Shakespeare’s 10 Worst Villains

Or is it best villains? These men and women are the ones you feel like booing whenever they walk on stage. The ones played by celebrities known for their sneers in the film adaptations. Bottom line, if anyone ever says you’d make a great Lady Macbeth, it may not a compliment.

10. Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet)

Honestly, with all those swirling hormones and wounded honor, someone was going to get a sword to the gut, and Tybalt just had the first successful swing. Still, the play might have had a much happier ending without him.

9. Brutus (Julius Caesar)

Dude stabbed his friend in the back. Literally. Good intentions or not, that’s a pretty big offense.

8. Coriolanus (Coriolanus)

One guy’s hurt feelings should not lead to war. And getting talked out of waging a war by your Mom does not mean your actions are excused.

7. Leontes (The Winter’s Tale)

Never have things worked out so well for a guy who tried to kill his BFF and infant daughter and successfully banished his wife. Shakespeare, is this what we should be teaching our kids happens when we do bad things?

6. Titus (Titus Andronicus)

One of the two characters responsible for making Titus Andronicus one of Shakespeare’s most disturbing plays. “She did it first,” is not an acceptable reason for murder. And Sweeney Todd moments should only happen in Sweeney Todd.

5. Tamora (Titus Andronicus)

It takes two to tango, and two to leave the stage covered in dead and otherwise assaulted bodies. Tamora wasn’t just ordering murders, she was ordering sexual assaults and disfigurement (shudder).

4. Claudius (Hamlet)

For those who need a Disney adaptation refresher, in The Lion King, Claudius is Scar. He was a little more subtle with the fratricide, but the rest of the evil plan stuff stands.

3. Lady Macbeth (Macbeth)

Your first response to your husband getting his fortune told should not be to suggest murder. At most, it should be to suggest healthy skepticism and, depending on the witch’s going rate, to suggest a financial planner.

2. Macbeth (Macbeth)

Some things seem to solve all life’s problems. Like ice cream, or Duck Tape. What doesn’t solve any problems is murder, especially when those particular problems are the result of your first murder.

1. Iago (Othello)

Because sometimes the biggest bad guy isn’t the one pulling the trigger. He’s the puppet master, watching as not only the literal victims, but also the confused perpetrators, are taken down.