[[quoteright:260:[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jokfavgif3_8999.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:260: {{Bookends}} of the first and last acts of the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode [[Recap/BatmanTheAnimatedSeriesE22JokersFavor "Joker's Favor"]]]]

A StoryArc in which two characters or groups slowly, and involuntarily, swap their positions in life. These positions are usually social (who has high-status, who is popular), economic (who is rich), and most of all, moral -- who is decent and who is a ruthless bastard. The swapping often leads to escalation -- the new poor person is poorer than the old one was, or the new amoral one is much nastier than the old one was.

The pathos from the Hourglass Plot comes from how neither character learns from the situation -- they act just the same to each other as they did before, but with roles reversed. Particularly cruel shows will create an infinite-loop Hourglass Plot, where two hostile characters keep swapping positions and treating each other as badly as ever. In rare cases, such plots will involve the characters barely interacting with each other... a pure comparison of one person's rise to another person's fall.

Lucky characters will get a NotSoDifferent moment and actually learn from it.
Compare: PrinceAndPauper, PerspectiveReversal, FullCircleRevolution, SwappedRoles, FreakyFridayFlip for an especially literal case, and PerspectiveFlip for when it's a {{retcon}} instead of a plot development. Compare and contrast: IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim and YouKillItYouBoughtIt. CaretakerReversal is a subtrope.

'''Since explaining examples of this trope requires full knowledge of a story's plot, beware of unmarked spoilers.'''
%%% Zero Context Example entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out.
%%% Add explanations to the entries before uncommenting them.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'': At the start of the series, protagonist Izuku Midoriya is a massive ChewToy who gets mocked by everyone, even his teachers, and his dream of attending [[SuperheroSchool U.A.]] is treated as a joke because he [[{{Muggle}} doesn't have a Quirk]]; meanwhile, Katsuki Bakugo (who has a [[StuffBlowingUp powerful Quirk]]) is treated as the golden child who's showered with praise and adoration by all those around him (and of course, he was the worst when it came to mocking Izuku). When they actually do get into U.A., however, Midoriya makes tons of friends and is seen as the star of Class 1-A because he's a NiceGuy with all the right qualities to be a true hero (bravery, charisma, intelligence, compassion, and determination), while practically nobody likes Bakugo because he's a loud-mouthed, short-tempered JerkAss with a very high opinion of himself.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Kakashi starts as a shinobi who only cares about the mission, while Obito thinks that comrades are more important. After the battle of Kannibi Bridge, Kakashi becomes more concerned about comrades and puts them above the mission. [[spoiler:Obito however, completely and utterly ''shatters'' at seeing the love of his life kill herself with his best friend's attack and is sent down the nihilistic path to becoming Tobi, who will sacrifice anyone and everyone for his mission. In fact, everything about Obito and Kakashi switched after that mission, including the GenerationXerox. Kakashi was originally Sasuke's counterpart and Obito was Naruto's. However, as they grew up, Kakashi became a kind, loyal shinobi of Konoha who becomes Hokage like Naruto, while Obito become a wanted criminal/terrorist who eventually makes a HeelFaceTurn like Sasuke.]]
%%Naruto and Sasuke are not this. Naruto does start out as the village pariah and ends up as the hero, but Sasuke was never distinctly respected before he become a villain.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'': Shinji and Asuka start as the "shy failure" and the "confident AcePilot" and over the course of the series, Shinji racks up the most angel kills and Asuka has a breakdown because she doesn't.
* In ''Manga/{{Phoenix}}: Karma'', Gao begins as a ruthless bandit with a FreudianExcuse and Akanemaru is a simple artisan who winds up [[KickTheDog stabbed by him for no good reason]]. As the story progresses, Gao finds salvation through art while Akanemaru discovers his own ambition; by the end, both are changed men, and Gao is a sculptor whose talents outshine even Akanemaru's. The petty Akanemaru will not stand to be upstaged by Gao and throws away his own redemption, telling the tale of Gao's origins as the bandit who wounded him; Gao's remaining arm is taken as punishment and he is thrown into exile. However, Akanemaru himself [[KarmicDeath dies in a fire trying to save his work]], and as he dies, the Phoenix tells him that he will never be reborn as a human; Gao, on the other hand, manages to return to his art despite his disability.
* In ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'', popular idol singer Sheryl Nome serves as a mentor to up and coming Ranka Lee, but later Sheryl becomes ill and as her popularity wanes, Ranka's soars to the point of becoming a heroine capable of using her song to scare away enemy aliens. Then it happens again when Ranka loses her will to sing and makes a FaceHeelTurn while Sheryl takes her place when it turns out she has the same power.
* In ''Anime/TheTatamiGalaxy'', for most of the series, the UnluckyEverydude protagonist is caught in a GroundhogDayLoop, and in every episode, Ozu, a ScrewySquirrel (who is illustrated to look somewhat "demonic"), arranges things so that the protagonist fails to achieve (often romantic) success, and looks bad. Eventually, it is revealed that Ozu's antics are motivated by a combination of his own romantic pursuits and genuine friendship toward the protagonist, and the protagonist has an epiphany wherein he rethinks some of his own behavior and realizes that Ozu is a true friend. At the end of the series, Ozu (now illustrated as normal looking) seeks the protagonist's aid for his romantic troubles, and the protagonist assumes Ozu's former role of good-natured troll.
* In ''Anime/{{Simoun}}'', the power dynamic between the BrokenAce Neviril and the NaiveNewcomer Aaeru completely reverses in the course of the series. Early on, Aaeru is the [[GenkiGirl energetic and driven one]] in their relationship, pushing constantly to become Neviril's co-pilot and perform the ultimate Emerald Ri-Majoon with her; Neviril, meanwhile, is still reeling from the loss of her previous co-pilot and lover in a failed attempt at that very Ri-Majoon, so she spends most of the time moping or passively following her orders. By the final episodes, however, Aaeru's youthful idealism is broken and she essentially loses direction in life--and it is Neviril, finally recovering from her depression (with Aaeru's own help), who gives it to her again: namely, to perform that very Ri-Majoon Aaeru wanted and she didn't from the start.
