Then Let Me Be Evil

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Not even a Cape will put up with abuse and slander forever

"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 gives up trying to show the heroes that he's not evil and becomes a villain for real. Prolonged exposure to the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. 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 demonization and assumptive behavior. Whether it's due to being of a different nationality, hailing from a stereotypically Always Chaotic Evil species, having bad things happen wherever they go, 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. As they see it, their reputation is so tarnished that there's absolutely no way of changing anyone's mind that they're not a monster, so what's the use of trying to be anything other than the monster they're seen as?

In some cases, a genuinely innocent person being repeatedly framed up for commiting things he never did into a stage where he has no chance to redeem himself might as well becomes what he's exactly being framed as and repay their favors onto everyone.

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 puppieshe 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 society 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. There are also quite a few non-evil examples on this page, whose cynicism and bitterness makes them adopt a harsh exterior to hide the kindness that they were never rewarded for.

Related to Heel Realization, Internalized Categorism, He Who Fights Monsters, Reformed, but Rejected, Heel–Face Door-Slam, Cycle of Revenge, Trapped in Villainy, Not Helping Your Case, Interrupted Cooldown Hug, Who's Laughing Now?, Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, Gone Horribly Right, and Big Bad Slippage.

See also Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Nature vs. Nurture.

Also, due to the very nature of this trope, spoilers are abound. Be warned!

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Though he was already an antagonist from the start, Raoh from Fist of the North Star didn't exactly agree with this at first, taking an interesting spin on this trope. Believing himself to be a savior who would reunite the ruined world and aspiring to become powerful enough to challenge the heavens, he went on an endless conquest with his army. However, the combination of his army's frequent corruption and his questionable sense of morality led his name to become feared worldwide, particularly among the people of Shura (who feared that he would one day cause their genocide). When Kenshiro popped up to challenge him and acquired the powers of Musou Tensei, Raoh realized that he would have to become a demon in order to fulfil his ambitions and defeat Kenshiro. However, he eventually reforms after his final confrontation with Kenshiro, when his defeat allows him to admit that he still had some compassion left inside him.
  • Gaara of Naruto was originally a sad, lonely boy who simply wanted a friend. But the villagers feared his power, and hated him because of its source. Finally, after Yashimaru tried to kill him, on orders of Gaara's father no less, Gaara becomes exactly what Yashimaru and the villagers had always said he was: A monster that loved only itself. Fortunately Defeat Means Friendship, and after fighting Naruto and losing, Gaara eventually regains his sanity and learns to trust and love other people again. He later even becomes the new Kazekage, and is now revered by the villagers as a hero.
    • In the Fourth Ninja World War, Gaara's father, the 4th Kazekage, has been brought Back from the Dead...and revealed that Yashamaru never believed a word of his Hannibal Lecture. He only told Gaara that nobody ever loved him, and that even his own mother hated him, because they thought the shock would make him easier to kill, an order given only because they thought he was too unstable because of the demon placed within him. When the Kazekage sees all that his son has accomplished in spite of all this, he tells him that both Yashamaru and his mother always loved him, that he's sorry for ruining his life, and that he's never been prouder of him and should have had the faith in him that his mother did.
    • This may be part of Madara Uchiha's motivation for his Face–Heel Turn after having co-founded the Hidden Leaf Village with Hashirama Senju. Tobirama constantly made moves to limit the power of Madara and the Uchiha clan, which convinced Madara that the old hatreds wouldn't die out. After reviewing the legend of the Juubi, Madara decided to follow a different route to peace.
      • And later, the Uchiha clan as a whole followed in his footsteps. After the Nine-Tailed Fox attacked Konoha, the village leaders concluded that the Uchiha had to be responsible (as the Sharingan can influence Tailed Beasts). note  While outwardly the clan still seemed to still have a position of influence and power, they were being marginalized behind the scenes and feared being driven out of the village. They decided in response to seize power in a coup, something that had been feared by some (such as the Second Hokage) since the day the village had been founded. This...did not end well for the Uchiha clan.
    • The tailed beasts are heavily implied to have originally been peaceful beings but being unable to control their massive powers were either feared or treated as weapons by humans and so grew to hate them and live up to the reputation of being monsters.
  • As a child, Lucy from Elfen Lied is bullied / persecuted mercilessly for being a Diclonius, a horned, superpowered girl who may one day destroy the human race... Yeah. Nice going there.
  • Played with by Lelouch of Code Geass, especially towards the end after things go south for him. He says this after the death of Euphemia.
    • His mindset when he begins his scheming. He is willing to commit evil if it means taking out greater evil in so doing, or when pushed past the brink. Ultimately, after the Black Knights betray him on suspicion of using them for sport, he loses all restraints and allows himself to become the most despised person in the world... so that the world would focus all their hatred on him... so that his death would remove that hatred and provide a chance for the world to rebuild more positively. One of the best ways to unite the world, he figures, is to give them a common enemy to kill, and since by this point he feels he has lost his reasons to live...
  • Saruhiko Fushimi in K. The side he switches to before the series isn't evil, but to his now-ex-best friend Misaki Yata, they are. Misaki sees him as a dirty, evil traitor, and Saruhiko's feelings for Misaki end up making him see himself that way until Misaki gets over it at the end of season 2. Whenever he sees Misaki, he brags about how much more power he's been able to gain from switching sides, and how he doesn't care about friends, he just wants to control people (all lies).
  • Lilu in Watashi No Messiah Sama. It's made a bit worse by the fact that she was in fact originally supposed to be the Priestess of Salvation, but because of a wish Haruna made, she had the position stolen from her and forced into the role of Priestess of Domination. Said wish was made by her best friend, the original Priestess of Domination, and forced her into a life of horrible treatment, at the end of which she just snapped.
  • Trigun's Livio seems to have reached this point due to the confluence of a Super-Powered Evil Side that got him rejected everywhere and...uh...torturous retooling at the hands of a Murder, Inc.. It took murdering his childhood friend repeatedly as he burned his body out regenerating the damage while giving him a Shut Up, Hannibal! for a volume and a half to get him to Heel–Face Turn again. And then Wolfwood was dead, and Livio and Vash ate spaghetti.
  • During the climax of Devilman Lady, Asuka has transformed into a godlike being, brainwashing most of the world into loving her. Meanwhile, protagonist Jun has been cast into a giant (possibly metaphorical) pit, but she manages to rally her strength and declares that if Asuka is "God," then Jun will become the Devil to destroy her!
  • Rave Master gets hit with this two to three times. The first Big Bad, King, is a questionable case. He starts off more as a Well-Intentioned Extremist before the government rather harshly puts a stop to him, spurring him to go into full on terrorism. Lucia and Doryu make for much clearer cases. Despite being a demon lord, Doryu came to the human world hoping to create a place where all species could live in harmony. When Fantastic Racism became too severe and he was locked away by the people he sought to help, he lost it. Lucia had a similar fate. Coming from a family with a history of villainy, the Empire decided to get it over with and preemptively arrest him. When he was six. That he went to prison because he was expected to become a villain is, ultimately, his motive for becoming a villain.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing we have Wu Fei, who comes from a very martial space colony and is the epitome of Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy...so naturally he has a few personality conflicts with the other Gundam pilots and their Martial Pacifist ally, all of whom want to end the cycle of war, peace, and revolution. So in The Movie, Wu Fei sides with the bad guys and comes into direct conflict with the other pilots. He even outright says it:
    Wu Fei: I need to determine for myself whether or not peace at the expense of lives can really be defined as peace! And I will become evil itself to find out!
    • The mid-quel manga add a bit more information to this; in Battlefield of Pacifists Wu Fei befriends an OZ soldier who believes that war drives humanity to new heights, and his personal goal is to encourage deep space exploration by setting a Mecha-Mook factory in the outer solar system. When said soldier is killed, Wu Fei promises to become "the threat that makes humanity grow".
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Shion does this to herself. During her Roaring Rampage of Revenge in Meakashi-hen, she kills Satoko only to remember a promise she made to Satoshi to protect her. She immediately decides that since she's lost any chance of happiness, she may as well become a demon.
  • Princess Tutu: When her Kraehe persona resurfaces, Rue initially fights back, struggling to maintain her identity as a human being. However, Fakir continually fights her and treats her as a villain, until she finally snaps and lets the Crow Princess take over.
    "That's right. I am a crow."
  • This is a major reason people judged to be "latent criminals" in Psycho-Pass become actual criminals. The culprit in the first episode specifically mentions that since he was scanned with a high enough Psycho Pass, his life is basically ruined at this point, so he might as well beat and rape his hostage.
  • Fairy Tail has the Black Wizard, Zeref. Supposedly the most powerful and most evil mage in history, in reality a self-hating, Really 400 Years Old Bishōnen Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who desperately wants to die. The most brilliant student at the Mildian Magic Academy, the only reason Zeref even bothered with black magic was to find a way to bring his deceased younger brother Natsu back to life. To that end, he pissed off the god Ankhseram in the process, and had a Curse placed on him as a result. The more he valued life, the more everything around him would die; the less he valued life, the more control he had over his powers, but because he didn't value life, he would probably end up killing people anyway. Isolating himself away from humanity due to facing constant rejection, having his life's work be misused, and witnessing the human race making the same mistakes over and over again eventually pushes him over the edge in the current storyline, and he finally decides to take over as the Big Bad to wipe out humanity. Chapter 450 reveals that the last straw was Mavis's death — having finally found someone who understands his pain and suffers as he does allowed Zeref to believe that there was someone he was finally allowed to care about. Her kindness and willingness to stand beside him and find a way to break the curse causes him to fall in love with her, culminating in The Big Damn Kiss. However, since Ankhseram is intent in making sure he can never be happy, his love for her is enough to bypass her curse and kill her. For the first shred of happiness he has ever had to be so cruelly taken away from him and so quickly too... one cannot blame Zeref for finally snapping after that.
  • In Magi – Labyrinth of Magic, Hakuryuu Ren does something like this. The young prince had a terrible past; watching his brothers die in a revolt, and learning it is his own mother who orchestrated the massacre. Needless to say, he has been plotting his revenge against her ever since. Then years later, when he confronted the physical manifestations of his conscience while trying to conquer a dungeon, he was told that no matter the tragedies he suffered, he should simply accept it, forget his vengeance, forgive his wrongdoers, and move on, since that is how the world works, and that is his destiny. Angered by this, he curses the entire world for his suffering, and chooses to fall into depravity instead, while stating that if the world will reject his revenge, then he will destroy the world and recreate it in his image.
  • A much more lighthearted version plays out in the second episode of Yugioh Arc V. After Yuya created Pendulum Summoning he draws a big crowd to where he and Yuzu are dueling. The crowd all came for Yuya and couldn't care less about Yuzu and they end up disliking her over her chewing out Yuya for getting a big head. This leads to Yuzu declaring herself the villainous heel of the game, and allows Yuya to trade quips with her.

