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?
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
Anime & Manga
- 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.
- 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.