"Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause;
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs."
Sometimes the "forces of good"
in a story treat an "evil"
character badly enough, for long enough, that the "evil" character just says "Screw it. You think I'm evil? Then let me be evil.
" Prolonged exposure to the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
has conditioned this character to accept the fact that Humans Are the Real Monsters
, and if he wants to get anywhere in life, he has to be every bit as dirty and cruel as they are.
The villain normally gets to this point by being rejected by the resident morality enforcers and treated to assumptive behaviour
. Whether it's due to being of a different nationality, hailing from a stereotypically Always Chaotic Evil species
, or having had a few evil moments in the past
, they just cannot
get a break; even if they try to do good deeds, it will only lead to being horrifically punished
for them at worst and having them be disregarded or treated as insincere attempts at fostering good will at best. The point is, there is absolutely no way they can change anyone's mind that they're not a monster, so why bother?
Once this trope has been declared, unlike a lot of Ambiguously Evil
characters, they won't be redeemed in spite of their sympathetic traits — this is largely because it took a lot of work to turn him evil in the first place. Interestingly, in spite of all this, he doesn't look for excuses to kick puppies
— he still has morals, he just exercises a (much) more cynical variant of The Golden Rule
The trope can be played to be more or less convincing for the audience depending on what point the writer wants to make. You can have the statement come across like a cheap Freudian Excuse
such that it feels just like the villain is not truly owning up to their own part in their villainy
. You could have it come across as a genuine explanation, but still not an excuse. And then again, it could be used as a genuine exposure of mistakes the hero has made, or even an outright exposure and commentary of the other characters' hypocrisy
At that last point, you might start wondering who the villain really is
, and have fun arguing with people over the authorial intent.
Related to Heel Realization
, Internalized Categorism
, He Who Fights Monsters
, Reformed, but Rejected
, Heel Face Door Slam
, Cycle of Revenge
, Not Helping Your Case
, Interrupted Cooldown Hug
, Who's Laughing Now?
, Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
, and Gone Horribly Right
See also Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
and Nature Versus Nurture
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Anime and Manga
- This is one of the motivations behind the Plutonian's Face-Heel Turn in Irredeemable. In his mind, if the world is just going to fear him like a giant ticking bomb after all that he's done for them, then why not give them what they expect?
- Loki from The Mighty Thor fits, Depending on the Writer. It's almost always more that Loki THOUGHT that the Asgardians didn't trust him and that he was The Unfavorite compared to Thor (combined in some continuities with the reveal that he's a Frost Giant, an Always Chaotic Evil race) that caused his Start of Darkness, not that he was actually disliked/hated. Thor, years later after fighting as the hero to his villain, still cares enough about him to get him reincarnated after Loki engineered the near fall of Asgard and helped save it in a last-ditch Heroic Sacrifice. Enemy Mine has been a recurring thing for Loki when the threat gets too great for a long, long time.
- Also, there might have been a bit of Because Destiny Says So, since according to some writers the Ragnarok cycle, while it existed, contained the prophecies of the Norns that wrote the fates of the Asgardians and those around them. Loki might have been dealing with the knowledge that it said he'd be evil.
- The seriousness with which the mythological factors are treated in the Mighty Thor materials varies a lot, but it's always going to be...off when it comes to Thor-and-Loki because it requires them to be a set of good and evil brothers, which is categorically wrong in every particular way. Although Thor does seem to have been considered the safest of the Aesir to petition.
- Since Thor destroyed the fate of the gods, and his death and rebirth even after the child murder, body snatching and guilt complex over it, long story, Loki is determined to not become evil again, or at least not go quietly into any box others build for him, because there are forces, some even on the side of good like the All-Mother of Asgardia, who want the status quo back and actively make his life miserable for this reason. Yeah, if he would snap now he would be perfectly justified.
- Magneto has generally been written as a Well-Intentioned Extremist for a few decades now, which makes the name of his old supervillain group, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, seem a little strange. It has, therefore, been stated that the name invokes this trope. The way he sees it, humans will always be afraid of mutants... so he's going to give them something to be afraid of.
- Marv wonders if he is unknowingly following this trope in both the film and comic version of Sin City. All his life, people told him that he would grow up to be "a psycho killer" and he contemplates whether or not it's happening.
