Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature

Most people generally become emotionally attached to the hero of the story, but we all know there can be no hero without an anti-hero. Literature is full “couples” of male heroes and female villainesses so we have prepared a list with the top 10 celebrated female evildoers.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 10. Dolores Umbridge

Dolores Umbridge is the very definition of an evil hag. She surprises with the banality of her “dark side” being more of a malevolent bureaucrat than a true evildoer. Her natural cruelty manifests itself through her willingness to torture small children and make Harry write lines with his own blood.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 9. Mrs. Danvers

Mrs. Danvers is portrayed in Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” as a bitter housekeeper who plays tricks on the new wife of her master, Mrs. De Winters. Mrs. Danvers constantly tries to psychologically torture Mrs. De Winters to the point of trying to convince her to commit suicide. Her hate for her new mistress becomes so great that she finally burns the entire house down.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 8. The White Witch

As described in the Narnia books, the White Witch was a truly evil person. Once she was defeated in the civil war for the throne, she spoke the “Deplorable Word” killing all of the inhabitants of her world. After she awakened from her self-induced sleep, she invades Narnia and brings perpetual winter with her. She is finally defeated by Aslan, the Narnian messiah, but much of the damage had been already done.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 7. Miss Havisham

Miss Havisham is considered one of Dickens most haunting creations. Scorned and humiliated as a young bride by an unfaithful lover and her step-brother, she tries to take her revenge on all men through her daughter, who she raises to be cold and emotionless. When she realizes that she could not truly take revenge on those responsible for her suffering, she becomes repentant. Alas, she soon dies when her tattered wedding dress catches on fire.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 6. Grendel’s Mother

Grendel’s mother is not usually classified as a villainess because her hate of Boewulf is somewhat justified. He did, after all, kill her son, the monster Grendel. Despite this, the idea of a woman fighting such a great warrior as Boewulf (and holding her own) was perceived as truly horrific by the people of that age.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 5. Marquise de Merteuil

The novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” is configured as a set of letters between two members of the French nobility: the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil. The Marquise is a manipulating temptress that uses men in order to achieve her objectives. Her behavior eventually leads to murder and her fall into disgrace.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 4. Livia

Livia Drusilla, a central character in Robert Graves’ “I, Claudius”, is the influential wife of Emperor Augustus. Her whole purpose in life is to assure her son’s ascension to power after Augustus’ death. This of course implies that the Republic is never restored and that all potential rivals are eliminated, including her step-daughter’s sons.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 3. Lady Macbeth

Similar to other members of this list, Lady Macbeth is above all else a master of manipulation. When Macbeth hesitates in killing King Duncan, it is her who manages to convince him by questioning his manhood. She succeeds in turning her husband into a vicious and power hungry mirror image of herself. Before the story ends, she cannot bear the burden of her own immorality and dies.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 2. Lady de Winter

Lady de Winter, or Milady, became evil only after being terribly hurt by Athos, at that time her lover, when he discovers that she was branded with the fleur-de –lis, the sign reserved for criminals. She soon started selling her talents to Cardinal Richelieu and proves to be a very effective spy. Throughout the novel, Lady de Winter proves she is able to kill in order to achieve her goals.

Top 10 Female Evildoers in Literature 1. Medea

Medea is described in Euripides’ play as the princess of Colchis and one of those who help Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece. She becomes Jason’s bride, but is abandoned when he marries another in order to obtain the throne of Corinth. Searching for revenge, Medea poisoned Jason’s new bride and her father, killing them both. She also killed her and Jason’s two kids so as to taunt him with their bodies. At the end of the play, Medea is triumphant and rides off in a chariot pulled by dragons.



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