"Go ahead. Take it. You'll be so very powerful... And what harm can it do?"
Not to be confused with The Corruption
, which is more of an impersonal force, this character's primary role in the story is to bring out the worst in everyone around them. Often, their ultimate goal is getting the hero to do a Face-Heel Turn
They fulfill this role willingly and knowingly — perhaps they are doing it For the Evulz
, or because they seek validation by dragging others down to their level. Perhaps corrupting the hero advances their own agenda in some way — perhaps opening the hero to recruitment as an ally
, perhaps something more subtle
. Or maybe they just think that Humans Are Bastards
and are trying to prove it.
In any case, do not expect these guys to get a whole lot of development themselves — they are less characters in their own right than they are the metaphorical devil on someone else's shoulder
given physical form. If they do
get much Character Development
, they will probably be a Shadow Archetype
for the character they are trying to corrupt. Expect them to be very smooth and clever, though precise competence level will vary.
This character will almost always be a serious villain, though they can be parodied by being made particularly inept. If they're not
the Big Bad
, expect them to still be an important villain with a lot of screen time — this trope doesn't work too well if you can't interact with the characters you're corrupting.
Do not expect these guys to pull a Heel-Face Turn
; they are more likely to go into a Villainous Breakdown
if they are definitively rejected. If they fail, it will probably be because they cannot comprehend good
. Perhaps they want to rule with the hero
, though this is by no means a universal trait, and not everyone who makes that offer is an example of this trope. May offer a Deal with the Devil
at some point, but is just as likely to use mental and emotional manipulation to force their victim's hand without any sort of formal bargain — see Hannibal Lecture
and Break the Cutie
for some favorite tactics.
Sometimes the Corrupter cares more about turning the hero than his own life, and invites them to Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred
Can be of any evil alignment; a Lawful Evil
who wants a new minion, a Neutral Evil
who wants an apprentice to continue their work, or a Chaotic Evil
who just likes screwing with people. If it turns out that it was all a Secret Test of Character
or otherwise necessary, see A Chat with Satan
Closely related tropes are Manipulative Bastard
and The Chessmaster
. See The Vamp
or Lady Macbeth
if female. Will often overlap with an evil Warrior Therapist
, an Evil Mentor
or Treacherous Advisor
. See The Corruptible
for the typical victim of this kind of villain, and Incorruptible Pure Pureness
for those immune to their wiles.
The Shoulder Devil
is a literal version of this trope, though these days is one more likely to be played for comedy.
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Anime & Manga
- Johan Liebert, the eponymous Monster.
- In Tower of God, Grace Luslec Mircea is this to 25th Baam, to the point he adopts his name and become Jyu Viole Grace (Jyu Viole, adopted by Grace). In a way, the Tower itself, a Genius Loci, corrupts its inhabitants with the promise of having everything you wish for at the top.
- Tobi/Obito Uchiha, who in turn appears to have been corrupted by Madara Uchiha
- Orochimaru when he was still alive was one of these as well.
- Danzo also acts as an indirect example given all the people who he has caused to make a Face-Heel Turn through his actions. All of these combined examples add up to a Gambit Pileup.
- It is implied that Zabuza had a similar effect on Haku, though Haku never saw him as anything other than a loving master. More like, they met each other halfway. Zabusa taught Haku how to be harder and more ruthless, but Zabuza also learned to care about someone other than himself.
- In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Lust's job is to be The Corrupter who tempts desperate alchemists into seeking the forbidden knowledge of how to make Philosopher's Stones. Envy also ends up creating Wrath by tempting the nascent homunculus with incomplete Philosopher's Stones.
- Pasder and the Zonderians in GaoGaiGar, and the Primevals later on.
- Naraku from InuYasha frequently tries to corrupt the hearts of the heroes; sometimes this is for a practical purpose (usually corrupting the Shikon Jewel), while sometimes it's just for the sake of evil. At one point, he tries to force Kagome to choose between killing the priestess he has mind-controlled (which would allegedly both condemn the priestess to hell and corrupt Kagome's heart for killing her knowing that) or being killed by her; at another, he tries to get Sango to kill an innocent little girl in order to kill him, which is also the only way to save her love interest's life (only Naraku wouldn't have died anyway because she was only talking to an illusion of himself).
