9 Anti-Social Fictional Characters We Can’t Forget


They violate and disregard the rights of others and they do not believe that the rules of society apply to them. Characters with anti-social personality disorders frighten us because they lack empathy.They are formidable enemies, and a great resource for writers when creating villains who show no remorse, no guilt, and no shame.

Remember that not all people with anti-social personality disorder are psychopaths or sociopaths, but every psychopath and every sociopath has an anti-social personality disorder.

As writers, we often use sociopaths or psychopaths as antagonists in our novels. Here are nine examples:

  1. Tyler Durden from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Tyler, along with the narrator, is the founder of Fight Club. He launches Project Mayhem, committing violent attacks on consumerism. He is magnetic, unhinged, lethal, and demands blind obedience from his followers. In a terrible twist, we find out that Tyler is really a projection of the narrator.
  2. Tom Ripley from The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Tom will do anything to maintain his fraudulent life of luxury. He is an expert at forgery and deception, and he does not mind murdering anyone who threatens to reveal his true identity.
  3. The Jackal from The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. The assassin known only as ‘The Jackal’ is hired to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. He is a chameleon who plans his mission meticulously, evading capture, mercilessly killing anyone who stands in his way.
  4. Patrick Bateman from American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Patrick is a stylish investment banker with the meanest of streaks. He tortures, kills and mutilates his way through the book. This detached killer never shows any emotion or remorse.
  5. Casanova from Kiss the Girls by James Patterson. Casanova is a serial killer who ‘collects’ beautiful, intelligent young women. He keeps them captive in an underground harem, where he rapes and eventually murders them.
  6. Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Alex is pure evil. When he isn’t killing, torturing, raping and destroying, he relaxes by fantasising about more violence.
  7. The Joker from Batman. The Joker is a vicious, calculating, psychopathic killer who is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman’s life. He is a criminal mastermind with a warped sense of humour and zero empathy.

The best thing about having a strong antagonist is that you have to create an equally strong protagonist to confront and defeat him.Who is your favourite anti-social fictional character?

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

If you enjoyed this post, you will want to read:
  1. Personality Disorders – DSM-5 Resource for Writers
  2. Personality Disorders – A writer’s resource
  3. Eight Personality Disorders – Illustrated

This article has 7 comments

  1. corriea mattina

    8/27/15 11:19p PostHaven Writer’s Write Nine ”Infamous” Anti-Social Fictional Characters I have no favorites in this selection, I’m not particularly fond of this type of character in Novels or in Films. Interesting list anyway.

  2. Stephanie Fonseca

    I find that even if one isn’t particularly fond of this type of character in print or film, is doesn’t hurt to learn whatever one can about human personality traits & flaws; as well as appealing & desirable personality traits. In possibly a twist, back story, epilogue, or prologue it may come in handy for a character not so closely tied to one’s antagonist or protagonist that it takes away from, or adds to your main theme or plot, but perhaps is the one missing link to tie it all together wittingly, or give that “ah-ha moment” to the audience.
    Thank you, writerswrite.com, for the endless little idiosyncratic tidbits that “non-writin-folk” wouldn’t think mattered to one’s creative process as a giver of life to fictional people & their stories!

  3. Brittany

    More anti-social female villains!

  4. Writers Write

    Brittany, please add your suggestions.

  5. Ani

    *Hannibal Lecter. Not Lector 😉

  6. Jane Jago

    Another great post. Thanks.My vote would be for Tom Ripley

  7. Pradeep K

    For me, the portrayal of the Jackal by Forsyth makes him by far the most creative and credible antagonist. No gore, no needless exhibitionism; just a calculative mind capable of calm, controlled execution. A face among a million faces, nothing stands out but his work. A respectable professional, though fallible as all humans are.

Comments are now closed.