- In the Mexican comic Memin (about a poor Black boy) a story had some bullies convince him that Black people never go to Heaven, no matter how good they are (claiming that the fact there are no pictures of Black angels proves it). Memin is so angry that he swears that if he's going to Hell, he'll rule it by being the most evil kid in the world! (being a preteen his idea of evil acts are things like disrespecting his mother.) His friends hatch a plan to reform him by painting one of the angels in a Church (with the clergy's permission) Black and then show it to him. It worked.
- During a visit to Hell, Bane of the Secret Six discovered that despite being a Noble Demon (at least what he thought was one) he was still damned. He figures that since he's beyond redemption anyway, he might as well stop trying to be a half-assed antihero and embraces villainy. First order of business? Settle the score with Batman once and for all.
- While it never actually happens, Spider-Man comics have repeatedly teased the reader with the possiblity of Spider-Man becoming a menace due to the All of the Other Reindeer mentality of the world around him. In the Ultimate Spiderman comics, Nick Fury was particularly worried that all of the tragedy and bad publicity in Peter's life would drive him to villainy — and given the combination of Peter's intelligence, determination, and superpowers, that would be a very bad thing.
- The closest it came in the mainstream Marvel Universe was during the Acts Of Vengeance, when he gained the godlike powers of Captain Universe, which he could not control, making the New Yorkers more scared of him than ever. The fact that super-villains were attacking him for no seemingly reason at all (something that was happening to the entire hero community during the crisis) only made him angrier. Finally, during his battle with the robot T.E.S.S. One, the insults from the people he was trying to help made him lose his temper, and he screamed, "You want a menace?? I've got your menace right here!!" And then he blew T.E.S.S. One to smithereens. (He may have eventually truly fallen into this Trope had he not been able to win their respect by saving the city and winning their respect again - at least for a while.)
- The Scorcher, a Spider-Man foe, reportedly started out like this. According to his origin story, research scientist Steven Jamal Hudak was framed for embezzlement by a co-worker and had to go into hiding to avoid his arrest. Being a wanted man with little chance of finding work at his chosen field, Hudak used his scientific knowledge to build a Powered Armor and started a career as a freelance mercenary.
- Cyclops, after the events of "Avengers vs. X-Men". At first it seemed that he would surrender and stand trial for the murder of Charles Xavier, but after spending some time in prison, he decides that he's more useful outside bars, and since he and his "Phoenix Five" team are already fugitives believed to be guilty, why not take advantage of that to go where the regular X-Men can't go, operate outside the law?
- The original version Blackfire. As the first princess born from Tamaran's royal family in centuries, her birth was supposed to be a joyous day. Then the day she was born was marred by the Citadel destroying a city and slaughtering its three thousands inhabitants in her name, and a childhood illness robbed her of the ability to fly. Because of this, everyone hated her, treating her like a villain and passing her birthright to her little sister Starfire, who became the focus of Blackfire's rage. Then one day she snapped during training and tried to kill her sister, and was exiled... And when she returned on Tamaran, it was leading the Citadel's armies to conquer Tamaran, relenting only when Starfire too was stripped of her birthright and made her sister's slave. To add salt in the wound, it's eventually found out that Blackfire is a born queen, as shown when she takes over Tamaran and quickly becomes a much better ruler than her father ever was.
Films — Animated
- Megamind's reason for being a villain.
"No matter how hard I tried, I was always the last one picked.
The screw-up. The bad boy. [...] Then it hit me: if I was the "bad boy", then I was going to be the baddest boy of them all!"
- He gets another one two-thirds in. He's this close to reforming thanks to the budding relationship with Roxanne he has disguised as Bernard, but goes full villain when she learns the truth.
- In Tangled, after Rapunzel calls her out, Gothel finally decides once and for all to forgo the pretense of being a good mother (which she was never really good at anyway):
"You want me to be the bad guy? Fine. Now I'm the bad guy."
- In The Prince of Egypt, Ramsees is portrayed more as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds than anything, but grows more bitter towards his former brother as the plagues destroy his kingdom.
"Then let my heart be hardened,
And never mind how high the cost may grow
This will still be so:
I will never let your people go!"
