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Top 10 Badasses of Classic Literature

The concept of the badass, while the term itself its a relative neologism, is as old as time itself. Novelists, poets and playwrights through the ages have witnessed, and utilized, the appeal of the powerful character of a badass. Here are some canonical examples. There are overlooked literary badasses, of course. I plan to submit a sequel to this list, denoting populist literary characters. Think Harry Potter series, LOTR, etc. If you think I have missed any classic tough guys of note – do tell!

Disclaimer: I am an agnostic, and do not wish to perpetrate my views in any way. That is not the purpose of this post. My use of the bible and biblical references in this text respect it not only as a religious text, but as a work of high art also.

10

Sherlock Holmes
various Conan-Doyle novels

Holmespic

The original model for the now archetypal ‘super-sleuth,’ Holmes is a master of two things: deduction, and being hard.

Holmes sports cranial badassery of an unequaled level. A private detective, Sherlock doesn’t decide which case to take based on prospective profit, risk level or who happens to ask – he takes the cases that interest and challenge him. He has been known to draw conclusions from the smallest and most intricate of details, such as the scratches on the edge of a man’s pocket-watch.

Not only is our first entry a formidable thinker, he is also wondrously proficient at delivering a beating, as demonstrated in a rather cool slow-mo clip in the recent blockbuster featuring our subject. He is familiar with pistols, swords, hand-to-hand combat including martial arts and boxing and singlestick (hitting someone with a walking stick, apparently).

Finally, there is the matter of the deerstalker. This hunting cap, famously connoted with the detective, is never, not once, worn by Sherlock Holmes. The closest he comes is wearing a “close fitting cloth cap” in the Boscombe Valley Mystery. I’m pleased to clear that up.

Badass rating: 7.4

9

Heathcliff
Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff

One of a few wild cards in this list.

In his younger days, Heathcliff shows signs of being a wuss. Often excluded due to his difficult nature and the fact that he is adopted, he spends more time whining than anything.

However in his maturity, Heathcliff returns from a long period of absence. He has made a fortune in said absence (it is hinted he has also been serving time in the military) and eventually uses it to gain control of the house, and the people, of his tortured youth. He later beats the crap out of his childhood aggressor, Hindley, when he locks him out of Wuthering Heights and threatens to shoot him. Heathcliff loses points for being a wife-beater, and at one point (if memory serves) he narrowly stops himself from letting a child fall to their death. However, he gains serious badass points for having only one name.

While, admittedly, Byronic hero Heathcliff is not an obvious choice, you must agree: the 19th century emo does have some enduringly badass, whilst not strictly morally viable qualities.

Badass rating: 6.6


8

Tybalt
Romeo and Juliet

Tybalt

“Prince of Cats” Tybalt is a major rabble-rouser, making him also quite the badass.

Described by Mercutio as being a seriously good duelist, Tybalts main badass quality is his fighting talk. He is literally a renaissance Arnie, with quips such as:

“Peace? I hate the word.
As I hate hell, all montages, and thee.
Have at thee, coward.”

Infuriated by Romeo, unintentionally, when the young lover gets him in trouble with his influential uncle at a big shindig, Tybalt does what all badasses do: get vengeance. He later murders good Mercutio before getting himself seen off by Romeo.

Badass rating: 7.0

7

Hedda Gabler
from the stage-play of the same name

110410Theater

My second wild card.

Hedda is Henrik Ibsen’s creation, a notorious feminist badass. During the play, she is responsible for as many as three deaths (her own, her unborn child, her ex-lover’s) over a period of no more than three days.

Similarly to Holmes, she is very fond of firearms. Gabler is known to sit in her back garden blasting shells from her dead father’s revolvers into the distance, out of boredom, terrifying unsuspecting visitors half to death. Her husband George often seems terrified of her, and Hedda eventually commits suicide by shooting herself in the temple. Perhaps a controversial thought, but shooting oneself in the head arguably requires a high amount of bravery and, thus, she is awarded extra badass points.

Badass rating: 7.5

6

Macbeth
from the play of the same name

Polanskifinalhead Small

One of my personal favorite Shakespeares, Macbeth is a play about a general who, after an encounter with some prophetic witches, decides he is tired of taking a back seat and is just gonna take the hell over Scotland, using only his “brandished steel, smoked with bloody execution.”

The warlike Macbeth, albeit with goading from his wife, cunningly invites the king of Scotland, Duncan, to his house, then casually kills him in his sleep. Regicide? Badass points awarded. Sneaky behavior? Badass points awarded. Having unrivaled tough guy talkery? (Once more Shakespeare provides.) Badass points awarded. Being incredibly violent? (At one point he is described as slicing someone “from the nave to the chops.”) Badass points awarded.

Macbeth gems:

“I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.”

“Lady Macbeth: Are you a man?
Macbeth: Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appall the devil.”

Despite turning into a nihilistic whinge after the death of his wife, and flaking out when he has hallucinations, Macbeth puts on a great show with every badasses’ dream showdown when the entire rebel army comes to his door. Like a Shakespearean Tony ‘Scarface’ Montana, our badass goes out in a blaze of not so glorious battle.

Badass rating: 8.9

5

Beowulf
from the epic poem of the same name

Imgbeowulf1

Beowulf is a viking. This instantly guarantees him a badass rating of at least 9.0.

From ripping off the arms of demons, to partying, Beowulf is a legend in its truest form. Probably our oldest example of a literary badass, the composition of Beowulf was somewhere between the 8th and 11th century, and is written mostly in Old English. If you have never tried to read Old English, never try to read Old English.

You thought Leonidas was a hard-ass for dying in battle with the Persians? Beowulf died from wounds inflicted by a dragon. And he managed to kill it before popping his clogs. The badass scale is off the chain!

Badass rating: 9.7


4

Lucifer
various works including Paradise Lost

270Px-Paradise Lost 19

Lucifer is the antichrist.

Look up the term ‘bad’ in the dictionary, and if it is one of those rare dictionaries with pictures in it, there will be pictures of Lucifer in his various incarnations plastered all over the word.

Lucifer led a rebellion against God himself. That takes cojones. (At this point I’d like to reiterate that I do not condone any of these actions, most certainly leading an army against God.)

Badass rating: 6.66

3

Sir Lancelot
Arthurian legend

Lancelot-4-Ioan-Gruffudd-216180 1400 943

First included in the legend of Arthur, by some french bloke, long after the stories initially began doing the rounds.

Lance-a-lot has a weapon. In his name. No more will or needs to be said.

He sleeps with the king’s wife. Because he can.

He found his name under a rock, after winning a fight against initially ten, then twenty, knights.

He did, however, mellow in later life and became a priest.

Badass rating: 9.1


2

Achilles
notably, but not limited to, Homer’s Iliad

Hector Vs Achilles By Genzoman

Homer’s characters don’t own last names, they are defined by character. Achilles is often referred to as swift-footed, or godlike. Both are an understatement.

A demigod, Achilles was literally dipped in the river Styx to make him tougher. Said dipping left him completely invincible, save for the part which his mother, Thetis, held him by while she dipped – his heel.

Later, our tough guy is dispatched by arrow to aforementioned heel, giving us our modern day expression of Achilles heel – point of weakness. This by no means takes away his ability to kick a lot of ass. As seen in the blockbuster film Troy, Achilles (Brad Pitt) plays a serious part in the Trojan war, leading his famously hard company, the Myrmidons, as part of the Greek army.

After beating one of the Trojans’ top fighters, Hector, in a duel, Achilles drags his body by chariot in a badass but dishonorable manor, thus losing points.

Badass rating: 9.5

1

Jesus Christ of Nazareth
The Holy Judaeo-Christian Bible

Jesuswearingthethornofcrowns

Jesus Christ, a controversial choice?

In the short 30 odd years of his life, The Messiah exhibited some truly badass behavior, the most notorious of which is coming back from the dead. No one before, or since, has managed such a feat.

Along with Macbeth, Jesus is one of the only badasses on this list who we can convincingly prove existed, and is worshiped by millions of people worldwide. As the Savior of human kind (rather nervously do I make this comparison… but, kind of like a new testament version of the terminator), I Believe the Messiah is well deserving of top spot in this list.



  • bob

    Cue the controversy…

    • Newport

      Good go you didn’t say first, how controversial.

    • Nic S

      I’m going to leech your comment to actually contribute to the list– I would like to suggest Montag from Fahrenheit 451, Don Quixote from Don Quixote (obviously), Estella from Great Expectations, Gatsby from the Great Gatsby, Captain Ahab and Moby Dick from Moby Dick, Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Griffin from The Invisible Man, Poseidon, and biblical figures Moses, King David, and Joshua.

      I’d also like to propose a list of 10 Cowards in Literature for some reason, but all I can think of is Beatty from Fahrenheit 451.

      • Slatanic

        A couple other pretty sweet biblical figures, whether you believe it or not, was Samson, and Elijah. Samson killed like 1000 people with the jaw of a donkey, and Elijah called down a pillar of fire and straight up incinerated some dudes, also there was bears who eat children.

  • Drew

    Awesome.

  • Lourens

    Jip, here comes a big fight… LOL

  • Moddi

    Harry Potter came back from the dead. I’m fairly sure that was more recent than the other fairy tale you cite. Good list.

    • Mister

      Please say you are just trolling….or you need an education in literature.

    • ModdiMod

      Harry Potter isn’t under classic literature

    • Dygital

      BAH-ZINGA !!!! Niiiiiice , and oh , so true … (relatively speaking :) )

  • Camas

    Let there be war!

  • Dan

    Uh oh. Let the Jesus bashing begin!

  • wicked

    Controversy be damned. This was a great list. Whether you look at the bible as God’s word to man, or as a fictitious book, you can’t argue with #1.

    • of course we can Jesus never did anything really badass,if you want someone from the Bible there are Moses, David, Elijah and even angels Gabriel or Uriel.all better at badassery than jesus.

