Created By: VioletOrangeOctober 9, 2011 Last Edited By: VioletOrangeJanuary 21, 2012
Troped

Slippery Slope Of Evil

someone slowly becomes more evil during the show's progress

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Trope
This trope is the result of the TRS of Jumping Off The Slippery Slope

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Crowner for title here
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A recurring scenario where a character, after making a small evil act in some direction, find himself becoming more and more evil, very often far more than he originally planned or intended.

Sometimes you can see what you want just beyond your reach, you don't have to jump off the slope and its not all that steep anyway, just a few steps on The Dark Side and you'll have it. Yet what was just a short walk in one direction, is not so easily travelled in reverse. Even if you turn back immediately afterwards, you find yourself slipping backwards faster than you can climb your way up! Eventually you may tire of fighting it and just let yourself continue to slide unhindered, or even worse; choosing to embrace the inevitable and turn your footsteps in the direction of your momentum.

This can be done for different purposes:

For obvious reason, almost mandatory in Start Of Darkness stories. See Moral Event Horizon for when someone commits an act so heinous and unforgivable that he is now unquestionably evil. See also Had To Come To Prison To Be A Crook, which is when one of the reasons for falling is spending time in jail, and This Is Your Brain On Evil, for when performing evil act is akin to drug intoxication, and thus very likely to provoke this trope. Do not confuse with Jumping Off The Slippery Slope, which is when someone on the same of the side of the heroes but on a morally gray path commit an evil act to prove the rightness of the heroes path.

Supertrope of He Who Fights Monsters, where fighting monster cause the downfall.

Examples:

Anime And Manga
  • Death Note: Yagami Light begins using the supernatural notebook to rid society of criminals, but soon his black list expands to include anyone who stands in his way for any reason, starting with the FBI. Along the way, he coolly manipulates the feelings of both people and shinigami. Repeatedly stating that he plans to become the god of the new world he is trying to create doesn't help matters, either.
    • For that matter, Mikami Teru uses the notebook to eliminate minor and reformed criminals.
    • Declaring that he will eventually execute people for being lazy implies that Light has done away with the slippery slope completely and simply jumped off the metaphorical deep end.
  • Lelouch and Susaku in Code Geass becomes more and more radical during the show's progress, although their goal were noble.
  • Sasuke of Naruto didn't just slide down the slippery slope, he grabbed a sled on the way to the edge so he could get down faster. First, he betrayed the village by joining Orochimaru just so he could get strong enough to kill Itachi. He at least had some qualms about killing at this point. Later on, after killing Itachi, he learns that Itachi massacred their clan under orders from four of the higher ups (one of which was against it but overruled) in order to stop a civil war that could develop into a world war. Naturally, Sasuke decides that the entire village has to die because of this. By the time he reaches Konoha, he is not above cold-blooded murder of even his allies just to accomplish his goals.
    • Ridiculously enough, he gets worse! Regardless of his statements of genocide, he at the very least tried to protect and save the friends that helped him on his revenge quest. Now, he's (completely out of nowhere) gotten to the point that anyone who so much as inconveniences him or his goal even slightly must die. Karin, who not 50 chapters ago he risked his life for, got caught and held hostage by Danzo, so what does he do? He spears them both instantly without a second thought. What's this, Karin didn't die? He tries to finish the job. What, Sakura, Naruto and Kakashi are here? Might as well try to kill them too.

Comics
  • Winnowilll in Elf Quest is initially at least reluctant to kill to further her ends. Ironically, her descent into cold-blooded murderess seems to be at least partially due to a botched mind-healing attempt by Leetah.

Film
  • Michael Corleone in TheGodfather.
  • Anakin started to feel doubt and hatred in Star Wars Attack Of The Clones, killing an entire population resposible for killing his mother (regardless of individual involvement). If not that then Sidious manipulating him into killing Dooku probably marks the pivot, and the children's slaughter the end of the slope.
  • Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3 slides very slowly. First, he combs his hair differently, then he refused to pay his rent to his landlord until his door is fixed, and after that he finally perform evil acts, such as manipulating people and punching them (accidentally).
  • Steve in The Ides Of March goes from idealism to cynicism and worse.

