[[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.
* ADegreeInUseless: A college degree, particularly in certain subjects, won't help you lead a better life; you'd be better off just sticking with that fast-food job you had in high school.
* AdultsAreUseless: Adults hardly help children with their issues.
* AllForNothing
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Everyone hates you [[IrrationalHatred for no justifiable reason]].
* AmericanDream: Flavor 2
* AMindIsATerribleThingToRead
* AnarchyIsChaos
* AntiEscapismAesop: Escaping reality because your reality is painful is weak, immature and pathetic. (Though this can also be an idealism trope DependingOnTheWriter).
* AntiHero: Heroes are not always clearly good.
** NinetiesAntiHero
* AntiVillain: Sometimes people that are considered evil are opposed to society [[EvenEvilHasStandards for a]] [[WellIntentionedExtremist good reasons]] and those in power are just [[DesignatedVillain labelling said person as evil]] [[EvilerThanThou to hide their own motives]] from the public.
* AssholeVictim: Bad person becomes the victim of a crime. Because he was bad, no one cares.
* AtLeastIAdmitIt: Being open about your flaws doesn't make you a bad person, and let's leave it at that.
* AwfulWeddedLife: Marriage wasn't all it was cracked up to be, was it?
* TheBadGuyWins: Sometimes good doesn't triumph.
** PyrrhicVillainy: Villains have standards for their own personal gain.
* TheBarnum: [[BeamMeUpScotty There's a sucker born every minute]].
* 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.
* 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.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: There may be a clear distinction between good and evil, but evil is evil, and it exists.
* BlackAndWhiteInsanity: Real-life society is not as clear cut as we would like it to be, therefore don't expect everyone [[IncorruptiblePurePureness to meet your definition of good]] and refuse to adapt to the way that society exists and turn into an [[KnightTemplar Ideological Extremism]].
* BlessedWithSuck: Maybe that curse ''will'' come in handy.
* BlindObedience: Doing whatever you're told, no matter what the intent of the one ordering.
* BreadAndCircuses: Fun for the LowestCommonDenominator!
* BreakTheCutie: Put a happy and cheerful person through hell.
* {{Bridezilla}}
* BrutalHonesty: Being honest means being an asshole, apparently.
* 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: Some nebulous conspiracy must be behind this, I swear!
* CorruptBureaucrat
* CorruptChurch: The church isn't all that {{saintly|Church}}.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive
* CorruptPolitician
* CorruptTheCutie
* CorruptQuartermaster
* CosmicHorrorStory
* CrapsackWorld: The world is a terrible, shitty place. No one wants to be here.
* 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 don't give a crap if you succeed or not.
* CynicismCatalyst: A traumatic event makes a character more cynical than before.
* DarkShepherd: Keeping the sheep to the straight and narrow through vicious threats.
* 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)
* DesignatedHero: (when used in-universe) We're the good guys because [[MightMakesRight the powers that be said so]].
* DesignatedVillain: (when used in-universe) [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything You people]] are the bad guys because your goals are an inconvenience to those in authority.
* DespairEventHorizon: What's the use of it? I give up!
* DespairSpeech
* DestructiveRomance
* DeusAngstMachina
* DirtyCoward: When there's danger, I'm willing to harm others to save myself.
* DislikesTheNewGuy: No new friends.
* {{Dismotivation}}: I don't want to change the status quo.
* DisproportionateRetribution
* DoggedNiceGuy: Can also be an idealism trope, DependingOnTheWriter.
* DoomedDefeatist: If you're a defeatist, you'll die.
* DoomedMoralVictor: Can be played more idealistically for a BittersweetEnding.
* DoUntoOthersBeforeTheyDoUntoUs
* DownerBeginning: A bad start causes half the failure.
* DownerEnding: No happy ending.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: No one will show you any gratitude for your good deeds.
* {{Eagleland}} (Type 2 version): America is a wretched society.
* 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.
* FairWeatherFriend: Where are they when you really need them?
* FalseUtopia
* 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: Just because I've forgiven you doesn't mean I will get over what you've done.
* FranchiseZombie: When ExecutiveMeddling causes a series that should have ended well to go wrong.
* 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: Good people are just naive idiots.
* GoodIsOldFashioned: Idealism is yesterday's news.
* GoodIsNotNice: Goodness is not about sweetness and light.
* GoodNeedsEvil: The complete elimination of deviance (e.g. evil) would end up making those whose jobs it is to enforce society's norms (e.g. good) obsolete.
* 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
* ICanLiveWithThat (Type 1): Willing to accept a negative situation.
* IgnoranceIsBliss
* InYourNatureToDestroyYourselves
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: Oh, you [[HumansAreSpecial Humans think you are so special]]? You're not. Deal with it.
* ItGetsEasier
* ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne: Being the world's savior is not fun.
* JadeColoredGlasses: Put these on.
* {{Jerkass}}: That person is an asshole.
* JerkJustifications (Type 1 version): To get ahead in this CrapsackWorld, you must be an asshole.
* 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: Having no feelings for other people.
* LifeIsntFair: Telling everyone that life isn't as great as expected, usually in a cruel tone.
* LightIsNotGood: The traditionally [[DesignatedHero "Good" forces]] aren't that benevolent.
* ALighterShadeOfGrey: The closest thing to "good guys" in this setting.
* LonersAreFreaks: Being a loner will get you the reputation of a sociopath or just a weird loser.
* LosingTheTeamSpirit
* LoveHurts: Falling in love will lead you getting hurt.
* LoveIsAWeakness: Falling in 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.
* NoHonorAmongThieves: "Every man for himself."
* NominalHero, also known as "Hero" In Name Only
* NoSympathy: I don't care 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)
* PacifismBackfire: When choosing nonviolence way ends up creating more problems.
* PathOfInspiration
* PayEvilUntoEvil: An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. {{Revenge}} is good.
* PeerPressureMakesYouEvil
* PoliceAreUseless
* PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad
* PostHistoricalTrauma
* 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.)
* PureIsNotGood: Trying to be IncorruptiblePurePureness will turn you into a distant, inhuman, and utterly unsympathetic person at the mildest and a [[KnightTemplar fanatical extremist]] at worst.
* 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: That HeroicSacrifice was in vain.
* SexIsEvil: [[SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny Enough said.]]
* 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.
* StrawHypocrite: We sure fooled those idiots [[ScamReligion into believing they are serving a good cause]].
* StrawNihilist: Everything in life is meaningless.
* SuicideDare: Telling people to kill themselves.
* 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
* TrueArtIsAngsty
* TrueLoveIsBoring
* UpperClassTwit
* UnscrupulousHero: A morally abhorrent hero who fights off villains worse than them.
* VictoryIsBoring: I won the battle. Now what?
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: You think people play video games to be heroes? Nah.
* ViewersAreGoldfish
* ViewersAreMorons
* ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption: Don't want to truce? I'll kick your ass then.
* ViolenceReallyIsTheAnswer: Fuck pacifism! I want to kick your ass.
* VirginityMakesYouStupid
* VirtueIsWeakness: Compassion, kindness, generosity, or any other moral virtue are for sissies.
* {{Wangst}}: The minor issues of life are worth ranting about.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans, right?
* 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
* WorldGoneMad
* WorldOfSnark: The world is full of sarcastic people.
* WretchedHive
* WrittenByTheVictors: Our reputation is more important than facts.
* YankTheDogsChain: The ButtMonkey gets [[ThrowTheDogABone something good for once]], but it's taken away from him.
* YouCantGoHomeAgain
[[/index]]
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