Plays 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.
list ordered by

1
272 58
Iago is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Othello

2
196 64
Lady Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Macbeth

3
127 42
Richard III is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Richard III

4
101 47
Edmund is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King Lear

5
95 33
Aaron the Moor is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Aaron the Moor Titus Andronicus

6
95 43
King Claudius is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Hamlet

7
103 51
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Macbeth

8
73 36
Goneril is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King Lear

9
63 33
Cassius is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Julius Caesar

10
70 33
Aaron is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Titus Andronicus

11
77 53
Tybalt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Romer and Juliet

12
67 49
Shylock is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Merchant of Venice

13
59 38
Regan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King Lear

14
47 29
Cornwall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King Lear

15
47 43
Don John is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Much Ado About Nothing

16
42 36
Caliban is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Tempest

17
28 22
Iachimo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Cymbeline

18
17 10
Brutus is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Meme Guy added Brutus Julius Caesar

19
32 34
Richard II of England is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
oldebenflood added Richard II

20
26 30
King John is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King John

21
21 24
Duke Frederick is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
As You Like It

22
22 31
The Queen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Cymbeline

23
18 27
Proteus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Two Gentlemen of Verona

24
12 17
Lord Capulet is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Count Delrone added Lord Capulet Romeo and Juliet

25
6 20
Borachio is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Much Ado About Nothing

26
10 28
Claudio is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
david-p-griffith added Much Ado About Nothing

27
15 36
Egeus is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
A Midsummer Night's Dream

28
13 35
Lancelot Gobbo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Lancelot Gobbo The Merchant of Venice

29
34 73
Puck is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
A Midsummer Night's Dream

30
22 52
Falstaff is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Henry IV

31
33 81
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Hamlet

32
15 50
Katherine is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Taming of the Shrew