      • Jacqu

        Agreed. There were a number more badass people in the bible than Jesus. As an atheist, I concede that his teachings are universal and encompassing, however, in terms of badassery, I go with David or Noah or numerous people before him.

        • tankie

          I concede on the David point, but really: Noah?! While I admit he must have had some balls to act on divine inspiration and build a really huge frigging boat, this doesn’t really bring the term “badass” to mind. “Talented artisan,” sure, “cool character,” yeah, but “badass”? Samson killed 1000 men with a donkey bone, then crushed himself and a whole bunch more to death. Judith seduced Holofernes then cut his head off to save her tribe. Moses killed a guy, abandoned his royalty, then came back to his old kingdom and helped God smite the crap out of it before leading an entire race of people around in a desert for forty years. There are tons of badasses in the Old Testament, but I would argue that Noah is not one of them.

          • bailey

            Noah is a badass for knowingly letting all of humanity drown while saving himself and his family.
            BADASS!
            A fictional badass, but still a badass

        • wrake

          I’d say more Moses than Noah, Dude stood up to the Egyptians, and led a huge group of people across a desert for forty years!

      • missmozell

        Hey, he drove the sellers out of the temple. All the illustrations I’ve seen have him weilding a whip. THAT’S pretty bad ass. And he endured the beatings and carried a huge cross through a jeering crowd. Badass, in my opinion.

        • Princess711

          ^ it really is! Imagine having to drag a huge beam after being flogged within and inch of your life and getting thorns jammed in your head, then being mocked until you died the excruciatingly long death that is crucifixion :S and all this for people you will never know! Whether or not you believe in God/Jesus/Religion, that’s some pretty tough shit to go through!! I mean, how Many people go through that if someone just came up to you and asked you to. My guess is not many!!

          And OP I loveeee the rating you gave lucifer XD Made me laugh out loud

        • tullypimp

          In the original language, Jesus, throws the money changer’s tables as well as the money changers themselves out of the Temple. Jesus was probably built like a brick shithouse.

    • constabledubs

      Samson is easily the biggest badass in the bible. Judges 15:16

      “Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.””

      He killed a thousand men. With a jawbone.

  • shayon

    Badass list bro

  • Sam

    James Vayne from the picture of Dorian Gray is pretty badarse.

    • Yessss! A very underrated villain/badass who gets overlooked because it’s not his name in the title! Good call.

    • mrsledzepper1991

      That is one of the best books ever written. The whole thing is badass :P

    • Arnor

      No he isn’t. He’s a drunken, clumsy, stupid oaf who gets shot by accident while hiding in a bush. I expected more from him.

  • The Mick

    the problem i see is that you have mixed fiction and non-fiction…

    • Xyroze

      I know, right? Lancelot totally might be based off a real person I bet, and I want to believe Achilles was too.

    • Eumesmopo

      What are you talking about? They are all characters right out of fiction books.

      • Princess711

        Some could rightfully beg to differ that point… I mean People who follow the Islamic religion believe he Was a messenger; Christians belief he was the messiah. There’s 2 huge super power religions, and a lot of the worlds population, who believe that Jesus Christ existed. I am not a pusher of religion, and you can belief what you want, however to make a statement like that makes you seem a tad ignorant.

    • Author here.

      Classic literature doesn’t necessary apply to the ficticious and the non-ficticious. One might say Darwin’s Origin of Species, or Nietzsche’s The Gay Science were classic literature. Mind you, I don’t suppose I would have put birds native to the Galapagos in this list.

      • Rick

        Unless the Birds were like, totally Badass.

        • Jack

          I heard one time they all got to together and beat up some turtles from the East Side. Damn, that’s badass.

  • scott

    lol troll list is full of troll

  • Cc

    lol this is somewhat comical and whatever but I’d like to read a good list once in a while….haven’t seen one of those as of lately :,(

    • DanF

      agreed

  • GabiC

    Tybalt hates montages? That can’t be right….

    • skywatcher

      It is! He hated montages so much he had to take an Aleve caplet…

    • astraya

      He’d better not watch “Team America, World Police”:

      The hours approaching, just give it your best

      You’ve got to reach your prime.

      That’s when you need to put yourself to the test,

      And show us a passage of time,

      We’re gonna need a montage (montage)

      Oh it takes a montage (montage)

      etc.

      • Thorlite

        Haha… I got u!, erm pity no one else did!

        Heathens

  • Cleric_Drake

    Umm….. yeah as people already stated let the war begin. Seeing as Jesus wasn’t even his real name, nor was he the first ‘person’ to come back from the dead, don’t see why he get’s number one.

    And we actually really can’t prove he existed at all. Even this very site has given proof to that.

    • Cleric_Drake

      King Solomon was a much bigger bad ass if you want to use the Bible.

    • Ham’b

      Exactly. This list is all a load of garbage because the stuff cleric drake just made up completely contradicts christianity and all that bible stuff. I mean did u know Mary was actually a rock that never existed?? A rock for christ’s sake! Ha! Last time I checked, rocks don’t give birth to humans, especially the ruler of planets like Jesus said he was. Jesus was half rock and never truely walked aroind because he didn’t exist because cleric drake said he didn’t! DELETE THIS LIST

      • tankie

        In the Hebrew dialect that was spoken in Nazareth at the time, I believe Jesus’ name was pronounced “Yeshua” – the form “Jesus” is Latinized, and not what the people who knew him would’ve called him. He also was definitely not the first religious figure who was believed to have risen from the dead – Krishna (or was it Shiva?), for one, was said to have died and been resurrected centuries before Jesus was born, as were Inanna and Osiris in even older religious traditions. As for being unable to prove that Jesus existed, we don’t have definitive concrete evidence, such as a Roman record of his execution – yes, we have the Bible, and we know a religion rose up in his name, but these things alone aren’t hard proof that he walked the earth.

        • wrake

          I thought it was Yahweh or something like that…… Time to research!

          • tankie

            Yahweh/YHWH was the Hebrew name for Jehovah/God – this would be the Old Testament God/the deity Jesus regarded as his father.

          • Princess711

            YHWH was the name they gave to God, because they felt his name was too holy and should not be written/seen/spoken so they just put those letters together because we can’t theoretically say them

      • Cleric_Drake

        Nice try little one, but your comment just comes off as anger driven idiocy. Do some research. Like Tankie bellow did.

        Any decent research knows the Jesus is not the man’s true name, nor is there much of any proof to his existence outside the bible.

  • snickersman

    Interesting list. I wouldn’t agree about Jesus being the Messiah or a savior and the concept of Lucifer.

  • Metis

    Jesus? Really? Badass? That’s jsut… wrong. Ok, first of all he didn’t just come back from the dead, he was raised by no action of his own. Second, he was a wimp who didn’t want his devinely ordered fate of dieing painfully on an torture device (later coming the symbol of… mercy?) and asked if he could avoid it.

    Even if you accept the biblical narrative the only badass thing I can see Jesus doing is driving a bunch of merchants from a temple square. And lets be honest here, that’s not really that badass when you take a look at the other characters on this list.

    • mom424

      hm, I’d say the NOT caving under torture counts for something. And the talking all love thy neighbour when me, me, me, or I guess more properly, us, us, us, was all the rage. (it wasn’t entirely self-serving back then, just mostly). The strength of his personal convictions, whether you believe in his divinity or not, counts.

      • Xyroze

        No it doesn’t.. I really don’t see what any of that has to do with him being a badass. Do you have any idea how many people throughout history have been tortured to death? And in much more terrible ways than this little savior of yours. Why should anyone show him greater respect than anyone who endured more hardships? That’s extremely disrespectful to everyone who had to die a pointless death.

        • mom424

          hahaha, not my saviour. I don’t need to believe in order to understand. Despite the naysayers, Jesus’ existence isn’t really in question – just his divinity. And it takes real courage to stand up to those in power. And no, he isn’t the only one, I’m quite aware – just the most famous. I wonder why?

          ps: Questioned by you doesn’t count – I’m talking actual historians.

          • Xyroze

            Actually yeah, his existence is in question, along with his divinity, and his accomplishments. The only reason he is the most well known is do to the fact that his name has been used to control masses, garner wealth for the corrupt, and justify wars.

          • mom424

            Yes, but that wouldn’t have been possible had he not been a real live human being. Think the Romans wouldn’t have brought forth evidence denying his existence if there was any? Think they wouldn’t have used it to quash those upstart Christians? Those upstart Christians who questioned any authority but their God?

    • Jay Karlson

      I’m not preaching to you, so bear with me a bit, as I’m put myself out there a bit… Assuming you don’t believe the Passion story as true, an argument still exists that the story of Jesus as portrayed in the Bible shows he was a unique brand of literary badass.

      Imagine you are divine yet mortal, having power over the very forces of nature and the ability to heal all sorts of suffering, even death. You want to save your father’s children from punishment, even thought they mock him and you to your face. You could kill them all in a heartbeat if you wanted to, and put it all down in an instant. Or you could force or even just bribe them to behave. It would be easy, given your skills.

      But you’re old school and choose to follow the rules that say the wages of sin is death. Somebody’s got to pay. But these children who hate you and your father are in no shape to balance the scales. No one’s pure enough to even begin erasing their depravity and cruelty.

      You’ve warned them until you’re blue in the face but it’s now obvious you’re gonna to pay their sentence, even as they scheme to kill you in the most painful ways they know. Remember, you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.

      You know this is the only way, but, damn, crucifixion? Really? You are mortal and naturally scared. You ask for another way, but you really know there isn’t one that will get them forgiven.

      So you answer the call when it comes. You heal the soldier capturing you, and offer no defense in court, even when the judge sees no reason to hold you. He schemes a way to set you free, but your father’s children choose a scumbag’s freedom over yours. Meanwhile, your friends have scattered like rats and deny they ever knew you.

      So your father’s children scourge you with a cat of nine tails. You feel ALL of it. They know your message and continue to reject it and you, and jeer when you fall carrying the cross that will eventually kill you.

