What are Alignments?
In Dungeons in Dragons, a character’s alignment “broadly describes its moral and personal attitudes” ( D&D Player’s Handbook 122). In Dungeons & Dragons, there are nine possible alignments, but in this post I’ll only talk about four; Chaotic Evil, Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil, and Lawful Good. We’ll look at the Good vs Evil scale, and the Chaotic vs Lawful scale, and then I’ll look at some well known characters and where I believe they fit on the D&D alignment chart.
Good & Evil Scale
This scale is pretty straight-forward. This scale describes morality, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Good characters help or save others, they’re motivated by joy or love. Evil characters are the exact opposite. They’re motivated by greed, hatred or bloodlust. Characters can change from good to evil, or evil to good, it’s not uncommon.
Lawful & Chaotic Scale
The Lawful/Chaotic Scale is a little harder to understand. This scale measures a character’s attitude toward society. A perfectly Lawful character would have a strong code that they adhere to, it’s very clear to them what is right and wrong. It’s important to remember that lawful does not necessarily mean that they follow the laws of government, an outlaw can still be a lawful character. The flip-side of that is a chaotic character. Chaotic characters do whatever they please, sometimes for no reason at all.
Lawful Evil Characters
Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)
There’s no question that Emperor Palpatine is evil. From the very beginning, he’s motivated by his hatred for the Jedi. However, he has a strict code he follows. He was elected to be chancellor, and then he became the emperor. His code that he followed was that he must eliminate the Jedi legally, not as a dictator, or terrorist, but by being the rightful ruler of the galaxy. After he’s already the chancellor, a Jedi (Mace Windu) attempted to kill him. This allowed him to legally execute Order 66, which declared that the Jedi have turned against the Chancellor and must be eliminated.
Colonel Helmut Zemo (Captain America: Civil War)
Colonel Helmut Zemo is a military man, so it’s no surprise that he’s a lawful character. He’s motivated by revenge, and he wants to destroy the Avengers (Civil War). Both of these make him Evil. If we look closer at his plan to destroy the Avengers, we see his lawfulness stand out. It was essential to him that the Avengers destroy each other, and that makes him lawful.
Lawful Good Characters
Captain America (Captain America Civil War)
Captain America Civil War solidified Captain America as Lawful. Steve Rogers’ moral code is on full display when negotiating the Sokovia Accords. Steve believes that he should have the freedom to fight, defend, or do nothing when he wants. Lawful characters want to be in control so that they can better follow their code. That being said, it’s natural for the Lawful Captain America to clash in opinion with a more Chaotic Character, like Tony Stark.
Batman (The Dark Knight Trilogy)
Honestly, this one’s pretty simple. In the Dark Knight Rises, Batman emphasizes a “no killing, no guns” rule, which is basically textbook lawful. It’s important to remember that lawful characters don’t necessarily follow the law. Throughout the Dark Knight Trilogy we see the GCPD hunting batman, and Captain America is a fugitive in the end of Civil War.
Chaotic Good Characters
Deadpool is nothing like any of the characters we’ve looked at so far. In simplest terms, he’s a loose cannon. He does whatever he wants, and his goals are largely personal. You could even make the argument that Deadpool is a chaotic neutral and not a chaotic good.
Wolverine (Fox’s X-Men Universe)
Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine is your classic anti-hero. He doesn’t do what’s expected, he uses force to get his way, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, and at the end of the day he cares for those around him.
The Joker (The Dark Knight)
Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight is a textbook case of a Chaotic Evil character. In the movie, the Joker even says “I’m like a dog chasing cars, I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one, you know, I just do things” (The Dark Knight 2008). That mentality, having no plan or structure, just doing things, is what defines a Chaotic Character.
Loki (The Avengers)
This is one that I’m actually unsure about. In The Avengers, we see Loki plan out an entire invasion so that he can rule Earth. Although he seems to have some direction, his end goal unclear, as if he is invading Earth to rule “just because”. Loki is not as chaotic as the Joker, and you could possibly make the argument that he’s a Neutral Evil and not a Chaotic Evil. However I think that being such a scheming trickster makes him lean toward Chaotic. In the beginning of this post, I mentioned that a character’s alignment can change; I think it’s cool that we’re able to see that with Loki across the movies. In Thor and The Avengers, he’s a Chaotic Evil, but in Thor: The Dark World he’s more of a Chaotic Neutral, and by the End of Thor Ragnarok and in Infinity War, he’s a Chaotic Good. He helps to save the day in the end of Thor: Ragnarok and he dies trying to save Thor in Infinity war.
Thanks for Reading!
I do not own any of the characters mentioned in this post