Created By: scrambles on October 3, 2011 Last Edited By: scrambles on October 8, 2011

Riches to Rags

It\\\'s the exact opposite of that touching story of the hard working peasant who eventually makes it big.

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We're all familiar with the story of the young man or woman with absolutely nothing who worked hard to make enough money to open that business, and now have it all. The overall tale behind Bill Gates' rise to multi-billionaire is one of these; he started building computers in his garage, and now has one of the largest computer empires in the world.

This trope is the exact opposite of that; it's the story of someone who used to have everything, and now finds themselves with nothing.

If the character is from the most blue in hue of bloods, they may be an Impoverished Patrician. If the character continues on as they did when they were rich, they may be a Princess in Rags. If the character stops being an Alpha Bitch and is revealed to be insecure or to have other sympathetic traits that make the audience like her, this might be a Fallen Princess.

  • Emperor Kusko in The Emperor's New Groove
  • The Prince in the fairy Tale of the Prince and the Pauper
  • Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when her father loses all his money.
  • Zander Crews in the opening episodes of the second season of Frisky Dingo - he's gone from the head of a company with billions of dollars to living in a refrigerator box.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • October 3, 2011
  • October 3, 2011


  • October 3, 2011
    The Simpsons: when Homer's visits his Long Lost Brother Herb, who is the head of a Detroit car company, Homer ruins Herb by designing a terrible car.
  • October 3, 2011
    ^ A later episode has him regain his fortune (with the help of an investment from Homer).
  • October 3, 2011
    • The movie Maid To Order explores this with a spoiled rich girl stripped of her wealth and identity by a Fairy Godmother, forced to work as a maid in a rich household and learn the value of something.
  • October 3, 2011
    Several Scrooge Mc Duck What If stories have used this trope.
  • October 3, 2011
    • Sister Carrie: Over the course of the novel, the rich and socially elite George W. Hurstwood gradually loses his status, his money, falls into gambling, and finally becomes homeless and commits suicide.
  • October 5, 2011
    • Mike Tyson had earned over $300 million during his career as a boxer but had to file for bankruptcy, thanks to his colourful variety of debts including $13.4 million to the IRS and a $9 million divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Monica Turner. From 1995 to 1997, he spent $9 million in legal fees, $230,000 on pagers and cellphones, and $410,000 on a birthday party. In June 2002, he owed $8,100 to care for his tigers and $65,000 for limos.
  • October 7, 2011
    • Caroline on Two Broke Girls is the daughter of a Bernie Maddoff Expy. She used to live in a mansion, have fancy clothes and owned a horse. At the start of the series she has no money and is homeless.
  • October 8, 2011
    • The Boondocks episode "Bitches to Rags" is all about Thugnificent going through this.