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->'''ComicBook/GreenArrow''': I still don't think I belong up here.\\
'''Franchise/{{Batman}}''': That's the point. Someone like you will keep us honest.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited,'' "Initiation"

The Morality Chain is a character who is the reason another character is Good. Stereotypically a female love interest, a [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas mother]], a daughter, or a little sister; as long as this person is alive, her [[LoveRedeems target of affection]] will at the very least be a NobleDemon.

There is no RestrainingBolt involved; this person is the ''only'' thing preventing someone from happily killing their "[[TokenEvilTeammate friends]]" and [[CainAndAbel family]]. (One wonders whether such a form of "goodness" has much value in it until one remembers that ''it keeps them from killing their [[TrueCompanions friends]] and [[ThickerThanWater family]]''.)

If a Morality Chain were to {{fall|enHero}}, [[EtTuBrute commit betrayal]], or get seriously hurt or die, there is ''[[InterruptedCooldownHug nothing]]'' to prevent a FaceHeelTurn happening so fast and so hard that the unchained character is gladly chopping their former teammates into pieces before you can say "NeutralEvil". This is more than the RoaringRampageOfRevenge; ''[[RevengeByProxy everyone]]'' [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds has to suffer]].

A similar, and often confused with, trope is the MoralityPet. The difference between the two is subtle: A morality pet is a character who redeems a villain. The villain's affection for the pet starts them down the path of good, and even should the pet get hurt the villain will most likely behave as a hero (or anti-hero) in seeking their revenge or protecting the pet. By contrast, the morality chain keeps an otherwise anti-heroic character (such as a SociopathicHero) from going full villain. The loss of the chain would spell doom for any involved party, and likely anyone nearby as well. In a nutshell: A morality pet turns a bad guy good; a morality chain ''stops'' a good guy from turning bad. That said, the two tropes can certainly overlap: if the character redeems a villain and then also helps keep them from slipping back to evil, they are both a Morality Pet and a Morality Chain.

Or to put it another way: The MoralityPet is a catalyst for a HeelFaceTurn; the Morality Chain is an inhibitor of a FaceHeelTurn. In this sense, the two are actually OppositeTropes despite their close similarities.

Sometimes this is {{Inverted|Trope}}. The death of the Morality Chain motivates the target of affection to become more determined to be good [[MoralityChainBeyondTheGrave to honor her memory]], [[ForgottenFallenFriend or something]]. Usually in these cases the cause of death is either natural, or because of a villain (especially if it's a buddy of theirs that the Morality Chain had disapproved of). Now, if the cause of death is ''their loved one,'' either through an accident or because they [[KickTheMoralityPet Kicked the Morality Pet]], then they may either [[HeroicBSOD go comatose]] or [[MurderMakesYouCrazy crazy]].

See also: MoralityChainBeyondTheGrave, MoralityPet, CynicismCatalyst, MoralityChip, LivingEmotionalCrutch, and DrivenToVillainy. Contrast: TheKidWithTheLeash and TheFarmerAndTheViper.

* MoralityChain/AnimeAndManga
* MoralityChain/ComicBooks
* MoralityChain/FanWorks
* [[MoralityChain/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* MoralityChain/{{Literature}}
* MoralityChain/LiveActionTV
* MoralityChain/VideoGames
* MoralityChain/WebComics
* MoralityChain/WesternAnimation


[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'', Bad Cop has a morality chain in the form of... [[LiteralSplitPersonality himself]]. While not the dominant personality, Good Cop is strong enough to rein in Bad Cop's sadism [[spoiler:and prevents him from using the Kragle on his parents. When Lord Business rubs out Good Cop's face with nail polish remover, Bad Cop goes through with freezing his parents]].

