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Became Their Own Antithesis

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"It's funny. It seems like yesterday Arcturus was the idealistic rebel crusader. Now he's the law and we're the criminals."
Jim Raynor, StarCraft

After Character Development, some people regress into a vulnerable state. Others go from evil to good, good to evil, or just become better or worse without changing sides. Or they turn into a fragile, highly poetic and a bit irrational version of themselves.


Another group of people tend to reject everything that seemed to define their identity for the viewer, their appearance, their values, their main quirk, and their general attitude towards The Hero, Save the World, and Black-and-White Morality. Then, they manage to become a negative picture of themselves, the complete antithesis for what they formerly were known. This is this trope.

The trope is mostly used to make a Face–Heel Turn more dramatic, using The Dark Side Will Make You Forget, but can also serve the other way around, to prove how much someone can better himself when under the influence of Good.

It is, of course, often closely related to Shadow Archetype and The Corrupter (they delight in this, mostly when it is a case of Corrupt the Cutie). It rarely prompts "What Have I Become?" or "I Have Seen the Light", the change often being too brutal to be noticed before it is completed. Expect some surprising Out-of-Character Alert. Also, this is sometimes tightly linked with Morality Dial and Mirror Morality Machine for examples where a heel/face and face/heel transformation (along with this trope) are exerted by artificial means by a third party.


See also Used to Be a Sweet Kid, He Who Fights Monsters, Ascended Demon, Fallen Angel, Fallen Hero, Start of Darkness, The Horseshoe Effect, The Paragon Always Rebels, and Full-Circle Revolution. Compare and contrast Hourglass Plot and Perspective Reversal, with which this can sometimes overlap, when two opposite characters are becoming this trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Chapter 123 of Attack on Titan makes it clear that this has happened to Eren Jaegar. He joined the Survey Corps so that he could stop the Titans from killing everybody. Now, one four year Time Skip and a good deal of Sanity Slippage later, he's controlling the Titans to kill everybody.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note is an interesting example that plays the reverse. He starts out as an apathetic and bored teenager who is prone to temptation and purpose. When he gains the Death Note, he becomes a petty, egotistical, manipulative, vindictive, lying murderer with a God complex who believes Murder Is the Best Solution, including eventually planning to apply it to the lazy and unproductive! However, when he has to surrender the Death Note as part of a long Xanatos Gambit and thus lose his memories, he becomes an honorable, highly empathic, idealistic teen who believes in the inherent goodness of man though with a greater sense of maturity before he got the Death Note.
    • Oddly enough, this seems to apply to Misa as well, which is why a number of fans speculate the Death Note's power has drastic and degenerative effects on the user's personality. Misa as the Second Kira is a morbid, amoral Genius Ditz with a frightening Ax-Crazy Yandere streak. Without the Death Note, however, she's a lot more innocent, genuinely ditzy, and generally seems to be a nice person who is alarmed by violence. It is averted with Mikami, however; he is insane before he gets hold of the Death Note. He just got much worse afterwards.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Gohan falls into this during the Cell Games. Compare Gohan before he unlocks Super Saiyan 2 and after. Before SS2 - a humble, soft-hearted Martial Pacifist who makes it clear on more than one occasion that he doesn't like to hurt people, not even truly evil monsters like Cell. After SS2 - an arrogant, borderline sadistic, revenge-driven Smug Super who eagerly beats Cell within an inch of his life and even deliberately prolongs the Curb-Stomp Battle just because he wanted Cell to suffer as much as possible before he died. Thankfully, he breaks out of it, but only after his actions backfire horribly, resulting in his father's death.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: Kars, in a physical rather than a moral sense. At the start of part 2, he's a Pillar Man whose only weaknesses are sunlight and Hamon. By the end, not only is he immune to sunlight, but he's immune to Hamon and can use it himself, with far more power than any human wielder, thanks to becoming the Ultimate Life Form.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Ken Kaneki starts out as a kind, gentle young man and an Extreme Doormat who doesn't like to hurt others. The hardships he suffers as a result of becoming half-Ghoul, along with his ordeal at Yamori's hands, cause him to become a brutal, ruthless Anti-Hero with a Pay Evil unto Evil mentality.
