Love them or hate them, villains provide some of the most memorable characters in Literature. From the blood-sucking Count Dracula to Shakespeare's dastardly Iago, Stylist looks back at some of our favourite literary nasties.
Words: Dipal Acharya
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Key quote: "He disappeared after leaving school ... traveled far and wide ... sank so deeply into the Dark Arts, consorted with the very worst of our kind, underwent so many magical transformations that when he resurfaced he was barely recognisable."
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Key quote: "Oh my offence is rank, it smells to heaven. It hath the primal eldest curse upon't- a brother's murder."
The Witches by Roald Dahl
Key quote: "My orders are that every single child in the country shall be rrrubbed out, sqvashed, sqvirted, sqvitted and ffrrritered before I come here again in vun year's time. Do I make myself clear?"
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Key quote: "You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to a kill... And so, that human creature is mine. His life is forfeit to me. His blood is my property."
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Key quote: "It is a princely scheme,’ cried Hook, and at once it took practical shape in his great brain. ‘We will seize the children and carry them to the boat: the boys we will make walk the plank, and Wendy shall be our mother."
The Final Problem by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Key quote: "[Moriarty] is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them."
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Key quote: "Yet do I fear thy nature: it is too full of the milk of human kindness."
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Key quote: “Now calm down. The best thing we can do is go on with our daily routine.”
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Key quote: "But Sauron was not of mortal flesh, and though he was robbed now of that shape in which had wrought so great an evil, so that he could never again appear fair to the eyes of Men"
Othello by William Shakespeare
Key quote: "So will I turn her virtue into pitch, And out of her own goodness make the net That shall enmesh them all."
Lolita by Vladamir Nabakov
Key quote: "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul"
Richard III by William Shakespeare
Key quote: "Since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain."
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Key quote: "He (Jean Valjean) asked himself whether human society could have the right to...seize a poor man forever between a defect and an excess, a default of work and an excess of punishment. Whether it was not outrageous for society to treat thus precisely those of its members who were the least well endowed in the division of goods made by chance, and consequently the most deserving of consideration."
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Key quote: "Why don't you go? We none of us want you. He doesn't want you, he never did. He can't forget her. He wants to be alone in the house again, with her. It's you that ought to be lying there in the church crypt, not her. It's you who ought to be dead, not Mrs. de Winter."
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Key quote: "There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science."
The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter
Key quote: "Whereas in other plays of mine every single character, even a bastard like Goldberg in 'The Birthday Party, I care for."
The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster
Key quote: "Whether we fall by ambition, blood or lust, Like diamonds we are cut with our own dust."
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Key quote: "he looked less like a man than some hideous phantom"
Dr. No by Ian Fleming
Key quotes: "The Americans are fools. I offered my services, they refused. So did the East. Now they can both pay for their mistake."
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Key quote: "Of course he had committed forgery;--of course he had committed robbery. That, indeed, was nothing, for he had been cheating and forging and stealing all his life"
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Key quote: "We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things"
Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Key quote: "I am a servant to great Lucifer."
We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Key quote: "You regarded redemption as an act of will. You disparaged people for their cussedly nonspecific dissatisfactions, because to fail to embrace the simple fineness of being alive betrayed a weakness of character."
Volpone by Ben Jonson
Key quote: "I glory More in the cunning Purchase of my Wealth, Than in the glad Possession"
The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht
Key quote: "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again. "
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Key quote: "Oh, he's a monster. Pure psychopath. So rare to capture one alive. From a research point of view, Lecter is our most prized asset."
Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
Key quote: "Oft have I digged up dead men from their graves, and set them upright at their dear friends' door."
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Key quote: "Man hands on misery to man, it deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can, and don't have any kids yourself."
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Key quote: "I have all the characteristics of a human being: flesh, blood, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip."
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Key quote: "The judge tilted his great head. The man who believes that the secrets of this world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life."