- Also a Shout-Out to The Bible, to which the movie in general sticks pretty closely: the book of Exodus states somewhere around the sixth plague that "Pharaoh's heart was hardened," causing him to stick to his guns and let the plagues continue. If you dig a little deeper and see passages like Exodus 4: 21, 10: 1, 11: 10, 14:18, you'll deduce that the deity of the story is forcing the pharaoh to play the "villain" role in-universe. Could be interpreted as a Nominal Hero's action.
- The Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons tries to use this as his Freudian Excuse. In actuality, all of his isolation and misery were self-inflicted.
- A variation: Shrek is, gruff personality aside, a fairly decent guy. Unfortunately, everyone judges him on the fact that he's an ogre, and consequently treat him like dirt. He decides that as long as people are going to view him as a disgusting, horrifying, swamp-dwelling monster, he may as well bank on it. So, he sets up intimidating signs around his home and scares trespassers away, in fact he seems to get a bit of a kick out of it if the intro sequence is any indication. He gets better, though.
Films — Live-Action
- The eponymous Outcast of Redwall has elements of this. A foundling infant from one of the Always Chaotic Evil vermin races (specifically, a ferret) is raised in the Abbey and grows to be quite the troublemaker as a child. Even so, he is treated with little more than suspicion and prejudice by most of the local populace, and rarely, if ever, given the benefit of the doubt, even for his motivations (backfired attempts to do good are still punished without consideration). Ultimately, the message boils down to him still being responsible for making his own immoral choices; but he at least got more sympathy than any other vermin character when one considers what a slim "chance" the Redwallers ever gave him. His surrogate mother never gave up on him and her life is saved by his Heroic Sacrifice.
- Huckleberry Finn, sick of being treated as a "wicked" boy who will never amount to anything, eventually declares "All right, I'll go to hell!" and "take[s] up wickedness" by... helping a man escape from slavery. He faces the moral quandary of being 'good' or keeping faith with Jim, and finds himself unable to countenance the former if it is exclusive of the latter. He believes he's 'bad' because he's defying the rules and will be punished, because he's coping with higher morality on an emotional level but completely lacks the vocabulary to deal with it mentally.
- Frankenstein abandoned his newly-made monster in disgust at its uncanny looks, and everyone else who ever saw the monster reacted with horror. Is it any wonder the "daemon" became Ax-Crazy?
- He became marvelously eloquent first, though. Just from overhearing someone read aloud. Nineteenth century writers believed books could do anything.
- It didn't hurt that the family was also teaching a runaway Arabian noblewoman French, and the monster (who was just born, after all) was listening. No, really.
- C.S. Lewis uses this in a speech given by Senior Tempter Screwtape in an epilogue to The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape comments that one of the results of the "You're no better than me" school of thought will be to turn anyone even remotely different from the mass public against them. If I will be called a fascist or a monster, I may as well be hanged for a ram as for a lamb, and become one in reality.
- The titular Space Brat, Blork, from Bruce Coville's series. He was labeled by the computer nanny as a brat soon after hatching from his egg, all due to his having a piece of shell stuck behind his antenna and crying in pain because of it. Since then, he was the boy who cried wolf, and constantly marked as an easy person to stick the blame on. After putting up with it for a while, he winds up throwing a temper tantrum at how unfair it all was, which was unheard of for his species. Which then gives him a very easy out for whenever he gets blamed for something from then on, leading to this trope.
- Harry Dresden gets villains pointing this out to him, and, once or twice, almost considers it. But he's too stubbornly good to be evil, though Jumping Off the Slippery Slope is occasionally a concern
- While it's hardly the only factor, this is one of the main reasons why Jaime Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire became the cynical and amoral monster he is at the start of the series: The entire kingdom looked down on him for breaking his oath and killing the Mad King Aerys, giving him the mocking name of Kingslayer and an undeserved reputation as a scheming, treacherous backstabber- even though Aerys was about to have all of King's Landing (the capital city, with a population of about 500,000 people) burned down out of spite. After years of being called a monster for what he rightly considers his "finest act," it's not hard to see why he eventually became one, although what fans sometimes seem to forget is that no-one knew what Aerys was about to do and Jaime never bothered to tell anyone (Maybe they wouldn't have believed him, or discounted it, but he could have tried - his father could also have used influence to spread the true story and temper the hatred, had he known). It also happened at the same time as his father sacking the city after the war had in effect already been won at the Trident, making it look like a patently obvious attempt to get on the good side of the rebels and a pointless betrayal; another theory suggests that despite being it a good act, Jaime must have felt deep down he deserved the scorn for the betrayal regardless, or he'd have attempted to defend himself at least (possibly because he felt guilty for having stood by for plenty of Aerys' other horribly insane and cruel acts). Recently, it seems like he might finally be turning his life back around, eschewing his family's toxic influence and taking a newfound pride in his honor as a knight.
