Booking Through Thursday : villains in literature

Who’s the worst fictional villain you can think of? As in, the one you hate the most, find the most evil, are happiest to see defeated? Not the cardboard, two-dimensional variety, but the most deliciously-written, most entertaining, best villain? Not necessarily the most “evil,” so much as the best-conceived on the part of the author…oh, you know what I mean!

The worst villain: Gilbert Osmond in
The Portrait of a Lady. He devours innocence and freedom for sheer sport - ruining Isobel's life, Pansy's life - even Ralph Touchett's, in a way, as his sufferings are multiplied by his generosity. Osmond's delight in the trappings of wealth and culture makes his heartlessness even more ironic.

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