- The Beast from Berserk. The Berserkerverse's resident super-powered evil hellhound entity that dwells within our main character, this mean puppy constantly tries to egg Guts into killing his friends - especially Casca, who is the only person who stops Guts from becoming a sociopathic killing machine. However, the Beasts wants this to happen in order to take over Guts' soul, so whenever he gets the chance, whether Guts is emotionally fragile from longing for intimate affection from his lost love or mentally vulnerable from wearing the berserker armor,the Beasts tells Guts a range of hideous things: that he doesn't really love Casca anymore and only uses her experience as way to fuel his hate for Griffith, or that he enjoys being a heartless killing machine because it gives him power. The Beast comes in and out of the picture, but always reminds Guts that it'll be back...
- Despite being the Big Bad, Dakki of Houshin Engi counts as this. One of her Paope gives off a sent that eventually drives men to her side and makes them devoted slaves. Mix in her own skills at manipulation with just her looks and words and you have a nasty combo to deal with. Just look at the Emperor. He starts off normal and many chapters in, gets turned into a human paope weapon that is barely aware of who he originally was. And she's been doing this for hundreds of years as well.
- Soul Eater has Asura and his Clowns as well as Medusa for Crona.
- Light Yagami of Death Note plays this role for the (albeit less-than-heroic) Misa, Takada, and Mikami, turning each of them in turn from moderately unpleasant people with mild psychological problems to unrepentant mass murderers. Then, of course, there's his cult and the unnamed masses he screwed up there...
- Light also inadvertently causes his father to make a deal with Ryuk that results in his death, bringing the most innocent character in the series into the mess and nearly making him a murderer too. Though in the end, Soichiro turns out to be too pure-hearted to ever use the Death Note, which Ryuk notes meant he was able to die free from its curse of misery and fear.
- Light himself was corrupted in the first episode by the Shinigami Ryuk and the Death Note itself, though he was definitely The Corruptible to begin with.
- In the Monster Rancher anime, Moo has the ability to change good monsters into bad ones.
- In Umi Monogatari, Sedna corrupts the islanders, sea creatures, and Urin to suit her needs.
- Played with in Tokyo Ghoul. Although she's already dead, Rize appears to Kaneki as a hallucination and encourages him to surrender completely to his Horror Hunger. Eventually, she walks him through his Dark and Troubled Past to convince him to accept her — she's merely the form he chose to represent his own anger and resentment, so he has someone else to blame. He embraces these emotions, and his Ghoul nature, by symbolically (and messily) eating her, then spends the next six months on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Rosario + Vampire: Kuyou seems to have served this role to the Public Safety Commission. Before he took charge of the group, they were actually a good, necessary institution; it was largely under him that they deteriorated into the band of corrupt yakuza-esque thugs we all know and love to hate.
- Darkseid, being the God of Evil of the DC Universe, has played this role from time to time. The one he bragged about to Eclipso? He once visited New Genesis long before he took on the mantle of Darkseid and saw a beautiful young boy, pure and innocent. With little more than words and the death of a pet bird, Darkseid twisted the youth and gave him a new name — Desaad.
- In All Fall Down, Phylum becomes this to Pronto, thanks to a booby-trapped voice-box that gives poisonous advice.
- In Hellblazer, Nergal attempted to corrupt a young John Constantine by disguising himself as a boy and offering him a cigarette. John took the cigarette and Nergal privately gloated that he had started the boy down a path of corruption. Then he noticed that John had managed to steal the entire pack from him when he wasn't looking. The two eventually become archenemies.
- The first Grendel Hunter Rose. Everyone in his life who isn't one of his victims become worse due to his influence.
Films — Animation
- Scar from The Lion King.
- The anthropomorphic fox J. Worthington Foulfellow in the Disney version of Pinocchio. ** The coachman even more so.
