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The Best Fictional Characters Who Turn Evil

Updated January 15, 2020 8.6k votes 1.3k voters 116.7k views35 items

List RulesVote up the characters who make bad look good.

There are thousands of villains in fiction, from television, books, comics, and film, each with their own unique motives and methods of madness. But it can be rare to see a character go from a hero to villain before your own eyes. They might start out as an innocent person, with the best of intentions, before transforming into a monster. Many films spend significant time fleshing out their heroes' motivations, but what makes these fictional characters turn evil?

Sometimes they’re tempted by the power that comes from evil and darkness, like in the case of Anakin Skywalker, Peter Pettigrew, and Lex Luthor. Many of these villains had the best of intentions, but it only led to a place of evil, like in the case of "Breaking Bad" anti-hero Walter White.

A lot of the characters on this list began as close friends of the heroes of their stories. Buffy the Vampire Slayer saw both her boyfriend and best friend go from her allies to bitter enemies. Many of Shakespeare’s characters were corrupted by jealousy or thirst for power and end up committing extremely evil acts, as in the case of Macbeth and Iago.

This list features characters who weren’t born bad, but were made evil by unfortunate circumstances and their choices later in life.

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