The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked

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This is a list about the best Shakespeare villains; it answers the question, “Who are the bad guys in William Shakespeare’s plays?” Every play has a hero and a villain: who, in your book is the top villain of all-times in one of Shakespeare’s plays?While most villains are purely evil, the interesting thing about Shakespeare is that his villains are not always overtly evil. Some of them seem to only be facing a moral dilemma of sorts; they’re not the typical in-your-face evil plotters like other stories usually have. As a result, a lot of Shakespearean villains play very subtle roles.

In addition to characters that are dubbed a villain but don’t play the typically evil roles that we think of when we hear that term, Shakespeare’s best plays also included some of the most notoriously evil characters in history, including: Richard III, Iago, Cornwall and Aaron the Moor. He was also notorious for making the audience fine sympathy for the bad guys (like Julius Caesar). The up-and-down emotions he caused the audience to feel are what made him famous. Shakespeare was also known for making his villainous characters seem incredibly real, struggling with common problems we each face like jealousy, heartbreak, greed and bitterness. He seemed to thrive on showing his audience the ironies of being judgmental since we are each the same in the end.
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  1. 1
    + 168
    - 29

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Othello

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  2. 2
    + 113
    - 32


    Macbeth

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  3. 3
    + 77
    - 18


    Richard III

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  4. 4
    + 65
    - 21


    Hamlet

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  5. 5
    + 65
    - 24


    King Lear, King Lear, King Lear

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  6. 6
    + 55
    - 14
    Aaron the Moor is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked


    Aaron the Moor Titus Andronicus

  7. 7
    + 57
    - 29


    Macbeth

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  8. 8
    + 44
    - 18


    King Lear, King Lear, King Lear

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  9. 9
    + 48
    - 18


    Titus Andronicus

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  10. 10
    + 52
    - 32


    Romer and Juliet

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  11. 11
    + 33
    - 16


    Julius Caesar

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  12. 12
    + 44
    - 30


    The Merchant of Venice, The Merchant of Venice, The Merchant of Venice

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  13. 13
    + 35
    - 21


    Much Ado About Nothing, Much Ado About Nothing, Much Ado About Nothing

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  14. 14
    + 31
    - 13


    King Lear

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  15. 15
    + 38
    - 20


    King Lear

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  16. 16
    + 22
    - 13

    added by oldebenflood
    Richard II

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  17. 17
    + 24
    - 18


    The Tempest

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  18. 18
    + 14
    - 8


    Cymbeline

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  19. 19
    + 13
    - 11


    Cymbeline

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  20. 20
    + 0
    - 0
    No image

    new!
    Borachio Much Ado About Nothing, Much Ado About Nothing, Much Ado About Nothing

  21. 21
    + 9
    - 12


    The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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  22. 22
    + 7
    - 11


    As You Like It, As You Like It, As You Like It

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  23. 23
    + 10
    - 15


    King John

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  24. 24
    + 8
    - 17


    A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Midsummer Night's ...

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  25. 25
    + 8
    - 17
    Lancelot Gobbo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked


    Lancelot Gobbo The Merchant of Venice

  26. 26
    + 14
    - 33


    Henry IV

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  27. 27
    + 22
    - 46


    A Midsummer Night's Dream

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  28. 28
    + 1
    - 8
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    added by david-p-griffith
    Much Ado About Nothing, Much Ado About Nothing, Much Ado About Nothing

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  29. 29
    + 6
    - 26


    The Taming of the Shrew

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  30. 30
    + 18
    - 52


    Hamlet

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