      They nail you to that cross and let you hang on it, alternately bleeding out and suffocating. Again, you feel it with every nerve in your body. One of the two scumbags also being killed that day admits his crime and tries to defend you. You forgive him then and there, and also forgive everyone who mocked, spit, slandered, beat, and crucified you—even as you’re dying. You beg your father to have mercy on them, even when they stab you in the side because you’re not bleeding out fast enough. Eventually you do die.

      Three days later you come back from the dead and round up the ‘friends’ that deserted you, forgive all of them, and tell them to keep spreading your message. You’re not even mad, just focused on saving as many people as possible.

      From a purely nonreligious, non-proselytizing, LITERARY perspective, that’s badass. Probably the most PC entry on this list. Think about it– the hero could have prevented his own suffering but instead sacrificed himself saving those that despised and tortured him. He saved the day and didn’t throw a single punch.

      • bumf

        well said Jay. a perfect literary argument

      • ChristineM

        “”Think about it– the hero could have prevented his own suffering but instead sacrificed himself saving those that despised and tortured him. He saved the day and didn’t throw a single punch.””

        Not really. Technically it’s god in the flesh, sacrificing himself, for himself (since he makes the rules, being alpha omega and all). If anything, it was an act of sadomasochism on Yahweh’s part, “I want to feel pain, because I can” so to speak

        Not to mention that dieing, knowing you’re going to come back to life and than ascend into heaven to rule the universe is really not a sacrifice when you think about it

      • Well said mate.

      • mom424

        Wonderful argument Jay. Thanks for taking the time to make it.

    • Princess711

      Buddy, he asked for mercy because he was HUMAN! Just like everyone else, when he took on flesh and blood, and lived on earth, he experienced human things as well. What about when Lucifer tried to tempt Jesus in the desert? What about being led to his death? He begged for mercy because he felt human emotion, he became human during his time on earth. Yes he was/is Gods son, but while he was here he experienced life as we do

    • Princess711

      Jesus lived a mortal life while he was on here on earth. He was tempted by lucifer to give into His temptations in the desert, He experienced very real anger towards the people in the market, and when it came time to die, He experienced fear and asked for mercy, just as we all would.

  • Verge

    Is the person who wrote this list really religious? If they aren’t, I’d roll my eyes a lot less at the number 1 choice, but if they are I’d feel like its some devote Jesus praising that only got chosen as number one because of their intense love for the dude. I danno, I don’t really like it. Bleh

    • Verge

      Whoops just read the agnostic disclaimer now. BOEBOABK

  • Az

    Wow, this list is utter fail. Too much slang and movie references.

    • tankie

      The word “badass” is in the title. Isn’t slang kind of expected?

  • glamourkills

    ahah you guys need to chill its just a list !

  • skywatcher

    I suspect the entire list was just an excuse to post the Jesus material. Seriously, there were thousands of choices and you came up with this lot? If you actually do another list, think about it, narrow it down, and come up with something wee can sensibly discuss. This list makes one long for the glory days of Ryan Thomas…

    Beowulf broke up the Smiths, you know…

  • flame ho!!! how is Bible classic “literature”? then should kings like Arthur and David be here too?

    • tankie

      Arthur is on the list (or his champion is, at least! I assume you mean “Arthurian legends” when you say “Arthur”). David would make a good addition as well, but I doubt space permits. I’m not entirely sure what your point is? Whether you believe the Bible is the word of God or not (I personally don’t), you can’t deny it’s filled with the poetry, culture, and history of a major group of people. That’s literature. And considering its age, its popularity, and its influence, I’d definitely argue that the Bible is a classic.

      • Bible is a religious text, parts of it might be poetic but most would not count it as literature.i agree that the items on the list are the author’s choice but it seems deliberately framed in a way to elicit a flame war.seems like a lot of them are being published these days,traffic decreasing JF??

        • Kirby

          What is literature then, and how would the bible not be included in that definition? Just cuz it’s a religious text?

        • tankie

          Literature is defined as the writings of a specific language, period, culture, or people. Whether you believe it to be divinely inspired or not, the Bible fits that description to a T. In fact, most of the early literature we have WAS considered to be given from God/the gods, at least originally – we might not believe in the gods of, say, the Iliad anymore, but everyone who originally told and heard that story did. It’s still literature.

          • Maggot

            Literature is defined as the writings of a specific language, period, culture, or people. Whether you believe it to be divinely inspired or not, the Bible fits that description

            Anything written can be defined as “literature”. The sales brochure for a fax machine, or the owner’s manual to my car, for example…both of these are also pieces of literature. But just hiding behind dictionary definitions is specious here. It’s all about context, and in the context of “classic literature” such as with this list, I think what defines it is the intent of the writer(s). The Bible was not written with the intent to be taken as a fictional literary work, but rather to be the “true” word of God, a piece of doctrine to study and live by. Whether you believe in such things or not isn’t relevant in this context. Trying to work it in here as an example of “classic literature” or a “work of high art” in the same vein as Wuthering Heights or Sherlock Holmes or what have you just seems forced and disingenuous.

  • Name

    Unfortunately, Jesus of Nazareth is not the first nor the last prophet (or man) to be brought back from the dead. Many Greek myths have people being brought back from the underworld. And if that’s to be disputed for not being “classic literature”, then one could argue that stories of Achilles, Arthurian legend, and Beowolf are all of oral tradition rather than literature.

    • tankie

      Good point. (And as a pagan reconstructionist, inb4 “but the Bible’s religious, that stuff isn’t!”)

  • moopersoup

    Thank you for the word ‘neologism’.

    • Sweet Sweetback

      Never heard of neologism. Is that a new word?

  • Matthew

    Coming back from the dead, showing yourself to your buddies and then sitting at the right hand of the father isn’t really badass. Coming back from the dead to decapitate Pontius Pilate, impale King Herod, and burn alive the Romans, now thats bad ass.

    • tankie

      I was going to suggest King Herod as a badass, but then I realized that ordering a genocide of small children isn’t so much badass as it is a real dick move.

  • Tom Bombadil

    Im sure most will disagree, but in my opinion, Jesus was not a badass. In fact, he was a bit of a pussy.

    • tankie

      I wouldn’t have put him at #1 if I wrote the list, but I’d disagree with that. The guy got tortured to death in order to save people. Pacifist or not, that’s a badass move.

  • Geko

    Credits for the drawing at #2: Gonzalo “Genzoman” Ordonez Arias. He’s my illustrator and a reader of Listverse…

    :)

    • Author here.

      Is that true? I had no idea. All credit due, I literally just googled it I think. Thats embarrsing!

  • Elwood Blues

    Great idea for a list….. and in my opinion great choice as number one. Jesus, regardless of belief was a baddass. Maybe another list should be be made for the ones you left off.

    • Mike Hunt

      No he wasn’t, he was a pussy. A fictionalised pussy.

      • Princess711

        Kinda like Mike Hunt the troll?

  • jer-bear

    I bet Ryan Thomas thinks Jesus, the #1 badass caused AND ended the Vietnam War and was the reason for the break up of The Smiths…

  • Arsnl

    Monte Cristo was kind of a badass too. Revenge is sweet. Also it may cause an ulcer.

    • yup

      I agree. I think that Monte Cristo should have been top 3 at least. And if they were going to include manga characters I would say Guts from Berserk, and Thorkell from Vinland Saga

    • mrsledzepper1991

      I’m so glad someone mentioned this!! Edmund Dantes, definite badass ;)

  • bi

    I wouldn’t fuck with Sherlock Holmes

  • ciremelf

    To all those that think Jesus isn’t a bad ass, let me just say this.

    Chuck Norris follows him.

    you CAN’T get any more bad ass than that.

    • Ni99a

      You tried to be funny but you failed.

      • ciremelf

        um… no

        you failed because you thought i was trying to be funny.

        sorry… loser.

  • Mike Hunt

    “Along with Macbeth, Jesus is one of the only badasses on this list who we can convincingly prove existed…”

    Bzzt! WRONG!

    • I’m an Atheist too

      There are millions upon millions of people convinced Jesus existed. Just because you aren’t one of them doesn’t mean that statement is wrong. YOUR statement however DOES mean your point of view is incredibly narrow minded and therefore helpless to society. Next time you hear BZZT I hope it’s because you put a fork in a socket, you waste of human thought.

      • adac

        google Argumentum ad populum fallacy mate; you might learn something

      • Sam

        Just because people ‘believe’ in someone doesn’t mean they actual physically existed at any point. It hasn’t been proved in any way that Jesus really existed.

        • bumf

          there are contemporary references to Jesus from non christian writers at the time. people who have no religious belief in him, or anything to gain from mentioning him if he didn’t exist. just because you don’t believe in him doesn’t mean that he didn’t exist. you can doubt his claims to be divine, but there is evidence that he was human

          • Geko

            That’s just wrong. Aside from Josephus, who wrote waaaayyy after Jesus’ supposed death, there are no contemporary records of Jesus. Go ahead, make your researches…

  • Will Trame

    Number one is sure to ignite some controversy. Overall, not a bad list.

  • Damon

    “Along with Macbeth, Jesus is one of the only badasses on this list who we can convincingly prove existed” ??????? I am very corious what this prove may be.

