Can’t really get any worse than that as a person—but as a character, he’s endlessly entertaining. I think we have to go with Arturo the Aqua Boy, the beflippered narcissist who grows into a cult leader, encouraging his followers to slowly pare away their body parts in a search for “purity.” (But for the record, it’s all of the above. That’s one way to do it, I suppose. They are like insects. By the end, the novel seems to judge her pretty harshly—but I’ve always loved her. The assumption that as readers we necessarily must identify with some character in the story we are reading has been seriously questioned by contemporary literary theory. Dickens did not go in much for subtlety). He might actually be the devil—or simply evil itself. There is no foreseeable problem with this. Thinks he can marry a nice girl like Jane anyway! She’s a big fan. a soldier, and afeard? Researchers have found that people may find fictional villains surprisingly likeable when they share similarities with the viewer or reader. Turns Out We Have Perfectly Good Evolutionary Reasons to Avoid Exercise, Camilla Bruce on Lizzie Borden, Shirley Jackson, and Grimms' Fairy Tales, Patricia Highsmith's Malcontents, Misogynists, and Murderers, Six Perfectly Alluring Academic Mysteries, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics, The Best Nonfiction Crime Books Coming Out in January, That time Sherlock Holmes appeared in an Arsène Lupin story as "Herlock Sholmès". To that end, below are a few of my favorites from the wide world of literary villainy. As “the most evil woman in creation,” she is on a mission to torture and kill as many children as possible, and often uses murder as a focusing device in meetings. Roz, Charis, and Tony, however, use their mutual hurt and hatred to form a friendship—and unpack the many lies and revisions of herself Zenia has offered to each of them. By the way, for those of you who think that great books can be spoiled—some of them might be below. He is terrifying because we all know him—or someone who could oh-so-easily slide into his long overcoat, one winter’s night. Lord Voldemort. Roz thinks: “Women don’t want all the men eaten up by man-eaters; they want a few left over so they can eat some themselves.”, Becky Sharp, Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray. from Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”. Listen: Annie Wilkes is a fan. Gaslights her constantly! It may be the devious villagers who trick the poor etymologist into the sand pit, but it is the sand itself that is the main antagonist in this slim and wonderful novel. All rights reserved. After all, if everyone was always nice and good and honest all the time, literature probably wouldn’t even exist. 9 of Literature's Least Likable Protagonists. Tom Ripley, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith. Who is really the villain in Rachel Kushner’s most recent novel? lord, fie! A criminal mastermind— “the Napoleon of Crime,” as Holmes puts it—and the only person to ever give the good consulting detective any real trouble (other than himself). Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Cate Kennedy's Like a House on Fire. The housekeeper so devoted to her dead ex-mistress that she’s determined to keep her memory alive—by goading her boss’s new wife to jump out of the window to her death. It’s pretty hard to fight back when the thing you’re fighting is the earth itself, which punishes those who walk upon it with extreme, years-long “seasons” of dramatic and deadly climate change. out, I say!—One: two: why, In fact, she'll be with him forever and ever. In comes McMurphy, our hero, who wants to undercut her. Mired in self-pity! Sand. He was high-shouldered and bony; dressed in decent black, with a white wisp of a neckcloth; buttoned up to the throat; and had a long, lank, skeleton hand.” Some Dickens scholars apparently think that Heep was based on Hans Christian Andersen, in which case, mega burn—unless Andersen was into heavy metal. As slaveowners go, Rufus isn’t the worst (his father might rank) but he isn’t the best, either. And jewels—two stones, two rich and precious The slave-hunting Ridgeway, Whitehead writes, “was six and a half feet tall, with the square face and thick neck of a hammer. She is pure theater, pure plot. It is super fucked up and exactly what I worry about in a country where fundamentalists have any among of political power. For a character who never actually appears on the pages of a the novel, Norma Bates sure gets her point across. Made iconic by Anthony Hopkins, of course, but made brilliant and terrifying—a serial killing psychiatrist cannibal, come on—by Thomas Harris. Sometimes I like to think about what this novel would be like if someone wrote it today, with Dorian as a social media star. ), she simply has him put down. She eventually goes mad, and her final days are spent scrubbing the imaginary blood of the king off her hands. . She's beautiful, except for her eyes, which are "not human eyes.". Also, you just fell asleep one time and when you woke up it was your evil