List of fictional antiheroes
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- imperfections that separate them from typically "heroic" characters (selfishness, ignorance, bigotry, etc.);
- lack of positive qualities such as "courage, physical prowess, and fortitude," and "generally feel helpless in a world over which they have no control";
- qualities normally belonging to villains (amorality, greed, violent tendencies, etc.) that may be tempered with more human, identifiable traits (confusion, self-hatred, etc.);
- noble motives pursued by bending or breaking the law in the belief that "the ends justify the means."
Each of these examples has been identified by a critic as an anti-hero, although the classification is somewhat subjective. Some of the entries may be disputed by other sources and some may contradict all established definitions of anti-hero.
- Alex, the narrator of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.
- Redmond Barry from William Makepeace Thackeray's The Luck of Barry Lyndon.
- Patrick Bateman from Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho.
- Leopold Bloom from James Joyce's Ulysses.
- Pinkie Brown from Graham Greene's Brighton Rock.
- Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.
- Conan from the stories by Robert E. Howard, the archetypal "amoral swordsman" of the Sword and Sorcery genre.
- Stephen Dedalus from James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man *Arthur Dent from Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series *Roland Deschain from Stephen King's The Dark Tower series
- Raoul Duke from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Tyler Durden and the Narrator of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club
- Randall Flagg from Stephen King's The Stand, Eyes of the Dragon and The Dark Tower.
- Artemis Fowl II from the Artemis Fowl series.
- Gully Foyle from Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination
- Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
- Gollum from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
- Grendel from John Gardner's novel of the same name.
- Hamlet from William Shakespeare's play of the same name
- Humbert Humbert from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita
- Iago from William Shakespeare's Othello.
- Hannibal Lecter from a series of novels by Thomas Harris
- Lestat de Lioncourt from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles universe
- Lucifer/Satan from John Milton's Paradise Lost
- Macbeth from William Shakespeare's play of the same name.
- Randle McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
- Philip Marlowe from Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The High Window, The Lady in the Lake, Playback, The Little Sister, and Poodle Springs
- Mephistopheles from Goethe's Faust and Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
- Dexter Morgan from the novels Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter, and Dexter in the Dark, later adapted into a TV series.
- Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind
- Parker from a series of novels by Donald E. Westlake
- Alexander Portnoy from Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint
- Raskolnikov from Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment
- Rincewind from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels
- Mark Renton from Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting
- Tom Ripley from Patricia Highsmith's "Ripliad" series
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
- Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair
- Shylock from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
- Tyrone Slothrop from Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow
- Severus Snape from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
- Sam Spade from Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon
- Steerpike from Gormenghast Series by Mervyn Peake
- "The Underground Man", narrator of Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground
- Yossarian from Joseph Heller's Catch-22
- Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver
- Lester Burnham from American Beauty
- Harry Callahan from the Dirty Harry series
- The Dude from The Big Lebowski
- Jigsaw from the Saw film series.
- Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
- Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
- Léon from Léon or The Professional
- Juno MacGuff from Juno.
- Nick Naylor from the film Thank You for Smoking
- Tony Montana from Brian De Palma's Scarface
- Yojimbo's nameless protagonist.