    • Julius

      Pliny the Younger: “Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ — none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do — these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshiped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.” (Pliny to Trajan, Letters 10.96–97)

      Tacitus: “Nero fastened the guilt of starting the blaze and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians [Chrestians] by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.” (Tacitus, Annals 15.44)

      Suetonius: “As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [ Claudius ] expelled them [the Jews] from Rome”. (Iudaeos, impulsore Chresto, assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit;)

      Josephus: “About this time came Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it is appropriate to call him a man. For he was a performer of paradoxical feats, a teacher of people who accept the unusual with pleasure, and he won over many of the Jews and also many Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon the accusation of the first men amongst us, condemned him to be crucified, those who had formerly loved him did not cease to follow him, for he appeared to them on the third day, living again, as the divine prophets foretold, along with a myriad of other marvellous things concerning him. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.” (Josephus Antiquities 18.3.3)

      And the frickin’ Talmud for what it’s worth: “It is taught: On the eve of Passover they hung Yeshu and the crier went forth for forty days beforehand declaring that “[Yeshu] is going to be stoned for practicing witchcraft, for enticing and leading Israel astray. Anyone who knows something to clear him should come forth and exonerate him.” But no one had anything exonerating for him and they hung him on the eve of Passover. Ulla said: Would one think that we should look for exonerating evidence for him? He was an enticer and God said (Deuteronomy 13:9) “Show him no pity or compassion, and do not shield him.” Yeshu was different because he was close to the government.” (Sanhedrin 43a)

      I know you’re trying to appear as an intellectual, by trying to say he didn’t exist, but the convergence of evidence that points to his existence makes you look like an idiot.

      • Gabryel

        true , and the author should have said that there is much evidence of julius ceasar as of jesus . trust me , if all the books of the new testament is only recently discovered . then atheists will believe that there is man named jesus who lived 2000 years ago . and for the guys who laugh at a man being tortured and crucified for nothing , i know you dont believe in him . but you got some serious issues man !

        • Canuovea

          Actually, from a historical standpoint, there is more evidence for Julius Caesar than Jesus. After all, Julius wrote his own book and the Roman record people were all over him.

          Of all the quotes Julius provided only Josephus and the Talmud have weight regarding Jesus specifically. Josephus, well, it has been put forth that the specific entry there may have been inserted later by a Christian. And I find it interesting that the Talmud says Jesus was hanged.

          Also, I have been convinced that it isn’t likely that Pilate would have behaved as he did. He was a nasty fellow and would have been more than happy to have Jesus crucified. Also, the Jewish high court never met at night (when Jesus was taken) so that probably isn’t so accurate. I suggest looking up Elaine Pagels lecture transcript about the origin of Satan in Christian Tradition.

      • dotmatrix

        The only thing these quotes prove is the existence of Christians. You can use the same argument to prove the existence of Santa Claus and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You jump all over someone for asking a simple question; who here is really the one trying to look like an intellectual?

        • wrake

          I’m actually more interested in the Macbeth thing, MACBETH WAS A REAL GUY? HOW DO I NOT KNOW THIS! MY FAMILY IS FROM SCOTLAND! I READ MACBETH IN FREAKING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!

          Ehem….. Now that that’s out of the way, yeah can someone please confirm this?

          • Canuovea

            I thought the same thing. Looked it up. Yup, real guy, but not the crazed tyrant Shakespeare made him to be. A contemporary of Edward the Confessor.

  • Armin Tamzarian

    Of all badasses from classical literature you choose the man who sits around moping, because he doesn’t get his way? Whose only real power is mindless slashing and killing?

    You could’ve chosen Hercules/Herakles, who did the impossible not once, not twice, but TWELVE TIMES! You could’ve chosen Odysseus, who, through shrewd manoeuvring and intelligence defeated everything a GOD threw at him. You could’ve chosen Perseus, Iason, Aeneas, Antigone, Theseus, Romulus, Scaevola, Horatius (there’s two of them) or one of the other hero’s who can do more than just killing and be a Debbie Downer.

    • tankie

      Antigone, badass? The chick who whined because she wanted to have a funeral for her brother, then killed herself?

      • Armin Tamzarian

        Well, she did kind of stand up to the tyrant to do the right thing, and she only killed herself to spare herself the way worse fate of starving to death.

        • tankie

          Eh, point. Still, if we’re going for classical Greek female badasses (mortal ones) I’d choose Electra way before her.

    • Author here.

      I was going for a rather broad spectrum of entires, hence the smorgasbord of genres: epic poems, realist stage play, elizabethan drama, religious text (much to Listverse’s chagrin!). I also selected more widely known characters, so as to try and make the list more accesible.

      I concede this does kind of go out of the window with Hedda Gabler, but I felt I needed a female character in my list. I’ve had pretty mixed reviews about her here, but most I expect are just combatting the “suicide is badass” viewpoint that inadvertedly seems to come across. If you see/read the play, she come across as really not giving a crap. That is her main exertion of bad-assery for me, including the nonchalant way she blows her head off, even if the act itself was suicide. Gabler wasn’t really trying to escape anything, (apart from an implied sexual relationship forced upon her by an elderly judge) she just seems bored.

      I don’t think people on a whole got the list was meant to be comedic. I think moderation might have shaved that off a bit unfortunately. I seem to remember, though I could be mistaken, the Christ entry being much longer. Certainly the image I supplied was one of those ‘Hey Bro’ JPEG’s with Jesus giving the thumbs up. In retrospect, I kind of see why this wasn’t published!

  • oh my god

  • Frank lesnar

    Boring list overall with jesus being nb 1 rofl ok then a badass who gets his ass kicked xD

  • Jrodickens

    I’m an atheist but IF the bible is true then taking all the abuse and torture and then being nailed to a cross all in the attempt to save mankind sounds pretty badass to me. You don’t need to believe in God to agree with this list. I hate atheists that are so convinced God doesn’t exsist that they preach it like Christians preach God. Don’t you realize you’re being just as annoying as they are?

    • Gabryel

      im a christian , but True That .

  • charles

    well , muhammad is bad-ass and his humorous . but jesus is well deserved to be in the list . his miracles was awsome and his followers are the only to change pagan rome to christendom . and the fact that the romans are the ones who crucified him .

  • Gabryel

    like christians complained when the other list said that “not believing in evolution is like not believing that there is a moon”

    come’on . im seeing people full of hatred here . so many harsh and foul words .

    but i really agree with the author on this one . there are many verses on the bible on jesus which we can define as bad-ass . like when he forgave his enemies when they are torturing him -for nothing . when he predicted that someone will betray him . or when he said that those who live by the sword , shall die by the sword . but the problem is , that he mixed fiction , from historicaal ones (well , theres much evidence for jesus as much of julius ceasar .

    and i saw a familiar list on cracked ,

    maybe you guys can do another ?

    • criss

      i bet most of the atheist that are reading this list before going to number one loved it . but when they saw Jesus . well , hes not bad-ass and he didnt existed . like few of the ones in this list existed .

      • Canuovea

        I think the furor is more about the definition of “badass” than anything else.

        Jesus didn’t kill people. Ergo not badass. Stuff like that.

      • ChristineM

        I don’t see Jesus as a badass because I disbelieve in religion, but because the actual story does not at all paint him as one if you look at the scenario for what it is.
        In the Bible, Jesus is the son of god, supposedly god in the flesh, which alone makes anything to so with the “sacrifice” bunk.

        Simply put, the god of the Bible, Yahweh, is the all powerful alpha omega who controls everything, so there’s absolutely no reason for him to “need” to sacrifice himself to himself in order to forgive his creation for what two of their ancestors did at the beginning of the world.
        It’s an absurd story clearly written by primitive mind who lacked critical thinking skills

        • Canuovea

          Hmm.

          Yeah I do see the point. But I’m afraid I disagree. Original sin only really came into the equation with Augustine and all that “Whaaaarrrgaaarble” of his. And I do find the central idea of self sacrifice to be fairly badass.

          • ChristineM

            Even if the construct of original sin is removed from the equation it still doesn’t change the fact that any need for a sacrifice is nonsensical, if anything, it makes it even more absurd, at least in the case of an omnipotent being, which Yahweh is described as

            That’s why I can’t see this as an act of self-sacrifice since (a) the crucifixion accomplished nothing, and (b)it really isn’t a sacrifice to die if you know for certain you’re going to reanimate latter and ascend into heaven, where you’ll reign over the universe for eternity. So what exactly did Jesus lose here to be considered a sacrifice?

          • Canuovea

            I’d say Jesus (according to the literature involved) did go through the rather unpleasant process of taking all the sins of the world on his shoulders and receiving the punishment (death) for them. Plus, omnipotent or not, crucifixion is incredibly painful.

            Also, given Christian doctrine, Jesus would be in charge of the universe whether or not he went through this annoying process.

            Basically, an omnipotent being went through the trouble of actually suffering because it thought that was the best way to do important things for its people. That is an insane level of commitment. Especially when God could have snapped its fingers and solved the problem that way.

          • ChristineM

            “”I’d say Jesus (according to the literature involved) did go through the rather unpleasant process of taking all the sins of the world on his shoulders and receiving the punishment (death) for them. Plus, omnipotent or not, crucifixion is incredibly painful.””
            ……………..

            I get that it’s according to the Bible, but that’s exactly why it’s absurd. As I mentioned, Yahweh is supposed to be the alpha omega, the creator of everything, thus he is responsible for all the evils in the world as well, including the invention of sin.
            The simple fact of this equation is that if this is the case, than humans are not to be blamed for what god causes, making any sacrifice on our behalf unnecessary; particularly if that it’s the deity making a sacrifice…to itself, which is exactly what the crucifixion was.

            …………………..
            “”Also, given Christian doctrine, Jesus would be in charge of the universe whether or not he went through this annoying process.

            Basically, an omnipotent being went through the trouble of actually suffering because it thought that was the best way to do important things for its people. That is an insane level of commitment. Especially when God could have snapped its fingers and solved the problem that way.””
            ……………

            I cannot see anything even remotely badass about sadomasochism, which this is. If god wants to feel momentary pain and death, fine, but to suggest it just need to do this to save people from his own rules is pure nuttery.
            So I’m sorry, but using the excuse that he could just stop the torture whenever he wanted doesn’t make this any more of a sacrifice, it just makes it more sadistic than it already is

          • Canuovea

            I don’t think it is Sadomasochism so much as. “Darn, I could take the easy way out here, but I shouldn’t for the sake of… (whatever).” So it is less about God wanting to feel pain, and more about it being necessary that it does. Apparently, God doesn’t want to break God’s own rules. Makes sense, for a being concerned so much with justice. Also, this God seems to be one of the types that believe just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

            There is also some uncertainty about exactly how powerful god was seen as, at the time.

