5 Amazing Antiheroes in Literature

Antiheroes are different than regular protagonists. While most heroes are recognized as being very relatable to the general public, antiheroes focus on the imperfections of humanity and how one overcomes such conditions or personality traits.


An antihero is usually afflicted with some sort of dark trait such as greed or violent tendencies while also having some minor imperfection not unlike selfishness or bigotry. Here are five antiheroes that embrace their imperfections.


1. James Bond



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For anyone living under a rock, James Bond is the super smooth, super cool spy employed by the British Secret Service. He was created by Ian Fleming in 1953 and since then has excited us exponentially through various nefarious plots and exceedingly outrageous stunts. James Bond is classified as an antihero because of his duty as a spy. He is somewhat proud and at times has proven even nihilistic. But James Bond is still the spy the world needs today.


2. Scarlett O’Hara



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Scarlett O’Hara is the main protagonist of Gone with the Wind. However, for her setting, she is considered an atypical heroine as from the start of the novel Scarlett is vain and self-centered. She is also a very independent woman for her time and struggles against the confines of the time. Scarlett is willing to do anything to survive, even if it means stepping out of her social norms. Her pursuit of love warps her character figure even more into a true antihero. Although she continues her search of her desired suitor and constantly gets rejected, Scarlett refuses to give up.


3. Lucifer  



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In John Milton’s epic, Paradise Lost, we read the firsthand account of how Lucifer was banished from heaven from his point of view. The first half of the work focuses on the fallen angel primarily, and discusses him as our main protagonist for this portion. Lucifer has been cast out, but he does not believe he is beaten.


Once in Hell with all of the other fallen angels, Lucifer rallies them all together. He is able to amass a dark army rather quick, and then leaves them to dominate in the plains of unending chaos while he leaves and corrupts God’s new world. Lucifer is a perfect antihero. He is the incarnation of pride and arrogance, yet although God has cast him out of heaven, Lucifer is still able to leave a lasting mark when even more angels in heaven rebel for him.



4. Lisabeth Salander




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In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisabeth Salander shines as the protagonist. She also fits the caricature for the perfect antihero. Salander is very asocial and highly introverted. She has come from a traumatic childhood, and exhibits violent tendencies throughout the novel and its subsequent series. However, Lisabeth still has a conscience and only wishes to punish and hack those who truly deserve it. She has a particular hatred of men who abuse women and even takes pleasure in delivering their comeuppance. 



5. Lady Macbeth



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Some may argue that Lady Macbeth may be a power-hungry despot. However, Lady Macbeth challenged many social norms when she was created. She was the orchestrator of many peoples deaths and demise, but she does this because it is the only choice a woman of her stature can do; lest she lose her position or far worse. Lady Macbeth makes a great villain and master manipulator, but an even better antihero. She will risk anything to remain in power. 




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