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
283 58
Iago is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Othello

2
203 66
Lady Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Macbeth

3
130 42
Richard III is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Richard III

4
104 47
Edmund is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King Lear

5
99 44
King Claudius is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Hamlet

6
96 34
Aaron the Moor is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Aaron the Moor Titus Andronicus

7
106 53
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Macbeth

8
76 36
Goneril is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King Lear

9
73 33
Aaron is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Titus Andronicus

10
63 33
Cassius is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Julius Caesar

11
80 53
Tybalt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Romer and Juliet

12
70 51
Shylock is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Merchant of Venice

13
61 38
Regan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
King Lear

14
50 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
29 22
Iachimo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Cymbeline

17
20 11
Brutus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Meme Guy added Brutus Julius Caesar

18
43 39
Caliban is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Tempest

19
33 34
Richard II of England is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
oldebenflood added Richard II

20
27 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
23 31
The Queen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Cymbeline

23
19 27
Proteus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Two Gentlemen of Verona

24
14 18
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
16 37
Egeus is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
A Midsummer Night's Dream

27
10 28
Claudio is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
david-p-griffith added Much Ado About Nothing

28
36 74
Puck is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
A Midsummer Night's Dream

29
13 35
Lancelot Gobbo is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Lancelot Gobbo The Merchant of Venice

30
22 53
Falstaff is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Henry IV

31
33 82
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
Hamlet

32
16 51
Katherine is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Shakespearean Villains, Ranked
The Taming of the Shrew