Rummanah Aasi
  This week is my fourth time participating in the Top 10 Tuesday meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. I have to say that this is by far my favorite list, both in compiling and reflecting back on all the villains that I loved to hate throughout my years as a reader. This list is also, in my opinion, the hardest to compose, because I couldn't limit it to 10. In order to meet the ten requirement, I listed villains that are mostly from classic literature who seem to be forever ingrained in my mind.

My Top 10 Villains, Criminals, and Degenerates (in no particular order):

1. Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Surprised? Many people are quick to point to Heathcliff as a villain. Yes, he can be cruel and cold. I don't dismiss how he horribly mistreated Isabella, but then again he never mislead her with what would happen if she would marry him. What most people forget is that Catherine Earnshaw was the sole person who started Heathcliff's downfall. Not only did she ruin her and his life, but she also destroyed the Lintons too. For what? Her chance to hold fickle social status. 

2. Richard III from the play Richard III by Shakespeare. Sometimes watching the villain is more entertaining than the protagonist. Richard III is a deformed in mind and body. He is evil, corrupt, sadistic, manipulative, and he will stop at absolutely nothing to become king. I couldn't help but like the guy. In fact I wrote a paper for my Shakespeare class in college defending Richard III, which was really fun and floored my professor. I would argue it was the best critical analysis that I've ever written.

3. Iago from the play Othello by Shakespeare. Like Richard III, Iago is both brilliant and terrifying. He is very observant on everyone's flaws and insecurities. He is terrifying because the reader never knows exactly why he played the other characters in the play like puppets, but we do know is that he took great pleasure in watching others suffer and destroy themselves.

4.  Alec D’Urberville and Angel Clare from Tess of D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. Alec is Tess's smarmy, manipulative, duplicitous cousin who did everything that he can to take advantage of the inexperienced Tess when she comes to work for his family. Not only did he take advantage of her, but stated that she was responsible for coming on to him. As for Angel Clare...He is suppose to be intelligent and the antithesis of Alec yet he when he is forced to face the gray shades of reality, he runs away and shuns the woman that he supposedly loved. Yup, these guys are fine male specimens.

5. Paris from various Greek Myths including The Illiad by Homer. Whether or not you believe the Greek Gods were behind the Trojan War, I think it's very hard not to acknowledge the creep that is Paris. A selfish, self centered, hormone driven boy who ruined both his family and a great city.

6. Agamemnon from various Greek Myths including Agamemnon by Aeschylus. While he may be considered a great military leader or even a hero to some, I have always hated him. He is arrogant, thirsted for war and power, and treats the women in his family like dirt. How I can forget the fact that he sacrificed his own daughter, Iphigenia, to gain a favorable winds to Troy? I can't blame his wife, Clytemnestra, for seeking revenge.

7. Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A shallow, superficial, gold digger. Need I say more?

8. Fernand Mondego and Baron Danglars from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Both of them are despicable characters who were jealous and imprisoned Edmond Dantes for a crime he did not commit and robbed him of all the happiness in his life. I'm glad that they were both avenged by The Count (aka Edmond), who will never be the same man he was before the horrible incident began. 

9. Kurtz from The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. A man who treated the natives of Congo like animals, built his castle with human bones, and declared himself God. "The horror!"

10. Briony from Atonement by Ian McEwan. Even though this is not considered a "classic" per se, I hated this character just as much as the others above her. Briony is a spoiled, selfish, self-centered brat who destroyed many lives around her. She tries to find atonement by writing a "happy ending". Sorry Briony, in my opinion, you didn't succeed. You never came close to atoning for your lie and betrayal.
13 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Great post! I thought of Cathy too but put her on my "most dislikable characters" list already. Daisy is a great one too! I am a new follower :)

  2. danya Says:

    Yes, I disliked Catherine more than Heathcliff too (and I did dislike Heathcliff, but I really loathed Catherine). She was just so self-centered and she used everybody for her own gain.

  3. Much more literary than my list. My books mainly come from Fantasy books.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Glad to see Agamemnon show up on one of these lists. I've always thought Euripides's "Iphigenia at Aulis" was among the best of the lesser known classical works.

    I haven't seen anyone mention Hindley Earnshaw from WH. I always thought he was "a part of the problem" too... :-)

  5. Dont think I've read in of these books.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I do have Heathcliff on my list, but as I was looking at some other Top Ten posts, I realized that practically every character in Wuthering Heights could be labeled the villain--pretty much everyone is selfish and stubborn, which leads to all the discord. (I think Nelly was okay, though--she wasn't too bad.)

    I have Briony on my list, as well, although she's ranked a little higher than #10, like you have her. Her naivete and selfishness ruined other peoples' lives, even if she realized it and tried to atone for it in the end. (By the way, you're the only other person on MisterLinky to have Briony :) Glad someone else thought she was nasty, too!)

  7. @Danielle: Thanks for following! :)

    @Danya; I agree. I never liked her.

    @Anne: It's doesn't matter. These characters were just more memorable. I do have quite a few from YA and Children's books too.

    @bibliophilica: Oh yes, I forgot about Hindley and I despised him too. I'll have to check out the Euripides's "Iphigenia at Aulis". I don't think I read it.

    @AngelicNytmare: Definitely some books to look into.

    @Kristie: I was surprised that Briony didn't show up more often on the lists. Glad someone agreed with me. :)

  8. What a thorough list!
    With classics in mind, Uriah Heep from David Copperfield was an "'Umble" villain - if I recall - it's been so long since I read it.

  9. This is one heck of a list and very well thought out! I've seen Iago several times, and amen on Briony! Thanks for stopping by!

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

  10. Julie G Says:

    Good choice with Iago! He's my all time favorite literary villain - although I also love Richard III. The paper you wrote defending him sounds like a very interesting read.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I think I'd consider Heart of Darkness the villain in my life. I hate that book, and yes, Kurtz is a great pick for this list.

    And yay for including Shakespeare characters! I made up my entire top ten list as a theme of Shakespeare's villains :D

  12. @Alison: I'm sure there are lots of villains from Dicken's novels, but since I haven't read them (sad, I know) I couldn't add them.

    @Linds: Talk about a piece of work!

    @Julie: I had a lot of fun, which is surprising on how frustrating it is to write a critical analysis on Shakespeare. If more people are interested, I might even put it up. :)

    @Sarah: You and me both! I barely read it in high school, but then I had to read it *twice* for college. You're list is very impressive. I'm heading there now to read it!

  13. Kurtz from Heart of Darkness. Yes!

    Here's my Top Ten Baddies List.

    I hope you will also stop by my blog, Readerbuzz, and enter to win A TRIP TO PARIS or a $25 AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATE!

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