I have come to think that great men are characterized precisely by the extreme position which they take, and that their heroism consists in holding to that extremity throughout their lives. They are our poles, our antipodes. I have occupied each of the extremes in turn, but have not kept to any one of them; life has always made me move away.
The old emperor feels that this is a description of great men, but wouldn't it also fit a great villain? My husband says that a great villain must have excellent hair. Agreed. But he must also have that feeling that he is doing good, that he alone is holding the line against the void. (Or she, sorry).
THE EXERCISE: Who is the heavy in your story or your memoir? What is that person's fight? And how is it the good fight, even if only in his or her own eyes?