Dio's most recognizable characteristics are his boundless ambition and his love of power. Abused by his father and having lived in the most miserable living conditions,  Dio set for himself the goal of becoming the richest, then the most powerful being on Earth. To do so, Dio used anything or anyone that he could in order to further his goals, disregarding any kind of morality that would restrain the range of actions available to him.
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Using either manipulation, seduction, or plain violence, Dio constantly sought to become more and more powerful. Dio enjoys being in a position of power   and has repeatedly stated how great he felt being in a dominating position. On the contrary, Dio never tolerated that someone could stand up to him or equal him in power, and was several times enraged and deeply disturbed at the thought. Throughout his life, Dio has tended to surround himself with witless cronies and later minions, who were attracted by his natural charisma. Not thinking much of them at first, he then selected those he deemed as particularly evil, claiming that an evil person wasn't bound by rules such as honor and thus were stronger mentally.
This belief culminated in including the absorption of 36 souls of sinners, or, as he claims, particularly strong souls, to unlock a power greater than that of his Stand, The World. Naturally, Dio is an incredibly-selfish person, only looking over his own interest and overlooking those of others at best, trampling them on the ground at worst. Due to his composed nature, Dio can and will manipulate and take from any gender, using any method, as long as the person suits his present desires.
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Since he is selfishly interested in their capabilities, however, Dio is the type who is incapable of loving another person wholeheartedly. Still, Dio stole the former's body and his friendship with the latter was proven nonetheless beneficial of a grander plan to further himself. When interacting with someone, Dio will constantly try to manipulate them and sway them into his side, using a veneer of gentleness and his natural charm to make people admire and like him.
For instance, he acted the model son and popular charismatic friend to Jonathan's father and entourage to better isolate him, and as a Vampire, his charisma only increased as he appeared as a charming mysterious individual. However, his natural arrogance would lead him to openly insult and belittle his enemies, notably disparaging their insignificant strength before his vampiric or Stand powers.
Dio approaches obstacles and problems in a number of ways depending on the situation and his mood. When he was human, Dio was careful and methodical in trying to break Jonathan's spirit and slowly poisoned George for a sizeable period of time, only being thwarted due to unlucky twists of fate. As a Vampire, DIO at first let his arrogance get the better of him and took a laissez-faire approach, only sending subordinates to kill the Joestar Group while he rested and recovered.
However, his defeat by Jonathan taught him to be wary of the Joestar Family in its entirety, thus he would later ambush Jonathan and, during the events of Stardust Crusaders, send his minions to delay the Joestars as much as possible to recover strength. During his final battle, his wariness, tactical acumen and arrogance would clash to make Dio alternate between meticulous approach and overconfident attacks. In Phantom Blood , Dio is ambitious, selfish, arrogant, callous and megalomaniacal, seemingly able to do anything to achieve his aims.
His natural ruthlessness is exposed very early when plans to exploit the Joestar family despite them being kind enough to adopt him. These methods included: humiliating Jonathan in public sport fighting, ostracizing him from his friends,  and finally stealing Erina Pendleton 's first kiss to drive a wedge in their budding relationship. Dio's lack of empathy is also apparent, since despite having lived for years with the kind Joestars, he never thought of them as anything more than obstacles, and is hinted to utterly resent the upper class he frequents. Dio had been maintaining a facade of a charming and agreeable person to everyone save Jonathan, yet never came close to anyone.
At the end of the part, the only person Dio appreciated was Jonathan Joestar himself, begrudgingly acknowledging his valor as his archenemy  and "granting" him a painless death, and was even shocked to see him die. Dio also sadistically changed a mother into a zombie just to watch her devour her own baby. When in a position of strength, he also tends to torment them further, such as sneakily sticking his thumb into Jonathan's eye during a punch.
Dio shows a lack of restraint in his violence, and is prone to murderous outbursts even as far as his childhood, notably trying to stab Jonathan when he beat him up, and violently slapping Erina. He is shown to be utterly enraged when someone stands up to him, which is the cause for his outbursts. He himself acknowledged that his anger was a weakness,  but would be all his life unable to truly control himself. Dio's personality could be explained by his poor childhood and the abusive relationship he shared with his father, Dario Brando.