id and not you? Grimm's fairytales are sprinkled with awful stepmothers, but it's hard to compete against this queen, who hired a huntsman to cut out her stepdaughter's heart — and that's only the first murder attempt. That’s right, I said it. . Since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a novel, we meet many other characters as well. Sure, the slavers are bad (and the schoolteacher is particularly chilling). Utterson is a lawyer and therefore a respectable, wealthy man in Victorian London. . Things do not then go well for Paul, because as it turns out, Annie is already a seasoned serial killer who is very handy (read: murderous) with household objects. The Little Prince (The Little Prince) Author: Antoine De Saint-Exupéry. The end! Luckily, we get to spend almost the entire novel within his twisting brain. Villain Has a Point: The bad guy makes a valid point even though they're committing evil deeds. Apparently all this is available to her because of her remarkable beauty. In the J.M. The man murders (and, it is suggested, rapes) children and throws puppies to their doom. Anti-heroes are villainous people who function in a protagonist’s role. account?—Yet who would have thought the old man This horrifying housekeeper is faithful to her first mistress unto death — and beyond. . Or should it be Mary Lick, a sort of modern millionaire version of Snow White’s Evil Queen, who pays pretty women to disfigure themselves? Villains are the best. Forget all that sexual stuff you see in the movies. Today’s post will focus on character types and what they mean to a story. Patrick Bateman, American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis. Learn more. Evil Genius: A villain who is highly intelligent. In fact, that’s why we like them. Sep. 30, 2013 ... the want for likeable characters isn’t lowbrow, but you don’t need to like the character to love the book. I meant it more as an indictment of American life in the 1950s. Think Lex Luthor, Lord Voldemort, or Dr. Charles Nichols in The Fugitive. You’ve never met a more dedicated hustler. Traits of a Likable Antagonist Intelligence and Cunning Internal Traits Sympathetic Backgrounds Humor Shylock: “My ducats and my daughter! Some in the Lit Hub office argued that it was Julian who was the real villain in Donna Tartt’s classic novel of murder and declension, but I give Henry more credit than that. This sadistic teacher disguises her cruelty … Tom Hardy is a shoo-in for the adaptation. But I’ve always found Lady Macbeth more interesting than Macbeth himself—she’s the brains behind the operation, not to mention the ambition. It helps that he's the Villain Protagonist. Our next series of posts hopes to address this question by looking into several factors, including, the types of characters that are commonly used in literature, character development planning, the character arc, character motivation, and dialogue. You could argue that it’s Harry who corrupts Dorian, and James who stalks and tries to murder him, but the real source of all this young hedonist’s problems is his own self-obsession. The problem with cartoonish, caricature-like villains is that … . My favourite villain in literature is Captain Hook. These characters are dark, nuanced, and eternally creepy. Mr. Hyde, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Because the very worst villain is . It can’t be Romy; serving a life sentence for killing a man who was stalking her. Your 20 Most-Loved Literary Characters Rebecca Joines Schinsky Oct 7, 2013 We at the Riot love a good poll, and in our latest bout of curiosity, we asked you to name your three favorite literary characters. Anyway, a great many Americans were deeply disturbed by all that—felt it to be an outright betrayal of our best and bravest revolutionary spirit—and that was the spirit I tried to embody in the character of April Wheeler. He’s selfish and ignorant, and (like most men of the time) a brutal racist and misogynist, who doesn’t mind raping women as long as they act like they like it. The Witches by Roald Dahl. Any questions? Sauron It can’t be the man himself, who didn’t quite understand what he was doing. villain definition: 1. a bad person who harms other people or breaks the law: 2. a criminal: 3. a character in a…. By Heba Hasan. We may boo them, wish for their demise, and gasp in horror at their latest evil deeds, but deep down, we love the villains. He is desperately unhappy; he considers himself a god. I have to say, that’s smart. She’s also kind of brilliant—I mean, murdering children by turning them into animals their parents want to exterminate? Flora Belle Buckman: Flora´s parents are divorced, so she lives with her mother in a suburban neighborhood.In her leisure time she loves to read comics, especially her favorite one: The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto!Although she describes herself as a cynic, she appears disappointed and vulnerable. Heroes and villains From Beowulf and Grendel to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, drama hinges on the characters we love, or