Poisoned by his lustful quest for vengeance, his obsession carries his crew to their demise.
(Ahab, Moby Dick)
The king goes slowly insane because of his mistakes and his daughters’ perfidy.
(Lear, King Lear)
She was forced to make a choice between two unbearable, unthinkable options.
(Sophie, Sophie’s Choice)
Their marriage, finances and lives were bankrupt; and now he is suspected of her murder.
(Nick and Amy Dunne, Gone Girl)
She could not stop remembering the sound of the spring lambs being slaughtered.
(Clarice Starling, The Silence of the Lambs)
Take the character to hell (either physically or mentally), and if well-drawn, the reader will really care about this person. All of us can relate to the torture of being alive in an indifferent world.