Literature
  • In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, this trope in a nutshell is the Backstory of the Big Bad, the Sitha prince Ineluki. Once a purely heroic figure, his ambition and willpower darkened when the Sithi's lands were invaded by savage humans. Dismayed by his people's despair in the face of their approaching doom, he delved into Things Man Was Not Meant To Know and constructed a weapon so terrible that his father the king insisted he destroy it. Maddened by this rejection and by his torments, Ineluki murdered his father and took the crown, leading a final, futile resistance against the humans that ended in his death via Dangerous Forbidden Technique. He is at the start of the story the Big Bad and an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Conall Haldane in the Deryni novels The King's Justice and The Quest for Saint Camber goes from merely being a Royal Brat and Sore Loser to committing murder and treason. He says as much at his trial: "I didn't start out to betray you, Kelson," he sobbed, "but things--happened. It wasn't fair!"

Live-Action TV
  • In Merlin, Morgana has a long-term one of these over the course of the second and third series. Of course, this is usually conveniently forgotten about when she is not directly the antagonist of each plot of the week.
  • Lex Luthor has this happen to him over the course of Smallville going from close friend of Clark's and genuinely good guy to evil villain over the course of the series.
  • Gul Dukat on Star Trek Deep Space Nine was always a nasty authoritarian, but in early seasons would help the good guys on a pragmatic basis. After the Dominion War started, he aligned Cardassia with the Founders. When that didn't work, he became a full-on Omnicidal Maniac.
  • The whole point of Breaking Bad. Walter White starts as a chemistry teacher who gets cancer, so he begins to make meth as a way to leave money for his family. Then, his actions become not only much less justified, but also he goes on to kill and begins some big schemes.
  • Jimmy Darmody from Boardwalk Empire has a conversation with his wife in the second season about how every time he draws a line in the sand, he winds up having to cross it to be a successful gangster. This eventually results in him doing all sorts of things he never thought he'd do, and that other people are horrified by, including ordering the assassination of his father figure Nucky.

Western Animation

Video Games

Webcomics
  • In Book 9, Part V of Schlock Mercenary, General Xinchub is revealed to have gone through one of these:
    Xinchub: I sold my soul a long time ago, believing that I was helping Humanity, and all our Terran cousins. I've done all kinds of atrocious things, and somewhere along the line I started to enjoy them.
    Ceeta: Happy memories?
    Xinchub: Yeah, good times, good times.

WebOriginal
Community Feedback Replies: 72
  • October 9, 2011
    Earnest
    • In the Vampire The Requiem supplement book on the Nosferatu clan, there's a short story from the POV of a girl forced into home schooling and social isolation by her abusive mother. When she grows old enough to start menstruating, the two vampires hiding out in the attic present themselves and make a big deal about how her womanhood isn't shameful like her mother said, but deeply sacred. Over the course of a month she gets treated with kindness and respect by the vampires, fed some of their blood, and disobeys her mother by leaving her room, keeping secrets, and dating the "boy" vampire. While all of these are Poke The Poodle level offenses she nonetheless narrates on how good the misdeeds feel and how she's surely going to hell. The trope is very much enforced by the end, when her mother kills her when confornted on her imprisonment and father's absence. Henry, the boy vampire, turns her, and her very first act is to bloodily and mortally feed on her mother.
  • October 9, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Should I make this in a Tabletop games folder or in a Literature one ?
  • October 10, 2011
    Earnest
    Tabletop, everything but individual novels in the setting usually goes there.
  • October 11, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    • Conall Haldane in the Deryni novels The King's Justice and The Quest for Saint Camber goes from merely being a Royal Brat and Sore Loser to committing murder and treason. He says as much at his trial: "I didn't start out to betray you, Kelson," he sobbed, "but things--happened. It wasn't fair!"
  • October 11, 2011
    jatay3
  • October 11, 2011
    Koveras
    ^ Apparently, a common theme in works about The Mafia.

    • In Mafia: The City of Lost Haven, Tommy starts off trashing a rival family's cars and finishes the game as a stone-cold killer.
  • October 11, 2011
    randomsurfer
    See also Had To Come To Prison To Be A Crook.

    Is the current title a pun, or just a typo?
  • October 12, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Updated. My English is far from perfect, but I think I take the name from someone else. So it can be either. If you were to corrected the title what would you write ? And what is the pun ?
  • October 12, 2011
    GreenMachine
    ...real life? Such is sin... ;)

    Turning to fiction (some more silly than others):
    • Some interpretations of Eversion could feasibly fit here. (I wish I had Brain Bleach for that LP I watched...)
    • Star Wars? (Anakin)
    • That episode of Spongebob Squarepants where he shrinks the whole town? Things just sort of spiral downhill when he commits the initial act of taking Mermaid Man's belt...

