Moriarty As A Trickster Essay

1394 words - 6 pages

Every great story has a villain and a trickster. Occasionally these two meet and create a dynamic super-villain. It is the trickster traits created by William Hynes and Lewis Hyde that explain the motivation behind their actions. Hynes breaks his traits down into six categories while Hyde maintains only one. Hynes believes tricksters are defined by an ambiguous and anomalous nature, actions of deceit and trickery, shape-shifting, situation inversion, bricoleur, and imitation of the gods. Hyde maintains that all tricksters are motivated by a hunger, be it food or otherwise. When thinking of these traits the many incarnations of James Moriarty come to mind but none quite resonate with each of them like that played by Andrew Scott in BBC’s series Sherlock. In this recent adaption, Moriarty is driven by an insatiable need to best Sherlock Holmes through a series of clever competitions crafted by Moriarty himself. Moriarty is able to become a true trickster buy using his drive to best Sherlock Holmes and publicly disgrace him through powers of situation inversion, shape-shifting, bricoleur, and an anomalous nature that become so convincing the public, along with the hero are never sure what his next step will be.
Hynes theory of ambiguity and anomaly characterizes Moriarty because every move he makes has a flair for the dramatic, acting on the outs of social and cultural norms, and promoting only his own agenda. Moriarty is unafraid to kill, mame, and torture others emotionally and physically to fulfill his desire of beating Sherlock Holmes. Acting as a “criminal consultant” Moriarty is responsible for most of the crimes in the series as either a sponsor, informant, or mastermind. Moriarty is a psychopath with dark tendencies appearing even as a child, as evidenced by his confession to the killing Carl Powers during his childhood in the episode The Great Game, in which Moriarty motivates Holmes to solve a series of puzzles by taking hostages and strapping explosives to them. In the same episode, viewers meet Moriarty at a swimming pool where he threatens to “burn the heart out of [Sherlock]” in an attempt to get Holmes to back off of his cases. Moriarty then directs dozens of snipers to take aim at John Watson and Sherlock Holmes saying that they “can’t be allowed to continue.” When Moriarty’s phone rings he calls off the snipers and leaves Holmes and Watson alive, leaving himself with a reason to keep playing “the game” with Holmes. This desire to continue “the game” is a perfect representation of Hyde’s hunger driven theory. Without this game Moriarty would have nothing but his own insanity pushing him to enact his expertly crafted tricks and traps.
Every trickster is a master of deceit and trickery, hence the name trickster. Prometheus tricks Zeus in order to bring fire to humans. In the case of Moriarty, he concocts grand schemes not so much because he cares about realizing them, but because it is a means for him to play his games against the...

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