- Jaime's younger brother Tyrion seems to be heading down this road too.
- Sandor "the Hound" Clegane probably qualifies as well.
- As the famous line from Paradise Lost goes: "Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven."
- Satan later declares to himself: "So farewell hope, and, with hope, farewell fear/Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost; Evil, be thou my Good".
- In Steven Brust's To Reign In Hell (a excellent fantasy novel of the Revolt of the Angels), Satan follows a similar trajectory — pushed into his "evil," oppositional stance by the way Yaweh's followers have treated him. (But Brust masterfully makes this happen without any evil intent on Yaweh's part; in fact, Yaweh's plan is unquestionably a good one.)
- This is basically the entire plot of I Am Mordred. The writer even includes an author's note in which she decries the assumption that kids are all budding juvenile delinquets and argues that treating them like criminals can only be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, the book concerning evil For the Love of Evil, has Parry, in the office of Evil known as Satan, trying to work fairly with the other Incarnations, but due to most of their past experience with the last office holder, Beelzebub, treat Parry like dirt, humiliating him whenever he tries. Finally, he becomes even worse than his predecessor.
- Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain: After the protagonists accidentally become supervillains, they try to clear their names, but fail. In the end, Penny decides that being a villain isn't so bad after all.
- This is the ending of Tripod's song "Suicide Bomber"—the falsely accused bomber is awaiting release after repeated torture, and is already planning to blow up a bus.
- Happens in Adam Warrock's song, "Sad Ultron"— All the newest incarnation of Hank Pym's Ultron wants is to hang out and be accepted, but because all previous versions of him went all Knight Templar and evil, everyone assumes he'll do the same- thanks to being shunned and hated, he turns evil on principle.
"Sorry y'all, I tried to be a nice dude, fuckin' human intelligence made me wanna fight too/And that's ironic, isn't it? The fact that human indifference made a robot turn evil and villainous/Fuck it, I'm engaging a plan to kill Hank Pym/ Ask me if I'm one of those nice robots, I'm not him."
- From Killer Mike's "That's life", where he gives his views on many of the current issues of the day and authority's failure to handle them
Ask em am I a bad guy? "Ya Goddamn right!" I done seen how ya do a nigga
when he doing right.
- "Down With The Sickness" by Disturbed, especially the child abuse segment which is about "mother society beating down on the freaks."
- "Meet The Monster" by Five Finger Death Punch.
- One English dub of Servant of Evil has a variation:
They say you are a lady of vice and disdain, then I am evil as well, with the same blood in my veins.
- Eminem has explored this topic in many of songs, but it becomes a primary element in the sequel to his hit song "Stan", appropriately enough, titled "Bad Guy". The final verse really drives the trope home, with Stan's younger brother, Mitchell, mocking the rapper, as the young man takes vengeance on Eminem, for driving Stan to suicide.
- Kevin Steen was on board with Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino's efforts to reform him at first but after Ring of Honor security kicked him out of the building upon his return to explain this, he joined the House of Truth in attacking Corino. This lead Jim Cornette to proclaim Steen would never have another match in ROH again, and that lead Steen to convince Jacobs and Corino that Good Is Dumb and kicked started SCUM(Suffering Chaos Ugliness Mayhem), their effort to destroy the company and eventually, the entire wrestling industry(Chikara was to be next on their hit list, and Jacobs almost did take it down with The Flood).