* In ''Anime/LoveLiveSunshine'', this happened with the third years; [[spoiler: at the beginning Mari was more reserved and had to be convinced to become a school idol whereas Dia and Kanan were passionate about it. After having PerformanceAnxiety in Tokyo and being crushed, Kanan and Dia are more closed off and want nothing to do with school idols, while Mari enthusiastically supports Chika's endeavor.]]
* Christa/Historia and Ymir in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' start off with very specific roles: Christa is the resident "goddess", viewed by everyone as an epitome of pure altruism and selflessness, while Ymir carries herself in an utterly self-interested and cynical way, despite falling in love with Christa. As the series progresses, however, their interactions gradually bring out all the past trauma in both of them, and they both have diametrically opposite effects on each other: Historia becomes a lot more grounded, even ruthless at times, particularly after claiming the throne of the Walls, while Ymir ends up sacrificing herself for members of her squad not once, but twice.
** Eren and Armin start off with Eren as the one who believes that he will save the world from the titans, and Armin being the more reserved, cautious one who has absolutely no confidence in himself or his actions. As they go through the series, Armin's plans repeatedly succeed and he slowly grows more confident in them while Eren's plans repeatedly fail and/or are only successful after an immediate disaster. This cultimates in [[spoiler: chapter 84 when Eren demands that Levi give Armin the serum and save him because he believes that Armin will be the one to save the world, not Eren himself.]]
** This now ''also'' applies to [[spoiler: Eren and Reiner, as Eren is seen as the villain by everyone who isn't on the same side of the main characters. Reiner, and the rest of Marley, are only viewed in a negative light by the main characters. Eren points this trope out to Reiner, saying "I'm the same as you".]]
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': Sayaka starts out as an idealistic rookie and TheCape-in training, while Kyoko is introduced as a selfish and cynical BloodKnight. After the AwfulTruth comes out, Sayaka becomes an AxCrazy Blood Knight with an unhealthy dose of self-loathing, while Kyoko develops into a DefrostingIceQueen who goes back to being the idealistic girl [[UsedToBeASweetKid she once was]].

* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'': Rorscharch and Ozymandias exchange positions at the end. The latter calls the former a right-wing loony and the former regards him as a liberal hypocrite. As a young man, Rorscharch wrote gushingly about Harry Truman's decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the wisdom of WellIntentionedExtremist thinking. But he's horrified [[spoiler: when Ozymandias comes around to it, and does it for real. However, it needs to be stated that Rorscharch's code is all about the rules. In his mind, Truman had authority to do what was needed, since he was President of the US and Commander-in-Chief while Ozymandias did not have any authority to do something similar.]]

* In ''Fanfic/ForHisOwnSake'', ''Manga/LoveHina'''s resident ChewToy Keitaro decides after three years of abuse and disrespect to leave the Hinata Inn and start working towards a better future, while also recognizing and [[MustMakeAmends trying to atone for]] his past mistakes. Over time, Shinobu, [[spoiler:Kitsune and Haruka]] [[HeelRealization recognize their own issues]] and set about improving their own lives. At the same time, several of the more stubborn residents, like Naru, Mokoto and Kaolla Suu, find themselves falling from grace as RealityEnsues and they have to face the consequences of their actions.
* In ''FanFic/MyMirrorSwordAndShield'' when OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent Suzaku joins Emperor Lelouch in [[TimeTravel the past]], he's surrounded by Lelouch's friends and family and finds shelter and a new identity as a royal knight and mecha pilot. [[spoiler: When Lelouch is taken by Suzaku to the future, he's surrounded by Suzaku's friends and family and finds shelter and a new identity as a normal college student.]]

* A two-parter in ''TradingPlaces''. In the first half, Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy swap lifestyles. In the second half, they team up to bankrupt the decadently rich Duke brothers and get rich in the process.
* In the film version of ''Film/TheCountOfMonteCristo'', after [[EtTuBrute betraying his best friend]], Fernand is set up with a beautiful wife and an inherited fortune and noble title, while Dantes is locked away in a prison for 16 years. After his escape and subsequent execution of his [[ThePlan plans for revenge]], Dantes is now the one with titular noble title, beautiful woman, and nigh-limitless fortune, with Fernand's fortune completely lost, his woman gone, and under threat of imminent arrest for murder and conspiracy.
* This was part of the CharacterDevelopment between Neo and Smith in ''Film/TheMatrix'' and its sequels. Smith picks up human emotions and independent goals (which he doesn't like) while Neo finds himself as a "cog in the machine" with a pre-destined goal (which also proves to be a bit of a drag).
* ''{{Juno}}'' and Mark. She keeps going over to his and Vanessa's house to get to know them better and see what kind of family her baby will have ("I just like being a piece of furniture in your weird life"), while his exposure to her and her teenage flippancy gives him second thoughts about his adulthood and eventually causes him to bail on his wife and the coming baby, to Juno's shock and dismay. His regression triggers her [[ComingOfAgeStory coming of age]].
* ''{{Film/Pet}}'': The film begins with a disaffected man becoming infatuated with a beautiful writer he claims to have known in high school, going from {{Adorkable}} to DoggedNiceGuy to StalkerWithACrush, leading to his kidnapping her and [[EnvironmentalSymbolism locking her in a cage under the animal shelter where he works.]] [[ShockingSwerve Then halfway through the movie]], he tells her he read her notebook, a stylized journal detailing confessions of her ''murders''. Plural. He wants to "save" her, but she is reluctant to change and pushes in return, telling him that somewhere deep inside, he's like her. She escapes confinement, but by the end of the movie, she seems convinced that he is her soulmate. The WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue reveals that she is happily back with her ex, Eric, and is keeping him locked up in a nearby warehouse, visiting him to with [[BreadEggsMilkSquick food, affection,]] and ColdBloodedTorture whenever her murderous impulses rise up.
