Disney Villains & the Inferiority Complex

Whether it’s intentional or just a writing fad, Disney villains seem to consistently display a common personality trait: the inferiority complex. As previously discussed in my Hitler/Stalin post, those with this trait try to become the “best” by eliminating everyone who is deemed “better,” whether that means more skilled, better looking, of higher intelligence, etc. Here are a few examples:

Evil Queen (Snow White)

Obsessed with maintaining herself as the world’s most beautiful woman, she uses her position as queen as well as knowledge of forbidden arts to eliminate any woman who threatens to surpass or rival her. Employing her huntsman, a magic mirror, or even a poisoned apple, she will use any means deemed necessary to ensure that she alone is “fairest one of all.”

Jafar (Aladdin)

Whether in political position or magical power, Jafar is NEVER content to settle for “second-best.” His quest for the Cave of Wonders is not for wealth, but rather the lamp of the Genie, whose abilities Jafar wishes to use in his quest to become supreme ruler of Agrabah. Relentlessly, he strives to eliminate rivals like the Sultan, “Prince Ali,” and even the Genie himself – which proves to be his greatest achievement and downfall.

Prince John (Robin Hood)

Desiring the power and wealth of sovereign ruler, Prince John contrives a plot to get his brother King Richard as far from England as possible, claiming his brother’s position in his absence – even wearing Richard’s robes and crown, despite the fact that they are a poor fit. It’s not for nothing that Robin Hood and company refer to John as “the phony king of England.”

Scar (The Lion King)

An atypical lion, Scar works by stealth and cunning because he lacks the powerful physique commonly associated with his species. He hates both Mufasa and Simba because the kingship (which he desires) is their assumed birthright, while he has to labor to achieve it. Like Prince John, Scar hates even the mentioning of his departed brother Mufasa, as the thought of anything besides his own reality seems a threat to him and his continued reign as tyrannical usurper over the Pride Lands.

Syndrome (The Incredibles)

Born as Buddy Pine, he once aspired to be “Incredi-Boy,” sidekick to Mr. Incredible. Although a genius inventor, he feels overshadowed by “Supers” whose natural-born gifts he cannot equal. He therefore makes it his mission to not only eliminate the Supers but also reshape the very concept of “super” by making his technological gadgets available to the whole world, thus leaving “super” as a meaningless, hollow status.