A Sympathetic Villain

The other day, I was watching The Aristocats with Kara. It’s about a rich woman with a cat and three kittens, and a butler. The butler overhears the woman making out her will, in which she left everything to the cats, and when the cats died, the butler would get all the money. So Edgar the butler doses the cats with sleeping pills and drives them far out into the countryside to remove that link from the will.

I’m sure when I watched that as a child, Edgar the butler seemed especially villainous, but you know what? He’s pretty sympathetic. Here’s this middle-aged man taking care of an eccentric woman who treats her cats like royalty. He puts up with the kittens climbing on his head while he drives the carriage. He cooks for the cats. He puts up with this woman’s equally eccentric visitors. And then he learns that he’s not going to get anything from his mistress’s will until the cats die? A pampered housecat can live over 20 years. And his solution wasn’t even to kill the cats, but to ship them somewhere far away. Sure, he was greedy, but he just wanted to take the extra money from a pampered cat family. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals, but I think Edgar the butler has been viewed too harshly.

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