Films — Live-Action
- The Un-man from Perelandra, which is fitting, since he's Satan possessing a human, in a sci-fi setting.
- Sang-drax from The Death Gate Cycle, who is evil incarnate (or rather, a piece of it) and feeds off of hatred, fear, and suffering — convincing mortals to do evil is his equivalent of popping a frozen dinner into a microwave.
- Calesta from the Coldfire Trilogy.
- Tolkien's Legendarium
- Sauron — not so much in The Lord of the Rings, but definitely in the Downfall of Númenor chapter in The Silmarillion — stripped of all other resources, his last resort is to corrupt the entire Númenórean Empire and then sit back and watch their civilization spectacularly implode (unfortunately on top of him). He also corrupted the nine mortal kings who would later become the Nazgûl.
- Gríma Wormtongue corrupted King Théoden. Who was in turn corrupted by Saruman who was corrupted (somewhat indirectly) by Sauron who was corrupted by Melkor. Suffice it to say, Tolkien was fond of this trope.
- Explored in detail in The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
- The point of Agatha Christie's Curtain. The person displaying this trait is actually an extremely timid person on the surface, taking revenge on others for being physically weaker than them this way.
- The unnamed demon from Terry Brooks' Running with the Demon and the changeling from its sequel A Knight Of The Word. The demon in particular seeks to corrupt all of humanity as part of The Void's plan.
- Randall Flagg in The Stand, who is very much a Devil-figure in the novel and
one many of Stephen King's most diabolical villains.
- I, Lucifer a novel written from the devil's perspective details his various efforts to corrupt mortal souls.
- Ruin from Mistborn isn't exactly encouraging people to be evil (he considers himself Above Good and Evil), but he does work to make them more destructive, which usually amounts to the same thing. Even the heroine was one of his pawns, at least for a while and without knowing it.
- First Mate Cox in Nation. He makes other people like himself.
- The Big Bad himself, Kullervo, from Companions Quartet has this kind of effect on others having been able to convert the Seagullls, Cassandra Lang, and the Chimera amongst others.
- Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort recruited Quirrell this way, and presumably some other followers as well.
- A Song of Ice and Fire
- The Dresden Files
- Lashiel's shadow fills this role, although Harry corrupts her, for lack of a better term, more than she does him, and in the end she pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice for him.
- Cold Days reveals that the Man Behind the Man for most of the series is the Outsider saboteur, Nemesis, whose machinations turned a good man into an abusive husband, four good FBI agents into vigilantes addicted to their new power, and turned two Fae Queens into threats against the natural world.
- In Lucifer's Hammer, Sargent Hooker and his cannibal army qualify as this. People who they capture are forced to choose between helping to kill and eat other captives, or be killed and eaten themselves. Once they've done this, most don't ever feel they can go back, so they survive by committing themselves to their new comrades. (An interesting example, because we get to see how the army becomes corrupted, then becomes the The Corrupter in order to gain new recruits.)
- Tales of Kolmar: Berys managed to become Archchancellor of the College of Mages through demon-summoning, and regularly when seeing students and established healers frustrated by their limits he would offer them greater power in exchange for a lock of hair and the promise of aid when he needed it. He never tells them that said aid takes the form of sudden Demonic Possession and their magic feeding his, whenever he wants it.
- Wyrm in The Book of the Dun Cow uses his Dream Weaver powers to persuade the old rooster Senex to father a son, although Senex is infertile, and makes the rooster desperate and dangerously obsessive. This son turns out to be the monstrous Cockatrice, who eventually murders Senex when he realizes that Wyrm tricked him. Senex's corruption allows Wyrm to begin freeing himself from his prison beneath the earth.
- Humorously subverted with Crowley from Good Omens: he was the literal snake in the Garden of Eden and as a demon, corrupting hapless mortals is sort of his job description. He just goes about it in a very half-assed sort of way.
- Those That Wake has Man In Suit, who corrupts people through hopelessness.
- Calabah, from The Mark of the Lion, fulfills this role in Juliaï¿½s life by making immorality seem glamorous; itï¿½s implied that she has done this to many other young women.
- Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- In the third book in the Wayside School series, while the teacher is pregnant, there is a substitute teacher who fulfills this role, turning all the students against each other and creating a very tense and hate-filled classroom.
- Mark Twains' The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg centers on a stranger who was subbed by people this "incorruptible" town. The stranger takes vengeance and would show them all how arrogant they are with nothing more than a sack of gold and a promise for it to be given to a person who would know a key piece of advice.
- The Dark Forest cats in Warrior Cats have been convincing Clan cats to train with them and betray their Clanmates by joining their army. Out of all the Dark Forest trainees, only two stayed evil: Redwillow and Breezepelt.
- Melisande Shahrizai in Kushiels Legacy. She excels at corrupting powerful men & pushing them into committing treason.
- Arrow: Malcolm Merlyn to Thea, starting at the end of Season 2.
- In the third season of Ashes to Ashes, this is the whole motivation of Jim Keats. He wants to see Gene Hunt brought down and, resenting him for bringing good police officers under his sway, plans to turn the others against Gene. It seems like he may have a point... then he grows into more of a Shadow Archetype of Gene Hunt, just as brutal but considerably more evil, and he becomes an almost Satanic figure. Then he becomes an actual Satanic figure, as it's revealed the whole reason for his corrupting of the others was so that he could lure them down to Hell. It's that kind of show.
- Méléagant in Kaamelott (seasons 4, 5 and 6). Who or what he is stays unclear, but it is hinted he's incredibly ancient. With a mix of guile and carefully-used magic powers, he works at corrupting Lancelot even further than he already was, and push a depressive King Arthur toward suicide.
- Mr. Morden on Babylon 5, who is introduced by going around the station asking the ambassadors "What do you want?". His job under the Shadows is to find pliable people that he can tempt into a Deal with the Devil by making them accept Shadow aid.
- Darkseid and his minions Godfrey, Granny Goodness, and especially Desaad fullfill this role in the tenth season, turning the entire world against the JLA while strengthening their own power in the process.
- Earth-2 Lionel did this to Lex, Tess, and Clark in his home universe, and tries it on Alexander when he makes his way to Earth-1.
- On Burn Notice, Larry's goal in life is to get Michael to cross the Moral Event Horizon and then go into business with him.
- A number of demons, including Moloch the Corrupter.
- Angelus, to a practically legendary degree.
- Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother is a Played for Laughs version, especially towards Ted, and is constantly trying to get Ted to become more like him. However, when he's not doing this, Barney is a genuinely good friend.
- The Twilight Zone: The aliens in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", by way of suggestion.
- An episode of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation revealed that Dragonlord was this for the entire Rank race.
- In Season 4 of Supernatural, Ruby is revealed to be one of these. Over the season she drives Sam away from his friends, gets him addicted to demon blood and tricks him into releasing Lucifer from Hell.
- The Man In Black from LOST. Not only is his smoke form a literal corruption of the Light in the Island's center, his modus operandi is to corrupt people with nightmares and apparitions, or sometimes even infect them, so he can use them as pawns to defeat Jacob.
- Great Professor Bias of Choujuu Sentai Liveman sends tests to three students of Academia in the beginning, corrupting them and causing them to work for him. It turns out one of them, Goh, was corrupted by the other two and was simply let in out of pity. As such, he was ultimately saved, though the others were not.
- Morgause from Merlin. Her first appearance is her attempting to get Arthur to kill Uther by telling him the truth about his conception. When that fails she whisks away Morgana for a year and has corrupted her completely when they return in season 3.
- Klaus Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries. He made the hero of the show (Stefan) do a Face-Heel Turn by bringing out his sociopathic alter ego, the Ripper.
- In Princess Returning Pearl the role is played by conniving servants Rong Mou Mou and Gui Mou Mou.
