->''"You wrote to me once, listing the [[VirtueViceCodification four chief virtues]]: [[TheWisePrince Wisdom]], [[ForGreatJustice Justice]], [[{{Determinator}} Fortitude]], and [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Temperance]]. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. [[AmbitionIsEvil Ambition]]. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty Resourcefulness]], [[VillainousValor Courage]] - perhaps not on the battlefield, but... there are many forms of courage. [[VillainousIncest Devotion]], to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was [[WellDoneSonGuy as if you didn't want me for your son.]]"''
-->-- '''Commodus''' in ''Film/{{Gladiator}}'', just before suffocating his father and framing Maximus.

%%Two quotations is too many. See discussion page to join in finding a new one.

Villains are bad, it goes without saying. However, they can't be ''all'' bad for the simple reason that a character loaded down with '''all''' of the SevenDeadlySins (along with whatever other character flaws writers can think of) will be too lazy, gluttonous, envious, prideful, angry, lustful and miserly to ''do'' much of anything. A villain laden down with too many vices quickly becomes [[TheDevilIsALoser a loser]].

Even if they only have one vice, a villain is going to need a big heaping of icky good traits in order to accomplish their goals. They don't have to be an AntiVillain,[[note]](Though villains with enough virtues usually end up switching categories, if not pull a HeelFaceTurn)[[/note]] they just need to have one or more [[VirtueViceCodification virtues]] to get by. The reason for this is both practical and artistic. Practically, a villain with a virtue of some kind will have a way to put their schemes in motion and [[TheAntagonist effectively oppose]] TheHero. Without these virtues, authors would have to resort to making them a GenericDoomsdayVillain to get anything done. Artistically, it helps make the villain a RoundedCharacter, and helps make them [[DynamicCharacter dynamic]] if their virtue and vice are [[CharacterDevelopment somehow in conflict.]]

Oh, and it lets them get all holier-than-thou and "NotSoDifferent" during a BreakingSpeech.

For example: A {{Pride}}ful villain might also be very hard working in order to get the power he needs. A slothful villain might compensate with amazing creativity, coming up with [[GadgeteerGenius amazing inventions]], {{Evil Plan}}s, and [[OffscreenVillainDarkMatter limitless funds]]. A wrathful villain may [[YouHaveFailedMe nonetheless]] be very loyal to his minions, [[IControlMyMinionsThrough inspiring great devotion]]. A {{greed}}y villain might back it up with [[{{Determinator}} tenacity]], relentless and unyielding in their pursuit of more, more, more. A lustful villain may also be extremely courageous, willing to risk death or worse in pursuit of their carnal desires.

Where this can get strange and interesting is when this is applied to a villain who is MadeOfEvil. Here you have a ball of elemental nastiness who also happens to have one or more positive traits. Who knew elemental evil had [[AffablyEvil such good taste]] in [[FriendlyEnemy scones?]]

However, there are virtues and then there are ''virtues''. Much like ColorCodedForYourConvenience, there are some virtues that are okay for heroes and some that are more often seen in villains. These are:

* '''Ambition.''' Though heroes may insist that AmbitionIsEvil, villains are the ones who try to make the struggle to get better (even if they have a tendency to [[AGodAmI overdo it]]), which heroes [[VillainsActHeroesReact typically lack]] until disaster forces them to change.
* '''Determination.''' Sometimes when a villain [[VillainousValor keeps on trying despite]] being stomped into the ground a million times, and still gets up and [[{{Determinator}} keeps going after his goals]] regardless of the constant beatings, you have to at least admire their tenacity somewhat. In general, [[VillainousBreakdown villainous breakdowns]] are significantly less common (though also more unexpected) than a [[HeroicBSOD hero falling to bits after a major defeat]].
* '''Diligence.''' Despite EvilIsEasy and TheDarkSide making access to power easier, many villains will undergo much more extreme ordeals and protracted effort than heroes, who usually benefit from HardWorkHardlyWorks.
* '''[[WillNotTellALie Honesty.]]''' Though rare, some villains ''[[VillainsNeverLie don't]]'' [[ILied lie]], and insist that [[IGaveMyWord keeping a promise is a matter of honor.]] In organized crime settings, a villain will not get far without a reputation for honesty.
* '''Honor.''' Calling card of the NobleDemon who preaches EvenEvilHasStandards.
* '''Humility.''' Not all villains are smug and arrogant. Some are down to earth, personable, and modest. Common in a NoNonsenseNemesis, and a large part of what makes them terrifying foes. They [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy acknowledge their own fallibility]] and rarely shoot [[ShootTheMessenger advisors for doing their job ]] or [[YouHaveFailedMe minions for failure]] of ThePlan. They will not be [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu enraged by insults]]. They are not concerned with [[EvilIsHammy making a spectacle]] or EvilGloating. This is a villian who ''will'' [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim just shoot the hero]] or calmly inform them [[YouAreTooLate that the plan has already succeeded]]. If they give a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech it will likely be both [[VillainHasAPoint accurate]] and [[BreakThemByTalking effective]].
* '''[[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes Love]].''' Despite LoveRedeems, a surprising number [[UnholyMatrimony love either their spouses]], [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas parents]], [[DaddysLittleVillain children,]] or even friends/underlings while remaining evil. Of course, it's worth mentioning that LoveMakesYouEvil and [[LoveMakesYouCrazy Crazy]]. With Love as a villain's virtue, the result is often UnholyMatrimony.
* '''[[HonorAmongThieves Loyalty]]''' is a pretty even split between heroic and villainous. This isn't being a LawfulEvil RulesLawyer mind you, because these types can still be TheStarscream, but PowerOfTrust brand loyalty where even a ChaoticEvil type will avoid betrayal.
* '''Passion.''' Emotion can be what gives life richness and value, but in some settings [[PassionIsEvil evil itself feeds upon passions]] and uses them to fuel its own ends.
* '''Patience.''' Most heroes are HotBlooded, but bad guys are patient {{Chess Master}}s.
* '''Resourcefulness.''' Another 50/50 split, resourceful villains are ''exceedingly'' dangerous because they will defy heroes TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty.
* '''Responsibility.''' Some villains '''care'''. Even if they [[WellIntentionedExtremist go the wrong way about fixing problems]], they are a lot more sensitive to noticing them.
* '''Selflessness.''' Most villains who try to create a better world don't do it for themselves. They rarely expect thanks for bearing all the difficulties and many accept it that they [[NoPlaceForMeThere may not even be able to enjoy the results]]. Yet they are often willing to sacrifice their popularity and even their life for the greater good.
* '''[[VillainousValour Valor]].''' To quote [[Film/{{Highlander}} The Kurgan]] (and NeilYoung): ''"It's better to burn out than to fade away!"'' Villains despise weakness. [[LastVillainStand So even when they know they're probably going to lose and the odds are in the hero's favor, he's not going down without a fight.]] After all, if you're trying to take over the world, you're up against pretty much ''everyone'', and thus it helps quite a bit to be able to look at an army [[RousseauWasRight six billion strong]], [[DefiantToTheEnd smile confidently, and say "Bring it on."]] In fact, this is one of the most common "virtues" for a villain to have, and a villain lacking it will often specifically be singled out as a DirtyCoward.

Contrast MrViceGuy, where a hero has an emblematic vice, and VirtueIsWeakness, where the villain explicitly rejects all good traits.

Usually, whenever EvenEvilHasStandards comes into play, it's because the offender has violated one of the virtues listed above.

This trope is very, ''[[OmnipresentTropes very]]'' common. Listing examples here would just be an exercise in futility.

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