After consuming a great piece of literature, readers typically remember the protagonist of the story, rather than the antagonist. Authors draw readers in, to support and fall in love with the hero or heroine and to reject the villain.
Perhaps this is because the hero of the story is created to be relatable, and perhaps because the villain is designed to be unattractive. But occasionally, some literary antagonists are so haunting that readers cannot forget them. They evoke deep emotional reactions through their unforgiving acts of hatred. They delight readers with moments of selfishness and irritate with their judgmental, manipulative ways. That’s a villain done right. Of course, sometimes a hero is written badly, and becomes hated in a way that the writer never intended.
The following are ten of the most hated protagonists in literary history, some of whom are meant to be disliked and some who fall into the latter inglorious category. No matter how they became immortalised, they’re all just a little bit fun to hate.
*Spoiler alert: All following entries include narrative spoilers*