[[quoteright:281:[[{{Webcomic/Freefall}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Freefall_Cynicism_3241.JPG]]]]
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->''We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,\\
We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,\\
And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.\\
God help us, for we knew the worst too young!''
-->-- '''Creator/RudyardKipling''', "Gentleman-Rankers"

A few clues as to which end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism you are -- or the characters think they are.

Compare DespairTropes. Contrast IdealismTropes.
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!!Tropes
[[index]]
* AccentuateTheNegative: There's nothing good about anything.
* AdultsAreUseless: Adults don't hardly help children with their issues.
* AllForNothing
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Everyone hates you.
* AmericanDream: Flavor 2
* AMindIsATerribleThingToRead
* AnarchyIsChaos
* AntiHero: Heroes are not always clearly good.
** NinetiesAntiHero
* AtLeastIAdmitIt: Being open about your flaws doesn't make you a bad person, and let's leave it at that.
* AwfulWeddedLife
* TheBadGuyWins: Good doesn't triumph.
** PyrrhicVillainy: Villains have standards for their own personal gain.
* TheBarnum
* BeautyIsBad: Very attractive characters are usually evil or mean.
* BeingGoodSucks: Doing the right thing is a terrible fate.
* BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: Believing in something that cannot be proven can make us do stupid things.
* BewareTheHonestOnes
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Nice people have their limits.
* BewareTheSuperman: When a superhero becomes a tyrant.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: That person isn't as nice as you thought.
* BittersweetEnding: Where an ending is mixed with happiness and sadness.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: There are no good guys.
* BlessedWithSuck
* BlindObedience
* BreakTheCutie: Put a happy and cheerful person through hell.
* {{Bridezilla}}
* BrutalHonesty: The truth is not pleasant for you to hear.
* BystanderSyndrome: No one will bother to help you when you're in trouble.
* TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong: Being yourself is wrong.
* CompleteMonster: Violently vile beyond redemption. The only cure to this filth of humanity is a bullet in the head.
* ConspiracyTheorist
* CorruptBureaucrat
* CorruptChurch: The church isn't all that {{saintly|Church}}.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive
* CorruptPolitician
* CorruptTheCutie
* CosmicHorrorStory
* CrapsackWorld: The world is a terrible place.
* CycleOfRevenge: The world is filled with vengeful people.
* TheCynic: The one with a negative view on the world.
* CynicalMentor: I'm mentoring you, but I could give a crap about if you succeed.
* CynicismCatalyst: A traumatic event makes a character more cynical than before.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Turn a LighterAndSofter program into something dark and more "adult".
* DarknessInducedAudienceApathy: I'm rooting for none of these guys. (Often caused by excess cynicism)
* DarkShepherd: Keeping the sheep to the straight and narrow through vicious threats.
* DespairEventHorizon: What's the use of it? I give up!
* DespairSpeech
* DestructiveRomance
* DeusAngstMachina
* DidNotGetTheGirl
* DirtyCoward
* {{Dismotivation}}: I don't have to change the status quo.
* TheDitherer: I just can't make a decision.
* DoggedNiceGuy: Can also be an idealism trope, DependingOnTheWriter
* DoomedMoralVictor: Can be played more idealistically for a BittersweetEnding
* DoUntoOthersBeforeTheyDoUntoUs
* DownerEnding: No happy ending.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: No one will show you any gratitude for your good deeds.
* EatTheRich
* EtTuBrute: Your loved ones will abandon you.
* EvilFeelsGood: Doing malevolent acts makes you feel good.
* EvilIsEasy: Forget what good has in stored for you, evil has something far more convenient.
* EvilStoleMyFaith
* EvilVersusEvil: Villains are fighting each other.
* ExtremeDoormat: Willing to have others step over them.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: We're all bound to failure.
* FalseUtopia
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop
* TheFarmerAndTheViper: Good deeds are repaid with evil.
* TheFatalist: There's no point in fighting your fate.
* FlatEarthAtheist: Deny the existence of an almighty deity.
* FeetOfClay
* ForgivenButNotForgotten: Forgiveness doesn't mean I will get over what you've done.
* FranchiseZombie: When ExecutiveMeddling causes a series that should have ended well go wrong.
* GetAHoldOfYourselfMan: A rather physical and harsh method in getting people out of their cynicism.
* GodIsEvil: The supreme deity is a monster.
* GodIsFlawed: The supreme deity isn't perfect.
* GoodCannotComprehendEvil: Good people can't understand why people are evil.
* GoodIsDumb
* GoodIsOldFashioned: Idealism is yesterday's news.
* GoodIsNotNice: Goodness is not about sweetness and light.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: There are no good people or evil people.
* GrayingMorality: The heroes become less idealistic.
* GrowingUpSucks: Life will suck when we grow older.
* GrumpyBear: In a idealistic setting, you will see someone who isn't.
* HappyEndingOverride
* HappyMarriageCharade
* HatesTheJobLovesTheLimelight
* HeadbuttingHeroes: Not all heroes get along.
* HenpeckedHusband
* HereThereWereDragons
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Fighting off villains will make you become one.
* HobbesWasRight: Ruling through fear always works.
* HollywoodHypeMachine
* HopeIsScary (Played straight mostly by cynical characters in idealistic worlds; invoked by cynical characters in cynical worlds.)
* HumanityIsInsane
* HumansAreBastards: People are cruel and evil.
* HumansAreMorons: People are incompetent.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: While other species are morally superior.