* ''Manhwa/TheBreaker'': Shi Woon Lee and Shiho are this to Chun Woo. Shiho isn't as much of one as Shi Woon but her apparent death provokes quite a [[UnstoppableRage reaction]] in Chun Woo.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Mark Briscoe serves as such for his older brother Jay, preventing him from getting in (too) much trouble with Wrestling/{{R|ingOfHonor}}OH censors, from bringing avoidable legal trouble to the company and from causing too much damage on the farm. Mark has plenty of his own vices, such as trespassing, envy and irresponsible handling of farmyard equipment/firearms that Jay is almost completely unable to do anything about.
* Fabi Apache was able to successfully keep her sister Mari on the {{tecnic|o}}a path in Wrestling/{{AAA}} during the 2010s, though this was preceded by a feud between the two in the 2000s and Mari is liable to fall back into her bad habits when Fabi isn't around.[[/folder]]

* In 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles of Literature/TheBible, Jehoiada the priest served as King Joash/Jehoash's MoralityChain as long as he was alive, as the king did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, including having the Temple repaired. However, after Jehoiada died, 2nd Chronicles records that Jehoash forsook the Lord, and served the groves and idols, even going as far as having Zechariah the son of Jehoiada murdered for speaking the Lord's words against the king. In the end, his own servants conspired against him and killed him, and he was not buried alongside the kings of Judah.

[[folder:Roleplaying Games]]
* In ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'', Elizabeth Priestly is this to her twin brother Lenny. When she's not around him, he acts even ''more'' of a complete bastard to get her back/find her.
** [[spoiler:And now that she's permanently out of the picture, we can probably expect even nastier things to happen to anybody Lenny meets...[[CycleOfRevenge especially Gabe McCallum]].]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'', Baarrtk Krror is only prevented from giving in entirely to hate by his dear friend, Malik Savant.
* The ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'' supplement ''Danse Macabre'' introduces the concept of "anchors" as a replacement for the [[KarmaMeter Humanity]] system. The way it works, essentially, is that you have a set of {{Morality Chain}}s that prevent you from degenerating and giving into [[EnemyWithin The Beast]]. You lose an anchor when they become too exposed to the rest of vampiric society or you damage the relationship too thoroughly. Did we mention that the anchor system is meant to be used in conjunction with the [[EvilFeelsGood Atrocity system]] and your anchors are the easiest way to safely vent Atrocity dice?

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'', Ilya is evidently this to Berserker. Note, he's still a massive lump of destructive impulse given terrifying form, he's just better tempered when she's around... unless [[{{Yandere}} she]] orders him to kill someone. [[OhCrap Then he gets WORSE]].
** There's also implications that Enkidu was this to [[ItsAllAboutMe Gilgamesh]], who was TheGoodKing while they were friends, but reverted back to being the arrogant jackass he was before he met him.
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' has [[spoiler:Hideyoshi Ushiromiya]] fulfilling this role for [[spoiler:his wife Eva]]. Whenever he kicks the bucket (which happens in ''every'' arc), she ''snaps''.
** Also, [[spoiler:Sakutaro is this for Maria. When Rosa rips him apart during a fight, Maria's diary entries [[CuteAndPsycho start to become darker]], [[CallingTheOldManOut and]] [[SelfMadeOrphan later..]].]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Dr. Horrible of ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' has [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking two motivations]]: to TakeOverTheWorld and to [[ShrinkingViolet get up the courage]] to talk to Penny, the girl at the laundromat. When the JerkAss DesignatedHero, Captain Hammer, [[spoiler:[[NiceJobBreakingItHero accidentally kills her]] with Dr. Horrible's DeathRay]], Horrible's closing song makes it clear that he's lost the only thing he really cared about and now there's nothing keeping him from turning truly evil.
* Sylvester, narrator of ''Literature/{{Twig}}'', plays with this due to his status as a BlankSlate; he allows his friends to define the limits of his morality. When paired with the [[TokenGoodTeammate Token Good Teammates]] Jamie or Lillian, Sy becomes practically heroic, but when he's partnered with the amoral Mary or the bloodthirsty Helen he will display an almost sadistic focus on causing the enemy the maximum possible harm as they act as TheCorrupter to him.