Top 10 Most Angsty Characters in Fiction

10. Charlie – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Considering the title explicitly venerates a passively lived life – Charlie has to make it onto the list. His existential woes include unique anxieties over sexuality, coming of age, corrupted innocence, etc. “I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have. I need to know that these people exist.” Don’t leave me high, don’t leave me dry. This uncanny resemblance to a Radiohead song makes Charlie an easy #10 in angsty-ness.

9. Yossarian – Catch 22

Wait so…to be dismissed from combat, I have to be rendered insane…but to be rendered insane, I’d have to request an insane test…and thinking I’m insane proves I’m insane? RUN AWAY.

8. Macbeth – Macbeth, King of Scotland

Just settle for Thane of Cawdor next time, buddy. “You do it to yourself, you do, you and no one else.”

7. Donny – House of Blue Leaves

That awkward moment when your Godfather doesn’t cast you as Huckleberry Finn so you decide to blow up the Pope…

6. Mersault – The Stranger

Basic paraphrase of novel: “Oh no – the sun is too bright on the sand…the effect is blinding…the only way for me to cope is to shoot an Arab five consecutive times. Alas, I remain indifferent…just like the world. But if people yell how much they hate me at my execution, I can find meaning amongst the black hole of meaninglessness.”

Ugh. We liked you more when you just hung out with gangsters.

5. Harry Potter – specifically Order of the Phoenix

Hey Harry….did Voldemort kill your parents? Your 27 speeches delivered in Caps Lock really drive this point home.

4. Gollum – Lord of the Rings series


Classic whining over your birthday present being stolen…

…and then letting your obsessive pursuit of it manifest itself in the form of split personalities for 556 years, eventually leading to your dark, dismal, death…

3. Frankenstein’s Monster – Dr. Frankenstein

“I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.”

#self esteem issues

2. Holden Caulfield – The Catcher in the Rye


Maybe we are jumping to conclusions, but it seems like he hates phonies….

Holden Caulfield, the hipster class’s most highly regarded character, has unique anxieties over sexuality, coming of age, corrupted innocence, etc.

“You ought to go to a boy’s school sometimes. Try it sometime,” I said. “It’s full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques. The guys that are on the basketball team stick together, the goddam intellectuals stick together, the guys that play bridge stick together. Even the guys that belong to the goddam Book-of-the- Month Club stick together.”

Oh, Holden. If only you knew how much your readers uphold this monologue as they listen to “Fake Plastic Trees” on their big state of the art headphones. Yet…are they the Book of the Month Club you so despise? #META.

1. Drum roll, please…


His existential woes include unique anxieties over sexuality, coming of age, corrupted innocence, etc. These elements, along with mommy drama, a fatal misstep of thwarted action, manipulative friends, a suicidal girlfriend, and nostalgic memories of a dead clown really cover every case scenario of angst.

So thanks Shakespeare, for stealing every plot idea ever.

“To be, or not to be, — that is the question”

Yep. Pretty much!

About Panayiota Kuvetakis

Panayiota Kuvetakis is a student at UC Berkeley studying comparative literature and theater. Her interests include: dark comedy, aliens, venn diagrams, campfire songs, and wishing she was mufasa (premortem).