    Comicbooks 
  • My Little Pony: Fiendship Is Magic does this to King Sombra, of all Ponies. He's an artificial, Living Shadow Pony made by a Sealed Evil in a Can being to rule the Crystal Empire via The Power of Hate. And despite him having an Only Friend/Love Interest, all the other Crystal Ponies shun him; and the annual, Light Is Good Crystal Faire only gives him nigh-fatal bodily pain — despite his desire to attend, thus giving him a Dream-Crushing Handicap, too. This, mixed with him finally meeting said being and learning his nature, makes him snap and accept Dark Is Evil — making him into the Evil Overlord we see on the show.
  • 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 with 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.
    • In Jason Aaron's run, he stabs Freyja with a poison knife during a civil war on Asgard between her and Odin. Freyja lives, but barely, and is in no condition to rule. Odin's brother Cul notes that to just barely keep somebody alive, Loki must be either very bad at poisoning, or very good at it. But thanks to Loki's actions, the civil war in Asgard is over, the Asgardians are united against coming threats, and Loki is the most hated man in Asgard, not Odin or Cul.
  • Fantastic Four villain the Mole Man claims this was the case with him, that cruelty shown to him early in life because of his ugliness caused him to abandon and then declare war on humanity as a whole. Of course, his history has been entirely related by him, meaning it is subject to his possibly biased view of the facts.
  • When the Guardians of the Universe stripped him of his rank as Green Lantern for turning his world into a dictatorship, Sinestro declared that if they were branding him an enemy, he would be their greatest one...and lived up to his vow.
  • 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.
  • This happened to Supergirl of all people in Action Comics #362. A descendant of Mxyzptlk commands everyone in the 40th century to believe Supergirl is a criminal. Supergirl is captured with Kryptonite, tried, and sentenced to have the word "OUTLAW" branded on her forehead. Afterwards Kara is marginalized, insulted and bullied until she cracks and decides that "[She's]] been branded an outlaw, so [she'll] be one!" Subverted, since she had realized that Mxyzptlk was behind everything, and she pretended to crack to fool him.
    Supergirl: All right! I've had it! I've been branded an outlaw, so I'll be one! I'll pull a robbery right now!
  • 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.
  • Nightcrawler's father, Azazel, was a mutant during Biblical times who was thought and treated like a demon by many people and because of this Azazel himself thinks hes a demon.
  • Paperinik New Adventures examples:
    • Angus Fangus is implied to be this. While he's always been a jerk, in his youth he used to be a genuine Intrepid Reporter, with his first claim to fame being exposing a traffic of nuclear weapons (made more notable by the fact the traffic was happening in the US and Angus hadn't left New Zealand yet), but constant insults on his workplace and a colleague stealing his Pulitzer-winning investigation eventually turned in the Jerkass that picks on Paperinik just to gain more fame he is now. He still keeps some of his past goodness and courage (he left New Zealand for the consequences of how he saved his ancestral lands, and going after Paperinik requires a lot of courage), but he's nowhere as good as he used to be.
    • Defied with Paperinik: he once admitted, at least to himself, that his poor reputation as a hero and the constant mistreatment he suffers in his civilian identity tempts him to throw away everything and either retire or even become the villain, but he will not do either.
    • Paperinik is often tempted even in the 'classic' continuity, and was extremely close to this in his early stories, making people pay for the mistreatment he suffered in his civilian identity of Donald Duck. Eventually he became a more heroic character, even if he's still someone you should not provoke lightly.
    • Fittingly, it's actually Invoked by lord John Lamont Quackett, AKA Fantomius the Gentleman Thief, whose journal would later inspire Donald into becoming Paperinik (even using his costume and, early on, his gadgets): having moved to Duckburg from his native England, the local high society treated him as a lazy do-nothing because he didn't lower himself to their hypocrysy, and the day he saw one of the most important members of Duckburg's high society frame Gyro's great-grandfather for a theft he himself had committed made him decide that the best way to deal with thieves masquerading as gentlemen was to be an actual gentleman masquerading as a thief... And on that very day he first wore the costume of Fantomius, exposed the frame-up, and stole the diamond himself.

    Fanfiction 
  • A fair share of Naruto fanfics had him becoming evil because of this trope.
  • This is also a popular Alternative Character Interpretation for Slytherin House—when a whole school treats a class of eleven year olds as evil that's what you get...
  • In The Devil You Know, Loki puts it quite simply.
    Loki: I've always thought of myself as a monster and acted accordingly.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, Princess Luna, upon realizing all the things that she had done so far in the Equestrian Civil War, believes her redemption to be impossible and that she could no longer turn back from her path to darkness.
  • Prince Blueblood within an inch of this in the second season of The Vinyl Scratch Tapes.
  • Equestrylvania: Dirt Nap invokes this trope by saying that since everypony always mistreated him just because his special talent is for handling dead bodies, he's going to make them pay by joining Dracula. The trope gets deconstructed however, when Twilight gives him a pretty righteous "The Reason You Suck" Speech (among other things, he never acted friendly to anyone else, so everyone just assumed he preferred it that way) that sums up why no sympathy is given to him.
  • In Heir the Dursleys always told Harry he was a freak and a monster. Harry figures he might as well live up to his reputation.
  • Harry again in Ace Of Spades after being betrayed by his friends and rejected and abandoned by the very world he saved, and then shunted off to some muggle Asylum. He comes to agree with his new friend-that making the world burn is a pretty cool idea...
  • Death Note Equestria: This is invoked by Twilight at the end of Season 2. Realizing that by this point, Kira will never be viewed as the shining beacon of justice Twilight was originally aiming for, Twilight decides to build up the image of Kira as an almost mythical epitome of evil, a monster who targets other evil-doers, in order to scare anyone out of ever breaking the law ever again. Coincidentally, this coincides with Twilight's slip into full-on A God Am I territory.
  • In The Charming Universe Harry Potter takes to calling himself "the Dark Lord Potter" because he knows that's what people are going to call him anyway for going against the will of the Ministry.
  • Business shows the results of Harry Potter always being told he was a criminal throughout his childhood.
  • Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons villain Sanguinius had this as his motivation. After being looked on as a scumbag for attempting to get off the front lines by helping one influential soldier instead of five others that died because he burned his horn out on the first, he decided to eventually become the monster they thought he was.
  • Why Am I Crying: Diamond Tiara was bullied mercilessly at a corrupt summer camp and was falsely accused by her old friend Apple Bloom (who forgot who she was following a long absence) of bullying her friends all because she was perceived as a Rich Bitch. After the latter incident, she decided that enough was enough and become what everypony expected of her, and she vowed to make Apple Bloom and all her friends pay dearly.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: As a student, Voldemort once begged Dumbledore to let him meet Nicholas Flamel so that he could make a Philosopher's Stone. He claims that that was his last attempt to be a good person because Dumbledore refused and told him that fearing death was wrong, which led him to conclude that, if he was going to be called evil for trying to stay alive, he may as well embrace it.
  • In The Rise of Darth Vulcan, the Flim-Flam brothers reveal that this is the reason they became con artists. They spent years trying to bring technological innovation to Equestria, but the country's dedication to Medieval Stasis stymied them at every step, with everyone treating their work as junk. Ultimately, they decided that if everyone was going to treat their creations as junk, then that'll be what they give.