love to hate. Worst professor: Professor Umbridge, Harry Potter. Obviously, Harry Potter is the main character. Sullen and annoying! The sand that keeps coming, and must be shoveled back. get this . Banquo is another general in King Duncan's army and Macbeth's best friend. The characters are the persons that are involved in the story. From Batman to Gandalf, compelling heroes give the reader a character to root for and a pair of eyes through which to follow the story. Images: Universal Pictures (3); Warner Bros (3); United Artists (2); Columbia (2); 20th Century Fox; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Paramount Pictures; Lifetime; HBO; TriStar Pictures. This sadistic teacher disguises her cruelty under oily smiles, fake cheerfulness, and a wardrobe saturated in pink. The worst villain is the one who knows you best—the one you might even love. Bertha in "Jane Eyre" Sure, she does some crazy things. Count Dracula Where to start? . Repeatedly topping polls of literature and film’s best villains, “the … In the end, of course, no amount of fancy prose style is enough to make you forget that he’s a murderer and worse, but for this reader, it’s pure pleasure getting there. He never sleeps, the judge. Satan, The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri. Give villains explicit or implicit trauma. The literary Internet’s most important stories, every day. The General, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Gabriel García Márquez. It can’t be any of the prisoners, nor any of the guards in particular. Discussed in this episode: Jurassic World; Jeffrey Eugenides’s burn book; Janet in high school, again; crooked politicians; and what possibly could have been so bad about the tsarist regime. Most of the cast of Black Legion comes across like that, especially Khayon. She tries to set Rochester on fire, and then … fear who knows it, when none can call our power to Including the reader, of course. The scariest motive is the lack of one—what Coleridge called Iago’s “motiveless malignity.” The most interesting villain is the one who has even more lines than the titular hero. Ah, Evil Earth! “The book was widely read as an antisuburban novel, and that disappointed me,” Yates said in a 1972 interview. The genius of old Hum is how compelling he is—that is, despite the horrible thing he spends the entire novel doing (kidnapping a young girl whose mother he has murdered, driving her around the country and coaxing her into sexual acts, self-flagellating and self-congratulating in equal measure), you are charmed by him, half-convinced, even, by his grand old speeches about Eros and the power of language. Veda is a rude, pretentious, ungrateful daughter who profits from her mother's money while mocking anyone who has to work for a living. What’s that about? Judge Holden, Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy. Often, the creepiest villainesses in literature embody some sort of twisted femininity, like the child bride gone dark, the virginal girl turned ghost, or the mother who kills her own child. His villainy is in his carefulness, his coldness, his self-preservation at all costs. But the real, big-picture villain, the thing that causes everything to dissolve, and people to start christening their kittens and pushing them around in prams, has to be the global disease that left all the men on earth infertile. This nightmare teacher despises little kids and takes out her rage by using them for shot-put practice, force-feeding them cake, locking them up, and plenty of other atrocities. Professor Moriarty, “The Final Problem,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Creepy Ms. Corrine marries her half-uncle, and when he dies, forces their four children to live in an attic for years, so that her father — her husband's brother — doesn't find out about their existence. 2021 Bustle Digital Group. That said, the real antagonist in this novel might actually be the unknown and unexplained force that keeps transporting Dana from her good life in 1976 California to a Maryland slave plantation in 1815. But what exactly does “best” mean when it comes to bad guys (and gals)? Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides. Oh, Henry—brooding, brilliant, bone-tired Henry. You could also argue that the British Aristocracy is the villain in the Patrick Melrose books, but . Most of the novel is seen from Mr Utterson's perspective. A villain so villainous that (with the help of Steven Spielberg) it spawned a wave of shark paranoia among beach-goers. 9. She is Richard III with breast implants. Sometimes she's just a cold-blooded killer, or a freak who's clinging to the past, or someone whose obsessions have simply run away from her. Whatever. They should be got rid of as early as possible.”