Throughout the history of fairy-tale storytelling, every hero and heroine has had an antagonist, nemesis or arch-rival. A strong willed and good natured character that saves the day has to have an opponent which embodies all the negative traits that divide them.
Whether this divide is in the form of pure evil versus good or simply two characters with different goals, Disney know how to bring the epic struggle between good and bad to life. After all, it is the villains which make the heroes and without them the stories just wouldn't be as entertaining.
We'll be taking a look at the Disney villains which stuck in our mind the most, right through our childhood to present day.
5. Mother Gothel
The latest Disney villain to enter the fray, Mother Gothel was a selfish and vain woman who was obsessed with her youthful looks. After finding and hording the power of a magical flower which restored health and living for hundreds of years.
When Mother Gothel discovers that the nearby kingdom had taken the magical plant to save their dying Queen who was about to give birth, she vows to get it back for her own selfish gains.
The flower is used to save the Queen, who subsequently gives birth to a baby with long golden hair, Rapunzel. Little did the King and Queen know that their baby's hair held magical powers, even on the night that Rapunzel was kidnapped by Mother Gothel.
Now, it's bad enough to steal the baby of the King and Queen in order to live forever, but Mother Gothel was so selfish that she raised Rapunzel as her own daughter in a hidden tower so that she could horde the magical power of her hair.
For 18 years Mother Gothel held Rapunzel captive denying her the knowledge that she was the rightful princess to the Kingdom.
4. Cinderella's Stepmother
Cinderella's stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and her stepsisters held Cinderella as their personal servant after her father died when she was still young. Having to wake up early in the morning to toil away all day at the whim of this evil trio all through Cinderella's teens is a strong nomination for the top spot.
Even when Cinderella finishes all her tasks and creates her own ball gown, Lady Tremaine denies her the freedom and destroys the dress.
Even when the glass slipper is being fitted to identify the mysterious girl from the ball, aka Cinderella, Lady Tremaine traps her in the attic and hides away the key. Her pursuit of social advancement and the prospect of having daughters as potential princesses blind her to the fact that she will never achieve her goal. However, she is so determined to follow her delusions that she is even willing to destroy the glass slipper.
3. Cruella De Ville
Cruella de Ville's name says it all; cruel devil. Everyone loves puppies, but Cruella loves them for a very different reason. She is hell bent on kidnapping the cute Dalmatians to use their fur for a new coat, all in the name of fashion. As a spoilt London heiress, Cruella is used to getting her own way and if someone doesn't comply to her wishes, she will calculate and plan their demise.
Of course she won't get her hands dirty, so instead, she has her loyal yet somewhat dim-witted henchmen to carry out her evil wishes.
The imagery of Cruella De Ville is notorious and is the subject of many Halloween fancy dress parties. Her stick thin figure sports a black dress and a huge fur coat displaying all the characteristics of a slave to fashion. Never seen without her cigarette holder and her signature monochrome hair-cut, the Dalmatian puppies were her last obsession before being bested.
Another villains name which sounds as evil as the person it embodies, Maleficent was portrayed as pure evil with no room for remorse or mercy.
When the King and Queen hold a party in the castle to celebrate Aurora, the baby princesses christening, Maleficent materialises and curses the family for not being invited. This curse would see to it that Princess Aurora would prick her finger on a spindle before her sixteenth birthday and requires the three fairy god mothers to help thwart Maleficent's evil plan.
With powerful magic at her disposal, Maleficent is a force not to be reckoned with, shapeshifting at a whim and even turning into a huge dragon when things really start to get serious. Maleficent is so evil that she was ranked number 1 in the official top 30 Disney Villains countdown.
Anyone who has seen the Lion King will never forget that tragic scene in the canyon after the wildebeest stampede. This scenario was masterminded by one of the most ruthless and evil Disney characters of all time.
Scar was so determined to become king that he was even willing to kill his own brother and heir to the throne and side with the resented hyenas to get his own way. When he finally gets his wish, pride rock, the home of the lions, turns into a desolate wasteland, forcing the lions to fight back in order to restore 'the circle of life'.
Scar kept his secret quiet up until his last moments when challenged by the returning Simba, but so convincing was his lie, he even had Simba believe that it was his fault for his father's death.
Jeremy Irons provides the voice talent and really puts venom behind the words, bringing the character to life. Scar was so well realised that so many people love to hate him or just plain love him!
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