Speedwagon, however, rejected this as the cause of Dio's personality, claiming that Dio was simply born this way, and that his poverty had nothing to do with it. True to that, Dio was already an immoral person but then openly relinquishes his humanity W in favor of becoming a vampire upon being cornered by the police. Nonetheless, Dio respects determination and said much to Jonathan that his determination was equal to his own, earning him the dubious honor of serving as Dio's new host, after Dio was reduced by Jonathan to a head.
Dio's potential for empathy is implied in both the manga and the anime, when Dio is shown to have killed his own father out of revenge for the abuse against his mother, rather than as a step in his scheme to rise in society. Dio has expressed hatred for dogs, considering them vermin. DIO does not appear frequently in Stardust Crusaders except towards the end, but is seen discussing various philosophies with Stand users he wishes to recruit, and with his already-loyal followers, particularly Enya the Hag who serves as his main adviser.
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It seems equally likely that DIO does this to manipulate and persuade as that he believes what he says, but nonetheless acknowledges the power and valor simple humans can have, notably respecting one's willingness to die for his goal. Wishing to quickly dispose of the Joestars, he listened to Enya and was told that she'd already sent agents to deal with them, and quietly rested in his mansion to gain more strength.
Furthermore, DIO learned his lesson and stops underestimating his opponents, being particularly careful around the Joestar bloodline. He nonetheless sneered at other Stand Users' efforts to fight him, most notably Kakyoin's, whose discovery ended up being crucial in his defeat. This time, DIO is far more calm and collected.
Maybe due to knowing that his Stand The World is far above anyone's reach, DIO is more tolerant of people resisting him, and didn't react to Polnareff's taunts and insults. He even seems to appreciate Hol Horse's insubordination, which confirms the mercenary's strength, and let him go try to assassinate Jotaro.
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However, DIO is still callous about human life and killed anyone who would fail him, even Enya—who was, again, his closest adviser. The usually confident and cunning gambler Daniel D'Arby was driven to madness when he couldn't handle the pressure of possibly revealing DIO's Stand ability to Jotaro. True to himself, DIO is enjoying the fact that he is wielding the most powerful Stand in his organization, being unconcerned by the heroes' effort to discover his power as he thinks they are meaningless. When Jotaro reveals himself to be able to move within the stopped time, DIO is initially very distraught but recomposes himself quickly, devising other plans to get rid of Jotaro by exploiting his advantage.
The full scale of his insanity is visible when, overjoyed to have completely fused with Jonathan's body and being at full power, DIO declares that he was experiencing "the greatest high" and delightfully drills his index finger into his skull. His final speech exposes that he is still willing to use any way to win and despises any concept of honor or revenge, ultimately using a cheap trick to blind Jotaro momentarily.
In flashbacks placed before the events of Part 3 , DIO demonstrates a burgeoning ability to be genuinely nice to another person in numerous conversations with Enrico Pucci. Intrigued by Pucci, who let him be despite suspiciously hiding in a church, DIO healed his crooked foot, a kind gesture, and gave him the head of an Arrow , which would grant him his own Stand, Whitesnake. During these flashbacks, DIO is able to open up with him on multiple subjects, and confiding to Pucci that the priest could make him be at peace.
Once daring Pucci to steal his Stand, to Pucci's refusal, DIO thanked him for his fidelity, and even admitted that he feared the thought of Pucci betraying him. It is debatable how good a friend DIO truly was, considering Pucci's good-willed nature during his youth directly opposing his later evilness and zealotry. DIO also seems to have built that friendship to further his ambitions, which calls into question how sincere it was.
It is implied that he wanted to use his Stand to create a perfect world for himself and a handful of subordinates. He enlisted Pucci as his living "conscience", in case he would go crazy and veer "off track". The information below derives from a Light Novel not written by Araki.
As such, it may or may not be considered canon W. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Over Heaven offers an interpretation of Dio Brando's character by mixing elements present in the original material and plot points introduced by the light novel. Most notably, Dio's fixation on heaven is explained as the result of the influence his dead mother had on him. In the novel, Dio is presented as having developed past his megalomaniac self and began an introspection about his life and his growth.