* In ''Film/WhatAboutBob'', Bob Wiley starts off all-but-paralyzed by his various neuroses, while Dr. Leo Marvin is a psychiatrist who's just published a best-selling self-help book. Bob's interactions with the Marvin family helps him overcome his fears and learn to interact with normal society--eventually marrying Leo's sister, becoming a psychiatrist himself, and authoring his own book. Leo, meanwhile, becomes increasingly irritated and unhinged in response to Bob (in part because he feared that Bob was replacing him in his family's affections) and ends up catatonic. Though seeing Bob's and his sister's wedding apparently cures him.
* In ''Film/{{Primer}}'', Aaron starts off as a family man and rather risk-averse (note the scenes where he worries about needing eye protection and warns his wife against using the first batch of ice from the new fridge). Abe starts off unmarried and rather more devil-may-care. Over the course of the film, access to a TimeTravel-powered ResetButton makes Aaron become more aggressive and willing to take risks, and he eventually leaves his family. Abe, on the other hand, becomes increasingly worried about the side-effects of time travel and oddly protective of Aaron's family.
%%* The entire plot of ''Film/SheDevil''.
* The two divorcees in Woody Allen's ''Film/{{Celebrity}}'': Lee starts up wanting to immerse himself in celebrity journalism thinking that it will bring him success, while his ex-wife Robin is insecure on top of the neuroses the couple had. As the movie progresses, Lee doesn't get out of his neuroses and starts becoming as insecure as his ex-wife was, which wrecks numerous opportunities for him to succeed, while Robin leaves her many neuroses behind and eventually gets her own celebrity interview program.
* In the beginning of ''Film/{{Dogma}}'', Loki is portrayed as the more ruthless and reckless, wanting to go on one more divinely righteous killing spree before re-entering heaven, while Bartleby is the one who feels compassion for the humans and is more reserved. However, halfway through Bartleby snaps and becomes an OmnicidalManiac bent on killing everyone, and it is Loki who is attempting to hold him back.
* In the 2011 film ''OneDay'', based on the novel by David Nicholls, the two protagonists Emma and Dexter come from completely different backgrounds and life goals, with Emma starting out as a poor waitress after graduating from university and Dexter beginning as a successful television host. Over time, Emma gains success first as a teacher and then as a writer. Dexter goes on a downward spiral and ends up a poor divorcee.
* In ''Film/{{Thor}}'', the titular hero starts out as a vicious BloodKnight while his brother, Loki, is much more cautious and diplomatic. By the movie's end, Thor is much more peaceful and tries to reason with his enemies rather than plunging into battle, while Loki tries to demolish an entire world to achieve his goals.
* In the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** Tony Stark is introduced as a fiercely independent businessman who plays by his own rules and despises government bureaucracy, while Steve Rogers is a patriotic working-class kid from Brooklyn who believes in self-sacrifice and jumps at the chance to serve his country in World War II. Accordingly, when they meet in ''Film/TheAvengers2012'', Tony regularly chafes at authority and almost loses his spot on the Avengers, while Steve remains loyal to SHIELD from start to finish. But as the series goes on, both men's character arcs move in opposite directions. Tony becomes much more willing to submit to authority after [[Film/TheAvengersAgeOfUltron one of his inventions grows beyond his control and endangers the world]], while Steve becomes much more willing to question authority after [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier he discovers a massive HYDRA conspiracy within the ranks of SHIELD]]. By ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'', their roles are completely reversed: Tony leads an effort to put the Avengers under government control, while Steve is the one who rebels against the government and fights to remain independent.
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' has Tony recruit Peter Parker to help him arrest Rogers and the other anti-registration heroes, though Peter doesn't want to go to Germany and miss school and has to be blackmailed into it. After the battle, Peter thoroughly enjoyed the experience and wants to join the Avengers full time, while Tony, horrified by the fact Peter almost got seriously injured, feels that bringing him along was a bad idea and wants him to stick to the streets. ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'' features Peter trying to prove his worth to Tony while he steadfastly refuses to let him join. By the end, [[spoiler:Tony has decided that Peter has proven himself and wants to make him an official member of the team. However, Peter decides that he'd rather stay a street-level hero and fight for the little guys that the Avengers can't and turns the offer down.]]
* Creator/MartinScorsese's ''Film/{{Silence}}'' features this dynamic between Fr. Rodrigues and Kichijiro. At the start the former is a brave and courageous priest and the latter is a DirtyCoward apostate pentitent [[spoiler:who betrays him repeatedly. Rodrigues frequently feels that his duty to pardon Kichijiro repeatedly is insane, yet in the end after he has apostatized, it is Kichijiro [[RestoredMyFaithInHumanity who restores Rodrigues']] (now hidden) faith by asking for confession, and on account of the fact that he's more inept at hiding crucifixes than the apostate Rodrigues, he ends up attaining martyrdom while Rodrigues dies as an apostate sellout. In effect, the seeming Judas becomes a Christ-figure while the man who starts out wanting to be Jesus, and resembling him, ends up becoming Judas]].
* At the end of "Creep", the female lead has taken the place of the homeless girl she saw begging at Charing Cross Underground station.
* ''Film/BadGenius'' has this happen between two of its leads, Bank and Lynn. At first, Lynn freely masterminds an exam cheating scheme at school while Bank flat-out refuses to let his classmate copy off of him, even for a hefty sum. By the end, [[spoiler:Bank is banned from retaking the [=STIC=] and expelled from the school. He tries to blackmail Lynn into stealing the answers to the [=GAT=]s[[note]]another standardized test in Thailand[[/note]] with her role in the heist, while Lynn, who was wracked with guilt and undergoes a moral epiphany, refuses and exposes the scheme.]]

%%* Thomas Hardy's 1886 novel ''The Mayor of Casterbridge''.
* The plotline of the short story "Come Back Gizmo"; after a boy mistreats his dog because the girl next door tells him to, a strange man gives the dog a gizmo that causes the boy to turn into the dog, and vice versa, until eventually [[spoiler:it switches their brains as well as their bodies]].
