List of fictional antiheroes

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Gustave Doré's depiction of Satan from John Milton's Paradise Lost.

This list is for characters in fictional works who exemplify the qualities of an antihero, or a protagonist whose characteristics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • imperfections that separate them from typically "heroic" characters (selfishness, ignorance, bigotry, etc.);[1]
  • lack of positive qualities such as "courage, physical prowess, and fortitude," and "generally feel helpless in a world over which they have no control";[2]
  • qualities normally belonging to villains (amorality, greed, violent tendencies, etc.) that may be tempered with more human, identifiable traits (confusion, self-hatred, etc.) In fact, antiheroes often blur the lines between classic antagonists and protagonists;[3]
  • possibly noble but ambiguous motives pursued by the belief that "the ends justify the means.";[4][5][6]

Each of these examples has been identified by a critic as an antihero, although the classification is somewhat subjective. Some of the entries may be disputed by other sources and some may contradict all established definitions of antihero.

Literature[edit]

Character Work Author First published Notes
Lázaro de Tormes[7] Lazarillo de Tormes anonymous 1554
Redmond Barry[8] The Luck of Barry Lyndon William Makepeace Thackeray 1844
Pinkie Brown[9] Brighton Rock Graham Greene 1938
Holden Caulfield[10] Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger 1951
Roland Deschain[11] The Dark Tower Stephen King 1982
Raoul Duke[12] Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson 1971
Tyler Durden and the Narrator[13][14] Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk 1996 Adopted in a film in 1999.
Randall Flagg[15] The Stand, Eyes of the Dragon and The Dark Tower Stephen King 1978
Harry Flashman[16] The Flashman Papers George MacDonald Fraser 1969
Artemis Fowl II[17] Artemis Fowl series Eoin Colfer 2001 Soon to be adapted into a film.
Jay Gatsby[18] The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925 Recently adapted into a film in 2013.
Lucifer/Satan[19] Paradise Lost John Milton 1667
Meursault[20][21] The Stranger Albert Camus 1942
Philip Marlowe[22] The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The High Window, The Lady in the Lake, Playback, The Little Sister, and Poodle Springs Raymond Chandler 1939
Dexter Morgan[23][24] Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter, and Dexter in the Dark Jeff Lindsay 2004 Later adapted into a TV series.
Scarlett O'Hara[25] Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell 1936 Adopted in a film in 1939.
Alexander Portnoy[26] Portnoy's Complaint Philip Roth 1969
Raskolnikov[27] Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky 1866
Rincewind[28][29] Discworld novels Terry Pratchett 1983 First appeared in The Colour of Magic
Tom Ripley[30] Tom Ripley series (the "Ripliad") Patricia Highsmith 1955
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern[31] Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Tom Stoppard 1966
Becky Sharp[32] Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray 1847 First serialized in 20 parts.
Shylock[33] The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare 1596 (ca.)
Severus Snape[34] Harry Potter J. K. Rowling 1997
Sam Spade[35] The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett 1930
Woland[36] The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov 1966
Wei Xiaobao[37] The Deer and the Cauldron Jinyong 1969
Alex[38] A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess 1962 Later adopted into a film in 1971.

Film[edit]

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

M

O

P

R

S

T

V

W

Television[edit]

James Gandolfini, known for portraying antihero Tony Soprano.

A

B

C

D

F

G

H

J

K

L

M

P

R

S

T

U

W

Anime/Manga[edit]

A

L

Comic books[edit]

Video games[edit]

A
C
D
G
J
K
M
N
R
S
T
W

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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