About a year after gaining his Stand, DIO discovered that it is capable of stopping time. At first, he could only do this for a very short amount of time, but by the end of Part 3 , he is able to stop time for a maximum of 9 seconds. When stopping time, DIO gives the impression that he is teleporting or otherwise moving at impossible speeds. Toki yo Tomare! Having had ample time to rest and train with The World, DIO is shown to have been thorough in exploring his Stand's abilities. Case in point, it was during an experiment session during which DIO sought to test the limit of The World's speed that he discovered his time stop ability.
To give himself an advantage, DIO has tried to keep the ability of The World a secret, only using it at key moments to psych out an opponent and perform incomprehensible sneak attacks, as well as only trusting its secret to a few confidants such as Enya the Hag and not hesitating to eliminate her as soon as she remotely risked to inform the Joestars of his timestop power. However, as soon as they understood its ability, DIO dropped the secret and showed a great degree of confidence about the supremacy of his power, ultimately not caring about his secret as he was convinced that no one could do anything about it.
Thus, he began to liberally stop time against Jotaro. Thanks to the free time-frame of action granted by The World, DIO has made it possible to instantly reposition himself to avoid attacks or set himself up to attack, kill enemies instantly, or even displace his opponents to toy with them. DIO has shown a high degree of control over The World, using it to battle Jotaro's Star Platinum to a standstill, but showing superior technique in hand to hand combat by using low kicks to unbalance Star Platinum or feints to out-punch Star Platinum.
However, his Vampire constitution means that DIO never showed the same care at using The World defensively at he preferred to avoid being hit at all and regenerate by sucking blood. He notably wanted the Joestar to come to him so that he could suck the blood of a Joestar and sync himself up with Jonathan's body to further improve his time stop ability. Araki indeed stated that DIO had the potential to stop time indefinitely. Moreover, DIO had searched a way to unlock a power even more powerful than The World, using esoteric knowledge to divine a plan to create another mightier Stand.
Due to an awakening power within Jonathan Joestar 's body,  DIO is capable of using a Hermit Purple-like Stand which allows him to create psychic images, be it on photographs or crystal balls. Due to the connection he has between Jonathan's body and his descendants, DIO is also able to sense the presence of other Joestars and can use this to track their position. He is even able to tell when Joseph uses Hermit Purple to take a psychic photograph of him, and instinctively knew that his acquisition of a Stand also awoke Stand abilities in Jonathan's descendants. Becoming a Vampire as a young adult, Dio displays a broad range of fantastic, supernatural abilities; explained as expressions of the full, unbound potential of the human body.
Intelligence: Dio is naturally intelligent, displaying cunning and perceptiveness as well as imagination repeatedly. As a child and teenager, Dio Brando managed to achieve academic excellence with ease, having planned to graduate from university as a top law student.
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Otherwise Dio is a cunning villain and proficient tactician in combat. Dio almost managed to get away with two murders, bidding his time in order to have a perfect alibi and was only discovered by accident. Upon his return from the bottom of the ocean, DIO built in six years a powerful criminal empire spanning over several continents and which brought him many riches. In a fight, Dio is particularly cunning and perceptive, his ruthlessness making him able to exploit dishonorable and downright inhuman tactics to get ahead, such as leading his enemies into a trap, using hapless civilians as projectiles and sources of energy, or plain sneak attacks.
Dio has the habit of analyzing his opponents and determine quickly a counter to their strengths, such as freezing blood in order to stop the flow of the Ripple, or forcing Jotaro's bluff by throwing multiple knives from all direction so that he's forced to act during the stopped time. Naturally ambitious, Dio constantly seeks to improve himself and meticulously studies his abilities to make the most of them.
As such, he developed a freezing power akin to the Pillar Men 's Modes in just a month, and in six years, discovered enough about Stands to be able to fuse several together with souls in order to create the ultimate Stand.
Arguably his most successful move, Dio experimented on how his vampiric powers allowed him to fuse two organisms together, and used that knowledge to steal Jonathan's body. Though he doesn't show it often, Dio has become a natural philosopher, arguing about the human condition with multiple people. Toughness: All prior to becoming a Vampire, Dio was already an able bare-handed fighter; A skill he says he developed in the slums of London. A good amateur sportsman, during a rugby game as a young adult, he is shown to have developed high athletic ability as well as fantastic muscle mass.
Charisma: Dio is a cunning and charming individual.