* ''Literature/TheScarletLetter'' features an Hourglass Plot between Hester and Dimmesdale on several levels, especially at the end of the novel.
* In William Faulkner's ''Literature/LightInAugust'', this happens to Lena Grove and Byron Bunch. Not that any Faulkner book is comprehensible the first ten times you read it, but it's there.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** As revealed in the finale book, [[spoiler: Severus Snape and James Potter.]] In the beginning, [[spoiler: Snape]] is the neglected, awkward outsider who befriends muggle-born Lily Evans. When they go to school, both he and Lily take a dislike to the wealthy and popular [[spoiler: James Potter, albeit for different reasons. Snape hates James because [[TheResenter James has a loving family and plenty fo talent while Snape has a crap home life and does not like anyone looking down on him]].) James hates Snape because Snape is genuinely an asshole and a shady character though other reasons come into play. ]] However, as the years go by, [[spoiler: Snape]] falls in with a gang of Voldemort supporters and loses Lily's friendship forever when he publicly calls her a slur. The popular boy eventually wises up and matures into someone [[spoiler: Lily could actually marry,]] while [[spoiler: Snape]] grows more and more mean-spirited over the years, and spends his adulthood being antagonistic to those he deems lesser than him (though namely through his {{Jerkass}} behavior.)
** Another example would be Neville Longbottom and Draco Malfoy. In the first book, Neville is a clumsy {{Buttmonkey}} who constantly bungles spells and is bullied by the Slytherins. Malfoy, on the other hand, is the arrogant [[AlphaBitch top dog]] of the Slytherins who makes Neville's life hell. By the seventh book, Neville develops into a brave and confident leader among the Gryffindors and all the other students who revolted in the Final Battle, [[spoiler: even distinguishing himself by decapitating Nagini with the Sword of Gryffindor!]] Malfoy meanwhile becomes a cringing coward whose former followers turn on him and just barely manages to scrape a HeelFaceTurn to avoid becoming another Death Eater casualty in the Final Battle.
* Used light-heartedly in the A.A. Milne poem "Twice Times". There are two little bears, a bad one and a good one..."And then quite suddenly (just like Us)/One got Better and the Other got [[PainfulRhyme Wuss."]] Milne then reveals that he's using this as an allegory, since he just realized that his son has finally learned all his times tables, while he's getting so old that he can no longer remember where he put anything.
* OlderThanSteam: In the first part of the novel, Literature/DonQuixote is a DaydreamBeliever MadDreamer and Sancho Panza has SimplemindedWisdom and represents realism. Both are {{StaticCharacter}}s. At the second part, Sancho is influenced by Literature/DonQuixote and becomes more and more of a DaydreamBeliever, while at the end, Don Quixote will become BoredWithInsanity by Sancho’s influence. They may have been the very first characters in literature to become {{DynamicCharacter}}s.
* In ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'', the sisters Vivenna and Siri are initially introduced with Vivenna as a well-mannered and seemingly perfect PrincessClassic all set to become queen of Hallandren, and Siri as a disobedient RebelliousPrincess running away from her responsibilities. Circumstances make it so that Vivenna has to play a RebelliousPrincess type role and Siri has to become a PrincessClassic, and over the course of the story, Vivenna's flaws and Siri's virtues become apparent. Ultimately, Vivenna becomes an ActionGirl, running from her responsibilities while [[JourneyToFindOneself she figures out who she is]], while Siri is [[TheHighQueen all set to become queen of Hallandren]], for good this time.
* In ''Literature/LesMiserables'', Cosette starts out as a child slave to the Thenardiers, who abuse her while spoiling their own daughters with expensive clothes and toys. She is then taken into the care of Valjean and seven years later is an educated, well-dressed young lady who enjoys wealth and high social status [[spoiler:and eventually becomes a Baroness on marrying Marius]], while the Thenardiers lose their inn and become destitute, forcing their daughters to beg and steal on the streets. This is lampshaded by Eponine at one point in the musical.
* In the Vampire Mountain arc of ''Literature/TheSagaOfDarrenShan'', Darren meets [[spoiler: Kurda, who has been elected to become a Vampire Prince]]. They become friends, until the end of the fifth book, when [[spoiler: Darren has been condemned to death for failure to complete a task, and Kurda helps him escape... and Darren finds out that Kurda has [[WellIntentionedExtremist betrayed]] all of the vampires]]. Darren returns to the mountain and exposes the plot, resulting in [[spoiler: Kurda being executed, and the Vampire Princes making Darren a Prince because it's the [[HonorBeforeReason only way to avoid executing him]]]]. It's one of the many places where this series ends up being [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids far deeper than it looks]]. This is lampshaded by Darren in the manga adaptation - drawn by Takahiro Arai who would later draw a truly stellar manga adaptation of ''Literature/LesMiserables''.
* In ''Literature/BestServedCold'', Monza is introduced as a cruel and amoral borderline VillainProtagonist and in pursuing revenge on the men who betrayed her and killed her brother, enlists the help of BarbarianHero Shivers who had left his home in the North as part of a quest to leave his old life behind and become a better man. Initially, Monza belittles Shivers' scruples and acts as TheCorrupter, but as the story progresses, Monza starts to feel guilt and flashbacks reveal that she isn't/wasn't such a bad person in the first place, while at the same time, Shivers increasingly loses interest in reform and his status as TokenGoodTeammate is increasingly called into question. This comes to a head after the two are captured and torturers [[EyeScream burn out Shivers' eye]]. Ultimately, Shivers ends up as a cruel BloodKnight who revels in violence, and betrays Monza, whereas Monza ends up as a hard but fair ruler who spares Shivers because of deep regret of her earlier contempt toward his scruples, which she now embraces.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Radio/OurMissBrooks'': The penultimate episode of the television series, "Principal For A Day", has Miss Brooks appointed principal and Mr. Conklin become a History (not English) teacher. Because StatusQuoIsGod, their respective positions are restored at the end. Neither seem to learn much from the episode. Miss Brooks enjoys herself thoroughly, and other than adding feminine touches to her office and spending some quality time with [[LoveInterest Mr. Boynton]] doesn't abuse her power. Mr. Conklin's temporary humility, and appreciativeness to Miss Brooks' giving him the teaching position, is cast off as soon as he becomes principal again. It helps that Mr. Conklin is a pompous JerkWithAHeartOfGold than an outright villain.