    Films — Animated 
  • Megamind's reason for being a villain.
    Megamind: "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.
  • Discussed but ultimately Averted 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, Rameses 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. Passages like Exodus 4: 21, 10: 1, 11: 10, 14:18 cast further a Designated Hero vibe to the deity, who's forcing the pharaoh to be the villain in-universe.
  • The Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons tries to use this as his Freudian Excuse. In actuality, all of his isolation and misery was self-inflicted.
  • Shrek provides a variation: the eponymous ogre 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, and 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.
    Shrek: (to Donkey, remorsefully) They judge me before they even know me. That's why I'm better off alone.
  • In the final version of Frozen Elsa is a completely different character from she was during development, but this was originally going to be a major part of her character. Late into development she was written as being an Aloof Big Sister to Anna with a temper. In her childhood others didn't trust her due to Elsa being similar to an old prophecy. This lead to Elsa being ostracized by most besides her family. Interestingly enough, they sort of had this in mind when they wrote "Let it Go", but its failure to convey this trope very well and its unexpectedly positive feel inspired them to rewrite her character as a troubled Classical Anti-Hero who never really turned evil at any point. Her unused Villain Song "Cool With Me", though, more strongly shows off this aspect.
    Elsa: Elsa’s dead, now instead, you’ll address me as the Snow Queen.
    Anna: (spoken) Nah, no way!
    Elsa: I got a gift, I’m a superstar.
    Anna: (spoken) And your point is?
    Elsa: That people should revere me!
    Anna:: Yes, you’re really quite the showman with these mean and mutant snowmen—
    Elsa: Hey, if no one wants to love me, they can FEAR me!
  • Zootopia: Nick is a non-villainous example. He initially wanted to be a good, honorable member of the scouts, but after he's been ostracized for being a predator and a fox, with everyone having a preconceived notion that all foxes are sneaky and cannot be trusted, he decided that he can't really fight it, and must just roll with it in order to survive.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • 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. She then concludes, however, that he was always evil as the others thought.
  • 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. According to what he's been taught all his life, rescuing a slave is basically declaring war on God.
  • Frankenstein abandons his newly-made monster in disgust at its uncanny looks, and everyone else who ever sees the monster reacts with horror. Eventually it decides to stop hoping for the best and start inflicting pain instead.
  • 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 intentionally 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, 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.
  • Piers Anthony's For 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.
  • Atlas Shrugged is, in a way, about a group of very rich people - business owners, tycoons, etc., who got so tired of being called greedy and selfish by people in society who were mooching off them that they basically just "Hang it. You want to call us greedy and selfish? Fine, then we'll go off on our own where you can't find us and be exactly that and you can just see how you do without us. Goodbye."
  • The short story La Patente ("The Licence") has a character named Rosario Chiarchiaro, who has a fame as The Jinx, and because of this he was fired from his job and his entire family has had their lives ruined. The story is his attempt to get a sympathetic judge to give him a trial that will end with him declared a jinx, so he will be able to claim a Jinx Licence and make them all pay.
  • In Jerry Spinelli's Fourth Grade Rats, a boy nicknamed Suds faces peer pressure from a friend to be mean and unruly, compounded by younger kids' assumption that he already is, simply because he's reached the fourth grade. After one prank too many, he declares, "You want a rat? You've got a rat!" And acts accordingly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Black Sails, it is revealed that Captain Flint is nothing more than a persona, adopted by him so that he might survive in the new world he was forced into, and so that his true self could survive what he was going to have to do to be a part of it. However, after revelations about the true nature of how he came to be exiled from England, and with the death of Miranda, James all but quotes this trope title, before escaping captivity and declaring outright war upon the rest of civilisation.
  • "Michael" from Stargate Atlantis was a Wraith who the protagonists forcibly converted into an amnesiac human. The fact that Michael has to eat people to survive, and the virus that can transform a Wraith into a human (thus removing the need to kill people to keep him alive) inherently causes amnesia, explains why they felt the need to brainwash him, though. His introductory episode has the characters mistreating him for no clear reason (mainly Ronon, who utterly despises all Wraith due to their wiping out his planet and putting him through years of torture), before he realizes that he's a Tomato in the Mirror and breaks out to return to his people... but they won't accept him either, since he's still partly human. He desperately returns to the protagonists and offers valuable aid, just begging them that they don't brainwash him again. They brainwash him again. When he recovers again, he's fed up of saying What the Hell, Hero?, and he snaps completely and becomes an Evilutionary Biologist.
  • Adam Wilson from The Young and the Restless has ended up invoking this trope. It's hard to escape the fact that, before he came to Genoa City, Adam was relatively moral and well-adjusted. It was only after prolonged exposure to the chronic backstabbing and underhanded business dealings of the city that he started his horrific revenge plan — and at the end of that, he lapses into a My God, What Have I Done? moment and tries to reform. Then even this is completely undercut when the Newmans and Abbotts confront him in the cabin and treat him like a monster, even though they don't have any idea what he did — plus how hollow their moral superiority sounds, considering all the crimes they've committed in the past, which Adam and later DA Owen Pomerantz call them out on.
  • When Ashur of Spartacus: Blood and Sand gets berated at for his slimy Manipulative Bastard behaviour, he pulls this line of defense, pointing out that everybody treated him like pig feed and that nearly every git move he pulled benefited his master, doctore, and the ludus, so screw the gladiators and their honour.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • There's an episode in the second-to-last season where Gul Dukat tries to convince Sisko (and himself) that they really were friends all along and that he has always been misunderstood as merely an Anti-Hero, not a true villain. Eventually, with some subtle goading from Sisko to drop his facade, Dukat realizes that he has always been a villain and decides to embrace his role by destroying Bajor and everything Sisko cares about.
    • A variation also occurs in the episode where Sisko goes after the traitor Eddington. He realizes that Eddington sees himself as a hero fighting for a noble cause and decides that he has to embrace his role as the villain in Eddington's mind in order to beat him. He eventually engineers a situation that plays to Eddington's nobler instincts, forcing him to turn himself in to stop Sisko's villainy. This consisted of poisoning a Maquis planet in such a way that humans couldn't live there (but Cardassians could), essentially just balancing out the nearby world Eddington had just poisoned to Cardassians but not humans, and then threatening to do so to every Maquis settlement he could find.
    • Winn Adami considers herself a very spiritual person, one who has sacrificed for her religion. In truth, she's a political manipulator, and because the Prophets know this, they have never given her visions. However, when the Pah-wraiths, the equivalent of demons in her religion, start giving her visions, she's terrified that this marks her as evil and corrupt. Kira tells her that she can achieve redemption simply by ceding her political and spiritual authority as Kai (the head of the Bajoran religion). Winn cannot bring herself to do this (couching her political machinations as "Bajor needs me."), and chooses instead to curse the Prophets and follow the path the Pah-wraiths laid out for her.
  • In Charmed, Cole may have been half-demon, but his love for Phoebe was enough to motivate him not only to wake up his humanity and then to fight the Source for control of his body, but later to amass enough random powers from other vanquished demons to escape hell and return to her after his death. However, no matter how he tried to convince her that he wasn't evil anymore, she and her sisters drove him away, and attempted to kill him, (which turned out to be impossible, even for him when he tried to commit suicide out of grief). All of this eventually drove him insane, and he started committing evil deeds again; sometimes in a misguided bid to reclaim Phoebe, and other times just For the Evulz.
  • A major theme in Smallville. Lex Luthor makes several efforts to do good and often helps Clark and others save the world, but several characters- especially Clark's parents, no less- treat him with suspicion at best because he is the son of local Corrupt Corporate Executive Lionel Luthor, who himself had been trying to mold his son into another ruthless Magnificent Bastard (whilst simultaneously letting Lex know just how much of a disappointment he was). The latter stuff really had put the seed of evil in Lex's heart- Oliver Queen knew Lex at school and saw him beat up his best friend (though Oliver had been a bit of a dick to both of them, mind), and a horrified Lionel covered up the fact that as a boy Lex had murdered his own baby brother though it turned out, Lex only took the fall for his mom, who wanted to spare the child Lex's horrible childhood. There is a lot of tension between Lex's natural bad side and his desire to genuinely do good getting screwed over; he is particularly annoyed that Clark, his best (and only) friend, is obviously hiding stuff from him- Clark, for his part, has thought about revealing his secret to Lex but has been dissuaded by, amongst other things, hallucinations, that make it seem like a bad idea. Not helped by the fact that the two of them are aware of a prophecy about a mortal man fighting a godlike alien and Lex believing that to Beware the Superman might actually be sensible; after all, how can anyone be trusted with that much power?
    • Several episodes are devoted to Lex's own internal struggle. One such story inverts A Christmas Carol- Lex, having been shot at Christmas, meets the ghost of his mother who shows him what happens if he changes his ways: he has a loving and happy marriage with Lana and is finally treated like a friend and family member by the Kents; Clark holds no grudge about the two of them marrying either and is happy for them and remains his best friend. Then Lana gets seriously ill and Lex can't afford it, so he goes back to his dad to ask him to help...and is promptly brushed off, meaning Lana (and their baby) both die because Lex gave up his money and his wicked father's fortune. When he wakes up, Lex decides that money and power are the only things that really matter in life, because then you can protect the people you love.
    • Lionel himself gets some of this. Early in season 4 he is in prison, and tries to escape by swapping bodies with Clark. His plan fails and he ends up back in his own body by the end of the episode, but having Clark inhabit his body leaves him a changed man and after getting out of prison on a technicality anyway, tried to convince the rest of the suspicious cast, meeting the most resistance from Lex himself, who is also trying to earn everybody's trust. Things hit a head in one episode when Black Kryptonite splits Lex into his good and evil halves- the good Lex lets his father know he'll trust him and encourages him in his do-goodiness; the bad Lex goads Lionel into assaulting him with a poker, then says that proves he hasn't changed at all. Turns out Lionel really had changed, but by the end of that episode, and never finding out about the whole split-in-two thing, he tells the now whole Lex that he was right- "we're Luthors", and they should embrace the Card-Carrying Villain within, though to his credit Lionel is never quite as evil again and after being possessed by Jor-El in order to bring Clark back from the dead (and retaining his memory of the incident and thus knowing Clark's secret, despite feigning amnesia), generally deciding he'll help him from now on.
      • Eventually Good!Lionel becomes Clark's new father figure, and does all the things for Clark he never did for Lex, leaving by-now-lost-to-the-Dark-Side Lex justifiably frothing at the mouth at the unfairness of the universe.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike tries to enlist in the good fight after falling in love with Buffy, who regards this Heel–Face Turn with suspicion, especially after discovering his true motive. However he gains some trust by protecting Dawn in Season 5 and acting as her confidante in Season 6, but when Buffy realizes she's falling for Spike she starts physically and verbally abusing him in order to drive Spike away. As Buffy refuses to let him be good, he decides the only way to get Buffy is to drag her down to his level, leading to their Destructive Romance. Though he was a monster for at least 100 years prior to getting the chip and falling in love.
    • Eventually subverted, as Spike arranges to have his human soul restored and becomes a hero for real. Though not a nice one.
  • In The City Hunter, Lee Jin-Pyo's sole purpose is to find and punish five corrrupt and murderous politicians; not an unworthy cause in itself, although he knows from the beginning that his method of revenge—kidnapping his best friend's infant son and raising him as an instrument of vengeance—is unforgivable. But since that's what he started, he's damned well going to finish it.
  • One arc on Desperate Housewives had Lynette trying to stir concern about the fact that there was a possible pedophile living with his sister on Wisteria Lane. However, the attempts to stir up hysteria drove the sister to suffer a fatal heart attack, at which point the guy told Lynette he'd kept his urges under control because of her. And now he was going to leave Wisteria, and had no reason to curb his impulses... and he wanted her to know it was all because of her (however, since it was never really confirmed that he really was a pedophile, it is possible he's just messing with her head).
  • Explicitly referenced in Once Upon a Time "Witch Hunt". By this time Regina has stopped trying to kill everyone and has become some combination of the Token Evil Teammate and The Friend Nobody Likes. However when everyone assumes that she must have cast the most recent curse and begins to turn on her ignoring her protests that she's innocent...
    Regina: If you all want me to be the Evil Queen then fine. That's exactly who you'll get. (causes an earthquake and then warps out).
    • And subverted in that that was just a show that she and Emma were putting on. In any case, it's repeatedly made clear that while everyone blaming Regina certainly annoys her she also doesn't particularly care what any of them think. The only person she does want acceptance from is Henry.
  • In the final episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney goes back to his womanizing ways after his divorce from Robin. When Lily calls him out on it, he rationalizes that if it couldn't work with Robin, just let him be the guy that "straightens his tie, says something dirty, gives himself a self-five, and [hits on younger women]."
  • In the season one finale of Daredevil, Wilson Fisk is talking with the FBI agents who have arrested him about the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. He reasons that for all his previous efforts to be like the Samaritan who cared for the injured subject of the parable by developing Hell's Kitchen, he ultimately ended up like the "man of ill intent" who robbed and beat the person in the first place. This is a Deconstruction; Fisk was already a ruthless evil crime lord; all that changes now is he gives up the delusion that he was ever a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • In Season Two of Justified, Boyd Crowder gives up on going straight and conspires to rob a mine. When Ava asks him why, he explains: "Because it's what I do. It's who I am, Ava. As hard as I've been trying to pretend otherwise. Everybody else seems to know that but me."
  • In 24, President Charles Logan committed some horrible things on Day 5, but at worst he was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who was trying to secure America's economic future. After he was forced to resign, he tried to atone for actions by helping Jack Bauer on Day 6. In the process, he had to meet up with his ex-wife who spent the entire time, not undeservedly, mocking his attempt at redemption and, in a psychotic break, stabbed Logan. That pretty much slammed the door on him, so when he reappeared on Day 8 he had shifted into being a straight up evil bastard, who was willing to commit any crime in the name of both killing Jack Bauer and regaining some good publicity to feed his ego.
  • The Flash (2014): This is eventually revealed to be Eobard Thawne/The Reverse-Flash's origin story. Born in 2151, Thawne admired the 21st century hero The Flash and wanted to be a great hero like him. He managed to acquire super speed and the ability to time travel. One day, his time traveling adventures revealed to him that he was destined to become Flash's arch enemy. Filled with despair and rage, Thawne declared that if he cannot become a hero, he'll be the best villain he can be, and be the Reverse of everything Flash stands for.
  • The Sopranos: Tony Blundetto in Season 5. Once out of prison, he's the only one out of the Class of 2004 who tries to go legit and start anew. He tries to do so by becoming a professional masseur while also raising his two sons. However, it all eventually falls apart, and when Tony Soprano won't let him do more in his crew, he accepts an offer to assassinate Joey Peeps, and the resulting tension leads him to try and assassinate the Leotardo brothers, managing to kill Billy Leotardo and wound Phil. This eventually leads to Tony Soprano being forced to kill him in order to calm the tensions, and prevent Tony Blundetto from suffering a worse and more painful death at the hands of Phil Leotardo. However, Tony B's actions have a lasting impact, as they are the catalyst for the mob war in Season 6.
  • One unsub in Criminal Minds is revealed to be this. The unsub had been arrested by the FBI years prior for murders he did not commit, which resulted in his wife and children leaving him, him losing his job, and the occasional beatdown from people who still believed him to be a criminal. This led him to murder several nurses years down the line, which caught the FBI's attention. Ironically, while he was a murderer, it's revealed that he was not the guy they were looking for this time either. (The unsub had no idea about another set of crimes the team was investigating) The guy overdosed on his medicine soon after.