  • In Eureka Seven Ao, it happened to the former protagonists Renton and Eureka, as both saviors of the world who supported the Scub Coral are no longer on good terms with it and planned to destroy the Scub due to the disaster the Scub causes to humanity via attracting Secrets and on a personal level, the loss of their infant daughter due to high levels of Trapar emitted by Scub Coral, and endangering Ao's survival if leaving the Scub to keep time travelling to his world.
  • Naruto: Obito, a.k.a. Tobi. Dear God.
  • Ai no Kusabi has Riki pretty much doing a complete 180 in personality by the end after trying so hard to remain the same.
  • Jeremy and Ian from A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy believes love is only anger, much like his stepfather, Greg and all the things Greg did to him. Ian realizes that, like his father, he likes to see Jeremy in pain, even though he doesn't want him to be hurt. Both are also examples of He Who Fights Monsters.
  • Precia Testarossa of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is shown in flashbacks to be a Doting Parent to her daughter. This is in contrast to the current Precia, who is an Abusive Parent that literally whips her daughter at the slightest provocation. This is one of the reasons why Fate still loves her despite all the suffering she receives, as she remembers a time when she used to be kind. Unfortunately for Fate, the reason for this change is because Fate is a failed attempt to revive Precia's dead daughter, and she's unwilling to treat a clone like Fate as a second daughter.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul: Re, this happens to Seidou Takizawa as a result of a Face–Monster Turn. He goes from an idealistic young Investigator, to an Ax-Crazy Ghoul that gleefully slaughters humans without a second thought. He explains to a pair of Red Shirts that if you become a monster, you don't have to be afraid of them anymore.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, this is what ends up coloring Shinn Asuka's later characterization. He wants to become strong enough to prevent tragedies like the one that took his family. However, between being manipulated by his teammate Rey and ZAFT Chairman Durandal, his inability to temper his rage and various failures ends up transforming him into the type of person that caused the types of incidents in the first place. He... doesn't take it well when he's told this.
  • Oz Vessalius of PandoraHearts begins the series as a depressed cynic Stepford Smiler whose abuse victim past left him unwilling to have sincere faith in anything for fear of suffering more emotional damage at perceived inevitable letdowns, causing everyone who loves him deep stress and worry for his wellbeing. By the end of the series, Oz is acknowledged as having become someone who embodies hope and faith, and is the leader of the faction counteracting Oswald's and Jack's efforts to write off the present world as a worthless one that should rightfully end or be Ret Gone'd out of existence. For double points, Oz was created to be the tool that would end that world.
  • Played for Laughs and downplayed in The Demon Girl Next Door. As the series progresses and Yuko grows into her role as a demon, her attitudes slowly shift and she starts to warm to things she would have never considered before her awakening. Many of the aspects of Yuko's demonic awakening really bothered her at first—over time she either stopped caring about them, or even embraced them and ran with it, but she's far from becoming truly villainous.
    • When her mother told Yuko it would be up to her to master her powers of darkness to break the curse on their family, she felt weirded out enough to exclaim, "But doesn't that make me the bad guy?" While she reluctantly starts down the dark path out of a desire to help her family (and not being hungry all the time), it's not long before Yuko is proudly calling herself a villain without reservations. However, deep down she's still a good person at heart. Mostly. But she'll never admit it.
    • Her official demon name "Shadow Mistress Yuko" and the nickname it spawned, Shamiko; at first she thought the former was corny, and the latter was a Berserk Button. Now she even signs her schoolwork with the former, and practically everyone calls her by the latter. It's gotten to the point where she barely even recognizes her original name.
    • When her little sister Ryoko praised Yuko for taking initiative towards becoming the ruler of the forces of darkness by training to fight Magical Girl Momo, Yuko questioned that she'd ever be a leader of anything. By volume 4, she's calling herself the "Queen of Darkness," demonstrates an impressive feat of leadership skill by coordinating her entire network of friends and associates into action on short notice, and is looking for anyone else with useful skills, talents, or connections to bring into her circle.
    • Her Crisis Management form and the Stripperiffic outfit that comes with it initially embarrassed her to no end and she refused to use it in public unless it was a life-or-death matter. By volume 5, Yuko's using her transformation practically anytime it might be helpful: in gym class, while taking tests, climbing multiple flights of stairs, and so on. It still embarrasses her, but not enough to deter her from using it around other people, and she no longer cares much if anyone sees her in it.

