This trope is the result of the TRS
of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
Crowner for title here
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.
Anime & 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.
- Winnowilll in ElfQuest 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.
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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.
- A major theme in Bioshock, where the two Big Bad during the backstory change from rude ruler to the people they hate most (in the first, an objectivist became first a dictator, then a totalitarian dictator, in the second, an Altruist became more and more selfish and end up sacrificing everything to save herself). The Aesop here is the danger of fanaticism.
- 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.
- Kefka from Final Fantasy VI he starts as a Harmless Villain , but finished as a Omnicidal Maniac God Big Bad
- Arthas in Warcraft III is initially a Well-Intentioned Extremist when he decides to kill the citizens of Stratholme who ate infected grain which turns humans into zombies and would soon morph into the undead. After selling his soul to the Lich King in order to make use of the sword called Frostmourne, he kills his father, the king of Lordaeron, destroys the elven capital of Quel'thalas, and aids in the opening of a demonic portal for the Burning Legion.
- 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.