Main Pay Evilunto Evil Discussion

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09:56:54 AM Oct 16th 2015
Does it count as this trope if the deliverer is a more malicious villain?
02:18:26 AM Oct 17th 2015
Maybe? Something for Trope Talk IMO.
12:50:08 AM Oct 7th 2014
Should the description of this trope be revised? The current one seems to invite confusion with Kick the Son of a Bitch. Examples:

So the character descends upon the settlement, burns their buildings, kills the inhabitants, takes their money and resources, and leaves, pleased that now he'll be able to buy that shiny new whatever he was wanting.

Is this the new Big Bad? No! It's the Hero! ...oh wait, did I forget to mention that it was a settlement of bandits? Right. So it's okay then.

Welcome to a special kind of morality where otherwise evil actions are considered okay because the victims deserved it....

Expect an extra heavy Villain Ball complete with kicking dogs by the Asshole Victim if the author especially wants you to know it's okay. ...

Sometimes this is done retroactively. If the hero does something incredibly horrible to someone, it will then be revealed that this person was really evil all along.

Most of the above quotes - especially the first one - imply that any cruelty towards 'evil' characters, whatever the motivation, fits this trope. If we're trying to separate it from Kick the Son of a Bitch, the trope description needs to be more clear that this trope involves evil actions motivated by/in retribution for evil done by the 'victims'.

Killing someone and taking their stuff because you want their stuff (but it just so happens that the person you killed is a bad guy) is Kick the Son of a Bitch, not Pay Evil unto Evil.

What do other people think about revising this trope description?
10:19:41 AM Oct 7th 2014
You may want to ask here.
01:16:25 AM May 21st 2013
edited by
  • The Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald. McGee goes after the worst of the worst, and, though he's only supposed to get back stolen/defrauded property, he often ends up killing his targets.
    • Travis is quite aware of this trope and works hard to avoid it. The people he kills are people who are trying to kill him. He doesn't belong with this trope. In one instance, when he has to kill several people who are part of a terrorist group who would kill him in a second if he didn't agree to help them, he suffers a Heroic BSOD from having to kill them.

Could someone familiar with this series tell whether this is a subversion or if the example should be cut? And "He doesn't belong with this trope." looks like a respond instead of a repair to me.
11:40:40 PM Jan 20th 2012
What if there are people who don't recommend this? It could have detrimental effects on the "bad guy". At least in Real Life, I guess.
12:39:46 AM Apr 1st 2011
A sensitive series of topics, to be sure, but a lot of (if not all) of the "Real Life" examples might easily fit into the YMMV slot, wouldn't they?
09:32:20 AM May 25th 2012
I'd say they should all be removed and this trope should fall into No Real Life Examples.
06:42:35 PM Aug 2nd 2012
I agree.
10:35:38 AM Aug 31st 2012
Exactly what is wrong with Real Life examples for this trope? Does it glorify doing bad things to someone who did bad things, aside from the fact that it is calling them evil?
10:49:55 AM Aug 31st 2012
Yes. Calling real things evil is highly frowned upon.
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