- In Breaking Bad, Walter White is this both in a Downplayed intentional fashion and in an unintentional fashion. While Jesse was already in the meth business, Walt coerces and manipulates him into doing things that he would never have considered doing beforehand. Unintentionally, Walt's influence has a similar effect on everyone around him. One of the writers noted, "Walt has corrupted everyone."
- Dr. Hannibal Lecter. More than the serial killing and the cannibalism, this is what he gets off on: using his psychiatric training to manipulate his patients into become killers themselves. Sometimes he's motivated by morbid curiosity, and other times he is, in his own twisted way, being a good psychiatrist by helping people realise and accept their true self.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Alice", the titular ship through its female avatar plays this role to Tom Paris, getting him to steal parts from Voyager and to drive himself and the ship into a particle fountain which she calls "home." Near the end of the episode, Tom's girlfriend B'Elanna Torres acts as The Conscience to draw his attention away from Alice long enough to transport him out of the ship before it is destroyed.
Myths & Religion
- The Bible
- Satan as portrayed in the Gospels.
- The Serpent from Genesis, often identified with Satan.
- The demon Mara from Buddhist mythology, who led Buddha into temptation to prevent him achieving enlightenment.
- This was the entire character of Sean O'Haire's last WWE gimmick — he'd pop up to try and convince folks backstage to turn heel, in between vignettes urging ordinary people to do things like cheat on their wives simply for kicks.
- Ring of Honor stable Special K rapidly expanded its membership by drugging other wrestlers, particularly from JAPW, and turning them into drug addicts who only cared about their next fix. Samoa Joe was the one to finally put a stop to them. (The Spanish Announce Team, The Carnage Crew and Low Ki all beat them up but Joe actually convinced them to do something else)
- Jimmy Jacobs has been this way in Ring Of Honor during his Age Of The Fall and Decade runs. Delirious, Adam Page and Ta'Darius among his "successes". He also played this role in Chikara, toward the promotion's first grand champion Eddie Kingston.
- This is the current character for Kane, as he's attempting to get John Cena to "embrace the hate", and presumably, turn heel.
- Likewise Bray Wyatt not to only Cena but beforehand, Daniel Bryan.
- Summer Rae acted as this towards Sasha Banks on NXT. After suffering a few losses, Summer got into Sasha's head and convinced her she was worthless. After losing an important match to Paige, Sasha turned heel and allied herself with Summer. Charlotte later also turned heel to join them so we can assume Summer could also have done this offscreen to her too.
- The Authority has been known to be this, convincing wrestlers to turn against their friends and loved ones. Examples include Seth Rollins and Nikki Bella being convinced to betray The Shield and Brie Bella respectively.
- Gargauth, a literal god of corruption from the Forgotten Realms world.
- Shedim from In Nomine are this trope; an alternate name for this particular type of demon is "Corruptors". They accomplish their corruption by Demonic Possession and driving their hosts to do things of escalating levels of evil every day, and the host thinks it was their idea in the first place.
- Old World of Darkness
- Just about every Abyssal entity from Mage: The Awakening. Through Evil Is Easy and Evil Tastes Good they attempt to draw mages into a closer relationship with the Abyss in order to better work towards destroying, well, everything.
- Most any daemon or Chaos cultist could fulfill this role in Warhammer 40,000. However, probably the most infamous Corrupter is Erebus of the Word Bearer's legion. Generally seen as the author of the Horus Heresy (and all the hell that brought on the Imperium and the rest of the galaxy), Erebus turned his Primarch to Chaos when Lorgar was having his Crisis of Faith and also was the driving force behind the corruption of Horus himself.
- Other notable Corrupters from the setting include Calas Typhon of the Death Guard (who unleashed the Destroyer Plague on his legion, turning them into Plague Marines and becoming Typhus the Traveller) and Ahzek Ahriman of the Thousand Sons (who, in an odd twist, was attempting to save his legion from corruption when he became their ultimate undoing).
- Mephistopheles, the Big Bad of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark. Especially towards your followers...
- Alexander from Amnesia: The Dark Descent fills this role quite well, especially with respect to Daniel. Taking advantage of Daniel's growing paranoia, he transforms him from a naive young man to an Ax-Crazy torturer.
