Anti-heroes are often considered villainous, but they’re not necessarily bad people. They’re just flawed and complex characters.
An anti-hero is a protagonist who lacks the traditional heroic qualities of courage, honor, and morality. Anti-heroes often exhibit some of the same characteristics as villains, like selfishness or amorality. However, their intentions are often more complex than those of a typical villain. Instead, the anti-hero has a darker side that makes him or her a flawed character in contrast with traditional heroes. An anti-hero is not necessarily villainous, but he or she might have some villainous qualities such as selfishness and arrogance.
A classic example of an anti-hero is James Bond in Ian Fleming’s James Bond books and films. Although he possesses many heroic qualities such as bravery, intelligence and selflessness, he also displays many negative characteristics such as womanizing, drinking to excess and having a distaste for authority figures.
Many modern works of literature feature characters that are far from perfect. These flawed characters often possess negative qualities like cruelty or selfishness. The protagonist in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” is an old fisherman who struggles with his own mortality as well as physical limitations caused by old age. Hemingway’s story is told from the perspective of Santiago’s young apprentice Manolin who admires his mentor despite his flaws because he sees them as part of who he is: “Santiago had been very proud of himself when he landed that marlin.”