"I believe most people are inherently good... but overcoming our nature is what separates us from the animals."The prey of The Corrupter or The Corruption. The role of this character is to be a constant threat of a Face–Heel Turn. While temptation sometimes happens to all heroes, it's more of a permanent condition with this guy. Whether it's a Superpowered Evil Side or a Fatal Flaw he needs to suppress, a personal interest in him by The Corrupter (often a family member or former loved one), or a deep dark past locked away by faltering Laser-Guided Amnesia, the corruptible will labour on, facing his personal demons alone. If things go bad, expect a Face–Heel Turn, often into the Big Bad. If things go good, then usually the corruptible realises that You Are Not Alone, and defeats temptations with The Power of Friendship. At their most desperate, the corruptible may demand a Shoot the Dog, but usually granting this request is a bad idea. Contrast Big Bad Friend, where the character is evil all along, and The Mole, where the character is evil all along and works to undermine the rest of the team. See also Token Evil Teammate. The opposite of Incorruptible Pure Pureness. A character with poor resistance to supernatural influence is Weak-Willed, not the Corruptible. See also Corrupt the Cutie, when a sweet and lovable character gradually turns to the Dark Side.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The premise of Claymore is centred around a group of half-demon warriors who are susceptible to losing their minds to their demonic nature if they don't control their emotions well enough.
- Soul Eater has this for many characters, especially Stein and Crona.
- Sasuke from Naruto. What Itachi started with his return to Konoha, Tobi finished; Tobi is more than happy to take advantage of Sasuke's confusion and unhappiness after Itachi's death, and his reveal of the truth about Itachi pushes Sasuke right off the deep end.
- In the manga Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, Shadow Link hoped Vio might be one of these. Turns out, he wasn't.
- Griffith from Berserk is a prime example of this trope. While not wholly "good," Griffith's strongest trait was his love and loyalty for his men. Eventually he sacrificed his men to a horde of demons in order to turn himself into a demon-god.
- And now, this is Guts whenever he is under the influence of his Enemy Within, the Beast of Darkness.
- The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer has this for a bunch of characters.
- Shimaki, the knight of the Cat. The Big Bad thinks he could be turned because he's most similar to him, being interested in the pursuit of knowledge. Nope!
- Akane, the knight of the Owl, who starts off hating the world, and is urged to "choose the winning side". But he never really turns, and his theft of Animus's time manipulation skill becomes key to victory.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the Puella Magi. Yes, every single Magical Girl in existence is subject to corruption, either by her own negative emotions or by expending too much magical energy. Being completely corrupted turns the girl into a Witch for other magical girls to hunt and kill. That revelation is so central to the plot that almost this entire entry had to be spoiler-tagged.
- Light Yagami of Death Note starts out as this, though he doesn't manage to hold out through the first episode. Granted, the episode took place over two weeks... but still, he was overwhelmed by the power of the titular Artifact of Death almost instantaneously. This is implied to be the byproduct of a nasty combination of boredom, solitude, and purposelessness.
- In Umi Monogatari, Urin becomes this as Sena plays on her fears, wishes, and feelings of inadequacy to lure her to her side.
- Inverted in Hunter × Hunter with the Chimera Ant King. While introduced as a ruthless monster who exists solely to rule over everything, he is actually an extremely intelligent and philosophical man who is still coming to terms with who he is and what it means to be a king. It's teased that contact with the right people could lead him to walk the path of Noblesse Oblige and become a powerful force for good.
- All Angel Digimon are capable of falling and a few Digimon such as GranDracmon are more than willing to help the process along.
- Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos of the Star Wars: Clone Wars comic series is a perfect example of this trope. He is constantly fighting his darker urges and experiences so many alignment shifts that halfway through the series you have no idea what side he's on...and neither does he. He even has several climactic battles with his inner darkness while fighting an external darkness at the same time. The kicker? His master tells him that, even after his major victory over himself and the enemy, he is still not free from The Dark Side. He will always struggle. What makes him a hero? He never gives up the fight.
- In All Fall Down, Pronto proves to be this. He simply wants his powers back more than anything.
- Anakin Skywalker being The Corruptible drives the overarching plot of the Star Wars series.
- A Man for All Seasons has Richard Rich, a young acquaintance of Sir Thomas More, who asks Thomas to use his influence to secure him a powerful position at the Royal Court. More, however, knows full well that Rich is corruptible, and instead recommends that Rich accept a job as a schoolteacher, where he won't be tempted. In the end, Rich does get an important position- that of the attorney-general for Wales- given to him by More's rival and the villain of the piece, Thomas Cromwell. In exchange for the job, he commits flagrant perjury that sends Sir Thomas More to the executioner. More's response? "Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?"
- The Matrix has Cypher, who is too cynical to believe that humanity has any chance of winning the war against the Machines, and turns out to prefer the Matrix to the real world, such that he eventually makes a deal with the Agents to betray the Resistance and hand over Morpheus to them in exchange for being permanently reinserted into the Matrix.
- Farva in Super Troopers.
- Dillon in Power Rangers RPM due to being a part machine hybrid with Big Bad Venjix's technology inside him. The threat of being taken over completely was a major theme of the series. Of course, given what kind of show it is, there was little doubt that The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love would win out.
