The 12 most detestable characters in literature

    Evil exists. Newspapers and newscasts feature horrible, disgusting, ruthless human beings, capable of committing the cruelest and most unpleasant acts that we can imagine. People of the lowest moral character who live with us in the cities, who buy food in the same supermarkets, who sit next to us on the subway. From remote times, writers have echoed through their works these men and women condemned by society, as well as their indecent acts. However, they have also imagined fictitious abominable characters, beings that have made millions and millions of readers suffer, scare, hurt and even cry. Some of these detestable characters, whether invented or real, have remained in the collective imagination, in popular culture and/or in the memory of those who entered the pages where these individuals appear.

    Already in the classical Greek tragedies we discover profiles of dubious morality drawn by the minds of Euripides, Sophocles or Aeschylus. In Roman comedy there were frequent characters who were not very pleasant or not at all pleasant, such as the parasitusthe log or the thousands glorious, characterized as vile, cowardly, selfish or arrogant. In Spanish literature we find archetypes as characteristic as the rogue or the ruffian, both fruit of the observation of the reality of the native writers. The occasional unbearable romantic suicide in Europe or the serial killer US are other examples. However, many authors in past centuries have described people who have no relationship with evil as monsters. Fortunately, social, scientific, and ideological progress have made us raise our hands to our heads today with certain assessments and opinions.

    Evil has degrees, not all the characters that we hate or reject are equally condemnable. From the bloodthirsty psychopath, the Nazi sadist or the depraved rapist to the unsympathetic boss or the lying husband, there are notable differences, quite wide levels of evil. The gossipy neighbor, the hypocritical co-worker, the perverse nurse, the corrupt politician, the mad scientist who knows no limits, the malevolent stepmother, the ruthless landowner… There are many prototypical characters that narrative fiction has given us throughout the ages. literary history. The following list presents bad guys from universal literature, proper names like Patrick Bateman, Hannibal Lecter, Annie Wilkies or Lord Voldemort. As usual in these catalogues, they are not all that are, but they are all that are (at least until proven otherwise).

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Patrick Bateman

‘American Psycho’ by Bret Easton Ellis


Jean-Baptiste Grenouille

‘The Perfume’ by Patrick Süskind


The grandmother

‘The Big Notebook’ by Agota Kristof


Annie Wilkes

Misery (Best Seller)


Mrs. Perfect

‘Doña Perfecta’ by Benito Pérez Galdós


Lord Voldemort

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ by JK Rowling



‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ by John Boyne


Ebenezer Scrooge

‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens


Anton Chigurh

‘No Country for Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy


The Tutti Frutti

‘Los Divinos’ by Laura Restrepo


John Silver the Long

‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson



‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus

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The 12 most detestable characters in literature