Imagine you’re in a zombie apocalypse. You’re face with the option to either let a severely injured character die so that they turn into a zombie or to kill them before they do.
Most will probably say that they’ll attempt to save the character’s life. If they can’t, they’ll keep them company and then kill them before they come back. Or that it depends on many other factors like where this is scenario happening, if there’s time to save or kill them (and how), if the character in question is worth it and so on.
However, what if this this character is someone that isn’t good? They have done a lot of terrible things; not just to you but to others as well and they don’t regret any of it. What would you choose and why?
Hm, I would just kill them. Just because the character is dying doesn’t mean that they aren’t still a threat. For all I know as soon as I turn away they’ll use their last moments to get back at me as a last hurray. It would also means one less walker around if I make sure that they don’t come back.
Of course, the the next question would if I’ll give them a merciful death, which would be quick and painless. It’ll all depends on their action and possibly how traumatized my state of mind is and/or those around me; such as if a love one suffered because of them.
Letting an evil character become a zombie doesn’t seem like a punishment. What if that’s exactly what they want? They might be one of those people that would take it as a win because they’re still “living” in a way. The last thing survivors need is adding more to the undead horde. That decision could also come back to bite a survivor in the ass, since anyone could stumble into the same place and die because they didn’t expect a zombie to be there.
Some might say that letting them turn would be the ultimate middle finger because you’ll be taking away their sanctification of a peaceful death. Their last moments won’t be of who they are, but of knowing what will happen as they are dying. They’ll be in pain, fading in and out knowing that they’re going be a mindless creature, driven by an insatiable hunger soon. That the part that makes them who they are will die, while the rest of them will never find peace.
However, I think that if a character really wanted an evil character to suffer it would be to let the undead get their hands on them. Being eaten alive sounds like a really painful and traumatic death. There might be nothing left of them after that or whatever is left as long as the brain is intact would result in them being another walking dead.
There isn’t really a wrong option, because every person is different. If you’re writing a character in a similar situation you’ll need to get into their head to understand what would they do. One of the best ways to start understanding your character is to ask yourself the same question. Place yourself in their shoes and figure out what would you do and why. Would your character do the same, if not why?