    Edit to reply to Terminus Est 13: It could just be a pun off of being sly...I thought it was a bit punny, but you're right that it feels out of place.
  • October 12, 2011
    TerminusEst13
    For the record, the proper spelling is "Slippery", not "Slyppery". Unless you're trying to make a pun off Harry Potter's Slytherin, which I doubt.
  • October 12, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Thanks, mistake corrected. I don't know well enough the examples you provide to know if they are this trope or not, Green Machine. Could you explain them more ?
  • October 12, 2011
    GreenMachine
    • Eversion was just put down as an idea that I now realize doesn't really fit, although some people might interpret it as the player character going to the dark side. (Things start out all happy, but by the end they're downright demonic. The good ending has the player character turning into one of them. There is no exposition other than information relevant to the beginning, so it is really, really open to interpretation. Just look at its [[WMG/Eversion WMG page]]. Like I said, High Octane Nightmare Fuel that will make one want Brain Bleach.
    • Star Wars: To tell the truth, I never watched the movies, but I have learned plenty from various discussions, and I've played the original two Lego Crossover Games. Anakin Skywalker starts out okay, I guess, but he does end up going to the dark side, becoming Darth Vader in the process. The thing is, I don't know just how his journey to evil started, as I haven't watched the movies. Obviously it ended bad, although he eventually turned around in time for the battle with the Emperor in Episode VI (and subsequently died after the fight).
    • Spongebob Squarepants: Hmm...we don't have an episode guide for this? With a show that was as popular as this, you'd think we would have one. Looking it up on iMDb, the episode (half) I was referring to is Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV. This one example could end up qualifying as It Got Worse. I have to go eat supper right now, so I can't say anything more at this time...
  • October 13, 2011
    VioletOrange
    My problem with Star Wars is that from what I heard, there wasn't a slope: Anakin just go from good to evil in one go. Not sure of Spongebob Squarepants, because the synopsis doesn't mention someone doing more and more evil thing, but rather a character doing stupid stuff that may result in jail.
  • October 22, 2011
    VioletOrange
    • Anakin started to feel doubt and hatred in Attack Of The Clones, killing an entire population resposible for killing his mother (regardless of individual involvement). If not that then Sidious manipulating him into killing Dooku probably marks the pivot.
    • Your Mileage May Vary since it's almost always Played For Laughs but the Flanderization of Roger Smith or Peter Griffin into an Evilly Affable Jerkass may count. Roger's Disproportionate Retribution to Steve for taking his cookie was arguably the start of his crueler aspects taking over his role while Peter's probably began with the lighter abuse of Meg in early post cancellation episodes.
  • October 23, 2011
    VioletOrange
    For the person who write the previous post, I am sorry that I accidentally erase your name when I copy your examples.
  • October 23, 2011
    isk2837
    Lex Luthor has this happen to him over the course of Smallville going from close friend of Clark's and genuinely good guy to evil villain over the course of the series.
  • October 23, 2011
    Patworx
    I don't know about the Spongebob example, but what about Mr. Krabs? I think he should be mentioned.
  • October 24, 2011
    TrustBen
    Gul Dukat on Star Trek Deep Space Nine was always a nasty authoritarian, but in early seasons would help the good guys on a pragmatic basis. After the Dominion War started, he aligned Cardassia with the Founders. When that didn't work, he became a full-on Omnicidal Maniac.
  • October 24, 2011
    PacificState
    Te Vampire example is more of a Kick The Son Of A Bitch really. I'm not even sure taking revenge against your lifelong abuser and murderer really counts as Evil.
  • October 24, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Examples added, except for Mr.Krabs because I don't know him. Remove the Vampire The Requiem example, which is too debatable to fit.
  • October 31, 2011
    LeeM
    Winnowilll in Elf Quest is initially at least reluctant to kill to further her ends. Ironically, her descent into cold-blooded murderess seems to be at least partially due to a botched mind-healing attempt by Leetah.
  • November 1, 2011
    GuesssWho
    I feel like we have this.
  • November 1, 2011
    VioletOrange
    I used to think that too, but you are probably thinking of Jumping Off The Slippery Slope which isn't this trope at all. Elf Quest example added.
  • November 3, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    In The Bible, averted in the temptation of Christ scene, because Jesus sees through The Devil's plot and refuses to play along. According to my sunday school teacher at the time, however, the story is also meant to lampshade this trope.
    • The Devil initially tempts Jesus with taking a free loaf of bread, which would violate his fast.
    • Next, Jesus is tempted to defy God by proving his divinity.
    • Finally, Jesus is tempted by power over humanity, which would have compromised his mission.
  • November 5, 2011
    Glixinator
    I added a bit to the description using the metaphorical "slippery slope"
  • November 5, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    The word your looking for in the laconic is 'more evil' not 'eviler.'
  • November 5, 2011
    VioletOrange
    @ Frodo Goofball Co TV,

