Created By: CaveCat on March 1, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on March 21, 2013
Troped

Yellow Eyes Of Sneakiness

When the whites of the eyes are yellow, that's when the character is sneaky.

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Do We Have This One?? Is This Tropeable?

In fiction, when a character has yellow eyes, mainly the sclera, it usually denotes that a character has a rather unscrupulous nature. Sure signs that a character cannot be trusted or is a bit of a Jerkass.

Historically this is probably inspired by canines, and birds of prey like foxes, some types of wolves, and owls, which can have Amber, yellow, or Orange iris's, and are associated with being conniving, clever, and wise. Also reptiles and toads are sometimes associated with villainy, and can have yellow eyes. Ironically in these animals what you're usually seeing are larger irises which were probably mistaken for a yellow sclera.

In Real Life yellow and brown in the sclera, or the cornea in people is unhealthy. It's usually a symptom of allergies or some kind of disease. Yellow sclera is a typical symptom of jaundice.

Compare: Supernatural Gold Eyes


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • FLCL. Haruko Haruhara has yellow eyes. She slyly manipulates people and hides her true identity, goals and personality throughout the series.
  • Also, Ryuk from Death Note has yellow eyes and technically causes everything in the series because it's fun.

Film
  • Gollum in The Lord of the Rings has yellow eyes. He sneaks around, plotting to get "The Precious" back from the "Thieving Hobbitses".
  • The Great Mouse Detective: The main villain of the movie, Professor Ratigan, has a yellow sclera, and has an Evil Plan to take over a kingdom.
  • The Lion King: The Hyenas and Scar both have yellow scleras, Scar is using the hyenas as minions, that help him perform a coup d'état so he can become the new king.

Literature
  • In Good Omens, the demon Crowley habitually takes the form of a louche and cool young man in his middle twenties, but has to wear sunglasses to conceal his eyes - which are reptilian rather than human, yellow-gold with a vertical slitted pupil. He is a demon - therefore the embodiment of wily, crafty and untrustworthy.

Video Games

Web Comics
  • The entire troll race of Homestuck have yellow sclera. As a whole they are significantly more blood-thirsty than humans, and deceit and murder are a huge part of their lives.

Western Animation
  • Ratty from Mr. Bogus, which is appropriate, befitting his conniving nature.
  • Socrates from Adventures from the Book of Virtues has these, to show that while he may be seem rather sneaky, he is actually shown to have a good heart because of his hidden innocence.
  • Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants, despite having only one eye, would actually also count for this, as he is often scheming to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula.
  • Wile E Coyote from Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes has yellow eyes compared to the Road Runner's ivory white eyes, since he is always coming up with sneaky schemes to catch the Road Runner, although without any success.
  • Tom Cat from MGM's Tom and Jerry has yellow eyes in his early cartoons compared to those of Jerry Mouse, often scheming against the mouse. The yellowness would disappear by the time of the Cinemascope cartoons.
  • The foxes in The Foxbusters have yellow eyes, to denote that they are always scheming to catch the chickens on the farm.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox: In the original book by Roald Dahl, the eyes of Mr. Fox are just black spots on white sclera but in the animated version he actually has irises. The color of Mrs. Fox's eyes is blue, while Mr. Fox has yellow eyes that emphasize his sneaky nature. With a little Fridge Logic involved, this can even turn into a spoiler: Ash Fox struggles to get his father to notice him, while his cousin Kristofferson gets constant praise from Mr. Fox. In the end, Ash manages to save the day rather impressively... and his eyes are the same greenish yellow his father has, whereas Kristofferson has light blue eyes!

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • March 1, 2013
    lexicon
    I'm not sure if this should be two tropes or one but "eyes of a certain color" isn't a good enough title. Black Eyes Of Crazy, Black Eyes Of Evil, Creepy Blue Eyes, Icy Blue Eyes, Innocent Blue Eyes, Occult Blue Eyes, Supernatural Gold Eyes. There needs to be a characteristic there.
  • March 2, 2013
    Arivne

  • March 2, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^^Oh come on, I've given you a good enough characteristic here. I know for a fact that yellow eyes indicate either sneakiness or innocence.
  • March 2, 2013
    CaveCat
    On second thought, maybe I will change it so that it will be that yellow eyes will just signify sneakiness.
  • March 2, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Blaz Blue Hazama/Yuuki Terumi sports these when he actually opens up his eyes. This is one of the signs in Continuum Shift that foreshadows his villainy.
  • March 2, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    I hope the yellow refers to the sclera and not the iris.

