to have had so much blood in him. It is super fucked up and exactly what I worry about in a country where fundamentalists have any among of political power. She is viral, self-mutating, opportunistic (the narrative discusses her in conjunction with AIDS, salmonella and warts). The Earth, The Broken Earth series, N. K. Jemisin. You feel his pain as he tries to insinuate himself into the life of the man he so admires (and perhaps loves), and as he is first welcomed and then pushed away. The literary Internet’s most important stories, every day. Tom Hardy is a shoo-in for the adaptation. All rights reserved. Of course it’s O’Brien who does most of the dirty work—but it’s Big Brother (be he actual person or nebulous invented concept) that really, um, oversees the evil here. The second time she tries to kill him, she succeeds, but it's messy, and the whole lover thing doesn't quite work out for her, either. Still, it puts him in rare company. then, ’tis time to do’t.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my Intelligence. Villains are the best. villain definition: 1. a bad person who harms other people or breaks the law: 2. a criminal: 3. a character in a…. Sullen and annoying! I meant the title to suggest that the revolutionary road of 1776 had come to something very much like a dead end in the fifties. Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë. 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. Yet not all heroes are created equal. Top 10 Most Romantic Characters in Literature. The kid, The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. When her master brings a new wife home, Mrs. Danvers can't stand this seeming betrayal of the first wife, and plays evil tricks on the new woman, eventually burning the house down in an attempt to consummate the new marriage by fire. This is an interesting study because the seeming antagonist to Jake, the main character, is his own impotence which keeps him from the love of his life, Lady Brett Ashley. They should be got rid of as early as possible.”. She’s a big fan. Think Lex Luthor, Lord Voldemort, or Dr. Charles Nichols in The Fugitive. The main character is often called the protagonist. Aaron the Moor 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. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides. Actually, the fact that he thinks he’s better than his father actually makes him worse. Ah, Evil Earth! 8 . This sadistic teacher disguises her cruelty under oily smiles, fake cheerfulness, and a wardrobe saturated in pink. . He might actually be the devil—or simply evil itself. Who is really the villain in Rachel Kushner’s most recent novel? Moriarty has become bigger than Moriarty. Banquo is another general in King Duncan's army and Macbeth's best friend. He is desperately unhappy; he considers himself a god. 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. 17-year-old Abigail is a prime example of using power and hysteria and misinformation for evil. He says that he will never die. . David is definitely worse (if slightly less all-encompassing). Can’t really get any worse than that as a person—but as a character, he’s endlessly entertaining. 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. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Rebecca Solnit on the Empty Violence of the Underachievers’ Coup, 6 Disorienting Reads for a Very Disorienting Time. Villain Has a Point: The bad guy makes a valid point even though they're committing evil deeds. 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. from Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.”. Since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a novel, we meet many other characters as well. Ridgeway, The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead. Did you think the villain was the whale? Possibly the most terrifying character in modern literature (or any literature? We can just make dinosaurs! It can’t be Romy; serving a life sentence for killing a man who was stalking her. a soldier, and afeard? He is dancing, dancing. 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. She is an autoimmune disorder. Her sleepwalking scene is one of the best and most famous of all of Shakespeare’s plays. 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! The man murders (and, it is suggested, rapes) children and throws puppies to their doom. 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. This horrifying housekeeper is faithful to her first mistress unto death — and beyond. Veda is a rude, pretentious, ungrateful daughter who profits from her mother's money while mocking anyone who has to work for a living. It can’t be the man himself, who didn’t quite understand what he was doing. 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. Uriah Heep, David Copperfield, Charles Dickens. Forget all that sexual stuff you see in the movies. Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature. He does undercut her, in fact, a number of times—but when he goes too far, she has him lobotomized. Made iconic by Anthony Hopkins, of course, but made brilliant and terrifying—a serial killing psychiatrist cannibal, come on—by Thomas Harris. She's an emotionless manipulation machine, and does everything with cold calculation, including killing her parents, abandoning her children, and shooting her husband. Cathy Ames is cold as ice—a sociopath who had to learn as a child how to mimic feelings to get by—but soon also learns how easy it is to manipulate, destroy lives, and murder people to amuse herself. I know Ratched is meant to be evil, and it’s supposed to be depressing that she wins, but I can’t help but sort of like the fact that after a man chokes her half to death and rips off her shirt in an attempt to humiliate her (because no one with breasts can have power, you see! She manipulates and exploits all the vanities and childhood scars of her friends (wounds left by neglectful mothers, an abusive uncle, absent dads); she grabs at intimacies and worms her way into their comfortable lives, then starts swinging a pickax. While the children are stuck in the attic, Corrine allows their grandmother to abuse them, visits them less and less, poisons them with arsenic-laced doughnuts, and ends up leaving them altogether, as the children grow weak, malnourished, and incestuous. Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, William Shakespeare. The sand that keeps coming, and must be shoveled back. We can totally handle it. But these are only symptoms, in this the Great American Novel, of the Great American Sin. Hubris, almost all of literature but let’s go with Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton. 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. 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. In everyone’s favorite horror novel about America in the ’50s, onetime bohemians Frank and April Wheeler move to the ‘burbs, and find it. 