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Who: Four Doctors has Ten, Eleven and Twelve exposed to a Time War device that changes reality through a single decision of anyone in range - Ten sees himself leave Wilf to die in the radiation-flooded chamber and giving into the persona of the Time Lord Victorious, Eleven catches himself living in the dying reality of 22 April 2011 and ignoring the death of the universe as long as he can have his peace with River, and Twelve finds himself a crazy hermit who refused to forgive Clara for "betraying" him and is secretly the madman who arranged it all to begin with. The machine was also used on the Ninth Doctor - however, it failed to find a point in time where he was any less noble than at his best.
  • Quite funnily, Kid Paddle's hero fears aliens would tamper with his brain, suspecting his father to want it. He fears he would be turned into a Glurge Addict, a thought that appalls him.
  • Throughout the third series of Runaways, Nico Minoru, who had previously fought to avoid turning out like her dark-magician parents, increasingly embraces her heritage as a dark-magic user to make her life easier. After she employs Mind Rape on Klara in the final arc, Molly, whose own parents were enthusiastic mind-rapists, accuses Nico of acting like one of the Pride.
  • As a Decon-Recon Switch of the Dark and Silver ages of comic books, Kingdom Come features a lot of this. Most blatantly, while an aging Bruce Wayne claims to have made Gotham a sanctuary of peace thanks to Big Brother Is Watching You tactics, Superman admonishes him for, "Turning all of Gotham into a superstitious, cowardly lot." For a more positive example, textbook '90s Anti-Hero and Captain Ersatz of Cable, Magog, comes to abhor violence and is stated to become a pacifist in the novelization due to the War Is Hell themes of the story.
  • Batman Vampire: By the final book, Crimson Mist, Batman has succumbed to his vampire nature, going from a noble hero and a major practitioner of Thou Shalt Not Kill to a monster who eagerly kills his Rogues Gallery for their blood. Gordon even acknowledges it, citing it to Alfred as proof that the Batman they knew is gone.
  • Match started out as a prideful clever manipulative "improved" clone of Superboy who claimed to have no desires beyond obeying his masters despite obviously caring about appearances and hating Superboy's inferior way of talking and acting. He reappeared in Teen Titans having gone through serious Clone Degeneration which stripped him of his additional powers and wrecked his mental facilities to the point that he was a generic Bizarro clone. It also turned his hair from pale blonde to black like Kon-El's for some reason.
  • In Dastardly & Muttley, by-the-book hero pilot Dick Atcherly slowly degrades into literal mustache-twirling Cartoonish Supervillainy and the competent, stoic Ladette Zabarnowski into a cowardly Screaming Woman after exposure to Unstabilium 239, or putting in another way, they become Dastardly and Zilly from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. Basically, a normal Air Force squad turns into literal caricatures of themselves.
  • For years, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross viewed the Incredible Hulk as a menace and relentlessly pursued him despite that the Hulk's only desire was to be left alone. When the Intelligencia offered Ross the chance to resurrect his daughter Betty and help him "save" American, Ross becomes the Red Hulk who was easily a more active threat to America and the rest of the world than the green Hulk. Ross ultimately ended up being pursued across the U.S just as he did Banner and is viewed as the menace he always insisted the Hulk was.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW): Splinter starts down this path after taking over the Foot, starting with his killing Shredder; starting out as a Martial Pacifist who refuses to kill no matter what, Splinter begins Slowly Slipping Into Evil and making increasingly questionable and ruthless decisions, climaxing when he plans to turn orphans into Child Soldiers for the Foot. Mikey calls him out on it, declaring that Splinter is turning into everything that he taught the Turtles to fight against.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter in The Darkness Series.
  • Sherlock Holmes in "The Dying Detective" (not to be confused with "The Adventure of the Dying Detective", a canonical story), thanks in part to the machinations of Professor Moriarty. It should be noted, however, that Holmes wanted to Jump Off The Slippery Slope in order to avoid emotional pain. Thus, the emotional, compassionate, loving Holmes becomes the emotionless, cruel, uncaring Moriarty.
  • Fade:
    • L. In his attempts to stop Kira from killing him and ruling the world, he becomes Kira. His own inability to realize this is one of the main sources of conflict in the story.
    • When Ryuzaki tells Light what L's plans are for Kira, Light is disgusted. Light despises the idea of being kept as a pet and being subservient to L sounds like a nightmare to him. His crush/obsession with L and the emotional torture of being L's captive turns Light into exactly that.
