PassionIsEvil Passion Is Evil YKTTW Discussion

Passion Is Evil
The Dark Side induces rage, lust, terror while The Light Side induces tranquility and passiveness.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-10-14 14:07:11 sponsor: KingZeal (last reply: 2013-01-04 07:37:48)

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Yoda: Anger, fear, aggression...The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. [snip]
Luke: How am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know. When you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defence. Never for attack.

In Speculative Fiction, whenever there are two innate forces at work (usually Good Versus Evil or Order Versus Chaos), the "Light" side (that is, the heroic side) will be transcendent and calm; the "Dark" side (the antagonistic side) will be passionate and impulsive. Rarely are the two inversed, with the good side being the emotional one and the evil side being the indifferent.

Related to Villains Act, Heroes React, although that particular trope is more about how the events of the story are motivated by the villain's actions. Also, do not confuse with Ambition Is Evil, in which you can tell the good guys from the bad guys because the bad guys are the one who want to change the Status Quo. This trope is specifically about when there are two metaphysical forces in opposition and one of them motivates through passion and emotion and the other through peace and enlightenment.

Tends to be a common trait for a Strawman Emotional. May invoke a Superpowered Evil Side and, inversely, a Helpless Good Side.

Compare Emotions vs. Stoicism and Harmony Vs Discipline.


  • Star Wars, of course. The Light and Dark sides of the force tend to play this trope completely straight, although how true this plays out is a case of Depending on the Writer. According to several sources (including George Lucas himself), the Light Side is not merely dull apathy and cold indifference; it's supposed to be all positive synergy and symbiosis that makes the galaxy a better place. Things like love, romance, friendship, and peaceful ambitions are supposed to embody the Light Side just as much as hatred, lust, competition, and violence embody the Dark. This is not how it plays out, normally.
  • Vulcans in Star Trek definitely believe this. Their race happens to have vast emotions which they must completely clamp down, lest they all become raging psychotics.

Anime & Manga
  • Gurren Lagann inverts this. The villains are stoic and depressed. The heroes are Hot-Blooded. That is a very understated way of saying it.

  • X-Men: This is the explanation for Dark Phoenix--the result of the Hellfire Club feeding decadent and hedonistic desires to the Phoenix Force.
  • A frequent theme in the Green Lantern mythos. Especially when the Guardians became despotic and started condemning emotions and the other Lantern Corps turned up as Foils. Essentially, the Green Lanterns are in the "center" of the light spectrum (Willpower) and so they're the most stoic. Red Lanterns and Star Sapphires represent Rage and Love, specifically, and since their colors are on the far ends, their emotions control them.

  • In many religions, Angels, or an equivalent good side, embody purity and self-restraint, while Demons, or equivalent evil side, embody sexual, violent, and greedy desires.

Tabletop Games

  • In the Street Fighter universe, the Dark Hadou (or Satsui no Hadou in original Japanese) is the surge of violent emotion that drives the nameless martial art used by Ryu, Ken, Akuma, Dan and Gouken. The more fiercely and passionately one fights, the easier it is to become lost to the Satsui no Hadou. According to some sources, merely attempting to use the Raging Demon (Shun Goku Satsu) forever alters the personality of the user and drives them insane. Akuma is the first and only known person to use it and remain some lucidity (although not completely unchanged).
    "We're more alike than I'd like to admit."
  • In the EverQuest series, each god rules over a different physical or emotional domain, and all are clearly defined as Good, Evil, or Neutral. Among the evil gods are Cazic Thule and his daughter Terris Thule, who controls fear and nightmares, and Tholux Paells, the Demi-god of Lust. Among the good gods are Erollisi Marr is the goddess of Love and Quellious the god of Peace and Tranquility. An interesting note is that the extremely evil Rallos Zek, god of War, created Sullon Zek, Demi-goddess of rage and anger. Sullon herself and her domain are considered neutral.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, you have deities called the Aedra and Daedra. The Aedra represent aspects such as Time, Life, Beauty, Commerce and Air--all natural things which have little to do with emotions. The Daedra, however, represent things like Deceit, Desires, Knowledge, Competition, The Spurned, Ambition, Manipulation, Madness, Domination, etc--or things sparked or perpetuated by emotions.
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