* HumansKillWantonly
* IgnoranceIsBliss
* IneffectualLoner: I don't need friends. I'm better off doing things by myself.
* InYourNatureToDestroyYourselves
* ItGetsEasier
* ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne: Being the world's savior is not fun.
* JadeColoredGlasses: Put these on.
* JerkJustifications (Type 1 version): To get ahead in this CrapsackWorld, you must be an asshole.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: There is goodness in that person.
* JerkWithAHeartOfJerk: There is goodness in that person. NOT!
* KarmaHoudini: Justice is not served.
* KickTheDog: People doing cruel and insensitive things to show how rotten they are.
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: Attacking people who are unable to fight back.
* KidsAreCruel: Children aren't nice and good-mannered.
* KillThePoor
* KnightInSourArmor: Doing the right thing while being a cynic.
* KnightTemplar (when idealism goes terribly wrong)
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: You just got to quit trying.
* LackOfEmpathy: I have no feelings for you.
* LifeIsntFair: Telling everyone that life isn't as great as expected, usually in a cruel tone.
* LonersAreFreaks: Being alone is bad.
* LosingTheTeamSpirit
* LoveHurts: Falling in love will lead you to get hurt.
* LoveIsAWeakness: Love makes you weak.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Falling in love will cost your sanity.
* LoveMakesYouDumb: Falling in love will cost your intelligence.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: Falling in love will cost your own humanity.
* LoveMakesYouUncreative: Falling in love will cost your artistry.
* LowerClassLout: Lower-class people are scums.
* LowestCommonDenominator
* LuddWasRight
* MaddenIntoMisanthropy
* MadeOutToBeAJerkass: Calling out a jerk will make you one.
* MediationBackfire: Bringing peace on both sides will cause them to attack you.
* MerchandiseDriven
* MightMakesRight: Force will get things done.
* MisanthropeSupreme: A human who hates humanity.
* MusicIsPolitics
* NayTheist: Doesn't like the concept of gods, even if they might be real.
* NeverMyFault: A cynic will blame others for their own shortcomings.
* NewEraSpeech
* NiceGuysFinishLast: Women only love mean and aggressive men and vice versa.
* NoAccountingForTaste: Marriage isn't ideal.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Doing the right thing will get you punished.
* NominalHero, also known as "Hero" In Name Only
* NoSympathy: No one cares what you're going through.
* NotYourProblem: What you idealists are doing shouldn't be your problem.
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions (Note that this can also be an idealism trope, depending on the context)
* PathOfInspiration
* PayEvilUntoEvil: An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. {{Revenge}} is good.
* PeerPressureMakesYouEvil
* PoliceAreUseless
* PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad
* PostPeakOil
* ThePowerOfHate: To hell with ThePowerOfLove. Hatred empowers me!
* PragmaticHero: Getting their hands dirty even if they hold themselves in a strict moral code.
* ThePromisedLand (Also an idealism trope as well.)
* QuitYourWhining
* {{Realpolitik}}: A country has to be ruthless, manipulative bastards.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: "You are completely worthless!"
* RedemptionEqualsAffliction: Convert and you will suffer.
* ReformedButRejected: No one will trust or forgive you even if you've changed.
** HeelFaceDoorSlam: You want to change your ways? You're too late!
* RejectedApology: No one will accept your apology.
* ReligionIsWrong
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized
* SafetyInIndifference: My indifference will protect me from getting hurt.
* SarcasticClapping
* ScienceIsBad
* ScienceIsWrong
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny
* SenselessSacrifice
* SexChangesEverything
* SexIsEvil
* ShootTheDog: Doing morally questionable acts because it has to be done.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: The hero's efforts are rendered pointless and/or they die.
* SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids: Who cares about that idealistic garbage? I grew up.
* SillyRabbitRomanceIsForKids: I grew up from that lovey-dovey nonsense.
* SourSupporter: Works for a group of allies, but is doubtful.
* StarCrossedLovers
* StarterMarriage
* StoppedCaring: Nothing matters to me anymore, and...whatever.
* StrawNihilist: Everything in life is meaningless.
* SuicideDare: Why dont you kill yourself?
* TakingAdvantageOfGenerosity: People will take others' kindness for granted.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork: Teamwork doesn't mean everyone gets along.
* ThenLetMeBeEvil: If people are gonna treat me like the bad guy, then so be it.
* ThereAreNoGoodExecutives: All executives are rotten to the core.
* TookALevelInCynic: An optimistic character learns to be less trusting, generous, and caring, usually due to a betrayal.
* ToxicFriendInfluence
* {{Tragedy}}
* TrueArtIsAngsty
* TrueLoveIsBoring
* UpperClassTwit
* UnscrupulousHero
* VictoryIsBoring: I won the battle. Now what to do next?
* ViewersAreGoldfish
* ViewersAreMorons
* ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption
* ViolenceReallyIsTheAnswer
* VirginityMakesYouStupid
* VirtueIsWeakness: Compassion, kindness, generosity, or any other moral virtue are for sissies.
* {{Wangst}}: The minor issues of life are worth ranting about.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Utopia justifies the means, right? Even if it is achieved by questionable means.
* WeUsedToBeFriends: Friendships don't last long.
* WideEyedIdealist (as opposed to the [[TheIdealist more intelligent version]])
* WithFriendsLikeThese: You call these people friends? They're like my arch enemies!
* WorkingClassPeopleAreMorons
* WorldOfSnark: The world is full of sarcastic people.
* WretchedHive
* YankTheDogsChain
* YouCantGoHomeAgain
[[/index]]
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