  • Played for Laughs in My Little Pony: Totally Legit Recap: After pulling the zombie prank on Rainbow Dash to get back at her/teach her lesson for her earlier actions and the even bigger crime of acting out of character, she calls them out on their hypocrisy, pointing out that not only have they sunk to her lever, but were acting out of character themselves! Cue horrifying realization.
  • In Karma in Retrograde, Touya was an aspiring hero student with dreams of making it big and rescuing his siblings and mother from Endeavor's influence. He also hoped to prove that he wasn't a useless weakling and to surpass his father some day. But somewhere along the way, he turned down the path of villainy and became the serial killer Dabi. He's an extremely powerful villain who permanently scarred Izuku, gleefully participates in mass murder, and actively plots to tear down society as part of the League of Villains. Touya's disconnect with his future self's actions is a huge source of angst and confusion for him.
  • Ultra Fast Pony parodies the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic example by having Discord magically invert the main cast's defining vices rather than their virtues. The greedy mobster Applejack becomes kind and generous; The Gadfly Pinkie Pie becomes quiet and serious; the annoyingly codependent Rainbow Dash just wants to be left alone; the wannabe slavedriver Fluttershy suddenly loves serving others; the BDSM-obsessed Rarity becomes ludicrously safety-conscious. We Want Our Jerk Back is in full effect, as Twilight notices that these new personalities are somehow even bigger jerks than before.
  • Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist: Thanks to Lila's toxic influence, Alya Césaire goes from Marinette's confident, driven and outspoken Best Friend to Lila's Unwitting Pawn and Beta Bitch, paralleling Sabrina's relationship with Chloé. This is best exemplified when the Intrepid Reporter deletes the Ladyblog at Lila's suggestion, having been manipulated into believing that Ladybug is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Apotheosis (MHA): Midoriya Izuku went from a hero fanboy who idolized All Might to a supervillain that despises the current hero society, and All Might in particular.
  • Mastermind: Strategist for Hire: Once a hero fanboy with dreams of becoming a Pro Hero, Izuku's inability to find a regular job due to prejudice against his Quirklessness drives him to become the titular Villain, Mastermind.
  • TMNT: Secrets of the Sewers: As revealed in chapter 23, Oroku Saki began as an honorable Nice Guy who defied orders during a mission to rescue Tang Shen from a yakuza group, stating that he can't let innocent people suffer and is disgusted by the yakuza treating human life like "something to be bartered and sold." Come the present day, as the Shredder, Saki's become everything he's hated about the yakuza and more, allowing Stockman to perform inhumane experiments on humans and mutants alike, including children, to amass an army for himself.

    Films — Animated 
  • Played with and subverted in Frozen. Queen Elsa has spent most of her life repressed and trying hard to control herself, particularly her magical ice powers, wanting to defy the Wicked Witch trope. After losing her temper and shooting ice at her sister during a ball, she runs away to the North Mountain, as an Endless Winter falls upon the land, and sings what appears to be a Then Let Me Be Evil song about she'll now "let the storm rage" and "the cold never bothered me anyway." When her sister reaches Elsa's new ice palace to ask her to undo the spell on kingdom, Elsa reveals she had no idea that the entire kingdom had been affected, and that the Endless Winter was a result of Power Incontinence.
    • Incidentally, an earlier version of the script had Elsa being a completely straight example, but having realised they'd created an Unintentionally Sympathetic Tragic Villain the writers decided to roll with it and did a rewrite.
  • On the topic of Disney films, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the queen is extremely vain, with a fair voice and decent looks. In her jealousy of Snow White, though, she ultimately brews a potion that turns her into an old hag with a croaky voice, and she never returns to her original form before dying.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Matrix: Agent Smith unfavorably compares humanity to a virus in the first film, then gains the power to clone himself by overwriting the "code" of other people plugged into the Matrix in the second... very much like a virus overwriting the DNA of cells. His glasses also change from the square agent glasses to a pair that resemble the capsid of a virus.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The once effervescent and idealistic Xavier we saw in X-Men: First Class has crumbled into a heap of melancholia and cynicism after 1963. His telepathy, which he had been at ease with since he was 12 years old, has suddenly become a heavy burden that he avoids using at all costs. Charles' social drinking has deteriorated into alcoholism, and he gives up on other activities that he used to enjoy, such as teaching, scientific research, and womanizing, in favour of a self-imposed exile from everything that exists beyond his mansion. Xavier has more or less reduced himself into a Manchild who is completely dependent on Hank when in the other movies, various mutants rely on the paternal telepath for emotional support. Even the way he dresses has changed dramatically; the impeccable suits that define Professor X's style have been replaced by a gaudy paisley shirt paired with a brown leather jacket, or if he's feeling especially lazy, just an undershirt with jeans. Charles has also neglected his grooming, which makes him look like a confused hippie or a hobo instead of a well-adjusted, upper-class academic.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful has Theodora's Character Development as one of the main points of the movie and its attacks on Oz's selfishness. Due to his actions, poor Theodora ends up going from The Cutie to a disappointed and resentful Naïve Everygirl to (briefly) a bitter Woman Scorned who is a bit too focused on her problems to The Wicked Witch Of The West.
  • Peter Parker, the awkward but cute and relatively devoted suitor and hero from the first two parts of the Spider-Man Trilogy, briefly becomes a confident and manipulative egotist after bonding with an evil symbiote in Spider-Man 3.
  • General Miller's acceptance of defeat in In the Loop, even though he is never a particularly likable character, is still a tearjerker moment, when, after taking on the most vicious spin doctors and politicians for months, he must finally support the very war he has been fighting to prevent. ("Go f*ck yourself, Frodo.")
  • Sarah Connor nearly does this in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, when she ruthlessly attempts to assassinate Miles Dyson, the man most directly responsible for the creation of Skynet, to the point of marching into his house in a manner very reminiscent of the Terminators themselves; if it hadn't been for the chance involvement of Dyson's son drawing his attention at the moment Sarah fired, she would have killed an innocent man who wasn't deliberately guilty of anything.
  • I Am Michael is a biopic about the openly gay and antireligious activist Michael Glatze who later became a straight Christian pastor that advocates for gays to change their ways.
  • Star Wars:
    • The prequel trilogy showed Anakin Skywalker changing from the hotheaded but idealistic Jedi Knight into the cold, controlling Sith Lord Darth Vader, something Obi-Wan addressed before their duel on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith.
    • The First Order to the Galactic Empire that preceded it in The Force Awakens: while believing they carry on the legacy of Emperor Palpatine, in reality they are being terrorists that struggle against the established government to restore the regime that preceded it, which is what the Empire had called the Rebel Alliance.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Loki attempted to murder all Jotunns and take over the Earth, craved the Asgardian throne and power granted by the Tesseract, tried to kill Thor twice, refused to admit he did anything wrong, rejected Odin as his father, and gave in to the Avengers when he realized he was losing. The same person helped rescue the citizens of Asgard from Hela, stopped caring about the Asgardian throne, tossed the Tesseract aside as if it was nothing, tried to save Thor thrice, publicly apologized for past misdeeds in a play he wrote, proudly called himself Odinson, and attacked Thanos knowing that he hardly stood a chance.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, the Pro-Regulation team supported government supervision to prevent collateral damage, yet War Machine was accidentally hit by their own fellow Pro-Reg teammate, due to said teammate being distracted by their emotions, the same reason Captain America wasn't able to properly defuse Crossbones in the beginning. Not to mention the Pro-Reg team causing a bit of collateral damage when trying to contain the Anti-Reg team in the airport.
  • Transformers: In the first three films, Optimus Prime is the Autobot who argues most strongly for humankind's potential and chastises Ironhide for even suggesting that the Autobots be allowed to kill humans. Optimus was even willing to leave Bumblebee in Sector-7's custody because staging a rescue could potentially harm humans. However, by Transformers: Age of Extinction, the Autobots are being hunted by a rogue CIA faction named Cemetery Wind who are killing Transformers and selling their parts for money. This results in Optimus becoming incredibly cynical towards humans, swearing to kill the man in charge of this corrupt operation ( which he does) and even contemplated leaving Earth to let humanity fend for themselves. At the end, Optimus does regain some faith in humans after his new human allies risk their lives to save him.
  • In That Thing You Do! the band breaks up because lead singer Jimmy Mattingly objects to Record Producer Mr. White's decision that their second album will consist entirely of covers. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue reveals that Jimmy formed a new band that signed with Mr. White's company, put out three gold records, and now works as a record producer in Los Angeles.

