Is Madame Suliman evil?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Madame Suliman, the character from Hayao Miyazaki’s film “Howl’s Moving Castle,” is a complex and intriguing character. While some may label her as an antagonist, it is important to recognize that she is not truly evil. Suliman’s actions and motivations throughout the film suggest a more nuanced portrayal of her character.

Firstly, it is crucial to note that Miyazaki often presents his antagonists in a different light than traditional villains. They are not purely evil or out to cause harm for the sake of it. Instead, they often have their own motives and reasons for their actions. Suliman fits into this pattern, as she is portrayed as a powerful and intelligent woman who acts as the head of a magical authority.

Suliman’s behavior can be seen as manipulative and antagonistic towards Howl and his companions, particularly Sophie. However, it is important to understand her perspective. Suliman is concerned about the ongoing war and wants to maintain order and stability. Her actions, such as sending Howl on missions or manipulating events, are driven by a desire to protect her country and its people.

While Suliman’s methods may appear harsh and unyielding, they are not rooted in malicious intent. Instead, she feels compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances she finds herself in. This complexity adds depth to her character and challenges the notion of a traditional villain.

Furthermore, Suliman’s interactions with Sophie and the other characters reveal a more compassionate side to her personality. In one scene, she shows genuine concern for Sophie’s safety and warns her about the dangers of getting involved with Howl. This demonstrates that Suliman’s actions, though they may seem antagonistic, are driven by a desire to protect those she cares about.

Madame Suliman is not truly evil but rather a complex and multifaceted character. Her actions may appear manipulative and antagonistic, but they are motivated by a desire to maintain order and protect her country. Miyazaki’s portrayal of Suliman challenges the traditional notion of villains and adds depth to the narrative.