The idea of the villain in literature seems to be inextricably linked to notions of immorality, selfishness, and chaos, thus placing the villain in binary opposition with depictions of the hero figure in contemporary America. This project offers a reevaluation and reconstruction of traditional views of villainy in popular culture for two purposes: first, to challenge the aforementioned binary in order to develop a new schema for understanding the villain, and second, to better understand the villain's role in prompting introspection regarding our own values. To these ends, I focus on three texts of different genres and time periods for providing a possible archetype for the modern villain. To set the foundations of the villain, I first analyze the process of vilification of problematic characters in ancient Greek myths, focusing primarily on Homer's Odyssey in conjunction with Joseph Campbell's influential work on the epic hero and the monomyth. After situating the villain as a powerful figure working within social institutions (rather than being apart from these institutions), I transition to the modernized idea of the supervillain as it relates to the superhero. This section draws on conflicting views of William Moulton Marston and Fredric Wertham regarding the didactic nature of villains and heroes in comic books, and then introduces the role of the Joker from the Batman franchise in subverting social norms via the carnival as explained by Mikhail Bakhtin. Finally, I apply Jeremy Bentham's theory of the panopticon to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy to promote the idea that President Snow's role as a villain is imposed upon him by both internal and external audiences, and that he does not possess as many qualities of the stereotypical villain as the audiences does. In short, then, through these texts, I hope to demonstrate how the villain functions in popular literature today, and how this role challenges our own -- often polarized -- views of "good" and "evil".