In stories, the presence and absence of compassion reveals the inner nature of both the (un)compassionate and the object of their compassion. Characters who lack of compassion have No Sympathy
for others, and tend think It's All About Me
instead. Those who show compassion are usually The Heart
of a group, though again, since compassion is born from sympathy, anyone
is capable of demonstrating it. On the flip side, characters who are met with only callousness, bullying
are pushed to extremes which can manifest as turning to villainy... or forgiving their accusers of their ignorance and trying to change their minds through heroism.
Showing a villain or mook Compassion can induce a Heel-Face Turn
as they find someone willing to look past appearance/sins and see someone worth caring for... or it can backfire horribly like the parable of The Farmer and the Viper
, proving that you should Pay Evil unto Evil
. Heroes with bad PR (or Anti Heroes
in general) may change their mind about helping the Adventure Town
full of hostile locals if it has a single Good Samaritan
willing to help them when they're down.
The power of compassion is a lot like The Power of Love
; a compassionate character can reach another who is considered too far gone to help and bring them peace through a well articulated speech and Cooldown Hug
. The speech is usually focused on what they got the least of, such as You Are Not Alone
for the Loner
, or You Are Better Than You Think You Are
to the downtrodden. Even villains are capable of compassion
, and may gain the undying loyalty of minions
See also Did You Think I Can't Feel?
, Video Game Caring Potential
and Cry for the Devil
. Contrast No Sympathy
. Compare Pitying Perversion
Film - Animated
- In How to Train Your Dragon, Hickup's act of compassion when sparing Toothless (who he realized was just as frightened as he was) led to a growing understanding of dragon nature leads to sympathy and finally compassion, he wants to protect them not just from his fellow Vikings but also the huge green dragon that controls the smaller dragons.
- The main message of ParaNorman is one of overcoming fear and showing compassion. Because of his unique viewpoint (being able to talk to ghosts, treated as an outsider) he manages to save the day by realizing the zombies are just as much victims as Agatha, and sets out to help both groups rather than simply keep the cycle of putting Agatha asleep for a year.