    The Jesus example doesn't really fit, because Jesus resist every times. It would have been a perfect example if Jesus had accept each time, though. On The Bible, doesn't Salomon or David fall this way ?

    @ Glixinator,

    Good job, I think that the description isn't good enough yet, but this is a step in the good direction. added This Is Your Brain On Evil to the trope description.

    @ Noir Grimoir,

    I correct the laconic, but do not hesitate to modify directly : it's Up For Grab. On that note, I wonder if "of evil" is really necessary : doesn't the slippery slope impression implied it already ?
  • November 6, 2011
    MorganWick
    I think I'd prefer a title like Slow Slippage Into Evil or Slowly Slipping Into Evil. Even though this is why it was TRS'd in the first place, this title reminds me too much of Jumping Off The Slippery Slope.
  • November 6, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Your title's suggestion are better than the original, therefore I add Needs A Better Tittle to the description. I prefer the second one because it sounds more like an action
  • November 6, 2011
    TBTabby
    In Book 9, Part V of Schlock Mercenary, General Xinchub is revealed to have gone through one of these:

    Xinchub: I sold my soul a long time ago, believing that I was helping Humanity, and all our Terran cousins. I've done all kinds of atrocious things, and somewhere along the line I started to enjoy them.
    Ceeta: Happy memories?
    Xinchub: Yeah, good times, good times.
  • November 6, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    The Fan Fic The Return is all about both Ranma and Sailor Moon's slow descent into the warm welcoming embrace of the dark side.

    It seems to be a common theme in fanfic, especially fanfic's written by members of the Spacebattles forum.
  • November 6, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Added example, remove Needs More Examples. They are of course still welcome, but the real problem of this trope now is the description (the beginning isn't good) and title (Which one do you prefer, new suggestion...).
  • November 6, 2011
    Glixinator
    Thanks, I know its just a step in the right direction, but thats what wiki magic is for, using one step in the right direction to inspire the next until it finds its way to a launchable trope.

    On the name issue, I think we need something that clearly defines the difference in pace between this and Jumping Off The Slippery Slope, how about Stepping Onto The Slippery Slope which has Added Alliterative Appeal, gives a clear contrast between a step and a jump, and while stepping onto gives a clear directional indicator, jumping off relies on its association with cliffs and thus brings to mind a much larger fall. The two tropes need to play off of each other in their names, removing the referance to slopes makes it possible to confuse it with the other kind of slippage, and this is still very much a Slippery Slope Trope, which should probably be an Index including both these tropes and the Slippery Slope Fallacy and Reverse Slippery Slope Fallacy which are also related as well as the Freudian Slippery Slope which is unrelated to this but is related to the fallacies, the Semantic Slippery Slope Fallacy subtrope would also belong on such an index. The only confusion then is the existance of a Sugar Wiki page titled Flying Up The Slippery Slope which makes sounds like the inversion of Jumping Off The Slippery Slope, which it evidently is not. No was not aware of these until after I started writing this comment either.
  • November 9, 2011
    VioletOrange
    The index is a good idea. I don't like Stepping Onto The Slippery Slope despite Added Alliterative Appeal because this trope needs multiples steps to count, while Stepping Onto The Slippery Slope implies only one.
  • November 9, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    So, Steps Onto The Slippery Slope instead? Steps plural. Also happens to be a verb tense, as in "he steps".
  • November 10, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Name added to the list : my prefer order is this, but I would like more opinion

