Famous Villains that Literature has Given Us
This section is dedicated to some of the most brilliant villains that literature has. Read about them, reminisce and wonder why they’re so. But don’t forget, if it wasn’t for them, none of the stories would have been even half as interesting as they were. So give them their due credit and simply enjoy them for what they are.
Iago from Shakespeare’s Othello
Shakespeare, the master storyteller has given us some of the best villains, and Iago is one of them. Disgruntled over not being promoted by Othello, he weaves a devious plot to befall Cassio, the one who got his promotion. Deceit, jealousy, anger, lies, fraud, manipulation, and murder; all these were the key ingredients in Iago that made him the violent villain that he was. No one can deny he was one of the deadliest ones ever!
Edmund from Shakespeare’s King Lear
Another Shakespearean character making it to this list of famous villains is Edmund from King Lear. What begins as a seemingly pitiable character unfolds into one of the most vicious and opportunistic ones ever seen in literature. Edmund, frustrated and discontented with his illegitimacy, cons his way into getting whatever he wants. Betrayal, fraudulence and anger were his strengths, which he used to get his way. He shows no remorse over murders that he commits and his affairs with Goneril and Regan. If there was ever such a thing as a complete package for a villain, this was it.
Mr. Hyde from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
No list of villains is complete without mentioning the extremely frightening Mr. Hyde. Beginning as a small experiment with a potion, it goes completely out of hand and Dr. Jekyll becomes consumed by the need to become Mr. Hyde in order to feel younger, fresher and more full of life. Highlighting ‘split personality disorder’, a mental condition, this novella is definitely one of the best stories about the inner villain in people. Mr. Hyde, a violent and brutal villain is something that people fear and stay away from. Such is the popularity of the character that people use the term Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde even in daily conversation to connote extremely opposite behavior in a person.
Frankenstein’s Monster from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Though not his actual name, Frankenstein stuck as the name of the monster because of the name of his creator, Victor Frankenstein. Created from dead organs and body parts, he looked as horrifying as he actually was. On seeing his creation, Frankenstein flees and leaves the monster to be. Shunned and feared by anyone who came in contact with him, the monster vows to kill Victor for creating him and kills many innocent people along the way. Unable to be the one who kills his creator, the monster swears to burn his body to ashes at ‘the Northernmost extremity of the globe’, so that no one knows of his existence and no one creates another like him.
Sauron from The Lord of the Rings
The Necromancer, Lord of Mordor, the all-seeing Eye, Morgoth’s servant, and the true Lord of the
rings, Sauron dons many guises as the principle enemy of the free peoples of Middle-Earth. In Tolkien’s world, Sauron started out as an angelic being, one of the Maiar, created by Eru (the creator) himself. He lived as one of the Valar and betrayed them to orchestrate wide-scale destruction, under the direction of Morgoth, before openly joining him. Over the ages, Sauron truly crossed over to the dark side, channelizing his malice and lust for power into the creation of the ONE RING to rule them all, that gave him absolute power over all races. When overthrown by an alliance of men and elves, he returned in spirit form to Mordor as the all-seeing eye, again amassing an army and corrupting minds in search of his lost ring. Sauron met his end when the one ring was destroyed by Frodo Baggins, in the fiery depths of Mount Doom, with inadvertent help from Gollum.
The White Witch from C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Ah! That white frigid vamp who wants Narnia more than anything. A perfect blend of simple tactics like tempting a child with a box of chocolate and violent ones like transforming anyone who comes in her way into ice, this female villain has it all. She tries to conquer Narnia, but is defeated by the 4 children, the true rulers. She is detested by many, but isn’t that one of the best reasons to keep her on this list?
Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter Series
Lord Voldemort, or Tom Riddle as he is otherwise known, has turned out to be one of the most enduring, determined and vengeful villains in modern literature. Obsessed with the thought of conquering death, Voldemort falls from power after being defeated by the love that Harry’s mother protects Harry with, only to rise again and become even more powerful and wage a war against the entire wizarding world, which ends with the death of innumerable humans and magical creatures. A truer villain was never seen.
Whether you agree or not, those villains definitely made the stories more interesting and intriguing. The devious plots and the dark side of human nature are best portrayed by them and for that, we must be grateful to the brilliance of the writers who created such wonderfully despicable characters!