- Then again, one could argue that both men had already been corrupted by the Shadow.
- While Chaos is the Big Bad of Dissidia: Final Fantasy, he is just as much a victim of the "Groundhog Day" Loop as everyone else. His dragon Garland, on the other hand, remembers every iteration of the cycle and always pushes Chaos into waging war on Cosmos.
- Mephiles in Sonic 2006 fills this role, or tries to. He tries to tempt Shadow into turning evil again to "help Mephiles" in a desire for revenge, when all Mephiles actually wants to do is destroy everything. He also manipulates Silver into getting him to kill Sonic, which sticks for most of the game until Shadow convinces him of better. Luckily, it turns out Shadow is the only character with a clue. At the end, Mephiles takes matters into his own hands, and kills Sonic.
- Knights of the Old Republic II
- If you're playing Light-Sided, Kreia can definitely be this, viciously berating selfless actions, inflicting Mind Rape on your companions, and encouraging you to "use" and "discard" everyone like tools to advance yourself.
- Atris repeatedly accuses the Exile of being this to the Handmaiden, after she decided to stowaway on the Ebon Hawk to join their quest, then later broke their oath by asking the Exile to teach her the ways of the Jedi.
- The Jedi Exile can implicitly cause people to do things they normally wouldn't. Vrook remarked that though The Exile was never a very powerful Jedi they were remarkably good at making people seeing their way, by unconsciously creating and drawing on force bonds even with people they'd just met. For an example Mira the bounty hunter never usually kills, but is unhappy to note that she doesn't hold back when fighting in The Exile's party.
- "Master User" J. D. Thorne in TRON 2.0 was a User sent into Cyberspace without the necessary protocols to keep him stable, turning him into a living computer virus that seeks out Programs and twists them into Z-lots.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Molag Bal the Daedric Prince of Domination. He's even called The Corrupter in-universe.
- Most of the overtly evil Daedric Princes dabble in this role in one way or another, relishing every chance to turn a mortal (particularly a Hero) to their way of thinking.
- Xana from Dark Messiah spends the entire game trying to convince Sareth to accept his demonic heritage, all the while making pretty blatant come-ons and innuendo (she is a succubus after all). She also tries to convince him to not free the Demon Sovereign, and instead claim the Skull's power for himself, with her at his side.
- Skelter Helter and Pizza Batt Jr. try to be this towards Travis in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, making him feel the pain he made them feel and become a monster just like them. They fail at killing the remaining friends he has, however, and also sort of forgot that Travis was already pretty corrupt to begin with.
- When Adachi tried this in Persona 4, the main cast pointed out how childish and pathetic his view points were. He does not take it well.
- Shin Megami Tensei has the ultimate example in Lucifer. He may not be evil, but that does not mean he's selfless or entirely benevolent. In fact, it's hinted by Word of God that Lucifer's true role is the tester of the human spirit, the entity meant to embody this for Humanity as a whole, offering, taking away and generally gambling with power as only gods can.
- From the Kingdom Hearts series, we have Xehanort. In the first game, his Heartless and Maleficent turn Riku into a Rival Turned Evil in order to steal his body. In Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, his original incarnation convinces Terra that it's okay to use the power of Darkness because of the Balance Between Good and Evil for the exact same reason, then uses Ansem the Wise's own apprentices to overthrow him before turning them into Nobodies. In the the second game his Nobody, Xemnas, recruits an amnesiac Roxas into Organisation XIII to help unlock Kingdom Hearts by implying that Roxas can reclaim his own heart in the process, though his true goal is to Take Over the World. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance gives us his past self Young Xehanort, who combines this trope with Mind Rape and Troll in order to turn Sora into his 13th vessel. And according to a flashback, Y. Xehanort was turned to evil by his aforementioned time-travelling Heartless!
- The Gungan Council has many Sith, like Darth Apparatus, tempting Jedi to the dark side.