    Steps Onto The Slippery Slope, Slowly Slipping Into Evil, Slow Slippage Into Evil, Stepping Onto The Slippery Slope, Slippery Slope Of Evil
  • November 10, 2011
    Damr1990
  • November 12, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Example added
  • November 17, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Perhaps you should set up a title crowner to see which alternative gets the votes?
  • November 19, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Good idea, the crowner is here. Do not hesitate to add other titles. And Code Geass example added
  • November 20, 2011
    Irrisia
    Given the wording of the two tropes, maybe the Naruto example should be moved over to this trope. Sasuke isn't doing anything to prove the heroes are right, he's just out for vengeance. At first it's little more than words, and there's even occasional hints he might be starting to get over it. Then his brother comes back into the picture, and Sasuke decides to head off to Orochimaru for power. After that, it's been pretty much downhill all the way.
  • November 21, 2011
    Trotzky
    IIRC page Quote Good Omens: Crowley was not so much a fallen angel as an angel who had sauntered down-wards.
  • November 21, 2011
    azul120
    I suggest Sliding Down The Slippery Slope, since this seems to be more gradual than Jumping Off The Slippery Slope.
  • November 21, 2011
    VioletOrange
    I added it to the crowner. It would be nice if you could added some pro and con.
  • November 23, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    Perhaps Falling Into The Event Horizon as the title?

    Also, Walter White should be the trope image.
  • November 23, 2011
    Irrisia
    @Trotzky: Assuming you mean the Dramatis Personae page near the beginning, "Crowley (An Angel who not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards)"
  • November 23, 2011
    VioletOrange
    The quote is more an example of Poke The Poodle (Crowley isn't really evil and there isn't a progression in evilness mentionned in the book. I don't know Walter White, but do not hesitate to suggest picture.
  • November 23, 2011
    Pyroninja42
  • November 24, 2011
    VioletOrange
    I am afraid that doesn't work. How are we supposed to know that this man go from good to evil with this picture ?
  • November 24, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    I'm saying that Walter White is essentially the poster boy of this trope.
  • November 24, 2011
    Irrisia
    ^ Yes, but it's a case of Just A Face And A Caption.
  • November 25, 2011
    Shnakepup
    I just noticed the Bioshock example makes no sense, gramatically. You might want to re-write it.
  • November 25, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Is it better ?
  • December 4, 2011
    strontium
    Film example - Steve in The Ides of March
  • December 4, 2011
    strontium
    Also, would Billy in {{Dr Horrible's Sing a Long Blog}} count?
  • December 4, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Added Steve but didn't watch th movie, so a detail explanation would be welcomed. I don't know Billy at all.
  • December 4, 2011
    Irrisia
    Dr Horribles Sing Along Blog - the eponymous character starts off as an ineffectual Anti Villain, maybe with good intentions, but through constant humiliation, losing his love interest to the superhero Captain Hammer, and his own urge to join the Evil League of Evil, he takes a long ride down the evil slope, culminating in the attempted murder of Captain Hammer.

    (Edit: It would go under the Web Original tag, sorry.)
  • December 5, 2011
    VioletOrange
  • December 12, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    I don't think it exactly fits, but it works until we find a better quotation.
  • December 12, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    Also, I think there should be an addendum to the description, because He Who Fights Monsters works as a Sister Trope.
  • December 13, 2011
    VioletOrange
    It's more a supertrope of He Who Fights Monsters, no ?
  • December 18, 2011
    Loquacia
    In Merlin, Morgana has a long-term one of these over the course of the second and third series. Of course, this is usually conveniently forgotten about when she is not directly the antagonist of each plot of the week.
  • December 20, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Example added, but it would be better if you explain how she slipped.
  • December 20, 2011
    dimpwnc
    azul120's "Sliding down the slippery slope" seems perfect.
  • December 21, 2011
    VioletOrange
    It is an option in the crowner. Feel free to suggest new pros and cons for each option of the crowner.
  • December 27, 2011
    TheWanderer
    • Jimmy Darmody from Boardwalk Empire has a conversation with his wife in the second season about how every time he draws a line in the sand, he winds up having to cross it to be a successful gangster. This eventually results in him doing all sorts of things he never thought he'd do, and that other people are horrified by, including ordering the assassination of his father figure Nucky.
  • December 28, 2011
    VioletOrange
    Example added. About the titles, should I make the almost winner as alternative title ?
  • December 30, 2011
    level10peon
    Video Games
  • January 1, 2012
    scatterclubs
    This was averted in the second season of Community, when Pierce's exclusion caused him to act out against the group in increasingly drastic ways, only to have him return in the next season as a more highly-evolved Pierce Hawthorne after his "enlightful" Summer.
  • January 1, 2012
    Ghilz
    ^^^ Sure
  • January 7, 2012
    VioletOrange
    I will launch this in two days
  • January 21, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    this was launched?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable