->'''Wesley:''' There is a line, Lilah, black and white, good and evil.
->'''Lilah:''' Funny thing about black and white. You mix it together and you get grey. And it doesn't matter how much white you try and put back in, you're never gonna get anything but grey.
-->-- '''''Series/{{Angel}}''''', "[[Recap/AngelS04E08HabeasCorpses Habeas Corpses]]"

In an all-grey conflict, neither side is [[BlackAndWhiteMorality totally good nor completely evil]]. Both sides have a strong, justifiable reason for fighting, and contain a mixture of people of all kinds, from admirable, upstanding individuals to vicious, slimy scumbags.

In most cases, [[ALighterShadeOfGrey one side has better reasons and more good people than the other]]. The protagonists usually fight for this better side, and if they don't, they'll switch sides before the end. While the audience roots for the better side, they still have [[SympatheticPOV sympathy for the opposition]], and often specific characters from the other side will be seen as {{Worthy Opponent}}s.

The result of such a conflict depends on where the story lies on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism. At the idealistic end, both sides will eventually realize that fighting is futile and end up putting aside their differences to learn from each other and make a new and better world. At the centre, one side usually ends up crushing the other; this brings about peace, but of a hollow, depressing kind, as a faction with noble ideals has been destroyed. At the cynical end, both sides gradually become more extremist and less sympathetic as the war drags on until eventually [[MightMakesRight the stronger side]] utterly defeats the other, leading to harsh oppression (and/or elimination) of anyone who holds the weaker faction's views, which eventually results in the stronger side [[WrittenByTheWinners writing history books painting them as the noble heroes triumphant against the evil dissidents who threatened their ways]]. That, or both parties simply [[KillEmAll end up destroying each other]], [[DownerEnding so no one wins in the end]].

In some cases, the story will end with both sides [[EnemyMine teaming up]] against an [[AlwaysChaoticEvil unambiguously evil]] third faction, who may even have been [[LetsYouAndHimFight behind the war]] in the first place. When this villain is defeated, the grey sides almost invariably [[FireForgedFriends decide to live in peace]] (in the harsher version, the casualties from fighting that villain may find that there is actually now enough of whatever they fought over for all the survivors. Ultra-harsh version of this has the realization that the resources have been spent on the war).

A result of the above is that Grey and Gray Morality has one potentially great advantage: It can be easier to maintain suspense regarding the ending. In BlackAndWhiteMorality, BlackAndGrayMorality and even WhiteAndGrayMorality situations, the ending is [[TheBadGuyWins almost]] always a [[TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin foregone conclusion; good wins in the end]], it's just a matter of how. In a Grey-and-Gray situation, either side might conceivably win, or both, or neither. Another great advantage of this kind of moral model is that the experience can end up entirely different between two viewers: one viewer may prefer to side with Faction A over Faction B for any number of different reasons, and another viewer may think the opposite for other reasons. Properly written, this can make for some ''very'' interesting story-telling. {{Video Game}}s in particular are a good medium for this, due to their interactive nature.

Can be the result of a long-term GrayingMorality of a Black and White narrative.

Note that the sides often will still be DressCodedForYourConvenience.

Contrast with BlackAndWhiteMorality. Compare BothSidesHaveAPoint, BlackAndGrayMorality, WhiteAndGreyMorality, EvilVersusEvil, MoralityKitchenSink, OrderVersusChaos, TheHorseshoeEffect and ALighterShadeOfGrey. FeudingFamilies and CycleOfRevenge stories tend to fall under this, as do many depictions of historical wars. A MobWar may be this, or may fall under BlackAndGrayMorality.

Any betrayals within a Grey and Gray Morality Universe will, by their very nature, be {{Hazy Feel Turn}}s.

