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SmashTheState's avatar

Who is the most villainous fictional villain?

Asked by SmashTheState (9635 points ) March 19th, 2012

To be villainous it is not enough to be merely evil. A cackling Snidely Whiplash twirling his moustache as he – yet again – ties Nell to the railroad tracks doesn’t evoke the sort of epic dismay a truly diabolical villain does. To be a great villain requires a certain panache, aberration which teeters on the brink of nobility… and then topples backward into utter damnation beyond redemption. Think Hannibal Lecter as opposed to Jason Voorhees; Professor Moriarty rather than Emperor Palpatine; Lucifer Morningstar instead of the Cthulhu.

Whom do you believe to be the most villainous fictional villain? Again, not necessarily the most powerful nor the most gratuitously violent, but the one which evokes the most archetypal imagery of villainy.

(PS: If your villain is obscure, please provide a link if you can to something which will inform us.)

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21 Answers

flutherother's avatar

Steerpike from Titus Groan and Gormenghast.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@ragingloli is right, no need for a link, the most obvious “link” is life and the state the world is in.

SmashTheState's avatar

@flutherother Oooo, that’s a good one. Yes, he’s definitely in my top 10 list. He’s much like Raskolnikov from Crime & Punishment, where I desperately want to like him, but he covers himself in so much damnation that I just can’t find it in my heart to forgive. <3 tragic villains.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The JOKER!

filmfann's avatar

This isn’t my absolute final answer, but my mind immediately went to the guy who was blinding orphans to help them successfully beg in “Slumdog Millionaire”.

King_Pariah's avatar

A villain that is hard to sympathize with at best… either Randal Flagg: The Walkin’ Dude or The Crimson King: Red Daddy

But if you want someone that you can sympathize with (or at least I can) The Joker or Hunter “Grendel” Rose.

saint's avatar

Hans Landa, the Nazi “Jew Hunter” in that movie “Inglorious Basterds”. Terrific bad guy. Also, as above, The Joker.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Richard III or Iago from Shakespeare.

dalepetrie's avatar

could it be….....SATAN?

SmashTheState's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake You really think Richard III or Iago are more villainous than Macbeth? His final speech always stirs something in me, that last final touch of dauntless courage in despair, his refusal to bend his knee even in the last extremity of the ruin he has brought upon himself:

I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet,
And to be baited with the rabble’s curse.
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’

Esedess's avatar

Dr. Robotnik

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@SmashTheState : Yes, I do. Gloucester, later Richard III, announces in the very beginning of the play he will make himself a villain, and then wooing the widow of a king he has murdered proves he is positively grotesque. As for Iago, he states plainly he does evil out of spite, and then in the end, remains utterly silent in the face of questions and taunts.

Earthgirl's avatar

Sam Lowry’s old “friend” in the movie Brazil, Jack Lint

basstrom188's avatar

Herr Flick from ‘ello ‘ello

YARNLADY's avatar

Dr Strangelove

Symbeline's avatar

Not sure why, but the only guy I can think about is Venerable Jorge, from The Name of the Rose. He found the only remaining copy of the book ’‘Second Book of Poetics’’ by Aristotle, which claims to teach through comedy, and how laughter and humor is a key to knowledge and progression. Jorge wants to destroy it, because he thinks these elements are the work of Satan, and that fear of God and lack of knowledge is what keeps men obedient and faithful. (as obviously shown in this movie) He believes that things must stay this way.

Now I guess that’s not really villainous, because as far as we know, this guy only wants the best for mankind, and being a product of his times, you can’t really blame him. He also seems a lot more crazy than evil.
However, the sentiment I get from this guy isn’t what was portrayed in the movie. He’s obviously conscious of his actions, and quite clever. He didn’t mind leading many of his fellow monks to their deaths either, in order to make his point. He weaved out a whole plot, stuck to it and nearly managed. He knew what was right and what was wrong, despite his intentions. Now maybe it’s because of all the movie dramatics, but near the end, he also seemed to be doing all this for himself rather than for the greater good. Some people say he’s nuts, I say he’s a prick. I really should read the book though…
It was a small time action, and probably wouldn’t have changed much of anything, but he was a mastermind who played people and manipulated their fears and beliefs to obtain a result. If I don’t choose this guy, I’d have to resort to similar scenarios, but ones that never evoked much of anything in me like Venerable Jorge did.

I don’t remember every single detail, should watch it again, but I clearly remember, basically, Jorge deciding things for everyone else, and the decision would lead to keep people in check for one’s own benefit. At the very least, he probably thought that by doing this, he’d get a front row seat in Heaven. As an ancient and wise monk, he should have known that God will decide, not man.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon

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