* The TV Movie ''Summertime Switch'' revolves around a young street punk and a spoiled rich kid both named Freddie Egan. Their identical names cause the former to be sent to a luxurious summer camp for the rich and the latter to a juvenile correctional facility, though obviously the opposite was supposed to happen. Both end up learning something from the whole experience (especially the rich kid).
* On ''Series/DegrassiJuniorHigh'' and ''Series/DegrassiHigh'', neurotic, insecure Melanie is best friends with the insensitive Kathleen. Melanie gains confidence while Kathleen loses hers, and Melanie becomes just as insensitive as Kathleen was when they started. Their problems escalate as they get older, so Kathleen is insensitive to Melanie worrying about her body, while Melanie is insensitive to Kathleen becoming an anorexic abuse victim.
** The fifth season of ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration'' has Emma swapping moral positions with her entire circle of friends and family. They screw up their lives one by one, Emma redeems them all -- and then she snaps under the pressure, becoming worse than any of them ever were. The climax is them trying to reason with her, as Emma threatens them and says they have no moral right to criticize her. ("You take advantage of drunk girls. You ''are'' the drunk girl...")
** Joey and Wheels as well. At the beginning of Series/DegrassiJuniorHigh, Joey was an irresponsible jokester as well as a bit of a bully while Wheels was his nicer and more sensible best friend. Near the end of Series/DegrassiHigh, Wheels was a {{Jerkass}} whose various misdeeds involved stealing money and lying to his grandma/guardian. Meanwhile, a matured Joey disapproved of his actions and tried to help him.
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', "Equinox": The Voyager crew comes across their EvilCounterpart: the lost ship Equinox, whose crew are murdering and enslaving their way across the Delta Quadrant. The villainous Equinox captain slowly becomes paralyzed with guilt, just as Janeway becomes just as ruthless as he used to be in her quest to get him.
* The Narn and the Centauri in ''Series/BabylonFive'' are caught in an apparently endless cycle of invasion, occupation, liberation and revenge. G'Kar starts out as the arrogant jerk seeking power and advancement while Londo is humbled and accepting of his position in life and the lack of any real power. A couple seasons later G'Kar is humbled and powerless while Londo has become one of the most powerful men in the Centauri Empire with the arrogance to match it. By the end of the series they start flipping again though they lose their arrogance for good.
* ''Series/{{Outnumbered}}'': [[{{SiblingYinYang}} Jake and Ben]] have shades of this. At the beginning of the series, Jake is the serious, geeky older brother who is much closer to his parents, while Ben is the rebellious, outgoing son. As the series continues, Jake becomes a lot 'cooler' and distances himself from his family, while Ben embraces his geekier side and is a lot more affectionate.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** Lex and Lionel Luthor. At the beginning of the series, Lex was Clark's friend and ally and Lionel was the MagnificentBastard. Overtime, Lex begins a descent as Lionel redeems himself.
** In the early days, Chloe is OneOfTheBoys who ended up tangled with the Luthors, [[spoiler:at one point allying with Lionel]], prying in Clark's personal life, threatening his secret, and Lana is [[SatelliteLoveInterest the pretty girl Clark is crazy over]]. In the middle seasons however, Chloe learns Clark's secret and becomes a supportive sidekick, gets as far away as the Luthors as possible, Clark subtly demonstrates possible romantic feelings towards her, and her femininity becomes more pronounced (just look at her hairstyle change); Lana [[spoiler:marries Lex]] and becomes something of a DarkActionGirl, and starts poking into Clark's secret, not to mention starting Isis.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'': Rachel and Monica. In the series' back story, Rachel was a RichBitch and engaged to marry an equally wealthy guy, while Monica was a FormerlyFat poorly-paid assistant chef who thought she'd die alone. During the series Rachel breaks off her engagement, works as a waitress and has a lot of disastrous boyfriends, while Monica works her way up the chef ranks - despite a rough, unemployed patch in the middle - and builds a stable, fulfilling relationship. By Series 9, Rachel is a single mother, working a good but not exceptional fashion job and has a series of failed relationships (and a marriage) under her belt. Monica is an Executive Chef at one of New York's most prestigious restaurants and is HappilyMarried to her best friend. Things do improve for Rachel by the end of the series, but the contrast is still there.
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'' played this with Rory and Jess. In early seasons Rory is a hardworking, honours student, bound for an Ivy League, aiming to pursue journalism and the golden child of her family, while Jess is a high school drop out with zero life ambitions, his mom kicked him out and he's at odds with his uncle. Come Season 6, Rory has dropped out of college, abandoned her career dreams and is estranged from her mother, while Jess is a successful author, runs a publishing house with friends and is closer to his uncle than ever before. Luckily though Jess's transformation is exactly what Rory needs to get her life together.
* In ''Series/{{Carnivale}}'' Brother Justin is a preacher who slowly turns to the darkside upon the realization that he is TheAntiChrist, and also suffers from an unfortunate case of BadPowersBadPeople. Ben, an escaped criminal on the lam from the law, makes a parallel journey as he comes into his own powers as the Messiah.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' brothers Sam and Dean swap positions on moral limits in season 4 - [[spoiler: Sam's demon blood leads him to kill humans for power, whereas he previously was always insisting they avoid "means to an end" sacrifices. Dean, previously a hedonist who expedited the hunt with an apathetic battleax approach, starts setting limits to the point that he'd rather let he and Sam both die rather than be possessed and possibly injure others in a blunt force strategy of the angels.]]