- Morgana from BBC Merlin was shown as independent, interested in gaining power, manipulative, self-focused (but not self-centered), and interested much more in personal consequences than political ones. None of this makes her evil, but the main character is an obedient/dutiful, not interested in power, politically scheming for the greater good young boy, whose moral views sometimes clash with hers. The writer had to make her evil, or to present her as an interesting alternate viewpoint, but their views are too contrary to Morgana's for them to choose this solution yet.
- Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. He went from being the hero of the show to being the villain in season three. He became the Ripper, his sociopathic, remorseless alter ego without his humanity.
- Zach on Bones becomes this in season 4. Turns out his hyper-rationalization and tendency to look up to those he respects means that he can be persuaded to become a serial killer's apprentice.
- In Supernatural, Azazel (The Yellow-Eyed Demon) plays The Corrupter for the Special Children by manipulating their Fatal Flaws (killing or threatening family and loved ones, promising power and glory, or exploiting feelings of loneliness or a desire for revenge).
- In the Ciaphas Cain books, Cain's enemies always assume that he is the corruptible. Fortunately, they are wrong. (At least, so long as Jurgen's around, and there's an audience armed with guns watching him.)
- Boromir from The Lord of the Rings is the member of the Fellowship most open to the Ring's seduction, though he's a good and honorable man otherwise. He does fall to it eventually, but is horrified by what he almost does and becomes The Atoner briefly before completely redeeming himself via Heroic Sacrifice.
- Isildur himself also qualifies big-time — without his fall to the evil influence of the Ring, it would not have survived the fall of its master. The race of Men in general are easier to corrupt to evil than the other major races, though there are those who resist such corruption.
- Gollum even more so. He fell to the Ring's influence almost immediately after finding it and murdered his best friend for it.
- In point of fact, Sauron's downfall was ultimately a consequence of his inability to conceive that any individual could defy this trope for long where the One Ring is concerned. He was almost right actually.
- In Poul Anderson's World Without Stars, the crew of a crashed starship must survive among the primitive natives of a planet mostly conquered by a race of telepaths. Before meeting a group of these telepaths in person, the protagonist specifically explains to the reader that telepathic powers aren't actually that dangerous because "you know your own nervous system better than anyone, and you're closer to it". And then it turns out that one slightly odd member of the crew was the victim of a botched medical procedure on his brain which resulted in him essentially no longer being able to recognize himself. And so the telepaths are able to immediately convince him to switch sides.
- Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter was one of these, but his best friends never realized this at all. Some fanfics also subvert this trope by making the reason Sirius distrusted Remus either wrong conclusions due to mix-ups combined with Remus's lycanthropy, or having Remus be framed by Peter without Remus realizing it.
- Some Gospel passages in the New Testament have Judas be one of these, often questioning Jesus' teachings.
- All male confessors from Sword of Truth are this, since they do not need the recovery time necessary to restore their powers as female confessors do, and in such develop this unquenchable blood lust even before they hit adolescence. Because of this, male infanticide is practiced, making the confessors a One-Gender Race.
- Lionel is easily corrupted by his own paranoia in The Sea Hawk.
- Scott Tyler from The Power of Five. Coupled with a stock crummy past like most of The Five except Scarlet, Scott was pushed to the edge in the 3rd book when he was tortured and brainwashed by Night Rise to assassinate a presidential candidate. In the 5th book, Scott is identified as being the weakest link by the villains, invoking a Face–Heel Turn upon him. He just wanted the pain to stop.
- Riku in Kingdom Hearts, especially the first game. Ironically, he eventually manages to master the Darkness that corrupted him, so he can no longer be corrupted by it.
- Bastila in Knights of the Old Republic.
- Kain from Final Fantasy IV.
- Arthas in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Even before hearing the whispers of the Lich King, Arthas was a self-centered and hot-headed jerk with a bad case of More Than Mind Control that helped Ner'zul coerce him down the road towards picking up Frostmourne.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Almost every game in the main series features a Law Hero and a Chaos Hero to offset the Heroic Mime protagonist. Inevitably, each will be drawn into their designated faction, often by a combination of choice and circumstance... and then they'll try to draw the protagonist in too. These characters are never portrayed unsympathetically at the outset, yet they remain all-too-susceptible to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope when things get bad enough.
- Marqua from Card Players which ultimately gets her killed.
- Rachel from Tower of God. While Baam adores her, she is afraid of his overshadowing skill, fearing that he might take her place in the Tower and throw her back into the world they came from.
- Jay in Marble Hornets becomes this over the course of the series, slowly falling prey to the Operator's influence. By the final part of the last season, he's almost a wreck. Alex turns out to have gone down this road long before the series even started.
- Sylvester in Twig is this due to his Blank Slate personality and tendency to adapt himself in the way he perceives his friends want him to be. When paired with any of his more monstrous family members, like Gordon, Mary, or Helen, Sy will lose any semblance of a moral compass and match any level of brutality they employ. It falls to the more kindhearted Jamie and Lillian to act as a Morality Pet, under which circumstances Sy can become one of the more heroic Lambs.
- Raimundo from Xiaolin Showdown, whose temporary Face–Heel Turn is the main plot of the first season finale. After an attempt at "defying orders for the greater good" backfires and inadvertently helps the villains, Master Fung gives him nothing but harsh words while his friends get promoted. As Raimundo starts to question whether he wants to stay on the team, Wuya offers him a "more rewarding" path.
- Bolin from The Legend of Korra is a cheerful guy, but easily falls victim to the schemes of Varrick (in Book 2) and Kuvira (in Book 4).