Disney Villains: Learning from the Seven Deadly Sins

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While villains have a lot of positive aspects, they also have a lot of flaws. Keeping with our theme of Disney villains this month, we’re going to look at and learn from the worst flaws of all, the Seven Deadly Sins. Guess who’s helping us?


Lust

We’re starting out with a difficult one for Disney animated villains: Lust. While it means an intense longing for something, usually that something is sexual in nature. But it can also refer to an overpowering desire for things like fame and fortune. What makes lust a sin is the fact that the person who experiences the longing aims all their effort and time at achieving that end. If it’s straight up sex that’s the desire, then you have double trouble.
Disney's Gaston can't read

Center fold pics make Gaston angry because Gaston can’t have sexy center fold chick.

In my opinion, Gaston is a fine example of a Disney villain who’s full of lust – even though he’s a great candidate for pride too. He wants to marry Belle, but only because she’s the most beautiful maid in the village. He wants prestige, he wants power, and he wants Belle. When she turns him down after he hosts a marriage party prematurely, his desire for her takes over. He tries to kill the man who appears to be a beast, and ends up showing that his lust has turned him into the beast.

Lesson: It’s fine to want something, but don’t let it become an obsession that blots out interest in anything else or prevents you from seeing reason.
 

Gluttony

This sin is the over consumption of anything, be it food, sex, drugs, etc., to the point of excess or waste. The desire for the object, and its consumption, results in selfishness and even damage to oneself with the over indulgence.
Disney's big bad wolf

A new spin on an old classic. I smell bacon.

There seems to be a lot of protagonists in Disney movies and series that are gluttons. Remember Heimlich from Bug’s Life? But for a villain, I have to go with the Big Bad Wolf. He’s an oldie but a goodie. He’s the precursor for Pete, the original antagonist who made Mickey’s life a drag. He wants to eat three pigs whole! As Pete, he was always smoking cigars and, in some incarnations, eating. This leads him to be a slovenly pig, pun intended.

Lesson: Gluttony actually devalues what you’re indulging in. It can damage you and make you come across as a disgraceful lump.

 

Greed

Greed is a brother to lust and gluttony, but it’s more specific: it refers to the desire for material possessions. Usually that means cold, hard cash, as this can get you everything else. Like its brothers, it leads to pride; selfishness; shortsightedness; and, to round out the Ness monsters, pettiness.
Disney's Jafar and Aladdin

Hard to say who’s smoother here.

Many a Disney villain’s greedy, but my favorite is Jafar from Aladdin. He tried to use Genie to make him powerful enough to be ruler of Agrabah. His greed led him to wish to become a genie, as the beings are insanely powerful. But Aladdin used this desire as a trap, as genies are not free beings.

Lesson: Desire for material possessions often stems from a desire for control and security. It leads instead to loss of all that’s valuable, plus enslavement to the very thing you wanted to own.

Sloth

Sloth isn’t really a villain characteristic. It’s had a variety of meanings, but in this day and age it means laziness. Lazy slugs become burdens to others while wasting their own lives. They know nothing of the thrill of achievement or the satisfaction of hard, smart work.
Hopper bugs life disney

Locusts are food, not friends

While this might be controversial, I have to choose Hopper from A Bug’s Life as the Disney villain for sloth. Yes, he’s motivated to kill ants and generally be a tyrant. Yes, he is cunning and powerful. But he’s still a grasshopper who’d rather steal from ants than work for his food. In the end, his thievery puts him in the crosshairs – and beak – of a bird.

Lesson: Putting more effort into getting around a job than actually doing the job is a poor plan. You might get eaten by your worst fear.

Wrath

Wrath is more than just anger. It’s a combination of hatred, anger, rage, resulting in vengeance in the form of violence. Wrath also damages the person who experiences it, leading to self destructive behavior, risk taking, and an obsession with the object of wrath. People in the grips of wrath are blind to reason, wanting only to discharge their vengeance upon their target – even if the target isn’t the correct target.
Demona from Disney's Gargoyles

Demona is one of the most terrifying, formidable, and downright crazy villains ever

Since vengeance is involved, I have to go with Demona from Gargoyles as the Disney villain for wrath. After betraying her castle’s humans, her plan goes awry when Vikings kill her gargoyle clan, which includes her lover (don’t worry, he isn’t really dead, he’s just been frozen in stone by a magic spell that will end only when the castle rises above the clouds). She blames the humans, not herself. She spends the next thousand years trying to exact vengeance on the human race. In her quest to make gargoyles superior and humans, well, extinct, she’s frozen a city in stone and tried to unleash a world-wide plague. For all her pains, she’s only ended up…alone.

Lesson: “Revenge, as they say, is a sucker’s game.” – David Xanatos, Gargoyles.
Wrath will destroy you. Vengeance is never as satisfying as it seems.

 

Envy

Envy is not jealousy. Envy is the desire for something you don’t have. It stems from a lack. Jealousy means you are afraid of losing what you have. Envy prevents you from enjoying what you have. It drives wedges between friends. It causes feelings of inadequacy.
Evil Queen Snow White DisneyEvil Queen Snow White Disney

We all know what’s in the box, right? Fetching.

Of course the best Disney villain for this is the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She wants to be the fairest in the land. She is not, but she is very beautiful. She is also rich, powerful, and charming. In her quest to destroy the girl who is the fairest, Snow White, she instead reveals the ugliness in her own heart and loses all she has.

Lesson: Envy blinds us to the blessings we already have. It may even cause us to lose those blessings.
 

 

Pride

Pride is the progenitor of all other sins. It’s the idea that you’re superior to all others. You act out that feeling/idea by treating others as beneath you. This allows all the other sins to blossom, as they occur only when people believe others bellow them. You don’t steal from someone you respect, for example, but you do steal from someone you think little off. Pride is also one of the subtlest sins, sometimes manifesting only as an internal smirk at your superiority over everyone else.
Frollo Hunchback Disney

Even I don’t like this guy

While Gaston is one prideful jerk, Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame takes the prize. I’m sure he’s proud of that. Frollo considers himself the mouthpiece and hammer of God. Frollo decides who is pure, who is true in the religion he practices. He has no respect even for the Arch Bishop. He’ll kill entire classes of people without a second thought because he is purging the city of Paris from their filth. Even torture is fair game. He sees himself as pure, being the Minister of Justice, not corrupt like “the common vulgar, weak, licentious crowd.” His pride leads him to mistreat people, which in turn leads to his downfall.

Lesson: Pride goeth before a fall. Sometimes the fall is off a roof, but usually it’s a fall from position.

Lead researcher at Villainous Life Natures Research. Writer, reader, snarker. Lover of all things Geek and Dark. INTJ. Read my reports at vlnresearch.com and learn how understanding villains can help you succeed in life. Find my action-adventure post-apocalypse zombie thriller Wolves of the Apocalypse series at lcchamplin.com. I write fiction because the characters in my head have too much attitude to stay in my skull, I want to see the world through different eyes, and I want to live life through different souls.

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