** In a wider sense, at the start of the series Sam has ''almost'' managed to [[RefusalOfTheCall escape]] his hunter upbringing in favour of a [[IJustWantToBeNormal normal life]], when he's dragged back to the hunt by Dean, who idolises [[WellDoneSonGuy their father]] and argues that a normal life is for chumps. Over the course of the first five seasons (which is to say, the arc of the show as originally plotted), Sam gets increasingly militant in the fight against evil, while Dean gets increasingly heartsick and tired of the whole thing. The SeriesFauxnale at the end of Season 5 sees [[spoiler: Sam giving up not just his life but his eternal afterlife to put Lucifer back in his cage and averting the apocalypse, and Dean retiring to a peaceful life with his girlfriend and her son.]] Since the series didn't end there, [[BackFromTheDead neither of those things]] [[TenMinuteRetirement lasted for very long,]] and by season eight the brothers had arguably switched places ''again'', but that's another story.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Faith's return is a double example. She switches her role in the Good versus Evil battle with the now soulless Angel(us), as well as her outlook on life with the now cold and jaded Wesley.
* Over the course of ''Series/{{Merlin}}'', Guinevere and Morgana swap places. Gwen is [[ShrinkingViolet shy serving girl]] whilst Morgana is the confident ward of the king. Gwen dislikes Prince Arthur, whilst [[SlapSlapKiss Morgana flirts with him]]. Fastforward four seasons and Guinevere is TheHighQueen of Camelot, married to KingArthur, whilst Morgana is living in a hovel, stewing in bitterness and hate for her former family.
* This was revealed to be the back story of Regina and Jefferson in ''Series/OnceUponATime''. In "Hat Trick", Jefferson was an innocent friend of Regina who trapped him in Wonderland and separated him from his daughter Grace. In "The Doctor", Regina is an innocent girl that Jefferson hurts for personal gain, many years before his daughter was born, to make her believe that [[spoiler: she couldn't save her True Love Daniel when they could have.]] Jefferson's tragic back story was a result of LaserGuidedKarma.
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'' Jack starts as a [[AgentScully Man of Science]], focused on getting the survivors off the Island, while Locke is a [[AgentMulder Man of Faith]], believing that people aren't supposed to leave the Island BecauseDestinySaysSo. It goes on like this for four Seasons, until the first reversal happens in Season 5: Jack gets off the Island but becomes increasingly depresing and is looking for a way to come back, while Locke is now desperately searching for a way off the Island, believing it to be a necessary step to save everyone. After Jack gets back and Locke is killed, his face assumed by the BigBad, things get even better: Jack is now a strong believer in Faith determined to stay on the Island, while Fake-Locke is a cynical pragmatist desperately trying to leave it. By the final episodes, the Survivors led by Jack are now trying to stop the BigBad from doing the very same thing they tried to do for most of the series.
* An episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'', "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville," has the janitor for a large corporation talking with the CEO of the corporation about how he's just gotten a watch for his 40th year with the company, along with a few words about what it's like at the top versus the bottom. One botched trip to the past and several deals with the devil later, not only is the janitor now the CEO and the CEO the janitor, but each now has the personality of the other as well, and the watch gets a mention too.
* In the season five finale of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'', "The Opposite", George, after realizing how terrible his life is, decides that, since his instincts have always been wrong, going against them should be good for him. By doing so, he suddenly has a girlfriend, is able to move out of his parents' house, and lands his dream job for the New York Yankees. Meanwhile, Elaine, for whom things had been going great, suddenly finds herself unemployed, homeless, and in a romantic slump, realizing to her dismay that "I've become George!". Jerry lampshades the trope with his subplot of how he always manages to break even.
* On ''Series/NewsRadio'', Matthew is usually the office ButtMonkey, suffering through the cruel pranks of office big shot Bill. Dave tells Matthew to assert himself to Bill, which he does by punching him in the face. Suddenly, Matthew is the office jerk, while Bill becomes meek and passive. The ResetButton is pressed when Bill, defending Matthew, accidentally slaps him, snapping Matthew out of his ego trip.
* ''Series/IronFist2017'': Ward and Joy Meachum. At the start of season 1, Ward is very obstinate and outwardly unfeeling, while Joy is more reasonable and willing to listen. By the end of the season, Ward is the reasonable sibling who has made peace with Danny, while spending time in Harold's presence has corrupted Joy and made her into what Ward was at the start of the show.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': In a minor example, [[OfficialCouple Matt and Karen]]'s first two kisses in season 2 fall into this. At the end of "Penny and Dime," Karen walks Matt home to his apartment [[RomanticRain in the rain]], Matt stops her, and they share a kiss. In "Kinbaku", which takes place over the events of the next day, they end their first date with Matt walking Karen back to her apartment, and then they share a makeout session on her front steps.

* The play ''Theatre/PacificOvertures'' has two friends, one a samurai and the other a peasant with knowledge of the West, who wind up exchanging places. The samurai is made an ambassador of sorts with the foreign powers as Japan is forcibly opened to trade, and he becomes increasingly westernized in his dress and actions. Meanwhile the peasant, angry at the way Western powers are exploiting Japan, becomes a hardcore anti-West reactionary after being promoted to the samurai class. Tragedy ensues.
%%%* Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/HenryIV Part I''.
* ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'': Initially, Macbeth shows more scruples/hesitancy to kill Duncan than does his wife, and she pushes him into doing it. Afterward, however, while Lady Macbeth goes increasingly [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone mad from guilt]], Macbeth's reaction to guilt is to seemingly [[IveComeTooFar lose all emotion and scruple]] and he far surpass his wife in villainy.
* In Shakespeare's ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'', Antonio saved Sebastian's life after a horrific storm, when they were both mired in a strange country. Antonio grew very close to Sebastian, and even got into a duel in Sebastian's defense. When Antonio was placed under arrest by Orsino, his old rival, he expected that Sebastian would help him out -- only for Sebastian to act like he's never met Antonio before. Antonio is heartbroken -- but [[spoiler: fortunately he had really met Sebastian's HalfIdenticalTwin, and the ''real'' Sebastian is perfectly happy to help Antonio once he finds him again.]]