            Christians tend to reject the idea that god is morally or otherwise responsible for the evils of the world. Jews too, actually. Augustine went through great trouble to blame the bad will for evil. Then again, most of Augustine is pretty much Wharrrrrgarble.

            Still, the general argument is that the greater good requires that evil have the potential to exist. Usually this takes the form of “free will”. You don’t have free will if you can’t choose evil.

            Finally, the gospels we have are, contrary to Christian claims, not all perfect divine things that fit into the continuity of of old testament scripture. The fact of the matter is that the bible is filled with several different books, some with authors who aren’t the ones people assume, and even more authors than books. You can take the bible as a complete set or of various bits. Jesus, as presented in the gospels, was a badass if you just take one or so of the gospels by themselves. I mean, he had demons begging for mercy!

  • Somalion

    Was a good list until the end. I do wish that people would provide the concrete proof that Jesus existed since anything I’ve seen has been conflicting evidence. I also didn’t think he was very badass at all. However, the rest of the list was really enjoyable I have to say.

    • Julius

      See my big block of text above.

  • Gabryel

    and , the author is an agnostic , cant argue with a non christian POV .

  • oouchan

    Could have had a 100 different characters for the number one slot….but since it’s “fiction” just like these other stories…I can’t really complain. I like the topic choice. Quite unique. Would have thought that Ishmael might have made the cut….but he was a bit loony.

    Neat list.

  • Metalwrath

    Sigurd or Siegfried (from Norse mythology and Germanic legend – Nibelungenlied) is missing from this list, but I guess Beowulf is the same kind.

  • Sirien

    Jesus? Rising from dead? No one before or since has managed such a feat?

    Well well well… let’s look at it.
    What about Osiris? Crossed and resurrected two thousands years before Christ.
    Or Heracles? voluntarily went to Hades, realm of dead, and then fought his way back, seams much more bad-ass to me than being just miraculously resurrected. I’m pretty sure that I would find some others if I would try…

    (and btw., there are some serious doubts about Jesus existence at all, so it is not so hot with that “convincingly proved”, but whatever, thats not the point here)

  • Get ******

    Ridiculous list perhaps written by a 7 year old?

    • mom424

      A prodigy maybe. Not too many 7 year old kids know Beowulf eh? Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler?

      Nice name btw; a little redundant, seems you already are.

      • fyoumoron

        Wow, that’s mature. Isn’t this idiot a mod? I can see why JF picked you. You’re the same type of retarded religious lunatic he is.

  • qarstala

    In my opinion it was more controversial including Heathcliff to this bad-ass list.

  • Max

    The fictional Jesus character was something of a badass, but by no means more badass than Beowulf.

  • where is Iago from Othello, Faustus from Dr Faustus, Eustacia from The Returns of the native (she has quite the similar characteristics as Hedda Gabler), Lavinia from Mourning becomes Electra, John Proctor from Crucible, Lady Catherine de Bourg from Pride & Prejudice, Okonko from Things fall apart?

    Besides i think Jesus Christ should be cut out from the list, your term Badass does not apply on Christ as he was not an agressive man, dont make the same mistake as Dan Brown, writer of The DaVinci Code, there are some figures who can’t describe in the Nut shell, because of some divine blessing you can’t put him in the list of some fictional characters.

    P.S; I am not a Christian

    • Cal S.

      Another vote for Iago. He’s very selfish yet so cunning and flexible. The ending proves his level of evil. He’s a classic Machiavellian character!

  • Osborne.

    You say no one (apart from Jesus)has ever come back from the dead.

    How do you know?

    Surely what you mean is that no one has ever come back to you.

  • Naomi

    Two words: The Best!

  • Stranno

    Goku came back from the death 4 o 5 times, hes more badass than Jesus Christ?

  • Tu_Madre

    … This list blows big’uns.

    Besides glaring omissions, TERRIBAD choices (Heathcliff and Jesus? A whiny, pissant wife-beater and the Anti-‘Badass.’) and the sheer fratitude dripping from every line like KY after rush-week, it’s another thrown together mess of a thing.

    I dunno, I just don’t like feeling like my 8 year old nephew could post here and still do better that this.

  • mom424

    Great list. Entertaining, informative, wonderfully constructed. I appreciate the wide net you cast when choosing the entries – made for a nice smattering of the classics.

    Should have maybe modified your #1; love thy neighbour seems to me to be a natural part of human evolution/development. Every major society gets there; the west has Christ, the east has Buddha. There are many others; I’m pretty sure Vishnu espoused the same message too. Somebody who studies comparative Religion should maybe have a go – would make a wonderful list.

    Awesome job Jack. Terrific!

    ps: I always thought Portia to be pretty baddass. She traveled un- e s c o r t e d (with just a female maid), disguised herself as a lawyer, fooled not only the court but her own husband, took on the nasty moneylender (The quality of mercy is not strain’d etc.), won, and then beat the men home.

    • OP here. Thanks for defending me numerous times! haha.

      I suspect the ‘broad net’ cast was what caught such an exotic range of sealife, if you know what I mean. ;)

      Thanks for respecting the literary side of the list. I should have foreseen the fecal storm that would proceed putting Jesus Christ as a number one badass. Like I said further down, the choice was far more a cop-out than an endorsement, but I stand by the fact that I would say the bible is classic literature, and even that he is a bit of a bad-ass, of course not at all in the classic sense which unhinged the end of the list a bit.

  • Start

    Apart from the Jesus thing, some of these weren’t really that badass. For Gabbler: Killing your unborn child and committing suicide is not badass. For Macbeth: Sneaking into the kings bedroom to kill him in his sleep is not badass. If you were a badass you’d have stabbed him in front of everybody, then killed everyone that saw you.

  • barry costello

    Well that definitely is controversial! As far as saying there is proof Jesus existed, that may be true, but there is absolutely no proof that any stories about him were true; of course, thats the same for all fictional characters.
    Either way, it actually kinda stupid that no Hindu gods were mentioned, Siva is more badass than Jesus. I was honestly expecting Chuck Norris to be number 1!

  • Vignesh

    The Hindu god, Siva smokes marijuana…dances wildly and when he dances that results in the destruction of the Universe..Killed a female demon by penetrating his fiery member inside her…That is total badassery

  • Armadillotron

    lucifer declaring war on God, makes him a badass. But the way he later becomes Lord of Hell makes him the baddest of the Badasses in my view. Do you know George Lucas based Anakin Skywalker-Darth Vader on Lucifer? So that makes him even more a badass.

  • Christian

    Putting Jesus at the number one spot? I’m shocked, but I completely agree!

    For those that don’t, how much more “badass” would one have to be? He healed the blind and lame, He walked on water, He calmed a storm, demons begged Him for mercy, He stood up against the corrupt leaders of His time, He predicted end time events. In the face of certain death, (a death He predicted by the way) He had the power to call down twelve legions of angels to fight against His arrest and execution, but didn’t. He had all of the power of God Himself at His disposal, yet He laid it aside to be beaten, spit on, completely humiliated and nailed to a cross for your sins and mine, only to be raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, waiting to return to the earth in absolute glory.

    You will NEVER find anyone more “badass” than Jesus Christ!!!

  • pamelann

    Such a stirred up kettle of fish. I submit Aticus Finch and Bob Ewell. Both badasses from different sides of the track.

  • Molly

    Manor ? manner. In the Achilles entry, I think you meant to say manner.

  • Karen Dunleavy

    I love this list Jack. without controversy. ( I timothy 3:16) It is a mystery No matter what commentators say. I admire your courage Jack . You are a bad ass yourself to post this. I commend your courage. to thee rest of you that cannot figure out a mystery. You have not seen the end of this Bad Ass yet. #1. No matter how you rebel. The righteous judge you will answer to. Why do you think you are making controversy. You are not able to handle truth.

    • mom424

      Did you read the into? Jack is agnostic. Not your brand of piety. In fact, according to most of your ilk, condemned.

      I too love the list – for different reasons obviously.

      • NedNoodle

        What is wrong with you people?

        Jack I would have loved this list when I was 13. I can’t figure out why Jesus was badass though. Rising from the dead wouldn’t really fit into the badass category.
        This list is lost on me.

  • Sam

    I wouldn’t say Macbeth is a ‘badass’ at all. His wife had to talk him into killing Duncan, which he felt bad about for many scenes afterward. How is that being a badass?

  • Alex

    Only one i disagree with is Beowulf.
    In the book he seems more like a gloating, egotistical coward than anything.
    And the dragon is only there because he couldnt keep it in his pants, then lied and swindled for years to cover it up.
    The only person who saw through it was king hrothgar. Who killed himself out of shame at what beowufl had done.

  • DrStanley

    Gilgamesh!!! He might be the first Badass.

  • Robman

    He’s not the messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!

    • karl

      only the true messiah would deny his divinty

    • mrsledzepper1991

      Blessed are the cheesemakers :P

  • maarn

    To anyone who is arguing that there is no proof for the existence of Jesus. I would challenge you to prove with concrete evidence that anyone who supposedly lived during the time of the Roman Empire actually existed. There is a wealth of evidence for Jesus’ existence in writings from people who believed Jesus was the messiah and people who did not believe. It is fine to not believe in a religion, but to doubt the existence of Jesus as a person is totally absurd. You could question the literal existence of Muhammad, Gautama Buddha, Confucius, or any other religious figure, but most people wouldn’t think to do that. The reason why people like to argue Jesus didn’t exist is because Christianity is the western world’s dominant religion, and therefore it’s an easy target.

    This is besides the point that from the point of view of the Bible as literature Jesus is incredibly badass. He stood up against his entire culture in order to deliver his message. It wasn’t the Romans that disliked Jesus, it was his own people who wanted him killed. He stood up for his cause to the death, and not only did it pay off, but an extremely large portion of the world today still talk about what he did and what he preached. He went up against the foundations of his own religion, which was only for the chosen people of Israel, and opened it up to the entire world. Accept his teaching or not, but anyone who can radically change the course of the world like that is definitely a badass. All of this is discounting his crucifixion and any miracles attributed to Jesus including his resurrection.