    Music 
  • 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, Matthew, mocking the rapper, as the young man takes vengeance on Eminem, for driving Stan to suicide.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • La Parka Jr was antagonized by the original, for being an imposter, to the point L.A. Park joined La Sociedad. Cibernético and Los Bizarros antagonized La Parka Jr. for "betraying" AAA, even after he returned, almost as much as they did La Sociedad, who were actively trying to make a mess of AAA. After their mutual elimination from Copa Antonio Peña at the 2011 Héroes Inmortales, La Parka Jr. officially joined La Sociedad.
  • After Drew Blood was kicked out of CZW by Devon Moore, he decided that if he was going to successfully get revenge on the resident scumbag of the company, he was going to have to become the devil. He later recruited Rory Mondo to his cause, who had similar feelings about Moore's Tag Team partner Danny Havoc and Matt Tremont, whom he convinced had been abandoned by The Nation Of Intoxication and "the marks". Ron Matthis meanwhile agreed to join "The Forgotten Ones" in their "Devilry" so long as it got him on shows.
  • 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 led Jim Cornette to proclaim Steen would never have another match in ROH again, and that led 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).
  • One possible interpretation of Muhammad Hassan. It seemed the original intention of the character was as a face due to being constantly Mistaken for Terrorist after 9/11 — but audiences kept treating him as a heel, and the character became exactly the sort of stereotype it was originally meant to campaign against.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Storytellers sometimes 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 
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Imperium loves causing this.
    • 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.
    • Mutants usually arise from non-Chaotic sources, such as exposure to rubber-science radiation, but are at best barely tolerated and the victims of severe discrimination because it's feared that they will turn to Chaos. For some reason, having it made clear for your entire life that you're one slip-up away from the stake means that when a cult teaches your differences are in fact holy, you're statistically very, very likely to be on board with that - meaning that you do, indeed, turn to Chaos.
    • More than once, Space Marine Chapters have been accused of treachery on scanty evidence, leading to them ending up genuinely in the hands of the Dark Gods, most notably the Soul Drinkers (although they later gained a form of redemption).
    • More than one Primarch was a victim of this during the Horus Heresy.
      • Most notable was Konrad Curze, who was cursed with visions of the galaxy falling into eternal bloodshed and himself being executed as a traitor by an agent of the Imperium. After his one sincere attempt to seek help from his brothers was violently rebuffed, he decided to embrace his fate.
      • Part of the reason Mortarion slipped into heresy was his steadfast opposition to use of psychic powers, which he viewed as sorcery in all cases. When a daemon makes it clear that his "clean" wards and counteragents are useless, Mortarion unleashes his own sorcerous might to destroy it and vows to master the practice himself.
      • Magnus the Red seems to be slipping this way. He intended to let himself be executed for his defiance of the Decree of Nikaea, but when it came to the end watching his world and sons be destroyed angered him too much to do this. Since he's now banished, friendless and trapped in the power of the Chaos Gods, he might as well embrace it.
      • Alpharius may end up a victim of this. The Alpha Legion embraced treason for the greater good of the galaxy, but by the 41st millenium they all seem to be card-carrying villains. Of course with the Alpha Legion, who really knows.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The fiend-blooded Tieflings are prone to this. While they are no more predisposed to good or evil than their human kin, enough people treat them as if their heritage makes them intrinsically evil that they often give up trying to be decent to their abusers. 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.
    • Warlocks are born with magical gifts from unspecified dark powers, ranging from powerful fey to actual demon lords, and are commonly treated as evil by default on the basis of their gifts being a bit spooky. Consequently, there are a lot of evil warlocks.
  • 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.

    Theatre 
  • Shakespeare loved this trope:
    • Perhaps most famously, Shylock of The Merchant of Venice is often interpreted as this and provides the page quote. The play establishes early on that Antonio, The Protagonist, is at the very least verbally abusive of Shylock due to Shylock's Jewish faith. When Shylock sees the opportunity to get revenge on Antonio and do it legally, he jumps at the opportunity, even though he knows it is villainous: As he states at the end of his famous "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech, "The villainy you teach me, I will execute." Whether Shylock is intended to be this or an Anti-Villain Jerkass Woobie, and whether the play is truly anti-semitic or Fair for Its Day, is left up to modern scholars and audiences to decide - Shakespeare certainly isn't around to tell us.
    • Don John, the Designated Villain of Much Ado About Nothing. He protests his state thusly:
      "I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the meantime let me be that I am and seek not to alter me."
    • Similarly, the bastard son Edmund in King Lear laments that he is categorized as base and lowly since he is "illegitimate." Since he is going to be treated unfairly regardless of how well-behaved he is, he resorts to evil to try and increase his standing.
    • Richard III has the titular Villain Protagonist give his motivations in Act 1, Scene 1:
      "And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
      To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
      I am determined to prove a villain
      And hate the idle pleasures of these days."
    • Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus is not only happy to live up to the Roman's wicked expectations of him, in the end he finds he repents only the meager good he may have done.
      • Averted, however, by Iago and Caliban (of Othello and The Tempest respectively), who make comments to the effect that they're just born to be evil.
  • Elphaba of Wicked, after having every good deed that she's ever done blow up in her face, declares this near the end of her B.S.O.D. Song "No Good Deed."
    Elphaba "Alright enough so be it
    So be it then
    Let all Oz be Agreed
    I'm Wicked through and through
    Since I cannot succeed Fiyero saving you
    I promise No Good Deed will I attempt to do again
    Ever Again
    No Good Deed
    Will I Do
    AGAIN!!!!!!!"
  • Similarly to "No Good Deed", Shrek The Musical has "Build a Wall".
    Shrek: "I'm gonna be what they want
    I'm gonna be what they say
    Hey world, I'll do it your way!
    You're looking for a monster, it's your lucky day
    I'll be what you want!"
  • In Bat Boy: The Musical, "Apology to a Cow" ends with this.
    Bat Boy: "I don't want to harm you, I only want to KILL!
    You shall have your monster, I shall drink my fill!
    At last I am embracing my bloody destiny!
    Dear Mom and Dad this place will be
    The last thing that you ever see!
    Revenge will be a home for me!"