- It is not uncommon for Storytellers to use this tactic in Hunter The Reckoning. Since almost all of the mook monsters you meet actually have a measure of humanity and are enslaved to their natures or other, worse monsters, there is already a bit of a gray area to killing them in the first place. Since hunters constantly hound the monsters, cutting off their resources and food supplies, they can eventually get fed up or be driven to desperate acts of violence since their beastly side starts taking over. This could cause a normally nice vampire who only drinks just enough blood to survive, and only from animals, to become a raging beast draining the nearest humans dry. If the monster survives, you can bet he won't care much about keeping his humanity anymore. Expect angry party members who have more forgiving views of the monsters.
- In the New World of Darkness there's the Refinement of Stannum in Promethean: The Created, which is centered around wrath and getting revenge on the world that scorns you at every turn. Prometheans eventually draw the wrath of humanity and the suffering of nature everywhere they go, and Stannum is about focusing that wrath where it belongs. Each Refinement is a philosophy the Promethean follows during their Pilgrimage, and the various paths usually require some careful study before you can switch over. Stannum, however, can be entered instantly, and is usually entered when some Promethean goes, "Oh, fuck this shit."
- And a step below that is the path of Centimani, the Refinement of Flux. Flux is a force of dissolution and mutation, and the Centimani themselves are focused on monstrosity rather than rebirth. Prometheans on this path have not only given up on trying to be good, they've given up on trying to be anything resembling a human. In a subversion however, some Prometheans see Centimani as a way to humanity just like the others.note
- It is said that to betray the Imperium is the heretical work of Chaos. After all, the Emperor Protects, and His Imperium provides for all. So who cares if you grew up on a world with a 95% conscription rate, if your local sub-System governor cut off all incoming supplies to your desert planet because the local figurehead didn't want to marry off his only daughter to the guy, or if you only accepted the help of that one benevolent alien race in fighting off the far-less-benevolent alien race because the Imperial Guard/Space Marines wouldn't arrive for, oh, fifty years. The response will still be BURN, HERETIC, so if you'll be condemned for being a pawn of Chaos anyway, you may as well get the fun powers (and horrid mutations) that go with it.
- The tieflingsnote of Dungeons & Dragons tend to fall victim to this. While they are no more predisposed to good or evil than their human kin, they're surrounded by people who can see only their fiendish heritage and therefore conclude that they must have an inherently evil nature—which leads to a cycle of abuse that drops tieflings face-first into this trope with depressing frequency. Compare their Aasimar counterparts, who sometimes get so worn down by the assumption that their celestial blood means they must be paragons of good and justice that they end up bobsledding off the slippery slope.
- It takes a lot for the samurai of Rokugan to betray their Emperor. The Code of Bushido is very clear- if you betray your lord, you must kill yourself to restore your honor. So imagine how bad Hantei XVI was to have his entire personal guard turn on him and slay him- in their minds, bringing dishonor on themselves and their family and having to commit seppuku was a preferable fate to letting Hantei XVI stay in charge.
- Redcloak of The Order of the Stick has this trait in his more sympathetic moments, most of which are in the prequel book Start of Darkness. As a member of the Always Chaotic Evil goblin race, if a "good" character murders him, any other goblins, or even any baby goblins for any reason, this is not treated as an "evil" act, even though the whole reason goblins are evil in the first place is supposedly because they murder without provocation. His example is particularly notable, as at one point he has a Heel Realization — about the way he mistreats other goblins. He never seriously considers the idea that he's giving humans any less than they deserve.
- This scenario from Brawl in the Family follows up from the previous one, in an attempt to answer why King K. Rool has such a problem with DK.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Molly the Monster briefly considers this, early on:
"'F-Freak?' He shot at me just for what I look like? Yeah? W-Well, if they want a monster, maybe I'll just give them one! Like Shelley's Frankenstein Monster, if I cannot give love to the world, then i will give it wrath! I'll... I'll... Aw, who am I kidding? I haven't got any wrath! Oh Dr. Poule, what am I going to do? Sob!"
- In Girl Genius, Gil tells Othar that "If being like you is the alternative, I'll gladly take evil" before knocking him off of a dirigible. May or may not be a true example, since both Gil (and his father) and Othar are Well-Intentioned Extremists with slightly different goals and methods.
- In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the titular Villain Protagonist was supposedly driven to supervillainy by the smug Jerk Jock attitude that his heroic archnemesis, Captain Hammer, takes toward anyone "nerdy" or "unpopular". Being both of those things, he was persecuted until he gave up on using his intelligence for good and adopted the Dr. Horrible Mad Scientist persona. Even then he's an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain until one too many humiliations from Captain Hammer triggers a Not-So-Harmless Villain breakout.