  • Maggot

    Oh brother, this putting Jesus at number 1 thing just smacks of “trying too hard”. Even with your cheesy disclaimer in the intro, there was absolutely no point in including this character on a list of this nature. And I’m not just saying this from an atheist POV; my point is that it’s just totally counter-productive to your claimed intent. All you’ve done is just taken attention away from your list’s actual (supposed) subject matter. What could’ve been an interesting day of discussion amongst avid readers of classic literature has just devolved into the tired rehashing of the “Jesus isn’t real” and “the Bible is fictional” pi.ssing match. The rest of your otherwise pretty good list is essentially being ignored. I hope you are happy.

    • OP here. Read my reply below from earlier this morning. :)

  • thank you for including jesus!

  • Anathema

    Listverse jumped the shark.

  • wowantonlavey

    What a bunch of rubbish. holmes comes 10th but out ranks all but a couple ppl in bad ass rating. Jesus a bad ass? the top bad ass ever? xD Such a poor attempt at trolling. jesus is proven this must be way the majority of the world doesnt believe in him. Only one to come back from the dead, if you exclude the massive amount of people before hand who have the exact same story as jesus. While this list is both bad, and ass, i can only give it a bad ass rating of 2.3 Most hello kitty is more bad ass then this list.

  • Ken

    Jesus? You cannot be serious. He was a c0mplete wimp. He was in hiding when they arrested him. Hedda Gabler? Never heard of her! And you do not even mention Heracles!

    • Believer

      sthu, idiot

    • Eumesmopo

      Agree. Jesus wouldn’t last a second against true badasses such as Horus, Gilgamesh or Hercules.

      I getting tired of these Jesus freaks trying to troll around. Jesus was a excuse of a man and his worshipers are nothing but scared little brats.

  • Isabelle

    What about Sydney Carton from Tale of Two Cities? He was pretty badass, he sacrificed his life so that the husband of the woman he loved could live. He knocked out a guard and drugged the husband to sneak him out of jail. Pretty badass to me!

  • Believer

    Didn’t see Jesus coming, but nice list!

  • Niamh

    It was good til the end.

  • Eumesmopo

    Jesus is a sissy, came to pay for the sins of all humanity and was torture for only 3 days? pftt

  • Jay Karlson

    Loved this list. The ranking system is a riot.

    And Beowulf liked to fight naked, because, well, that’s more badass.

  • nato2101

    Achilles? The virtually invunerable half god who fights for glory, but goes off on a sulk when things don’t work for him? Hector>>>>>>>>>>Achilles. A man facing a god to protect his family and homeland is way more “badass” than a sulky god with a tiny vulnerability who still manages to get himself killed.

    Oh, and go ahead and prove Jesus existed, no one has managed to do it so far that is why religion is a “faith”, there is no proof it is all about belief.

    • VirgiliusNix

      You speak the truth about Akhilleous and Hektor, I like your style!

    • Jack

      Nailed it.

  • Tronco01

    I agree with your choices. Great list! I have read some of the comments and I need to add my “two cents”. In regards to Jesus/Yeshua being just a pacifist who did nothing special, you need to check the prophecies found in the rest of the bible: old and new testaments. For instance, the book of Revelations shows a mighty representation of Jesus returning to destroy the evil ones (world government?) and their armies by using terrible power. Other books in the old testament like Zachariah present this like the flesh of his enemies rotting while they still stand on their feet -nuke? Peter presents it as melting the mountains with his presence. Pretty much a unique feature. Oh! And after the 1000 years reign, he will destroy evil for good. How much points have I added so far? Now, if we are only taking the Gospel books, he confronted the religious system of his time making prodigies on their face and made them sweat to capture him. He made Pontius think it carefully to dictate sentence just with a few words and mere presence; pushed a group of soldiers to the ground just by saying “I am” when he was being arrested.
    Even if someone does not believe in Jesus as a historical figure, as the son of god, or God Himself, you have to agree that the literature of the old testament mentioned those great actions to be performed by the Messiah, same as those mentioned by the disciples after the Gospel. That’s a lot more to add on his support, don’t you think? ;)

  • tom

    The Green Knight from “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” A green giant with a huge axe he can’t be killed, even by beheading.

    “Then the Green Knight swiftly made him ready, he bowed down his head, and laid his long locks on the crown that his bare neck might be seen. Gawain gripped his axe and raised it on high, the left foot he set forward on the floor, and let the blow fall lightly on the bare neck. The sharp edge of the blade sundered the bones, smote through the neck, and clave it in two, so that the edge of the steel bit on the ground, and the fair head fell to the earth that many struck it with their feet as it rolled forth. The blood spurted forth, and glistened on the green raiment, but the knight neither faltered nor fell; he started forward with out-stretched hand, and caught the head, and lifted it up; then he turned to his steed, and took hold of the bride, set his foot in the stirrup, and mounted. His head he held by the hair, in his hand. Then he seated himself in his saddle as if naught ailed him, and he were not headless. He turned his steed about, the grim corpse bleeding freely the while, and they who looked upon him doubted them much for the covenant.”

  • David

    Jesus famously said, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” And “bring them hither and slay them before me.” So yeah he does sound like Terminator. And Lucifer isn`t the antichrist. He`s a Fallen Angel.

  • karl

    mmmm good read.

    Lady Macbeth is much more badass. Just because in my opinion, she is the person who turns Macbath evil, delivers him at the door so to speak. Without her, Macbeth would not have had the guts to follow through with Duncans death, she persaudes and goads him in his actions throughtout the play, until madness overtakes her mind. Also she comes out with some pretty good lines.

    Good to see Paradise Lost, a personal favourite collection of literature. Milton’s Lucifer isnt that badass however. He is very strong and dominates the weaker and lesser fallen angels but against the stronger willed and God following angels he is weak. Once he chosens to turn against Milton’s God and Heaven, he shows he own tragic failing from then on and then throughout the entire story. he constanstly becomes weaker and weaker in power, size and the forms he choses to take show this progression of weakness through ignorance and pride.

    again good read :)

    • karl

      Just like to add, Melkor/Morgoth has to take Jesus’ place at the top spot of badasses. He is the reall badass to end all badasses. Tolkiens creation is just badass. Couldn’t say badass much more could I…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgoth

      • Canuovea

        Morgoth?

        Fingolfin!

  • “Along with Macbeth, Jesus is one of the only badasses on this list who we can convincingly prove existed.”

    Actually there is no proof that this Jesus chap existed. No contemporary accounts of the man at all. All mentions of him in the Bible were written well after his supposed death. These accounts also contradict each other places. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a magic man called Jesus knocking around the Holy Land performing tricks some 2000 odd years ago. There may well have been. However there is no conclusive proof or evidence. It’s fair to say that it is quite probable that the man we know as Jesus never existed. Neither did Optimus Prime.

  • Valecynos

    Listen, I am not reading all the comments, but I just had to comment when I saw #1. I myself am Christian, and I did see that you state you are agnostic, but I just had to say that YOU are totally badass for putting Jesus at the top spot, even knowing (or perhaps because of?) all the stuff it would stir up. I am impressed! Good list, and I cannot wait for similar ones.

  • J. Simpson (author)

    Author here. Not sure how to validate my identity, as I’m writing from my blackberry and I deem it too late to go clattering around my housemate’s room to steal his computer.

    As was rightly guessed, this was indeed the first list i’ve written for the site. Having admired from afar for sometime, I thought I’d try my hand. I think the unskilled html imagery may have given me away.

    Several replies need to be banked here…

    Firstly, to all suggesting this is a ‘flame list’ or a list designed to troll, I assure you it is not. It may seem thrown together,(It was, it was written after a night of barwork during which time I couldn’t sleep, so I had a go at a list.)but as recorded in my ‘disclaimer’ I intended to poke fun rather than to educate. Which brings me rather nicely to point two.

    Comments about me seeming to know little about literature, or suggesting I am in fact 7 years old do no as such offend as baffle/amuse. I am a student, not a professor, of literature so I concede I am not the most knowledgeable source of information: I love literature, and I mean only to celebrate it here.

    I am pleased to have started a few debates. To those asking questions about my religious beliefs, I am as I said very much an agnostic, who leans a little to the atheist slope of things. The inclusion of Jesus Christ was not really an endorsement, actually more of a cop-out.

    One guy seemed to think I believed Harry Potters and LOTR to be classic lit, which of course I do not. I meant to imply these would be included in a later list of popular literature’s bad-asses. Sorry if that bit didn’t quite come off.

    Bit of a grammar nazi myself, but more on paper than on the net: and I didn’t proofread this document; apologies for that.

    I’m thrilled to have been published (I wrote the list more than a month ago and thought I’d slipped through the net), and that it has split readers of it down the middle. Always good to be a controversy, no?

    Jack

  • J. Simpson (author)

    O, one more quick note:

    @feller who said macbeth wasn’t bad-ass. Are you kidding me? navel-to-chops-slicing action, man!

    • karl

      he was a pussy. His wife had to persaude him. Yea if you look at the start of the play where he is promoted and obviously a loyal and akilled warrior. But relaly is is mentally weak as he firstly doesn’t have the strength to take control of his own destiny and is too narrow minded to see his own demise coming.

  • J. Simpson (author)

    Going through some newer comments…

    @Maggot, I agree almost completely. Normally a frequenter of cultural/entertainment or crime/mystery lists, I have only in breif come across the kind of religious affray that can occur. In hindsight, I don’t regret putting Jesus at top spot, but agree with you that it has very much detracted from the mood I was attempting to perpetrate here. Well put.

