They embody the worst of human traits, but their motivations are often very real and surprisingly easy to explain: jealousy, heartache, bitterness…all the ugly things that bring out the worst in all of us. Remember not to be too quick to judge in some situations because “The quality of mercy is not strained, but falls like gentle rain from Heaven. In the place below. He is doubly blessed: he blesses the giver and the receiver.” But in other cases, you’ll shudder to think that even a ghost character is capable of such horrors. Read on if you dare.
Shylock was wary of Christians. As a Jew in the city of Venice, this was understandable. The city was full of anti-Semitism. “I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, etc. but I will not eat with you, I will not drink with you, and I will not pray with you.’ Thank you, my friend. I love you too. It is not clear whether Shylock was Shakespeare’s protest against anti-Semitism or whether he was a true example of the mentality of the time. What is clear is that Shylock, Jew or Gentile, was not exactly a pretty boy. He lent Antonio money and was eager to collect the “fund meat.” It is “a pound of flesh” that lands Shylock on our list. Unpleasant and creepy.
2. Don John
Contrary to what you might think, Don John didn’t make the list just because he was poorly portrayed by our friend Keanu (1993’s Much Ado About Nothing). Don John himself was insanely jealous of his half-brother Don Pedro. In fact, Don Pedro and his men are celebrating their victory in the war with… Don John! Even though Don Pedro fought with his stepbrother (WAR!), he invited his stepbrother and his friends to a feast and fun. Um. Bad idea, my friend. For, as Don John himself said, “It must not be denied that I am a simple man, rather than say that I am a flattering honest man, rather than a rose in his grace. busy villain. If I had a mouth, I would bite; If I were free, I would do what I want: in the meantime, let me be and don’t try to change me. She’s a downright villain, she’s number 9 on our list for hating poor old Claudio and Heroine, so it’s the END of the play before they get together. Bad Don John!
Okay, now we get into the bad guys. When you dive into tragedies, the bad guys are bad and the endings are sad. Not only did Edmund make up lies about his half-brother (he exiled him and pretended to be mad), he was completely oblivious when his father put out his eyes, and he also cheated on Goneril and Regan. And they got married! And sisters! Granted, Goneril and Regan were pretty bad girls themselves, but Edmund is number 8 for his lack of family care and betrayal of his half-brother. The only reason Edmund is higher than Don John is because no one died because of Don John’s tricks (at least not his tantrums after the war).
4. Richard II
Richard II. First he ordered Mowbray to kill his uncle. He then prosecuted Mowbray for killing his uncle. Mowbray is banished forever and Bolingbroke (who was trying to hide the knowledge that Richard Mowbray killed his uncle) is exiled for 6 years. Hard. He was a mad king who had a penchant for comparing himself to Jesus. He collected taxes from the common people and fined the nobles for the crimes of their ancestors.
5. Lady Macbeth
Let’s hear for the girl? She decides her husband isn’t ambitious enough, so she hatches a foolhardy scheme to have him kill the heir to secure the throne for the MacBeths. Mr. Macbeth has second thoughts, so he mocks him and questions his masculinity, and he goes and stabs Duncan to death. She is absolutely furious and returns to him, leaving all her confusion behind. Sighing, “If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself,” he visits the crime scene and plants bloody daggers in Duncan’s servants. They should be good to go, right? Wrong. Old Macbeth goes on a killing spree, killing the guards that Lady Macbeth had trained for Duncan’s murder, Banquo, everyone in Macduff’s castle (including his children), and possibly the family dog. It might make you wonder why we didn’t choose MacBeth as the ultimate villain. Maybe it’s because behind every great man there’s a woman pulling his strings? Or if he hadn’t planned the first murder, he wouldn’t have committed the others?