations. Unattractive and/or ugly people are considered to be flawed somehow. Ugliness has long been associated with evil, sin, and other forms of iniquity. Many people see physical unattractiveness and ugliness as quite sinister, even evil.
From time immemorial, looks have been associated with either good or evil attributes, even characters and prototypes. Characters and prototypes In the bible, Michael the archangel was portrayed as handsome as befitting his morally sterling character. Lucifer was good looking when he was in heaven with God. However, after his expulsion from the heavenly realms into hellish realms, his appearance transformed from handsome to hideously ugly to reflect his changed character. The saying ugly as sin reflects the correlation between an ugliness and an evil or less than positive character.
The devil is the most villainous character of all time which is reflected in his bestial appearance. The devil is the prototype for sinister and evil characters in books, plays, and movies. If a character is a villain, in many cases, he/she is not good looking to downright ugly. The ugliness is a physical reflection of the evil personality lurking underneath.
Besides being portrayed as unattractive, villains are often portrayed as sinister looking. Of course, the sinister aspect is a metaphor for his/her evil persona. Villains have been portrayed throughout history as ugly in order to teach people that evil is undesirable, even repugnant and that goodness is something that should be continuously strive for. Evil characters in books, plays, and movies are sinister looking to detract others from emulating them.
There are evil characters in books, plays, and movies who are actually portrayed as demonic looking. This is quite apropos for the course. After all, the devil is the ultimate prototype of evil. So evil is equated with the demonic in the mass consciousness. Evil is viewed by many to be in the lower realms and levels of being. In these lower realms and levels, it is supposedly unpleasant. This unpleasantness can be physical, mental, or spiritual depending upon what the respective individual and/or collective consensus is. The supposed denizens of the lower realms are at the lowest possible consciousness, near the bestial level. This bestiality is reflected in their appearance. One can aptly say ugly is as ugly does.
Beyond just demonic looking, there are evil characters who are good looking in a dark, demoniac way. Even though they are attractive, they have one feature which gives away their evil aura. It could be their eyes, nose, mouth, or other physical attributes. Such evil characters attract and repel people simultaneously. Attractive, evil characters may be beautiful on the outside but they are repulsive on the inside. They are not really beautiful as their inner ugliness have an impact on their beauty and/or attractiveness in one way or another.
Ugliness does not have to be a physical component to evil characters. Even if they are not physically unattractive and/or ugly, they exude a dark, demonic, and/or otherwise sinister aura which lets others know who THEY are and to be wary of interacting with them. Such characters have no compunction of using their evil to achieve their individual purpose. They breathe evil as regular people breathe air.
Besides exuding an ugly and/or dark aura, the evil character has a dark and off putting presence. When he/she enters the room, one is totally repelled by him/her. That is what he/she wants. He/she wants people to be repelled by his/her presence. After all, this is what gives him/her power. He/she does not want people to come near him/her at all. The purpose of being repelled by him/her is to make him/her come towards the object of his/her attention. He/she wants to do the chasing. He/she wants to conquer, subdue, and/or perhaps destroy the object of his/her attention.
There is yet another negative facet to the ugliness of the evil character in books, plays, and especially in movies. The evil character is predatory in nature. He/she sees others as pawns to do with as he/she likes. Other people are viewed as weak and of no consequence. Nothing makes the evil character happier than to demoralize and other strip others of their humanness and/or decency. Such words are total anathemas to the evil character. When others are completely stripped of whatever dignity they have, they are under the evil character's power.
The predatory evil character loves to be in charge and dominant. Besides using dominance to demoralize others, evil characters love to dehumanize others. Others are just pawns in their macabre game plan. They exist to be the prey. They see it as inconsequential to use others until they cannot be used anymore physically, emotionally, psychologically, and/or mentally. Others are NOTHING to the predatory evil character.
The predatory evil character can also destroy those whom he/she deem to be a threat or too weak. Such evil characters see others as nonentities to be disposed of when he/she believes that the latter is not useful and/or in his/her scheme of things. The concept of survival of the fittest is taken to an abysmally ruthless level. If others are destroyed in his/her quest for dominance, well, that's THEIR weakness.
There is the evil character who is amoral. The normal concepts of right and wrong matter to him least. To him/her, such concepts for the meek, weak, and gullible. He/she intends to live and do what he/she pleases regardless of the dire consequences incurred. In fact, this evil character could not care one iota about consequence and as to how his/her actions impact others. His/her disregard for rules of ethics is highly unconscionable for others but it is okay with him/her.
One can say that amoral evil characters simply have no conscious at all. They are in their own perverse world and that is the way they like it. Others do not matter to them in the slightest. In fact, these characters are quite incognizant of other's existence. It is really their universe to do and be as they wish.
Some evil characters have a knack to portraying ugliness and other forms of darkness to be quite attractive and alluring. These characters may appear to be welcoming, friendly, and sophisticated. They may even be sweetly seductive to the opposite gender and deceptively kind to the vulnerable. However, sooner or later, their true ugliness seeps to the surface much to the dismay of everyone. This is one of the most insidious evil characters. They can effectively mask their ugliness under a facade of utter gentility.
They also have the gift of using kindness as an allure to the unsuspecting. They pretend to be kind to draw you in. They know that there are gullible people out of there who only want to see only the very best of humankind. They present a beautiful exterior to beguile you, never revealing a dark, uglier, more demonic side until they have you proverbially where THEY want YOU to be.
In conclusion, there is a reason why evil characters are portrayed by people who are deemed less attractive, even ugly people by societal standards. Evil is the antithesis of good. Evil represents extreme imperfections and flaws. People who are less attractive and ugly are considered flawed appearance wise. Furthermore, physical unattractiveness, even ugliness, have quite a negative connotation. There is even the saying ugly as sin. Ugliness is oftentimes equated to sin hence evil.
Evil characters have oftentimes been portrayed as physically ugly in order to make them repellent and undesirable. They also have been portrayed as physically unattractive in order to make the context of evilness very destructive and unprofitable. The negative physical appearance of the evil character is a method to deter people from wanting to be less than positive in their lives and their dealings with others.
Besides, being physically ugly, evil characters can be emotionally, mentally, psychologically, or psychically ugly. Ugliness in evil characters is not contained to physicality, it encompasses all areas of the persona. This psychic ugliness can including possessing an odious, repugnant, even borderline psychopathic personality. The evil character does not necessarily have a blatant evil personality, many disguise their truly ugly personality to appear nice and sweet on the surface until they get what they desire.
The evil character is ugly physically and/or other ways for many reasons. They are the anti-hero and anti-heroine. They represent the darker, demonic, and more sinister side. Such characters are created to make the public want to HATE them and wish for their just desserts. Last of all, people LOVE evil characters for they are departure from the usual all around everyperson character.
© 2013 Grace Marguerite Williams