    Western Animation
    • Wile E Coyote from Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes has yellow eyes compared to the Road Runner's ivory white eyes.

    • Tom Cat from MGM's Tom And Jerry has yellow eyes in his early cartoons compared to those of Jerry Mouse. The yellowness would disappear by the time of the Cinemascope cartoons.
  • March 2, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Yes, it does refer to the sclera. I'll have to modify the description so that it would include that.
  • March 3, 2013
    artfreak1111
  • March 4, 2013
    lexicon
    Plankton, Wile E Coyote, Tom Cat, and The foxes don't say anything about how the character is sneaky.
  • March 5, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Western Animation
  • March 5, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^^There, I elaborated on the examples you think are Zero Context Examples. What do you think of that now?
  • March 5, 2013
    lexicon
    You sound defensive. "Oh come on" you "know for a fact that yellow eyes indicate," the examples I think have no context? If you don't want me to help I don't have to.
  • March 6, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Sorry, force of habit. I can use your help.
  • March 6, 2013
    lexicon
    Good. The context is better. Wile E Coyote isn't justified because for a Justified Trope there has to be reasons that make it make sense in context. Being sneaky doesn't cause him to have yellow eyes and having yellow eyes doesn't cause him to be sneaky so it doesn't make sense in context.
  • March 6, 2013
    willthiswork
    Not sure if this is a good example or not:

    The entire troll race of Homestuck have yellow sclera. As a whole they are significantly more blood-thirsty than humans, and deceit and murder are a huge part of their lives.
  • March 6, 2013
    MokonaZero
    This image or this could work. I figured he looks suspicious and evil in those two.
  • March 7, 2013
    cygnavamp
    • Gollum in Lord Of The Rings has yellow eyes. He sneaks around, plotting to get "The Precious" back from the "Thieving Hobbitses".

    (Note: I'm going by the movie. I don't recall if the books mentioned his eye color.)
  • March 7, 2013
    lexicon
    A picture would be good but in those his eye is so small it's color is hardly noticeable.
  • March 8, 2013
    AgProv
    literature: in Good Omens, the demon Crowley habitually takes the form of a louche and cool young man in his middle twenties, but has to wear sunglasses to conceal his eyes - which are reptilian rather than human, yellow-gold with a vertical slitted pupil. He is a demon - therefore the embodiment of wily, crafty and untrustworthy.
  • March 8, 2013
    Arivne
    Anime and Manga
    • FLCL. Haruko Haruhara has yellow eyes. She slyly manipulates people and hides her true identity, goals and personality throughout the series.
  • March 10, 2013
    troacctid
    Pretty sure Plankton, Gollum, and Wile E. Coyote are not this trope. And I highly doubt that this trope is going to avoid the pitfalls that we've consistently seen in similar eye color tropes.
  • March 11, 2013
    MokonaZero
    Maybe the description could be a bit longer?

    Edit: Looks better now.

    Also, Ryuk from Death Note has yellow eyes and technically causes everything in the series because it's fun.
  • March 18, 2013
    xanderiskander
    for the description:

    Historically this is probably inspired by canines, and birds of prey like foxes, some types of wolves, and owls, which can have Amber, yellow, or Orange iris's, and are associated with being conniving, clever, and wise. Also reptiles and toads are sometimes associated with villainy, and can have yellow eyes. Ironically in these animals what you're usually seeing are larger irises which were probably mistaken for a yellow sclera.

    In real life yellow and brown in the sclera, or the cornea in people is unhealthy. It's usually a symptom of allergies or some kind of disease.

    Film Animated
    • The Great Mouse Detective: The main villain of the movie, Professor Ratigan, has a yellow sclera, and has an Evil Plan to take over a kingdom.
    • The Lion King: The Hyenas and Scar both have yellow scleras, Scar is using the hyenas as minions, that help him perform a Coup De tat so he can become the new king.

    I'd also change the Laconic to say something like "when the whites of the eyes are yellow" that's when the character is sneaky. So people know that it's different from Super Natural Gold Eyes
  • March 19, 2013
    Arivne
  • March 20, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Added a hat. Fixed coup d'etat. Yellow sclera is a typical symptom of jaundice.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fmtnl740y80gmc1d782infug&trope=YellowEyesOfSneakiness