“If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind.” The Hsin-hsin Ming
Don’t make value judgments in relation to the characters you portray. Every character is just a person. Do not attach good and evil. That way of thinking can only lead you astray in your characterizations. Your character is just a person with a strong agenda and tries to pursue what he feels is right in the best way possible. We have to try to understand the character. We have to fall in love with the character. But the love must be a clear headed love. We must understand him for his strengths and weaknesses. Once we understand him, we can attempt to step into his shoes.
I always use the example of having to portray George Washington. Would you just try to imitate the famous painting “Crossing the Potomac?” How could you? He was a real person like you or me and had many flaws. George Washington was not always the father of our country. He had a childhood that influenced him greatly. He probably had disagreements about petty things with friends and relatives. Unbelievably, he ate, drank, slept, went to the bathroom, and fornicated pretty much the same way we do those things. To realistically portray him, we have to study the good and the bad and root him in ourselves. Anything less would result in a caricature.
The point of this is, do not make value judgments. Make an honest in-depth exploration of your character. Good and evil change with each passing day.