* This is a big part of the plot of Shaw's ''Theatre/TheDevilsDisciple''. Richard Dudgeon is introduced as a n'er-do-well who has his opposite in the Rev. Anthony Andersen, a philanthropic clergyman. The plot is set in motion when British soldiers come to arrest Andersen for treason and Dudgeon takes his place. Ultimately, Dudgeon's nobility and Andersen's weakness are revealed, and at the end of the story, Dudgeon is established as heroic (and much less seedy than he initially appeared), and Andersen has renounced religion and become a BloodKnight revolutionary. The trope is exaggerated, as Andersen asserts that since he has taken Dudgeon's place, Dudgeon must become a clergyman and take-up with Anderson's wife.
* The second and third songs of ''Theatre/{{Hamilton}}'' emphasize the contrasting nature of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. "Aaron Burr, Sir" makes clear that Burr will not choose a side until he's certain that it's the right one (something that is codified in "Wait For It", "Non-Stop", and "The Room Where It Happens"), while "My Shot" shows that Hamilton "will not throw away [his] shot", is always one of the first to support something he thinks is right, and wears his emotions and beliefs on his sleeve. Over the show, Burr and Hamilton begin to learn from each other (they even say as much in "The Room Where It Happens" for Hamilton and "The Election of 1800" for Burr), and in the final duel, [[spoiler:Burr takes the rash, impulsive action of shooting Hamilton, while Hamilton decides to take his time to consider what to do and eventually chooses the safe option of firing at the sky, not Burr]].
* In Harold Pinter's "A Slight Ache" a middle-class couple invite a tramp into their home; by the end of the play, the husband and the tramp have exchanged places.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' features one of these; a rich man and a very poor man both have their daughters kidnapped, and the circumstances surrounding their return swaps them over. When you first arrive on Windfall Island, Mila's father is a snooty collector of expensive vases who resides in an opulent mansion, while Maggie's father is a timid beggar who pleads for anyone passing by to rescue his daughter. When the pirates return the girls, they extort Mila's father out of his fortune, leaving the newly-reunited family destitute and living on the street; the experience humbles Mila's father and teaches him that there are more important things than money. Meanwhile, Maggie's father manages to make a killing off the rare Skull Necklaces that Maggie brought back with her, allowing them to move into the newly-vacated mansion; in the process, he becomes an arrogant snob who turns his nose up at everyone else and throws temper tantrums when the postman tries to deliver mail to his house.
* ''VideoGame/SuikodenIV'' has this with [[HeroicMime Lazlo]] and [[WellDoneSonGuy Snowe Vingerhut]]. The worse off one gets, the higher the other rises. While Lazlo [[TheStoic copes with whatever hand he's dealt]], Snowe never learns from his mistakes. [[spoiler: Eventually, though, he ''finally'' makes his HeelFaceTurn and starts learning from his experiences in retrospect.]]
* Delita and Ramza in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', who serve as foils to each other throughout most of the game. By the end of the story, [[spoiler: Ramza has abandoned his ties to the nobility entirely, while Delita has assumed the highest position of power within the aristocracy.]]
* Between ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' and ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongJr'', Mario and Donkey Kong switch roles, the antagonist capturing somebody the protagonist cares about and holding them hostage. They must have worked things out though, as by the time ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry1'' was released, each were the hero in their own respective series.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', Jaina Proudmoore started out as the OnlySaneMan desiring peace between the Alliance and the Horde while Varian started out as a warmonger who wanted the Horde destroyed. Cue ''Mists of Pandaria'' and [[spoiler:the destruction of Theramore at Garrosh's hands]]. Now Jaina is the one who bitterly wants revenge on the Horde while Varian is trying a slightly more diplomatic approach. [[spoiler:Jaina even screws up Varian's attempt to bring the Blood Elves back into the Alliance by exiling them from Dalaran.]] At the end of the expansion [[spoiler:Jaina is the one itching to wipe out the Horde even after Garrosh is overthrown while Varian is willing to leave the Horde in peace with nothing more than a stern warning.]]
* In ''Videogame/KingsQuestIII'', Manannan is an evil all powerful Wizard. Gwydion/[[spoiler: Prince Alexander]] is his tragic slaveboy who is constantly tormented by the Wizard every day of his life. Though by breaking into his secret lab, Gwydion teaches himself Manannan's spells and becomes a novice wizard ultimately turning Manannan into a cat. So at that point, Gwydion is the one with all the magic, and Manannan is powerless and at the whim of his once slave.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}},'' {{SelfDemonstrating/Wheatley}} begins as Chell (the player)'s friend, guiding her along, and helping her to defeat SelfDemonstrating/GLaDOS, the computer in charge of the facility, who is trying to kill Chell. Halfway through the game, though, Chell replaces [=GLaDOS=] with Wheatley and Wheatley subsequently decides to try to kill Chell, and [=GLaDOS=], running off a potato, accompanies Chell and helps her defeat Wheatley.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Throughout the course of ''WebAnimation/InanimateInsanity'', Apple had grown a fond distrust and anger towards Marshmallow. When he finally explains the reason why he was so angry to her in the beginning of ''Inanimate Insanity II'', the two become VitriolicBestBuds, with Apple wanting to make friends with Marshmallow and Marshmallow wanting to get away from Apple. When Marshmallow finds out Apple is faking their friendship in order to get closer in the game, she is the one hating on Apple, showing no remorse over him getting eliminated.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The arc of ''Webcomic/BandVsBand'' [[SickEpisode where they get sick]] roughly follows this structure: when confined to her room with a broken ankle, [[ThePollyanna Honey Hart]] slowly finds her plucky persona slipping, whereas gothic hellraiser Turperntine finds she can't raise hell half as well when she's lost her voice. They both come out of it with newfound respect for each other.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The plot of ''WesternAnimation/PrincessGwenevereAndTheJewelRiders'' episode "Dreamfields." Kale and Gwen are hit with some magic that causes them to hallucinate they've swapped places. It's enough to ''almost'' get Kale to HeelFaceTurn...but not quite.
