"What have I done? Sweet Jesus, what have I done? Become a thief in the night, become a dog on the run? Have I fallen so far, and is the hour so late, that nothing remains but the cry of my hate?Well-intentioned but misguided character — very likely a Tragic Hero or Anti-Villain — comes to realize that his actions have caused incredible damage, physical pain, emotional pain, or even loss of life. The usual line that comes after this is the title of the article (sometimes, without the "My God"). Tears of Remorse may accompany it. Often the realization only comes when someone/something close to the person is hurt or destroyed. In quite a few cases, that "someone/something close" is the very entity he was trying to get rid of to begin with. Usually delivered dramatically, sometimes, well, over-the-top. A villain might utter this line if they're about to take the Last-Second Chance. Or a hero after being freed from The Virus, being Brainwashed and Crazy, or a Superpowered Evil Side, or after making an unintentional but catastrophic mistake. Sometimes followed by Must Make Amends, other times by an Ignored Epiphany. Compare These Hands Have Killed, which can occur even the first time the character has killed, even justifiably. See also Screaming At Squick. Often the result if the protagonist becomes an Unwitting Pawn. Sometimes combined with Heroic BSOD; common with Villainous BSOD. Can be a self-inflicted What the Hell, Hero?. Contrast I Did What I Had to Do, Be All My Sins Remembered, and I Regret Nothing. Compare It's All My Fault, Heel Realization and Kick the Morality Pet. See also Out Damned Spot, Being Evil Sucks, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, and Sympathetic Murder Backstory. May be the result of an all too successful Pygmalion Plot to Teach Him Anger. When a work tries to deliberately invoke this as an audience reaction, that's You Bastard (whether it's successful or not).
— Jean Valjean, after attempting to rob a priest who had just given him shelter, Les MisÚrables
open/close all folders