    The section on Jesus was written, I blush to say, pretty hastily as it was pushing 7am and I was eager to get my list submitted. Certain parts wouldn’t normally have made the final list, especially inflammatory statements such as ‘We can convincingly prove existed’. Utter codswollop? Perhaps not. I feel I could have put a more convincing argument for the chap’s case as top bad-ass though.

    NB loving reading all bad-asses I missed out. I would argue that Morgoth of Tolkien’s ouvre (spelling? Damn phone.) Is more populist than classic.

    • Canuovea

      Of course, there are the rabid Tolkien fans who would tear you limb from limb for that.

      Though I’ll just say that Tolkien began with his whole Silmarillion thing after the first world war or so, maybe even before, so if you consider “Gatsby” Classical… there is an argument that they are the same time line.

      Also, I liked the list.

      • OP here. Got to a computer and logged in, so this is my account, haha.

        This is the kind of debate that I was looking forward to having.

        Although I didn’t state it, I WOULD classify Gatsby as classic literature. Not as a term of admiration, but because of the context of reception.

        Now whilst I might say LOTR, The Hobbit, Roverandom et cetera are populist, I don’t mean it in a derogatory fashion. Populist and classical are hard categories to define. Normally i’d say canonical texts are classic, so thats an easy way to define for me. In university we often use Barthes’ cultural theory to define works, notably his readerly/writerly stuff. It is rather hard to explain (and understand, so I won’t even try to explain properly), but put crudely, a readerly text is one that is of more pleasure to the reader, and is written FOR them, whereas a writerly text is an artistic exploit, or a form of catharsis or challenge for the writer’s own self. This is a method I use to discern between classic and populist.

        Tolkien is incredibly hard to categorise in this sense. Because he takes immense care of his readership, whilst also taking great pride in his work. Who couldn’t call the appendices to LOTR self-indulgent? The man created his own universe, and wanted every particle of it to be inhabitable. So perhaps to name his work populist is to act rashly, but so would it be to call it classic. Literary critics condemn those who use time to measure the ‘classicity’ (not even sure thats a word but it serves my purpose after a fashion) of a text, but perhaps its been long enough for us to call Tolkiens works classic.

        • Canuovea

          Hmm.

          Okay, fair enough. I was somewhat curious about your understanding of “classic”. I mean, LOTR et all are all certainly “classic fantasy”. Though I have yet to have a literature class attempt to dissect Tolkien’s work. I’m sure it has happened, but I’m not sure if many professors are up to it.

          Then there is also the fact that Tolkien drew quite heavily on classical literature of many different languages when writing. Makes it quite interesting.

        • Jack

          What with the very “whimsy” with which most of Tolkiens works were written, in contrast with many “modern” fiction works, I believe it’s safe to call them “classics”.

    • karl

      I would, for my own sake, say that maybe its not classic yes. I did maybe overlook that part of the title when writing my Tolkien piece. Still argue that Morgoth/Melkor is a badass character just maybe not in the classical heading.

      • Canuovea

        Okay, Morgoth is sorta badass. But he gets kinda lame and lazy right after just shutting himself in Angband and only coming out to fight Fingolfin.

        Also, he didn’t even try to fight back at the end. He, again, begged for mercy, and had his legs cut out from under him. Not all that badass.

        Now, Fingolfin on the other hand, a simple high elf, not only became high king, but was responsible for making the elves as powerful as they were at the time. Plus he had one characteristic that most other high elves (including his brother) seemed to lack: Intelligence. He even took his people out of favour with the Valar and over a perilous ice bridge crossing out of shear stubborn loyalty to a half brother who had attempted to kill him at one point, and actively betrayed him at another!

        He also rode all the way to Angband, scaring the life out of Morgoth’s minions on the way, and had a one on one duel with the most powerful being in existence on the planet. He lost, yeah, but he messed Morgoth up so badly that Mr. Supreme Evil was stuck limping for the rest of his earthly existence and suffering from about seven other sword wounds. That isn’t even including the Eagle attack. The fight was such a mess that Elves don’t sing about it (and Elves love to sing about random stuff) and Orcs don’t boast about it (and we all know how Orcs love to boast. About anything.).

        So, if there is to be another list, classical, populist, whatsoever, I’d humbly suggest Fingolfin.

  • zack

    how exactly could the devil be less badass then jesus or anyone else on this list?

  • No chuck norris? What?

  • I love Lucifer’s badass rating. What else could it be?

  • J. Simpson (author)

    I’m bulk posting I know, but I couldn’t let this comment go.

    “seems deliberately framed in a way to elicit a flame war”

    Does it?

    I don’t know. Did you read the text? It seems like you’ve scrolled down, noting the entries without properly engaging with the list. Did you read the part where I affirm I wish in no way to perpetrate religious belief? My intention was far from incendiary, and I’m disappointed so many have taken it to be so. The list is a humour driven entry. Hence all the slang, and hollywood references.

    Jack

  • petrsw

    A list of ‘badasses’ from “classic literature” that doesn’t include either Captain Ahab or Qeequeq from “Moby Dick”???

    Hello!!

    The author should get a refund on his ‘classic literature’ correspondence course…

    Achilles was a pretend badass in comparison to Odysseus. Duh.

    Jesus Christ is not a figure out of ‘classic literature’ unless you define both ‘classic’ and ‘literature’ so broadly as to be, essentially, meaningless. Further, in Gethsemene, he gave himself up willingly rather than, as He said, “call twelve legions of angels” to save Himself. That’s the opposite of ‘badass.’ The character, however, in ‘classic literature’ that most resembles Jesus Christ, is Uncle Tom, from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The ‘badass’ in that book was Eliza. Simon LeGree was just plain bad.

    Though I totally agree with the inclusion of Sherlock Holmes, Tybalt and MacBeth in this list the exclusion of Gunga Din and half the Robert L Stevenson pantheon is troubling.

    Maybe the author should read more ‘classic literature’…?

    • VirgiliusNix

      Diomedes > Akhilleous > Pretty much anybody else in the entire Greco-Roman mythological world > Odysseus

      That is all.

  • persephone

    “the only badasses on this list who we can convincingly prove existed”

    umm, no. sorry but you can’t.

  • Max

    It is not controversy to put Jesus in your list, though, it is when you add these lines: “Along with Macbeth, Jesus is one of the only badasses on this list who we can convincingly prove existed, and is worshiped by millions of people worldwide.”

    What you’ve provided, Argumentum ad populum, a logical fallacy, including your assumption, that “we” can convincingly prove (Jesus) existed, is mere speculation. Now, I’m not going to argue here, purely to save my sanity, these things should have been noted by a moderator, or whom ever published this article, because these kinds of mistakes, I would expect from a less intelligible source.

  • Tj

    I think Pennywise the Clown is pretty bad-ass. But that’s just me. Also Dracula from Bram Stoker’s book, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

  • TheMooZ

    I sense religious affiliation….

  • Professor Montana

    Don’t forget Holden Caulfield.
    =)

  • stockyzeus

    it is obvious the lister is not religious since he has classified jesus under classic literature.

  • J. Simpson (author)

    The list was always going to be subjective. I cannot understand how you fail to spot my response to people who have already said the same thing.

    I am not on a ‘correspondence course’, I am a university student of 19 years old so I think its fair to say perhaps I do have more to read. The list, again, is in jest, and no, once again, I am not trying to force my religious dogma on anyone. I am not in any way religious.

    However, I DO hold my hands up to the ‘convincingly prove existed’. I believe to post such inflammatory statements (and certainly, not to cite a source at least) such as that on a site such as this, is counter-productive because you’ll spend more time arguing about one sentence than the content of the list. If you’ll read the comments posted by me before getting all red-faced about it, you might find an explanation.

    Jack

  • whos a badass…you’re a badass

    Great list! Cleverly written with just a soupcon of tongue in cheek and the choice of badasses covers the badass spectrum quite well! Lets see another one soon.

  • DGMdragunov

    I think Odysseus from Homer’s Odyssey should have had a mention.

    • VirgiliusNix

      Odysseus is a massive bastard in the Odyssey. He should be on the “Top 10 Bastards of Classic Literature” list.

      • Jack

        Yeah. That was part of why he was badass. You can’t be a bastard AND a badass?

  • martyman5000

    I would say as the only child badass of classic literature:
    Mowgli-
    from the jungle books- Rudyard Kipling.
    he was raised by wolves and at a young age befriends a python and kills a tiger. He also used fire as a weapon, and in later stories, leads the wolves in a war.
    those are all a plus in the badass scale.

  • Interesting. I began a ‘Ten badasses of populist and children’s literature’ list this morning. I left out the ‘top’ before ten this time because there are just too many bad mothers out there to put them in one list.

  • Kip

    What about Napoleon Dynamite?

  • Pseudo

    The inclusion of Heathcliff in this list is a slap on the face to badasses everywhere. He’s a wuss. Badasses don’t exhibit/discuss emotions. They be badass.

  • L.

    ATTENTION: potatoes. That is all.

  • Paul Park

    This list was rather entertaining

  • VirgiliusNix

    Diomedes > Akhilleous

    In the Iliad Akhilleous doesn’t do any fighting for the first 18 books out of 24. And he’s portrayed as a bit of whiny, hubric bitch. But Diomedes does even has a whole book (Book 6) dedicated to him kicking ass. And he’s a lot wiser, too – the most wise adviser at Troy besides Nestor. And he abides by xenia. And doesn’t do anything silly.

    :>

  • Mr.Cool

    What about Cuchulain? And Beowulf wasn’t a Viking he was a Geat. And Jesus was lame. He was 33 and was still virgin.

  • ashleysweet

    controversy?? im not religious at all and i agree with number 1. anyone who bring back the dead and walks on water is pretty badass to me. i personally believe in jesus, but im not religious. but either way, how can people argue with jesus when they do not think hes real, when none of the people on this list are real people??

  • DZA

    Jean Valjean????

  • Name

    What about Rostand’s BA swordsman/poet, Cyrano de Bergerac?

