I've been thinking about some of my favourite complex fictional characters in print and other media. I've listed a few below. What are some of yours, and why?
Laura Roslin (Battlestar Galactica, 2003 - 2009)
The Secretary of Education laboured with the task of becoming the president of the 40 000-odd survivors of the human race. Dying, and shaped as an apparently mythic, spiritual figure, Roslin leads a dwindling human race through small victories and much strife via a sometimes dubious leadership, only to reach the Earth of prophecy to find it decimated and uninhabitable.
Bastian Balthazar Bux (The Neverending Story)
The shy boy who loves books and saves Fantasia in the first half of Michael Ende's iconic fantasy novel, and then proceeds to lose his own identity and almost destroying Fantasia, the very thing he saved.
Alex (A Clockwork Orange)
Where to start. First you want to hate him, then you admire his cockey attitude, followed by revulsion toward his behaviour, and then feel sorry for him as he endures the state sponsored "treatment" to make him "normal" in order to fit into society.
Lucifer/Satan - Paradise Lost
Is he a dictator? Usurper? Evil serpent? Or is he simply doing what any oppressed individual would do by rebelling against the dictator oppressing him?
Summoned from a hell-dimension to fight for the Nazi regime but taken by the US Army, Hellboy grows up to fight occult forces and threats for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. According to prophecy, Hellboy's giant red hand will open a portal that will bring about Armageddon. Burdened by his destiny and the life he leads as a hero of Earth, Hellboy is a wonderful example of that thin line between the societal human and his Neanderthal counterpart, and the constant struggle between keeping that line fixed without one of the two parts encroaching over the other.