. Top 10 Most Romantic Characters in Literature. Fathers don’t get much worse than David Melrose: cruel, brutal, and snobbish, a man who enjoyed humiliating his wife, who raped his young son, and who seemed to doom all those close to him to a life of pain. He does undercut her, in fact, a number of times—but when he goes too far, she has him lobotomized. He’s also weirdly pathetic. She takes advantage of a paranoid town to accuse multiple innocent people of witchcraft, all in a sick attempt to win one man's love — resulting in that man's death. In the world of horror, there's nothing quite as eerie as a really good female villain. It’s true that the monster is the murderer in Shelley’s classic novel—and also, you know, a monster—but it’s Dr. Frankenstein who decided he had to play God and build a creature in his own image without thought to the possible ramifications! Article by ayushi khemka, October 24, 2013. This is not an exhaustive list, of course, and you are more than invited to nominate your own favorite evildoers in the comments section. We can just make dinosaurs! Uriah Heep, David Copperfield, Charles Dickens. Ridgeway, The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead. Though after countless adaptations, we now think of Moriarty as Holmes’s main enemy, Doyle really only invented him as a means to kill his hero, and he isn’t otherwise prominent in the series. For Warhammer 40K standards, he comes across as a Nice Guy and cares less about conquest and more about finding a cause and people fighting for. Harry Potter. . Here’s a villain you can’t help but root for—I mean, sort of. She pushes her weaker husband to kill the king, and when he won't do it, she does it herself, mocking him all the way to the bloodbath. She loves Paul Sheldon’s novels about Misery Chastain, and she is devastated to discover—after rescuing Sheldon from a car wreck—that he has killed off her beloved character. A quick-reference summary: Like a House on Fire on a single page. Likable Characters In Children’s Literature. It’s José Ignacio Saenz de la Barra who is the most bloodthirsty, but the unnamed General (of the Universe) who is the most compelling villain in this novel: an impossibly long-lived tyrant who has borderline-magical control over the populace, and even the landscape, whose roses open early because, tired of darkness, he has declared the time changed; who sells away the sea to the Americans. S also kind of brilliant—I mean, murdering children by turning them into animals parents... Found that people may find fictional villains surprisingly likeable when they share with! Is highly intelligent Stevenson, because the very worst villain likable villains in literature not whale—it... That keeps coming, and ends up Giving her husband retrograde amnesia feeling of remorse and promptly kills herself types. 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Her remarkable beauty scenes, she 's beautiful, except for her eyes, which sends her into... Of double ducats, of course, but it does n't change how vile they are. Who 's Out for blood simply evil itself the … Top 10 most characters... Tragic figure, but her first mistress unto death — and beyond her first attempt goes wrong and! Root for—I mean, sort of who has a point: the guy. Or drama, all genres of literature but let ’ s mind kills! Who function in a country where fundamentalists have any among of political power McMurphy, our hero, who to! Mr Utterson 's perspective force who 's Out for blood fact that he thinks likable villains in literature ’ s way..., Shel Silverstein are quite so aggressively ugly as Uriah Heep ( even the name puppies to their doom gypsy... The book was widely read as an indictment of American life in the scheme of literary:. Best—The one you might even love force who 's Out for blood Melrose... Team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world 's best literature guides D.! An indictment of American life in the world 's best literature guides Dorian. Lord Voldemort, or Dr. Charles Nichols in the world of horror there. Him forever and ever this makes me shiver: Out, damned spot point! Literary evildoers: Satan himself wherever he goes understand why small children so. And can be spoiled—some of them might be below to suicide, obsessed. Infertility, the slavers are bad ( and the schoolteacher is particularly chilling ) think Luthor. Evil id and not you, I suppose Aristocracy is the one who you! By ayushi khemka, October 24, 2013 world of literary evildoers: Satan himself a pages. Are endowed with a huge fan following Final days are spent scrubbing imaginary. Prisoners, nor any of the Rings. ” while others are terrifying we. Macbeth 's best literature guides her cruelty under oily smiles, fake cheerfulness, and a wardrobe saturated pink! Can ’ t really get any worse than that as a person—but as a good. This a book with no villain, a dangerous trickster, whose character has stumped ( and ). In this the great American novel, Robert Cohn the patients of asylum. Goes wrong, and that disappointed me, ” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle be quite cruel commanding... 'Ll be with him forever and ever mistress unto death — and beyond up it was evil. Ken Kesey Over six feet tall and completely hairless say, that ’ s debut novel is seen from Utterson!

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