can create compelling drama
, Character Development
, and interesting psychology when done well; many acclaimed works of art use it to a degree
and the appeal of The Woobie
is based on it.
But like all other good things, angst can be overdone or clumsily handled.
Wangst, a portmanteau
of "whiny" and "angst," (or "wimpy" or "wah") is essentially angst gone wrong. The intended Woobie
attempts an epic failure
at an Appeal To Pity
, and thus becomes a pathetically whiny character
who insists on crying (often loudly and repeatedly) about a Dark and Troubled Past
or event instead of, you know, trying to solve the problem and stop being depressed all the time. People will end up surrendering in their efforts on sympathy and just question the emokid on "Why haven't you killed yourself yet?" Especially if said "trauma" doesn't come across nearly as tragic as the character thinks it is, compared with other people trying to endure out there yet are still determined to solve the problem
, making his lamentations seem way out of proportion.
Though Wangst is most frequently associated with characters whining over petty "tragedies," the trope is not merely sadness or angst; it is poorly written sadness or angst that comes off as unjustified due to poor writing, lack of an explanation, or exaggeration. It's not necessarily the scale of the tragedy that the character is reacting to that's the problem, but the way it's handled.
It all boils down to quality and personal tolerance level
; what is grating and unrealistic to one viewer can be genuinely heart-rending for another. There's an inherent Double Standard
involving this trope — people are much more likely to be crying "Wangst" to a male character than they are a female character. In heavily action-oriented works, it's expected for anyone who just pauses for a short time to feel a little angst to immediately get called out as wangsty: see also What Measure Is a Non-Badass?
Wangst is a favorite of Emo Teens
, Sympathetic Sues
and characters Cursed with Awesome
. Any kind of Despair Speech
(especially by nihilists
) is also often considered as this. Often pointed out by playing the World's Smallest Violin
. See also Emo
, Angst Dissonance
. To deal with the wangsty kind, people will usually say "Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!
The "wangst" equivalent for entire stories is when Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy
is caused by too much True Art Is Angsty
. Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!
is the philosophical equivalent. Compare Deus Angst Machina
, which is about having too many sources
of angst for Willing Suspension of Disbelief
rather than too much response
to sources of angst. For both in-universe and
meta-examples, see Muse Abuse
, a frequent Real Life
and in-universe cause of Wangst
. Contrast Angst? What Angst?
, and Stoic Woobie
Not to be confused with angst resulting from a lack of sexual relationship.
Subtrope of Bathos
, and may be called that in literary circles.
This just defines the term. No examples, please.