They are the characters who can be the source of anything from minor twists to major plot complications. They are the bitches we love to hate, the women who can't help being nasty, the meanies who make life interesting and unpleasant for the protagonists, the wicked, the spiteful, and often the most memorable characters in literature: The Mean Girls.
Jane Austen wrote some very realistic mean girls, including:
- Fannie (Mrs. John) Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility,
- Maria Bertram from Mansfield Park, and
- Caroline Bingley from Pride and Prejudice
- Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
- Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. (love her or hate her, you must admit she is both mean and spiteful at times)
- The Snow Queen from H.C. Andersen’s novella, “The Snow Queen” and her literary descendant:
- The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare’s Macbeth
- The Marquise de Merteuil from Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (she should be at the top of the list)
- Milady De Winter from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (although ultimately a pathetic character, wholly controlled by her passions, she is neverhteless an archetypal mean girl)
BTW, I am reading Rebecca and I think Mrs. Danvers is shaping up to be a massive bitch.