[[noreallife]]
----
!!Examples:
[[index]]
* GreyAndGrayMorality/AnimeAndManga
* GreyAndGrayMorality/ComicBooks
* GreyAndGrayMorality/FanWorks
* [[GreyAndGrayMorality/LiveActionFilms Films — Live-Action]]
* GreyAndGrayMorality/{{Literature}}
* GreyAndGrayMorality/LiveActionTV
* GreyAndGrayMorality/TabletopGames
* GreyAndGrayMorality/VideoGames
* GreyAndGrayMorality/WebComics
* GreyAndGrayMorality/WebOriginal
* GreyAndGrayMorality/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/TheMonkees' song "Shades of Grey" is about this.
-->''But today there is no day or night''
-->''Today there is no dark or light''
-->''Today there is no black or white''
-->''Only shades of grey''
* A Music/BillyJoel song with the same name as the above is about how he goes from the BlackAndWhiteMorality of youth to this, while simultaneously warning of BlackAndWhiteInsanity.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4tDP-yMwXI Or does he?]]
* French singer Jean-Jacques Goldman titled one of his songs "Entre gris clair et gris foncé" ("Between Light Gray and Dark Gray"). Specifically, its lyrics are about the increase of ambiguous morality in fiction.
-->''[[GoodIsBoring Dulled good guys]], [[EvilIsCool troubling bad guys]]''
-->''Devils aren't so [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience black]] anymore''
-->''Nor whites [[LightIsNotGood wholly innocent]]''
* Music/AngelsAndAirwaves have ''Epic Holiday'', from the ''Love'' album.
--> ''Nobody's right''
--> ''Nobody's wrong''
--> ''Life's just a game''
--> ''It's just one epic holiday''
* The Dave Mason song "We Just Disagree"
--> ''So let's leave it alone, 'cause we can't see eye to eye''
--> ''There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy''
--> ''There's only you and me and we just disagree''
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Mythology, Religion & Folklore]]
* The Norse view of the world was pretty much entirely founded on this trope. While the Gods weren't all that bad, Odin could be an unreliable {{jerkass}} and tended to decide men's fates on a whim. Similarly, despite their horrific nature, the Gods' enemies could be portrayed as sympathetic, especially in the case of [[TheTrickster Loki]]. He constantly broke rules, but on the logic that too much order would stifle creativity. The real conflict is more one of order versus chaos, although it's clear which side the audience was rooting for.
* Reynard the Fox fables evoke this. Reynard is a trickster, and frequently the bane of other characters, but all characters are flawed. They are all animals (just like we are) and act according to their instincts. Reynard is the folk hero, but is not "good" or "bad", he is just as flawed as all the other characters.
** Similarly, Wolf and/or Coyote, depending on the region and tribe (and even storyteller). Sometimes, he's a Prometheus-like creature who stole fire from the Gods to give birth to or help humanity. Sometimes he's just looking for a meal, and isn't any more harmful than WesternAnimation/BugsBunny. Sometimes, he's a rapist coward who murders men, women, and children by tricking them into deadly games. One rape of a woman leads him into pitying her and helping her give birth, while other tales have him return food and protect those he stole from. He's a complicated case.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* The Revolution vs Palaestra conflict in Super World Of Sports, a {{homage}} to the various [[RivalDojos dojo wars]] of sumo wrestling and another form of the Wrestling/{{All Japan|ProWrestling}}\Wrestling/{{New Japan|ProWrestling}} rivalry. It crossed over into Grey and Black morality when Geki Dojo entered the picture though, as their manager KY Wakamatsu was transparently evil.
* While observing the happening of various promotions in the USA and Japan, ''Pro Wrestling Is Art'' found this response.
-->“Pro Wrestling Is Destroying Someone Else’s Dreams To Achieve Yours”
-->– Ice Ribbon – 2011-12-25 – Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
* Wrestling/VinceRusso believes pro wrestling ought to work this way where the concept of a heel and a face isn't a line down the middle and characters should act naturally to achieve their objectives rather than abiding by their defined alignment. Unfortunately he isn't very good at making this happen so when it's attempted it just ends up confusing and everyone winds up with weak characterizations across the board.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* In ''Radio/TrollCops'', [[WellIntentionedExtremist the Magpie]] [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong comes back from her]] BadFuture with a very strong belief in a clear BlackAndWhiteMorality, getting her in trouble very quickly. In the first midseason finale, Rose finally drills home for her the fact that there is no black and white, and what really exists is one of these.
--> '''Rose:''' Those of us who fight for good, even as grey as we are, do our best to save as many lives as we can. We do the best we can, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices. Sometimes we do unsavory actions like lying, cheating and stealing. Like taking bribes, helping criminals, or killing unsavory people. But despite all our problems we are still trying to do the right thing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare's historical plays sometimes work this way. In others he rewrites history to upgrade [[HistoricalHeroUpgrade heroes]] and [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade villains]] to create a BlackAndWhiteMorality that appeases the reigning dynasty.
* ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'' uses this in relation to fairy tales; for example, Jack might be the hero, but he still killed someone's son. The point of the musical is to show that people are not good or evil, but just people.
-->''There are rights and wrongs and inbetweens''
-->''No-one waits when fortune intervenes''
** And from [[YouAreNotAlone "No One is Alone"]] ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xaxP_kErTU here]]), the heroes realise finally realise this
-->''Witches can be right, giants can be good.''
-->''You decide what's right, you decide what's good.''
-->''Someone is on your side.''
-->''Someone else is not.''
-->''While we're seeing our side''
-->''Maybe we forgot: they are not alone.''
-->''No one is alone.''
** The main characters' dilemma in the second act is choosing whether they want to give Jack to the giant and save themselves or spare him and let the giant kill everyone in the kingdom.
* ''Theatre/PeerGynt'' plays this straight on the title character. Come the fourth act, he lampshades it heavily, relating this as his philosophy of life: balancing out the bad deeds with good ones. For instance, he deals with slaves, and also trades in pagan idols. For every pagan idol he sells, he makes sure a heathen is baptized.
* ''ThePillowman'' uses it to stunning effect. From the beginning, Tupolski is clearly the hero of the story, Katurian is a MagnificentBastard writer and murderer, and Ariel is the grey between the two, clearly being opposed to Katurian but constantly going against Tupolski. It's turned completely on its head when [[spoiler:Katurian is revealed to be innocent, or at least under extenuating circumstances for the three murders he ''did'' commit. From that point onward, Tupolski is still pushing to execute Katurian and Ariel loses all of his nerve. It ends on a technicality, that Katurian confessed to murders he didn't commit, and the agreement was that they would save his legacy if he confessed truthfully, so they are "entirely within [their] rights to burn all of Mr. Katurian's work".]]
[[/folder]]
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