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I'm intrigued by the Catwoman character from the different Batman canons. Although she is a cat burglar and is regularly shown stealing stuff, she seems to be the only recurring character from the rogues gallery who is shown as helping Batman. Everyone else, like Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Two-face,... is consistently shown to be antagonizing Batman, with plans designed to kill or at least injure him and his allies. But Catwoman never fights against Batman, sometimes even fighting alongside him, whether it's in the Arkhamverse, Gotham (as a young Selina Kyle), Dark Knight trilogy,...

Is Catwoman considered a hero, a villain or something else entirely?

  • In which genre? – Valorum Jul 17 '15 at 18:24
  • per wiki; "Catwoman has traditionally been portrayed as a supervillain and adversary of Batman, but since the 1990s, she has been featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an antiheroine rather than a traditional villain. Catwoman is known for having a complex love-hate relationship with Batman and has been Batman's most enduring love interest" – Valorum Jul 17 '15 at 18:24
  • I always see Catwoman as being Chaotic Neutral, she likes to steal things for the profit and thrill of it, not because she's inherently evil. Her motivation is primarily to benefit herself, whether that means working with another villain, or working with Batman. – onewho Jul 17 '15 at 18:29
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    Define what you mean by "hero" and "villain", and then we can answer the question for you. Except that if you define your terms, you'll probably answer the question for yourself. – Mike Scott Jul 17 '15 at 18:53
  • @MikeScott I think a better option would be to remove the hero/villain reference and instead ask what literary role Catwoman fills, since that's basically what I'm asking for. – Nzall Jul 17 '15 at 18:57
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I'd call her both an antihero and a foil for Batman. If you look at the two characters as generally portrayed together and separately in the comics, she's Batman's opposite: instead of an a). rich b). man who c). pursues justice while being d). shadowed by the dark facets of his nature, we have a a).poor b). woman who is a c). technical villain but uses that in d). good causes (usually to protect or revenge other downtrodden people who have been oppressed as she has).

Because Batman is so ambiguous a character, a foil ends up looking surprisingly similar to him, their goals overlapping enough that they often ally to achieve their shared ends (though sometimes their methods differ enough to cause conflict, as (for a movie example) Catwoman's murder/quasisuicide in Batman Returns). Even their names show this similarity ('bat' vs 'cat'). That ambiguity is reflected in their relationship as well, romantic but unresolved, conflicting but not opposed.

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Catwoman is what we call an "antihero". Merriam-Webster defines the term antihero as:

(noun) A main character in a book, play, movie, etc., who does not have the usual good qualities that are expected in a hero.

Up until the modern age, Selina Kyle aka Catwoman was largely considered a villain, albeit one who occasionally shared sexual tension and/or a mutual attraction with Bruce Wayne aka Batman. During the 1990's, the character became increasingly less antagonistic towards Batman and was retconned somewhat into a more sympathetic Robin Hood type of criminal.

Later versions of the character have taken that concept even further, transforming her from a cat burglar with strong convictions to an antihero who is willing to break the rules while supporting the downtrodden & underdogs of society.

Some characters such as Wolverine or Ghost Rider blur the line between "hero" and "antihero". A good example of a straight antihero would be Marvel's character The Punisher - a "hero" who kills remorselessly and is wanted by the authorities for said murders. A similar example within the DC universe would be Lobo. Both characters play by their own rules and are typically shunned by even other superheroes.

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The character is pretty complex. In order to determine its status one should analyze all the character's actions.

Since it involved a lot of good causes, I do not consider her a villain. The fact that she did not had infinite possibilities and $ like Batman does not make her a villain. Her overall actions were pretty balanced all facts considered so my closest approximation of this character would be a Grey Jedi.

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