- The Nostalgia Critic has been established in-universe and out as a horrible influence on people. Problem is, he doesn't know he's doing it and he's the one who usually ends up getting killed, raped or otherwise hurt in some way.
- Tattletale is this to Taylor, offering her friendship without reservation and a place in her supervillain gang, which given Taylor's status as a bullied fifteen-year-old almost immediately earns her affection. This example is notable in that Tattletale genuinely does want what's best for Taylor, and thinks that she can get a sense of fulfillment and empowerment with the Undersiders that she won't get if she just keeps going to school and being bullied.
- Later, Taylor herself gains this reputation after she convinces both Parian and Flechette to defect to the Undersiders.
- Jack Slash excels at this, but his motives aren't nearly as benign. He even talks Scion into pulling a Face-Heel Turn and deciding to wipe out humanity.
- Sigma and to a lesser extent Gamma played this role in Redvs Blue, using Maine's rage to lead him to being controlled by his own AI, Carolina's jealousy of Texas causing her to try to use two AIs at once, trapping Alpha Church in a simulation to torture him and playing an indirect but major role in the eventual destruction of Project Freelancer itself from their search for the Alpha to combine with.
- The Forbidden Power in TOME does this to Alpha by convincing him that he needs it to keep his friends.
- Slade from Teen Titans, especially in Seasons One and Two.
- Darkseid from Superman: The Animated Series has elements of this, though he has bigger plans than just turning Superman to his side.
- Nerissa from W.I.T.C.H. has elements of this, though she's unusual in that she's a Well-Intentioned Extremist — it's just that she's also a big-time control freak and finds people's moral flaws to be an easily-exploitable weakness she can use to control them.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula fits this. While she doesn't bring down someone who was good, she did corrupt her brother Zuko right before he could complete his Heel-Face Turn at the end of Season 2. Despite their uncle's protests he joined her. Though he did eventually make up for it with a real Heel-Face Turn in Season 3.
- Azula also manages to turn the Dai-Li against the Earth Kingdom, understanding they follow who looks most powerful.
- The second season of The Legend of Korra has Unalaq, a dark priest who can turn normally good or neutral spirits into Dark Spirits.
- From the 2010 French Animated Adaptation of The Little Prince, the Snake is this trope in its purest form. His modus operandi is to compel the most important person on every planet to indulge into their whims, with always disastrous results for their world. Naturally, he attempts it with the title hero too, trying to convince him to return to Asteroid B612 and leave the Snake free to corrupt people.
- South Park: Cartman is exceptionally adept at pulling along otherwise decent, if not pottymouthed kids into his horrible schemes. Usually happens to Butters and Kyle.
- "Crack Baby Athletic Association" has Cartman corrupt the normally morally uptight Kyle to the point that Stan calls Kyle on sounding just like Cartman.
- Xiaolin Showdown
- Chase Young spends almost the entire second season working to corrupt Omi and convince him to join the forces of evil.
- Third season introduces Hannibal Roy Bean, the one who successfully corrupted Chase.
- Wuya successfully turned Raimundo against his friends by offering him power and respect after he felt snubbed by Master Fung near the end of the first season. Hannibal tried to corrupt Raimundo again but failed miserably.
- Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does this to most of the Mane Six for fun and to keep the Elements of Harmony powerless. When Fluttershy proves immune to his mindgames, he throws a hissy fit and forcefully brainwashes her anyway.
- He's later on the receiving end of this trope in the Season 4 Finale by Lord Tirek.
- HIM in The Powerpuff Girls could easily end the planet if he wanted to. He chooses his schemes based on tearing down the morality of the Girls, especially Bubbles, and admits defeat even when he doesn't have to, if the plan fails.
- Mumm-Ra in ThunderCats (2011) shows some signs of this. He manages to use Grune's ambition and paranoia to make him betray the Cats, and he uses the Lizards' hatred of the Cats to recruit them into his army. And in the finale it's revealed Mumm-Ra used a dying Pumyra's hatred of Lion-O for supposedly abandoning her to make her work for him as The Mole.