  • p1t1o

    The only *decent* literature that I can remember reading at this moment is “A bridge too far” and “Enemy at the Gates”. Both non-fiction works describing WWII events.

    And seriously full of bada**es. Like, chockers. If you’re curious, the wiki page for either of the events in question would be a good place to start.

  • p1t1o

    Oh I’ve thought of another one, Harry Seldon, from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.

    1. He personally predicts the future of a galactic empire, up to and including 30,000 years ahead.

    2. Then he sets in motion a 1000 year plan to avert catastrophe.

    3. He does all this whilst being exiled from said empire for “treason”.

    4. He is actually a physical bada** as well, seeing off a group of attackers at one point.

    I’d give him a bada** score of 8.4, perhaps that may be a little generous when compared to some of the bada**ery above, but if itted against any of them, he’d most likely have already predicted the various outcomes and chosen one, at his leisure, to his own advantage.

  • Arnor

    I would like to nominate Dr Abraham Van Helsing, Bill Sikes and Capt. Ahab.

  • NedNoodle

    “shooting oneself in the head arguably requires a high amount of bravery and thus she is awarded extra badass points.” Tut,tut.

  • Edward

    I believe and love Jesus, I must say that whatever you believe, Jesus in the Bible was crucified, which man would have the heart to stand that pain?

    • p1t1o

      I was going to write something wry and atheistically sarcastic about all the jesus-related comments. But to be honest, based on the Bible, he *was* a complete badarse… though he may have relied a little too heavily on what amounts to “Imma get my dad on you!” for my liking…

      OOPS! Was that too drily agnostic?

      loljk, peace out, Christians.

  • ibra
  • Jake

    Yeah .. I had to stop after # 5.

    “shooting oneself in the head arguably requires a high amount of bravery and thus she is awarded extra badass points.”

    Suicide is one of the most craven, cowardly acts that can be attempted. This earns no “badass points”.

    • Jake

      And by #5, I of course mean #7. Derp.

    • p1t1o

      I’d say that that strongly depends on the circumstances, no?

      But I’d agree that as a standalone concept, it can’t on its own be called an act of bravery, but in the same way, I don’t think the act is automatically cowardly either.

      I think the only adjective that can be automatically assigned is “desperate”.

  • liriopecalliope

    Where the hell is Titus Andronicus?!

    • Jack

      Right? From beginning to end, he never did anything non-badass!

  • selunesmom

    Can someone fix the typo in Tybalt’s line? It’s supposed to be:

    As I hate Hell, All Montagues, and thee.

    I’m pretty sure that the training montage hadn’t been invented in Elizabethan Theatre.

  • Mike

    Edmond Dantes? No? Okay..
    I’m a bit late here

  • FlameHorse

    Just got a chance to read this, and I gotta say, although the in-depth analysis didn’t impress me, I did laugh a lot, and to you, Jack W., I say, “Thank you.”

  • njanja

    You asked for it. Jesus 1) isn’t badass 2) isn’t a historical figure, probably (yes, there is no conclusive evidence for either side, so you can either believe there was a guy was the son of the one and only genocidal god or you can stop pretending to have imaginary friends…)

    • Canuovea

      To be fair, there is some evidence that Jesus actually existed.

  • Zee Kempahh

    I really don’t see how Jesus is a bad ass, seeing that MANY MANY “christs” c ame before him and did some to all of the exact same things. And I’m bothered by Lucifer being reffered to as bad. I’m pretty sure any widespread negativity was cause by the misinterpretation by HUMANS who wanted the world the way THEY wanted it.

    • Canuovea

      Depends on how Lucifer is shown in the Classic Literature.

      Take Paradise Lost.

      Lucifer is a twisted, vain, pompous fool who gets his kicks from manipulating people and harming humans. Doesn’t sound all that nice to me.

      If we are talking about the biblical Lucifer, which probably referred to Nebuchadnezzar, than he was badass, but not necessarily evil.

      And the Old Testament satan… isn’t so badass, he just acts as the court prosecutor. In fact, it may just be a position, not a reference to a person. The “crown attorney” if you will. And he isn’t evil.

  • gladys

    Great list. i especially agree with the #1 choice. Total badass.

  • Shakibing

    Somehow seems like choice 1 was purely to cause controversy. If truly unintentional, what a nice way to crap on an otherwise kick ass list

  • Fabius

    MacBeth’s a poor choice. He has to be goaded into doing everything by his wife. Sure he follows through, but only because he’s essentially pussy-whipped. If you want Shakespeare, go with Henry V (“Band of Brothers” line at Agincourt).

    Honorable mention: Roland (Medieval French Epic “Song of Roland). Holds off thousands of Saracen invaders in a rearguard action against incredible odds, killing several thousand by his own hand, then finally kills himself at the end by blowing out his own brains from sounding a horn (seriously) and falls on his sword.

    You could almost make a legitimate top ten list from Homer alone. Diomedes (attacks frickin’ Ares all by himself), Ajax, Hector, Odysseus, etc. To say nothing of the other classical Greek and Roman heroes (Theseus, Perseus, Herakles, Horatius, Decius Mus Scaevola). If you want to argue that classical history counts as literature, then you’ve got Leonidas, Xenophon, Ceasar himself, Hannibal….

    • Canuovea

      Yeah, Macbeth is… well… maybe more of a tough guy in some ways than some others… but not so active.

      Also, Roland, yeah I totally agree… just it wasn’t the Saracens, it was the Basques, I think… they were excellent guerrilla style tacticians and they decided to get a drop on Charlemagne’s army as it was leaving their territory. Plus, there might be a strong amount of historical accuracy in that piece of literature!

      Also, I’m pretty sure Diomedes didn’t attack Ares, in fact, he was told NOT to attack Ares when he was shown who were gods. In fact, he kinda speared Aphrodite’s finger or something. Though he was a pretty big badass.

      • Canuovea

        I use “in fact” a lot. Bother.

  • H.M.

    Vishnu (Hindu God) killed a demon named Hiranyakashipu by appearing in the form of man lion (Narasimha) and tearing open the demon’s belly with his nails. No one can be more badass than that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiranyakashipu
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narasimha

    “Hiranyakashipu, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, and then following a tumultuous sound, Vishnu in the form of Narasimha appears from it and in defence of Prahlada moves to attack his father. In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha was chosen. Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by human, deva or animal, Narasimha is neither one of these, as he is a form of Vishnu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his lap (neither earth nor space). Using his nails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon.[10]”

  • Somebody Else

    One of the worst, most ludicrous lists I have EVER seen. This site should have a better screening process. That said, some of JFrater’s lists have been pretty lame over the years, so I’m not that surprised.

  • tdp

    Beowulf was a Geat, not a Viking.

  • Zeke

    As dominant a force as Jesus is/was, not a badass because he was resurrected. Maybe for raiding the temple’s merchants, but not for that.

  • Meghan

    Heathcliff is a badass just because he comes back and beats the shit out of the man who, as a child, made his life miserable and beat him.

    I have to add as a wild card and not exactly classic literature, Harry Dreseden and Felix Castor, one badass wizard and one badass exorcist! Although Harry is just a little higher in the badassery game.

  • lostsok

    Nice list. Best is weeks. (I’m a Lit major, so…)

    • skywatcher

      Everybody makes typos, including me, so i usually don’t comment. But this one works beautifully. I scratched my head, then laughed. Thanks, lostsok.

  • Tosser

    What? No Frankenstein monster? Or the good Doc himself – playing God and all? And no Dracula? DRACULA!!!

  • bah

    psh
    please go read some real literature

  • brian

    What about God? supposedly he killed just about everyone back in the day.

  • S

    Though I respect the list and think it’s pretty awesome, I disagree with Lancelot. The more I read Arthurian legends, the more he turns into a whiny rich guy who sleeps with his best friend’s desperate wife.

  • Bugga

    Lucifer in Milton is whiny tho.

  • Jack

    No Odysseus?!? For shame…

  • “The Messiah exhibited some truly badass behavior, the most notorious of which is coming back from the dead. No one before, or since, has managed such a feat.”

    Wrong. And it was done by someone who deserves to be on this list.

    Dracula.

  • seo

    Great website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get responses from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!

  • Edshu

    Well, where’s Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans?

  • John C Wright

    Bravo for having the manliness to list the Man of Sorrows as your number one choice. Expect hate mail. Uncle Screwtape doesn’t like it when his Enemy is praised, even in a lighthearted list.

  • jesuschristterminator

    keep your religion out of my science. i take poops more deserving than jesus being number 1.

  • Jesse

    this list is bias and religiously prejudice. you cant say that Jesus is the messiah or bad ass because a majority of the world does not agree.

  • Dantes

    What about the count of monte cristo????

  • Byte

    I find it funny that people find what’s more controversial is who is the most badass in the Bible instead of the fact that Jesus is part of this.

  • Chloe

    Tybalt is an incredibly lame pick. All he does is walk around pissed off all the time, and he dies in the first real fight he gets in, which is in the first half. If we’re picking Shakespearean characters, go with Henry V. There is not a single Shakespearean character who can remotely touch the sheer badassery of Henry. He single-handedly leads his exhausted, rag-tag troops to a victory over the large French army. The death count is something like 10,000 French to 29 English.

    Another flaw of this list is that it’s all men. There are so many female badasses in literature, like Joan of Ark or Lady Macbeth or Cleopatra or the unfortunately named Goneril. I’m not trying to shove feminism down anyone’s throat, but it is just as bad to neglect such hardcore characters. Besides, I’m pretty sure any of those three could kick the crap out of Tybalt.

  • Sirius

    Where r Hercules n leonidas in this list. And siriusly Jesus…a badass…u know wat the definition of a badass is??

  • Jack

    Bruce banner should be on this list, the man gets angry and turns into an unstoppable machine of destruction, who could kill everyone on this list, and he would do it with such power that they would not come back from the dead

  • asd

    What about count de MonteCristo? he was rich, kick-ass fighter, and was cold as stone. I think he’s way more badass than atleast 5 heroes of this list