"Don't listen to him. He's trying to lead you down the path of righteousness! I'm gonna lead you down the path that rocks!"When someone wrestles with a temptation, two miniature versions of himself, an Angel and a Devil, sit on each shoulder and try to pull him in different directions. The Devil will invariably be on the left (or sinister) shoulder. Sometimes, like in Full House ("The Devil Made Me Do It"), the Angel and the Devil are full people in the room rather than miniatures on shoulders. Expect a female character's Devil to dress all Stripperiffic, to invoke Evil Is Sexy, Horny Devils and Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains. If a character is particularly bad, a common subversion is to give them two Devils. Another is for the devil to kill, injure or incapacitate the angel, leaving only the devil as counsel (or vice versa). Sometimes the devil for males mentions that the Angel wears a "Dress". As the conversation among the three progresses, it may drift away from anything to do with good or evil, a subversion of this setup which resembles Metaphorgotten or Sidetracked by the Analogy. The technical, if somewhat dated, term for this is the Psychomachia ("Battle of the Soul"); in its original version, this implied a full-scale war between all of an individual's personified virtues (such as Humility, Chastity, Patience, etc.) against his personified vices (Pride, Lust, Anger, etc.). To put in more or less psychological terms, what we have is a kind of Freudian Trio, with the Devil as the Id, the Angel as the Superego and the person whose shoulders they stand on as the Ego. Compare Floating Advice Reminder and Ghost in the Machine. When an external character takes it upon themself to play the Bad Angel, they're The Corrupter. Consider Right Way/Wrong Way Pair.
— Kronk's Shoulder Devil, The Emperor's New Groove
open/close all folders