Who is the most famous fictional character of all-time?
Tough question, and I guess it depends upon what genres are included in the decision-making process and whether or not you extend the search beyond the traditional confines of the Western world.
Ignoring these considerations, candidates that come to mind for me include Dracula, Snoopy, Romeo and/or Juliet, Odysseus, Harry Potter and James Bond.
The author of the article offers a list of candidates delineated by centuries, and it also included some of my candidates:
21st century: Harry Potter
20th century: James Bond
19th century: Sherlock Holmes (though other contenders may include Dickensian creations Oliver Twist and Scrooge and Peter Pan)
18th century: Robinson Crusoe or Gulliver
17th century: Hamlet (not easy to pick among the bard's strongest characters but the prince of Denmark probably pips Othello and Macbeth in the celebrity stakes).
I had no idea that Sherlock Holmes was so popular, and I can’t imagine how Hamlet would exceed the popularity and notoriety of Romeo and Juliet, but I may be biased.
I’ve always thought that Hamlet was a putz.
But otherwise the list makes sense to me. I must have been asked to read Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe about half a dozen times each for various classes throughout my high school and college career, and James Bond and Harry Potter seem like solid choices to me.
As for me, I kind of like Snoopy. He’s been around for more than fifty years and is universally known and loved by the young and the old. He’s been published in hundreds of newspapers around the world, appears on television every holiday season, and is incapable of saying anything that might offend a reader.