We love to hate them, and they in turn, love to be hated. Say hello to the most gruesome, cunning and charismatic negative characters in literature, who have left us awestruck with their tactics. This list contains the names of some of the most villainous characters that literature has ever produced. See how many you’re acquainted with and how many are yet to be known:
10. Claire Quilty in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita
As if the paedophile Humbert Humbert was not enough, Claire Quilty was another of Lolita’s admirers. He stalked Mr. Humbert and Lolita like an insane man. Quilty, however, manages to run away with Lolita but doesn’t take time to dump her as soon as she refuses to star as an actor in a blue film. Evil!
9. Bill Sikes in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist
Nobody, no single soul can love the devilish Bill Sikes. Examples? There are plenty: a child abuser, an animal beater, a killer, a robber, murderer of prostitutes, you want more? He’s an all rounder if you think it that way.
8. Alec D’Urberville in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles
A proud rapist, he never learns from his mistake. Alec ruined the innocent Tess and bore the attitude of a lord. Later the crime was deemed as the fault of God. The man who marries Tess (his name is Angel!) doesn’t care about Alec, he flees Tess initially after hearing about what Alec did. Men will be men.
7. Edmund in William Shakespeare’s King Lear
You think of a bastard and you think of him. Throughout his life, Edmund was tormented by the fact that he was an illegitimate child. Playing the love rat with sisters Goneril and Regan and ordering the execution of Lear and Cordelia makes him the most horrible person in the history of literature.
6. Ferdinand in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi
Ferdinand was the brother of the duchess. He was, err, secretly in love with her. It was not sibling love, it was incest and he fumed when came to know about her sister’s marriage with a subordinate. He even decided to kill their children and turn them into soup! Huh! Well, getting his sister executed made him insane with guilt.
5. Claudius in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Hamlet calls him a ‘bloody, bawdy villain!’ and a ‘Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!’ Killing Hamlet’s father and marrying his mother – the effect of this is what you see in Hamlet. Claudius’s villainous acts are what make Hamlet worth the watch or read.
4. Napoleon in George Orwell’s Animal Farm
No, this isn’t your Frenchman Napoleon Bonaparte. This is the principle negative character in George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. He’s a pig (for the ones who are not aware). He, along with a fellow pig, led to a revolution which threw away humans from their farm. The new government formed by him slowly resembled the nasty humans in every which way. The moral: Any government is the same, whoever comes and whoever goes.
3. Lord Voldemort in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series
Easily, the most hated villain in the world at the moment is Lord Voldemort, the dark wizard. The ones who are acquainted with the Harry Potter series do know about how Voldemort had dispersed his precious soul in Horcruxes which the boy wizard destroys one by one. The most powerful character in this fantasy shouldn’t have done something as amateur as that.
2. Iago in William Shakespeare’s Othello
Revenge can make one stoop to terrible heights. And, Iago is the perfect example of royal revenge. He was Othello’s most ‘honest’ subordinate, who was bent on destroying his master’s life. His mind was seethed in pure blackness. He is easily one of the most hated characters in literature.
1. Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights
He’s done the worst possible things to get the love of his life Catherine, but, well, she was already married. He was initially not bad at all, but circumstances, as we all know, led to him becoming a cruel and manipulative person. He gains our hatred for almost the whole of the mid-section of Wuthering heights.