5. Hannibal Lecter: We meet Dr. Lecter in the pages of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon (G.P. Putnams, Dell, 1981). If his first name isn’t a giveaway, let me assure you that Lecter is all kinds of bad. Before being captured and thrown into solitary confinement because he is too dangerous to be held in an environment with other prisoners, Lecter nearly killed an FBI agent. A genius in both intellect and tactics, from his prison cell, Lecter manipulates an FBI investigation, nearly killing more FBI agents, manages to communicate with a serial killer, and oh, did I mention that he’s a cannibal?
My dear Will, you must be healed by now , on the outside at least. I hope you are not too ugly. What a collection of scars you have. Never forget who gave you the best of them and be grateful. Our scars have the power to remind us that the past was real. We live in a primitive time, don’t we Will? Neither savage nor wise. Half measures are the curse of it. Any rational society would either kill me or put me to some use. Do you dream much Will? I think of you often. Your old friend, Hannibal Lecter.
4. King Claudius: We meet Claudius in the pages of William Shakespeare’s immortal play, Hamlet. Prince Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius poisons Hamlet’s father and succeeds him as king, laying claim not just to the throne but to his poisoned brother’s wife. Coming to the realization that Prince Hamlet is aware of his skullduggery, Claudius sets out to murder the young prince as well. He is an all around bad man.
To die, to sleep –
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come…
3. Edmund: Shakespeare wrote some of the best villains in literature. And here at number 3 is another of his from the play King Lear, Edmund, the illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester. Illegitimate or not, Edmund is a real bastard. He lies to set up his brother, so that he may supplant him as heir. He betrays the Earl of Gloucester, falsely accusing him of a crime, the end result being that the earl’s eyes are gouged out as punishment. He carries on affairs with two of the King’s daughters and through further machinations of his own, more people are needlessly killed.
The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
2. Iago: Another Shakespeare villain in the top 5. Is it any surprise? Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most infamous villains and he appears in the pages of the bard’s play Othello. Ever wonder where that saying “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” comes from? I’d say Othello is a contender, if not a prime example. Jealous of Othello, Iago sets into motion a chain of events that causes Othello to kill Desdemona, the woman he loves. Iago also kills several people during the course of these machinations.
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
1. Aaron the Moor: From the pages of William Shakespeare’s play Titus Andronicus, rages Aaron the Moor. A prisoner of war who takes revenge seriously, Aaron sets about killing the family of Titus Andronicus, as well as raping his daughter, whom Andronicus finally kills himself out of shame. Aaron also lies and manipulates events to cause the Andronicus family more pain and suffering and when he finally does meet his end, he is completely unrepentant, wishing that he’d had more opportunities to commit acts of evil.
Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.