    Videogames 
  • The most commonly-accepted interpretation of Sorceress Ultimecia's motivations in Final Fantasy VIII is that she was discriminated against and persecuted by a society conditioned to assume that any sorceress runs the risk of snapping and trying to take over the world, until - shockingly enough - she snapped and decided to become the evil sorceress that history reviled. Her speech in Deling very heavily alludes to this.
  • This is Demon King Odio's backstory in Live A Live. Even after Oersted was tricked into killing the king and branded a demon, he figured he could still be a hero, so long as one person believed in him. When that one person committed suicide as a direct consequence of his actions, he took up the demon lord's title and role, spreading pain and misery across the universe.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Ramirez's backstory involves a play on this trope. He came to Arcadia as a naive idealist with some lessons to learn from the school of hard knocks, but found one guy who seemed alright as a role-model/mentor. Sadly, he ended up getting played for a fool and humiliated when the guy turned out to be a dirtbag. So, he went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and gave up on his nice ideals. He was convinced that Humans Are Bastards was a universal truth and decided he might as well join them.
  • In City of Heroes, Leonard "Frostfire" Calhoun (Yes, that is his real name) is explicitly stated to have "succumbed to a 'if you're going to treat me like a villain' mentality" after a botched attempt at vigilanteism. For this reason, Frostfire is one of the more sympathetic villains in the game, even delivering a crude Motive Rant when confronted. He even eventually tries to redeem himself.
  • In Icewind Dale 2, the twin Big Bads Isair and Madae were treated as embodiments of evil their entire lives because they were cambions — half devil, half elf. After a lifetime of this treatment, with a cruel prank involving cakes baked with holy water as the final straw, they decided they might as well act like embodiments of evil. Iselore the Big Good remembers that he warned their foster mother (the only person who ever loved them) that "they are forged in evil and only evil can come from them" and sadly wonders if he helped make it true.
  • In Dragon Age II, almost all of Kirkwall distrusts the qunari and their leader, the Arishok, due to the qunari's reputation for being heathen conquerors. While the Arishok is by no means a nice guy, he and the rest of the qunari just want to mind their own business and leave Kirkwall as soon as possible. However, after years of unprovoked attacks by those who expect him to act against them, the Arishok finally has enough and tries to conquer Kirkwall.
    The Arishok: Fixing your mess is not the demand of the Qun, and you should all be grateful!
    • This also sums up why so many Circle mages turn to Blood Magic; they spend their whole lives effectively at the mercy of the templars, who tell them that the abilities they were born with are sinful and hold the threat of being made Tranquil over their heads, so what do they have to lose by dealing with demons? First Enchanter Orsino does this in the endgame - even if you sided with him.
      • Spelled out in the web series Dragon Age: Redemption focused on several characters trying to stop an escaped qunari mage, or Saarebas ("dangerous thing" in qunari). The qunari treat their mages way worse than humans. They sew their mouths shut and force them to wear harnesses that dampen their magic and can be used to shock them into submission. After finally stopping and collaring the Saarebas, Tallis asks him why he tried to cast a dangerous spell. His response is that he has been told for so long that he's a thing of evil that the only thing he could think about doing after escaping is the most harm possible. However, not all Saarebas are like that.
    • Anders especially emphasizes this point as the reason the Circle of Magi simply doesn't work-when you imprison and terrify a person with supernatural powers for the entirety of their lives, does the fault lie with the prisoner for eventually snapping and trying to take everyone down with them, or the system that forces them into that corner with no room for compromise? Doesn't stop him from yelling at the mages who made deals or turn into abominations, but he saves most of his bile for the Chantry. Hence his "nuclear option" attack on the Chantry after all his other efforts have been shut down.
    • Orsino's Despair Event Horizon also has him come to this conclusion, when, after Meredith's templars have killed the rest of the mages in the Circle, he decides that if he's going to die, his name slandered as a blood mage for a crime he didn't commit, then he'll use the blood magic he'd previously condemned to take as many templars out with him.
  • Since the Jedi of Knights of the Old Republic considered any of their members who went off to defend the Republic against the Mandalorians as fallen (see their shoddy treatment of the Exile, who did return only to get Reformed, but Rejected from the Council), the fact that Revan went and became Dark Lord of the Sith is a cross of this and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • In Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Kerrigan, recently de-infested and now aligned with the heroes, is actively trying to turn her back on her own potential to control the zerg, since she feels this might lead her back to her old self. Then, The Dominion attacks her allies, forcing her to take control of a feral zerg brood lest the Dominion shoot down her Love Interest, Raynor. She realizes during the fighting that she's at risk of giving in to her viciousness, and tries to curb herself. However, Raynor's ship never shows at the rendezvous and she overhears a news report that the Dominion captured and executed him before he could escape. (In fact, he was not executed, but is being held as a check against her attacking the Dominion.) She promptly declares bloody vengeance against the Dominion and Emperor Mengsk, actively seeking out zerg forces to command and becoming re-infested, after a fashion to increase her psychic power. Mengsk seems to realize that the whole mess is his fault (twice over; his betrayal got her infested in the first place!) when she kills him.
    Kerrigan: You made us all into monsters.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Gabriel Belmont became evil because destiny said he would become evil.
  • If you decide to take the villain route in inFAMOUS, Cole cites this as one of his reasons for slipping into selfish evil. The people already think he's a terrorist that blew up their city, and he has the powers to make them suffer, why not give them what they want? This is best exemplified at the end of the train mission, where even after saving their loved ones, the people still want Cole's blood, resulting in him zapping one of them to make them disperse. For reference, the good version of the same scene has them treat him like one of the family and marks his turn for the better in the public eye, so it mostly comes down to the reputation he builds in the interim.
  • One interpretation of the final ending of The Binding of Isaac Rebirth, where after Isaac's mother tries to kill him to save him from sin after God told her to, and after all the horrors he faced in the Basement and beyond as a result, Isaac finally locks himself in the chest and transforms into a demon. And he's alright with that
  • You can deliberately invoke this in Dragon's Dogma. Once you confronted Duke Edmun after slaying Grigori, The Dragon, he immediately brands you as a traitor, and every guard along with captain Maximilian would make an attempt to kill you on sight whenever you entered upper Gran Soren. If a traitor is what they wanted, then why not become one? Now, you have the option to teach them a lesson and kill everyone on sight, yes, everyone but the Duke. This is for crossing with the Arisen, who will soon become your god!
  • 'Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker': In the ending, Big Boss makes a speech about how the world will view MSF differently as time goes by; either as revolutionaries, dogs of war or terrorists and he is willing to accept that role as a villain. Anyone who stuck with the series long enough will know this was how Outer Heaven was founded.
  • Invoked by Snow and Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII in order to scare civilians out of harms way.
  • The lovable, kind Jack Frosts from the Shin Megami Tensei franchises occasionally, through self-discovery or negative experiences, realize they're a demon and decide to act like one, becoming the malevolent and extremely threatening Black Frost.
  • 'Fate/stay night': In life, Caster was subject to an endless cycle of betrayal—the gods forced her to love a man she didn't know to the point that she killed her own family, and that same man eventually cast her aside to marry someone else. She was made into a scapegoat for the evils of others, and it is a grand irony that, after being betrayed so many times, the title she received upon striking back at the world was "The Witch of Betrayal".
  • Can be invoked by the player in Civilization. Once the AI starts denouncing you, it is very hard to get back in their good books, even if all you did was refuse to roll over and die when The Dog Shot First. This can lead a player to decide to show the enemy civilisations what a real bloodthirsty warmonger actually looks like.
  • Invoked by Adam Jensen in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided when talking about an augmented-only ghetto.
    Adam: Treat people like animals long enough and they'll start acting like animals.