- It doesn't help that he's not exactly getting good publicity because even when he was trying to be explicitly heroic, he was a Hero with an F in Good. He still wants to do long-term good, even as a villain, but he's not that great at it. His plan seems to be, "1. Take over the world. 2. Everything wrong with the world magically fixes itself because I'm in charge."
- Even then he was something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist who thought that he can fix the world by ruling. However, when his Morality Chain Penny dies in the end, he had nothing keeping him from becoming a true supervillain.
- In Worm, Taylor constantly worries about her perception in the eyes of the superheroes and her acquaintances, but ultimately embraces her villain identity. She realizes that her villain team contains the only real friends she has, and has been thoroughly unimpressed with every superhero she's met. Despite this, she continues to mostly fight villains as a supervillain competing for territory in the city, and has heroic goals of her own that will require time and resources to achieve..
- The Elfslayer Chronicles is a rare heroic example of this. It's set in a D&D 4e game, where the PCs come from the evil homophobic tree-killing human-and-orc-and-dwarf-and-tiefling empire, but are supposed to be swayed by the sparkly environmentalist homophilic elves and the gay love story between a lost Human prince and the captain of the Elvish Guard and stop the war between the two nations. Unfortunately, one particular human PC basically said, "Screw You, Elves! If I'm supposed to come from a nation of homophobic jerks, then I'm going to be a homophobic jerk." He then proceeded to kill the prince, frame the Elvish Captain for the murder, and then later killed the Captain as well. And, thanks to liberal application of illusion magic, at no point was there any way to connect him to either of these crimes.
- There's a Man in the Woods is about some sort of school administrator being fired after a child makes up a lie about there being a serial killer in the woods to get all the honeysuckle to himself, and the parents undergoing a moral panic and getting him fired for not properly dealing with the nonexistent serial killer in the woods. In the end, the man who has been telling the story is revealed to have gone into the woods in order to murder the child who originally made up the rumor while he is all alone, eating the honeysuckle where none of the other kids dare to go.
- Appears in the Back Story of several characters in the Whateley Universe: Some mutants became villains for revenge, while others complain that they were given no choice and still others are obviously just using this as an excuse. It's played out front and center with the "Bad Seeds", a school clique composed of the children of supervillains who are banded together mostly out of self-preservation because everyone else seems to assume evil is in their blood. At least one "heroic" character (the "future heroes" clique essentially being a stand-in for the "Jocks" cliques found in normal high schools) recognizes this trope is in action and is trying to convince her fellow "Capes" to stop persecuting the Bad Seeds, with limited success so far.
- One could argue that the most heroic character in the whole series is Jadis Diabolik, because she tries so hard to avoid being sucked into Then Let Me Be Evil even though most people presume she's going to become a supervillain like her father.
- The Ice King from Adventure Time resorts to this at times when his more diplomatic attempts backfire. Then again, considering he's often still trying to kidnap princesses...
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode, "Harley's Holiday", former Joker minion Harley Quinn espouses this after violating her parole barely moments out of being released from the asylum ("I tried to be good. I really did. But if that's not good enough, fine!"). However, after having to be rescued by Batman, she seems to reconsider.
- Oswald Cobblepot (a.k.a. The Penguin) could put up with Batman not believing he actually reformed, but Veronica Vreeland shouldn't have used him for a pig at a pig party.
- Similarly in Batman Beyond, Mr. Freeze after having a new body constructed for him, decides to make amends for his previous misdeeds all those decades ago. Not many were convinced, and he even set up a charity to help the victims of his past crimes after one of them tried to kill him. Then his body starts failing, and his doctor/girlfriend decides to try and knock him unconscious and use his organs to see what went wrong. Freeze barely survives, and goes back to revenge again, killing his traitorous girlfriend, and planning to blow up the Wayne-Powers compound, threatening to kill hundreds more, with him along with it. While in the animated movie Sub Zero, which took place decades earlier, Freeze had finally achieved his goal of saving the life of his wife and seemed to have undergone a Heel-Face Turn as a result of that (he also tells Batman and co. to save some children rather than save him when he is badly injured on an exploding oil rig) in the following series, The New Batman Adventures, his body is falling apart and he decides that even though his wife is alive and happy, if he can't be happy with her he is going to make the lives of everyone in Gotham as miserable as possible, culminating in a Kill 'em All plot. It's understandable if Freeze isn't wholly trusted.
- And in The Batman, the Riddler's backstory reveals him to be a victim of Parental Abuse suffering because his father was jealous of his intellect. Sightly unhinged, the Riddler ends up finding love in college with his science partner. She ultimately ends up sabotaging him, sending him down a path of villainy all so she could take all the profit for the experiment herself.
- This was Jinx's motivation in Teen Titans. Because she had the power to cause bad luck, she thought evil was the only option. Someone eventually snaps her out of it.
- Mojo Jojo in The Powerpuff Girls Rule. When he becomes ruler of all, he uses his new power to make things right and pleasant. It becomes suddenly boring to him, so he reverts to villainy at the end.
- An episode of Futurama had the crew make a delivery to a giant ugly monster. Bender continuously insults him, but the guy remains calm and composed and takes the barbs in gentle stride. Fry tries to be compassionate, claiming he just inherited ugly genes from his mother. Too bad insulting his mama was his Berserk Button. Later, the giant comes to Earth to try and apologize for his outburst. Unfortunately, the world's water supply had been turned into alcohol and everyone acts drunkenly agressive towards him. The giant finally snaps and goes on a rampage.
Giant: I won't stop until your whole planet is as ugly as you perceive me to be!
- In the Family Guy episode "Brian: Portrait of a Dog" a homeless Brian tries begging a guy for change, but the guy assumes he's crazy. Brian gets pissed off and shows him just how a crazy dog acts.
- Similarly, after spending several episodes as a Villain Ball Magnet to Quagmire, and facing gratuitous outbursts and criticisms, he snaps back at him and makes an attempt to ruin Quagmire's dream relationship for revenge. Even Quagmire exclaims he didn't think he was that low before.
- Scott, the Canadian dick in South Park, was an overbearing jerk that wanted Terrence and Phillip gone, but did nothing more than that other than being a jerk to people. Everyone else calls Scott a dick because of his jerkish attitude, which eventually got to him in "Royal Pudding" after he becomes a giant:
General: You're a dick, Scott! You have always been a dick! And then you got radiation poisoning in Ottawa and now you're a GIANT DICK!
Scott: Well, you kept calling me a dick, so that turned me into a dick! And then I got radiation poisoning in Ottawa and now I'm a giant dick!
- This may also be the case for the Ginger Kids, after being ostracized and shunned for their appearances. They then formed the Ginger Separatist Movement, after being influenced by Eric Cartman of course.
- Wakfu gives us a rare inversion: Rubilax comes from an Always Chaotic Evil race of demons called Shushus, but he gets No Respect from his peers, who often mock him for being a softie and not being evil enough (despite proving that he can be quite evil), to the point that he gets fed up and pulls a Heel-Face Turn, arguing that at least humans respect him to some degree.
- Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness features Fu-xi, a cobra once defended China from other evil doers. However, the others that Fu-xi sworn to protect feared him and his kind. Their betrayal lead him to be racist towards the two-leggers.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is ultimately the trigger for Azula's actions throughout the series. She believed that her mother rejected her as a monster and preferred her brother Zuko. So she dedicated herself to becoming Daddy's Little Villain, proving to both her Mother and Zuko that she doesn't need their love, as being feared is the only thing that matters. It backfires on her tragically, resulting in an epic Villainous Breakdown.
- Barely averted in the first episode of Gargoyles. After the Gargoyles heroically fought to protect Castle Wyvern and the refugees inside from the barbarian hordes, Lexington, Brooklyn, and Broadway are treated with disdain and called monsters by the very people they risked their lives to protect. They conclude that if the humans are going to treat them as monsters, "Then perhaps we'd better live up to the name", and they begin to advance menacingly on the refugees. Luckily Goliath stops them before they do...whatever terrible thing they were planning to do.
- Most likely a good-natured spooking. But you know, slippery slope and all that. A better example would be Demona: Humans not giving the clan respect? Horrific past experience with your very evil future self getting you down? Kill 'em all!!