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. By Heba Hasan. 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. She is a “man-eater” run amok. 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. Sure, Xan is also a villain in this novel. Main Characters. Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey. 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. She eventually goes mad, and her final days are spent scrubbing the imaginary blood of the king off her hands. 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. 9. from Stoker’s “Dracula.”. Professor Moriarty, “The Final Problem,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Shelley treats him as a tragic figure, but that only makes him a much more interesting villain. The end! We may not love them in our lives, but they’re often the best part of our literature—on account of their clear power, their refusal of social norms, and most importantly, their ability to make stories happen. A sealèd bag, two sealèd bags of ducats, of double ducats, stol’n from be by my daughter! extremely stifling. The Prison-industrial complex, The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner. 9 of Literature's Least Likable Protagonists. Heroes and villains From Beowulf and Grendel to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, drama hinges on the characters we love, or love to hate. It simply depends on the villain. Mr. Hyde, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Because the very worst villain is . The characters are the persons that are involved in the story. This entire novel is based on a single idea: that a loving mother might murder her baby daughter to save her from life as a slave. Sep. 30, 2013 ... the want for likeable characters isn’t lowbrow, but you don’t need to like the character to love the book. In comes McMurphy, our hero, who wants to undercut her. 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. He is terrifying because we all know him—or someone who could oh-so-easily slide into his long overcoat, one winter’s night. 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. After a lifetime spent abusing and manipulating her son into believing all women are evil sluts except for her, her son murders her — but Norma's not done with him yet. She mobilizes all the wily and beguiling art of seduction and ingratiation, which she has been able to use on men, and she directs it at women as well. fear who knows it, when none can call our power to Here's a list of everything Haruki Murakami has ever compared to writing. It is the whole thing, every aspect, of the American prison system—meant to catch you and bleed you and keep you and bring you back—that is the true villain in this novel (and often, in real life). 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. Evil Genius: A villain who is highly intelligent. After all, the most villainous often take quite a few pages to fully reveal themselves. She drives one patient to suicide, is obsessed with vengeance, and orders a lobotomy that she knows is unnecessary. A list of the 10 greatest villains in all of literature – the most memorable bad-guys of the fictive world . In fact, she'll be with him forever and ever. “They are the bane of my life. Mickey Sabbath is a depraved, cruel, aging ex-puppeteer — the dirty old man to rule all dirty old men — and one of the most reprehensible characters in literature. The brilliance of Mitsuko (and the brilliance of this novel) is such that, even by the end, you’re not sure how much to despise her. This kid is the actual worst. Think of these as noteworthy villains, if it clarifies things. . The General, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Gabriel García Márquez. In one of her most memorable scenes, she forces Harry Potter to write lines in his own blood. Also, you just fell asleep one time and when you woke up it was your evil id and not you? 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. She's especially terrifying because she has the power of bureaucracy behind her; she's obsessed with creating and enforcing rules, even when it involves physical violence to students. The worst villain is the one who knows you best—the one you might even love. More importantly, despite the fact that he might be a genius, he inflicts senseless and remorseless violence wherever he goes. Here’s a villain you can’t help but root for—I mean, sort of. In the world of horror, there's nothing quite as eerie as a really good female villain. This is not an exhaustive list, of course, and you are more than invited to nominate your own favorite evildoers in the comments section. Take, take, take. Most of the novel is seen from Mr Utterson's perspective. . The slave-hunting Ridgeway, Whitehead writes, “was six and a half feet tall, with the square face and thick neck of a hammer. 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. After all, if everyone was always nice and good and honest all the time, literature probably wouldn’t even exist. Suburban Ennui, Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates. 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. 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. You could also argue that the British Aristocracy is the villain in the Patrick Melrose books, but . Most of the cast of Black Legion comes across like that, especially Khayon. Some are terrifying because of their utter heartlessness, while others are terrifying because they pretend to care. 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. In literature as in so-called “real” life, evil is, by far, the purview of the male gender; it is men who are the villains, evildoers, rascals and killers. . He never sleeps, the judge. Including the reader, of course. actually inside you. Cora is involved in a classic kill-your-husband-to-be-with-your-lover plot, but her first attempt goes wrong, and ends up giving her husband retrograde amnesia. 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. It's always creepy when little girls or sweet-faced brides show off their dark side, but on the other end of the spectrum, the woman who lives alone in the woods and reads too many romance novels can also be awfully disturbing, too. When we first meet him, he is described as a “cadaverous” man, “who had hardly any eyebrows, and no eyelashes, and eyes of a red-brown, so unsheltered and unshaded, that I remember wondering how he went to sleep. As slaveowners go, Rufus isn’t the worst (his father might rank) but he isn’t the best, either. Traits of a Likable Antagonist Intelligence and Cunning Internal Traits Sympathetic Backgrounds Humor Shylock: “My ducats and my daughter! Wave of shark paranoia among beach-goers Tale, Margaret Atwood the asylum ward an! 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