    Webcomics 
  • 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.
  • Occurs to Sandra years after she's transformed into demon at the start of Zebra Girl. Frustrated at the downsides of her new bodyExamples  and waiting for an incredibly unlikely cure, she decides to throw it all to the wind and embrace it. She gets banished to another realm by her friends for her troubles, and thus far it appears that she's learnt her lesson.

    Web Original 
  • 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..
  • 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, "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.
  • Theres A Man In The Woods (link here) 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.
  • Carmilla the Series
    Mattie: You know, since I've arrived, I've been gracious. I've been reasonable. I've been civilized. But all you idiots do are accuse me of murder after petty murder. As if I would bother with one or two...or twenty. I'm going to carve a red swath through your army. I'm going to drink this nation dry. I am death on dark wings. You want to blame me for carnage? I'll show you carnage.
  • Happens to Sombra from Ask King Sombra. He's managed to get some character development, and is almost ready to apologize to the Crystal Empire- and then some guards sent out to meet him mistreat and spit on him, convincing him that being evil was the only thing he could do that would actually work out.

    Western Animation 
  • 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. It didn't help that it was a case of Poor Communication Kills that triggered all of it.
    • 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. Kid Flash eventually snaps her out of it.
  • 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, has started to snap back, committing genuinely callous acts against him such as stealing his dream girl or scamming him out his life savings, complete with Quagmire having the nerve to exclaim 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 led 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!!
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic The Times They Are A Changeling, a Changeling named Thorax wants to makes friends with others, unlike the rest of his kind. Spike meets him and agrees to help him make friends with the Crystal Ponies, but when Thorax's true identity is discovered before he and Spike are ready to reveal it themselves, Spike doesn't stand up for Thorax so he runs away. When Spike comes to apologize to Thorax, Thorax calls himself "an evil Changeling" apparently ready to give up on friendship. Luckily, Spike says he's sorry and the two make amends, revealing their friendship to the empire; convincing them not all Changelings are evil.

Alternative Title(s): Then I Shall Be Evil

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThenLetMeBeEvil