"If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we'd live like animals or angels in the happy land that needs no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust, and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice, and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all... why then perhaps we must stand fast a little- even at the risk of being heroes."
—Thomas More, A Man For All Seasons
The king knew with certainty that the knight who had crossed the bridge was far better than any other, for no one who harboured Cowardice within himself, which shames those who have it more than Nobility brings them honour, would dare to cross. Nobility cannot accomplish as much as Cowardice and Sloth, for it is the truth - and never doubt it - that evil can be more easily done than good.
"I try to be a good husband and you took my wife away. I tried to be a good father and now my son hates me! The people at my job torture me every day leaving me coming home battered and bruised crying myself to sleep! What did I do to deserve this? Am I not a good person?! Can't you just give me a break for once in my miserable fucking life?!"
—Breakfast Duck, on Christmas Eve, shortly before being struck by lightning.
Clark Kent: What's that on your face?
Billy Batson: Eh, it's [a bruise from a punch] what you get for trying to be good. Should have just kept my mouth shut. 'Be good and good will follow'. That's what my parents used to always tell me. But, you know, Mr. Kent, I was good before they were taken from me. I was good at the foster home. And I was good fifteen minutes ago. I'm starting to think being good isn't good for me.
Clark Kent: It seems that way sometimes, doesn't it? But that's because good is hard. Bad is always easy.
— Conversation from Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam
Wish I'd never met you, Doctor. I was much better off as a coward.
—Jack Harkness as he kisses the Doctor goodbye, "The Parting of the Ways"
I believe there's a Hero inside all of us, even if it means we have to give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.
—Aunt May, Spider-Man 2
You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
— John McClane, Live Free Or Die Hard
Conscience do cost.
—Butchie, The Wire
I am quite certain that there are people who do not repent of their good deeds when the return they get for them is treachery and ingratitude. I think that these few ought to be in Heaven; they are in the way here.
— Mark Twain, "Something About Repentance"
Panacea: So you’re the supposedly good person who was pretending to be a crook, and I’m the monster who was pretending to be a hero, but when the dust settled, we both wound up being villains. Funny how that works.”
I wanted him to reawaken the evil in my heart. I wanted him to return me to the way I was before. I was the perfect warrior, cold and ruthless. I lived by my strength alone, uninhibited by foolish emotion.... but slowly over the years I became one of you. My quest for greatness gradually giving way to this life of mediocrity. I awoke one day to find I had settled down, formed a family, I had even grown quite fond of them. Would you believe I almost started to think the Earth was a nice place to live. You understand now Kakarot? That's why I needed Babidi to set me free. By releasing the evil in my heart he has freed me of the petty attachments... and I have to say it feels pretty good.
— Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z to Goku (Kakarot)