Accuser of the Brethren
So, you've got The Atoner, he has done some bad things and regrets them. He works hard to be redeemed and you think he's going to get support, right? Wrong. There is a character, a very vindictive person who wants nothing better than to force the Atoner to wallow in his guilt. Perhaps The Atoner was once The Dragon, and his master wants him to feel that redemption is virtually impossible, perhaps it was someone who was hurt by The Atoner and doesn't want them to be redeemed, because they did something they find unforgivable. The former often overlaps with Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and the latter case usually overlaps with He Who Fights Monsters. Compare to Never Accepted In His Home Town, Inspector Javert, and He Who Fights Monsters. Contrast with Karma Houdini.
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Anime and Manga
- In one episode of Kino's Journey, a man who was once a ruthless killer, tries to atone by accompanying a woman whose husband he had murdered. However, not not after their expedition, the woman shoots him several times, unable to forgive what he had done.
- The League of Shadows are basically this in The Dark Knight Rises. Years after their first attempt to destroy Gotham in Batman Begins, they try again, even though their job is to destroy cities where crime rules. So they try to reinstate their plan to destroy the city after eight years of peace in Gotham. Gets worse when you realize that 90% of the new crime wave in Gotham was their fault (not such a surprise given that a large part of the reason Gotham became such a Wretched Hive in the first place was because of their manipulations).
- Benchwarmers has one of the coaches for the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits be a former bully who regrets his past actions. His team promptly turns on him once the secret gets out.
- Played around with in "Ringu 0". The journalist Akiko Miyaji was determined to find out about and get revenge on Sadako, knowing that she was responsible for her fiancÚ's death. However, we see that Sadako isn't really evil and malicious as the former believes. But when Akiko reveals Sadako's past traumas to the entire theatre group and audience, it leads to an inevitable yet depressing Downer Ending.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has the gypsies who gave Angel his soul, in retaliation for the murder of one of their own, in an effort to make him suffer eternal guilt. Generations later and the gypsies would try to make sure Angel never finds happiness, Justified as him being happy will be enough to unleash his demonic split personality Angelus.
- In House Of Payne, CJ becomes this when Blue, a drug dealer and Big Bad of the story arc of Janine's crack addiction, seeks repentance in a church as he was dying of AIDS. When Janine and Ella work to help take care of him and pray for him, CJ doesn't support him and gets mad at Janine for helping him. At one point, he goes to the church and simply says "I don't know what you're trying to prove - that man is beyond your prayers." and walks out. He gets better when Ella gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech about being a true Christian, and at Blue's last moments, CJ goes to pray for Blue's repentance at Blue's bedside.
Mythology and Religion
- Dave Chappelle has a hilarious double-subversion in a skit in which he exacts revenge on several people who wronged him in the past. However, the last person seems to truly feel bad for what he's done (banning him from his club) after things have gone downhill. At first, he seems to have forgiven him...before pushing him down a flight of stairs in his wheelchair, and still setting the whole club ablaze.
- This is part of the back story for the iconic Slayer Zadim in Pathfinder. Sent to kill a Taldan noble who persecuted followers of Sarenae, He tracks him down but ultimately finds a Paladin who is actively working to atone for his past transgressions. He finds himself torn between becoming this or letting him find his forgiveness.
- The Greek Gods of God of War are more or less this given that Athena tells Kratos that while they will forgive him for killing his family, they will never let him forget. However, Athena also notes even the Gods couldn't forget what he did, so it's less intentional than others.
- Of course, it's not like they have the moral ground to judge Kratos, since they're responsible for ruining his life since he was a kid, kidnapping his brother, cursing his mother and later causing both their deaths over a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. And most of Kratos' supposed sins, even killing his family, were done under service and influence of Ares, one of their own, so their holding Kratos accountable for things he did for one of their own is at best hypocritical and at worst cruel and petty. And even after turning him into a God as a reward (and an unwanted one, since Kratos was trying to kill himself to escape the nightmares, and they made him an immortal God of War), the second game intro states they still shunned Kratos, despite everything he'd done for them for 10 years. And that's not even counting their being Jerkass Gods who torment humanity in ways that make Kratos seem heroic and merciful by comparison.
- Alistair Smythe is this to Curt Connors in The Amazing Spider-Man. Ever since the Lizard's rampage, Smythe was made the head of Oscorp's science experiments, and always blamed Connors for the continuation of the Cross Species experiments. When the virus breaks out and Connors develops a cure, he kidnaps Connors, and later reveals the reason he did so was because he didn't want the city to be saved with the solution Connors created, rather then the nanobot cocktail Smythe created.
- In the Family Guy episode, "And I'm Joyce Kinney", the title character tries to ruin Lois' reputation by revealing that she was in a porno movie, as payback for when Lois humiliated her in High School. Should be noted that when Lois is forgiven, Joyce gets angry.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Katara acts as this towards Zuko for a few epsiodes. She does eventually warm up to him.