* This happens in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' episode aptly named "Crossroads of Destiny" between Aang and Zuko. Aang is TheChosenOne who up to that point had successfully fought off TheEmpire, while Zuko was a banished, disgraced prince abandoned by his father, the EvilOverlord of said empire, [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain after repeatedly failing to capture Aang]]. [[spoiler: The episode finally sees Aang defeated with Zuko's help, and the following episode brings out that Zuko is now accepted as a prince again in his home country with the approval of his father and famed for killing TheHero, while Aang is thought to be dead after having failed to defend the capital of the one country that could fight against TheEmpire]].
-->'''Aang:''' [[spoiler: I need my honor back.]]
** This happens to Zuko and Azula as well. Azula had always been in her father's favor; a remorseless, sadistic killing machine, expert chessmaster, and flawless fire-bender while Zuko was TheUnfavorite NobleDemon whose conscience made him too much of an outcast in the family. Zuko is eventually exiled from the Fire Nation and left longing for his father's acceptance, turning into a IneffectualSympatheticVillain after his many failures to catch Aang. [[spoiler: Zuko's character development helps him get over his torment over being neglected by his father, and an expert in fire-bending, and with Aang's help he winds up taking the throne to end the war and become a celebrated leader. Azula, meanwhile, is brushed off by her father and tossed aside when he begins his ploy for global conquest, and after being confronted by her deeply repressed conscience, manifesting as a hallucination of her mother, Azula regresses into a pitiful, insane child. She's eventually confined to a madhouse, tormented by her deeply delusional belief that her mother never loved her as much as Zuko. Even when her mother later apologizes for abandoning her children, Azula still refuses to acknowledge her mother's love for her.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack''; the episode "Jack Learns to Jump Good" starts with Jack rushing for a time portal which he believes will lead to his goal, only for Aku to appear out of nowhere, grab it, and mock the hero as he futilely tries to leap for it. End of the episode, the same thing happens, but now that Jack can [[InASingleBound "jump good"]], he [[ShutUpHannibal interrupts Aku's gloating]] by doing so with his sword drawn straight for Aku's face, [[OhCrap to the villain's utter horror.]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}},'' the three-part "Hunter's Moon" arc has three siblings acting as the current [[HunterOfMonsters Hunters]]. Jason, the oldest and leader, hates gargoyles the most; the youngest, Jon, was willing to believe gargoyles other than [[KillAllHumans Demona]] might be innocent. When it seems like the gargoyles are responsible for Jason's death, however, Jon snaps and turns fully against them; Jason, meanwhile, actually survives and [[HeelRealization realizes the gargoyles are good]]. When Jason tried to defend them against Jon, the latter accidentally shoots and paralyzes the former, which he quickly blames on the gargoyles (in a NotSoDifferent moment with Demona).
-->'''Jon:''' What have I--[[IronicEcho what have]] ''[[NeverMyFault they]]'' [[NeverMyFault done to you?!]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': The episode [[Recap/BatmanTheAnimatedSeriesE22JokersFavor "Joker's Favor"]] begins with the Joker threatening to kill [[{{Everyman}} Charlie Collins]] after Charlie yelled at him for cutting him off in traffic, and ends with Charlie threatening the Joker with an ignominious death "blown to bits in an alley alongside a miserable little nobody". [[spoiler:Charlie is perfectly content to prank The Joker, leaving him terrified and gibbering in Batman's custody, while the satisfied Everyman himself goes home to a possible meatloaf dinner.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short "WesternAnimation/TreeForTwo" begins with BullyBulldog Spike being fawned over by smaller dog Chester. The two encounter Sylvester and chase him, cornering him in an alley. Unfortunately, an escaped panther is hiding there, and whenever Spike tries to get Sylvester, the panther attacks him. Neither Spike nor Chester are aware of the panther, so Spike thinks it was Sylvester who beat him, while Chester, who is able to beat Sylvester easily, doesn't understand why his hero can be defeated by a puny cat. By the end of the cartoon their roles have been reversed, with Chester as the tough guy and Spike as the adulating {{fanboy}}.
** In an early Daffy Duck cartoon, "Daffy Duck in Hollywood," Daffy plays the ScrewySquirrel tormenting the snobby director. By the end of the cartoon, Daffy is the snobby director while the snobby director is the ScrewySquirrel.
* The climax to ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames'' reverses the roles from the climax in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls'' of [[spoiler:Twilight Sparkle]] and [[spoiler:Sunset Shimmer]], where [[spoiler:Human!Twilight]] turns into a monster and [[spoiler:Sunset]] ends up turning her back.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' episode "The Day", Wander is asleep and Sylvia has to find a way to escape Lord Hater and his {{Mooks}} while also keeping Wander asleep. This causes Sylvia to feel tired and needing some much needed rest, while Wander has a lot of energy after being asleep, leading into the events of "The Night", where Sylvia is asleep and Wander has to make sure she stays asleep, first from mundane things such as crickets to three of Lord Hater's Mooks trying to capture the two (who are also kind enough to keep Sylvia asleep).
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies'' episode "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dark", Beeker, having seen a slime monster movie a few nights ago, is scared of the dark and can't sleep (keeping Bunsen awake in the process), so Kermit and the others help show him there's nothing about the dark that's scary. In the end, Beeker conquers his fear of the slime monster and is able to sleep that night, however, Kermit, after all the encounters with the monster throughout the episode, [[NotSoStoic is unable]] [[HereWeGoAgain to]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' episode "Nurse Stimpy", [[SickEpisode Ren has gotten sick]] and Stimpy takes it upon himself to nurse him back to health. After enduring Stimpy's well-meaning but humiliating treatments throughout the entire episode, Ren is healthy again, but Stimpy has spent so much time watching over Ren that now ''he'' is sick, and Ren [[TheDogBitesBack is all too happy to]] [[CaretakerReversal return the favor Stimpy gave him]].