  • This is probably Older Than Feudalism, and at least Older Than Print as an apocryphal legend (perhaps inspired from a reference to Nebuchadnezzar in the Book Of Isaiahnote ), says that Lucifer was originally the most beautiful of the angels of God and was called "son of the morning", until he began to want godlike power/supremacy over humans, fell prey to Pride, was banished out of Heaven and became Satan.
  • Pierre Dubois' La Grande Encyclopédie des Elfes, Tome 1 gives the example of a Scottish goddess of winter whom he claims was at first a cheerful and juvenile goddess of spring who witnessed an accident that harmed her beloved country and became cold as stone as a result, finally turning into an Anti-Villain Noble Demon blue-green-skinned goddess of suffering and ice with a sweeter side. Though said goddess is also a mother goddess, it is likely he made that up.

  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Morgoth. Initially Melkor, "He Who Arises in Might", the mightiest and most able of the Valar (demi-gods/angels), he descends into madness and becomes "Morgoth", "black enemy of the World". He leeches so much of his original power into Middle Earth in order to assert his dominance over the land (that is what enables him to breed orcs and twist good things into evil) that he also winds up being the physically and magically weakest of the Valar.
    • When Sauron was first tempted by Morgoth, the Chaotic Evil A God Am I archangelish creature who tries to become The Corrupter, he was a slighly weaker angel-like being whose goal was to repair Middle-Earth in the most efficient way possible. He craved order and efficiency so much that he followed Morgoth's chaotic destructive path because he thought the power would make him wiser, became a Control Freak less evil than his master only because he tried to serve him, then lost his last bit of sense of duty, and turned into an Evil Overlord whose lands slowly fall into ruin and chaos.
    • Tolkien seemed to be fond of antithesism, especially pertaining to power and how it corrupts its wielder into a dark mirror of himself. Case in point: the Nazguls, once-glorious kings who were swayed by The Rings, now slaves to evil.
      • This is also why both Gandalf and Galadriel adamantly refuse to take the One Ring for themselves. They both acknowledge that with its power, they could quite possibly defeat Sauron permanently, but in the process would become just as bad as he was, if not worse.
  • Terry Dean in A Fraction of the Whole is as a child an extremely promising sportsman, but has a slightly psychotic obsession with fairness. His brother Martin uses this to manipulate Terry into attacking Martin's bullies, which results in Terry being stabbed in the leg and being unable to play sports. Frustrated, he turns to petty crimes which gradually turn worse, and he ends up making headlines as he goes on a killing spree against famous sportsmen in any way guilty of cheating. He then seemingly dies in a fire, but turns up again decades later, near the end of the book, as the morbidly obese kingpin of a crime syndicate.
  • The House of Night:
    • Stevie Rae became a more aggressive, impulsive, and slightly misanthropic undead after being The Cutie for most of the series. Unlike most of the initially heroic examples, it however contributed to improve her character, after she healed from her new aggressive nature, and to make her an independent, always heroic and more self-controlled person.
    • Probably an unintentional example, but Erik Night went all the way from a confident, open-minded and self-sacrificing young man who is asked out by his slightly possessive ex-girlfriend to a self-centered, I-mostly-don't-care-about-the-good-versus-evil-thing, self-doubting and possessive boyfriend who doesn't want to try to understand his newer girlfriend and shows off his newest girlfriend, the Evil Twin of the first girlfriend who Took a Level in Kindness and treats the heroine well, understanding the problems his being possessive can cause. This is treated as an example of Jerkass All Along.
    • It is difficult to say whether Neferet's warm, easy to trust, and maternal nature has changed since she became a priestess, or if it was a mask since long ago. She is revealed in Betrayed as a ruthless and manipulative figure towards Aphrodite and Zoey. On a similar way, a Big Bad's reputation underwent this, to the great surprise of Zoey and her friends. It is never revealed whether he actually was a case of this.
  • This is downplayed with the antagonist in Mansfield Park. Mary Crawford starts in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park as a somewhat vain gold-digger, who is nonetheless a loyal friend and had some kind of elegance about her which prompted much Draco in Leather Pants, while the heroine Fanny Price starts the book as a passive and judgemental extreme doormat who lacks self-confidence, prompting much Ron the Death Eater. In the end, Mary Crawford shows what remains of her initial True Colors, and borders on Stupid Evil, having become genuinely interested in Edmund and a False Friend to Fanny. This is, as often, mirrored by a Hourglass Plot, as the initially defenseless Fanny shows more confident and useful traits, and gets what Mary Crawford wanted.
  • In the Laura Caxton series, this fate befalls Jameson Ackerly, once Caxton's mentor in hunting vampires, in the novel Vampire Zero after Ackerly lets himself be transformed into a vampire to stop a small army of revived vampires; throughout the novel, Ackerly uses his own prior knowledge of vampires to subvert Laura's attempts to hunt him, while his twisted psyche drives him to try and hunt his own family.
  • The Star Trek Novel Verse novel Crossover sees Admiral Leonard McCoy join the Enterprise-D when attempting to negotiate with the Romulan Senate to arrange for a group of captured Unificationists to be released into Federation custody, as the captured Unificationists include Spock (although the Romulans are unaware that they have Spock). After McCoy becomes frustrated with Picard's apparent hesitation and unwillingness to take decisive action, he officially takes command of the Enterprise and tries to negotiate directly with the colony governor that captured the Unificationists rather than through the Senate, but this results in the colony governor realising that he has Spock in custody, as the possibility of interrogating Spock offers far more benefits than any deal he could make with the Federation. Faced with this revelation, McCoy retreats to Ten-Forward, bitterly musing that he has become the kind of admiral he always hated when he was on the Enterprise, the admiral who steps in and takes over thinking he knows everything only to reveal that he actually has no idea and ends up making the situation worse.
  • In Star Wars Legends, it is downplayed with Jacen Solo, a compassive and self-doubting young Jedi, who seemed to be very generous to his family, was turned into a Sith because he thought he could use the power of Siths without corruption. When his extremism got the better of him, he became a ruthless and inflexible Sith Lord, who killed his aunt, and only began to regain his previous characteristics when he feared for his daughter and questioned his lack of empathy, self-centered behavior, and uncontrolled outbursts of anger.
  • This is Graendal's Backstory in The Wheel of Time — originally, she was the most selfless and ascetic person in the world, but at some point became fed up when nobody else was able to live up to her standards and so turned to The Dark Side and became the extravagant hedonist we all know.
  • Happens in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making with the Big Bad: first Mallow, then Marquess.
  • The later books in Codex Alera reveal that Lord Aquitaine, who had previously been a candidate for Big Bad, first started his schemes to topple the First Lord out of disgust for the scheming nobles that made Alera a Crapsack World and murdered Princeps Septimus, who was a close friend of his. He intended to become First Lord so he could avenge his friend and keep the schemers in line with an iron fist rather than concession and compromise, but he ends up becoming just another schemer, albeit one with some redeeming qualities.
  • Dr. Fell, a villain from The Good, The Bad And The Uncanny, started out as one of the Nightside's rogue vicars: preachers who come to the notorious Wretched Hive to save its sinners. Lampshaded by John, whose narrative points out that when religious idealists go bad, they tend to go really bad.
  • Taori, the mother of the main character Satori in My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister. She used to be an advocate for the rights of Archenemies (supernatural beings) and divorced her husband after she learned that he was part of the Bright Cross (an organisation that persecutes Archenemies). However, her husband later ended up marrying an Archenemy, Lilith. Taori developed an absolute hatred for Lilith, seeing her as the one responsible for destroying her family. She had her body remodeled to become the ultimate hunter of Archenemies, and set out to kill Lilith... which, if she succeeded, would of course destroy her family.
  • Date A Live: Origami had an intense hatred for Spirits, seeing them all as evil and destructive monsters. This stemmed from her parents being killed by a Spirit when she was still a child. She eventually accepts a deal to become a Spirit, to gain enough power to fight them. She then makes a deal with another Spirit to travel into the past and kill the Spirit who murdered her parents. However, she accidentally kills her parents with a stray attack - she was the Spirit who had originally done this. Finally, her shock at realizing the truth causes her to enter her Inverse Form, becoming exactly what she hated all along.
  • 'Frozen' Tie-In Novel A Frozen Heart plays this straight with Prince Hans. Growing up with an abusive family headed by an Evil Overlord king, he dreamed of becoming a more benevolent ruler than his father. By the end of the book, though, he's become the villain seen in the film, the kind of person he hated, being willing to manipulate and almost kill innocent people who could have helped him.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Dalinar Kholin did this before the events of the series. As we see in Oathbringer, Dalinar as the Blackthorn was a downright monster, actively seeking out war, reasons to kill, and reasons to fight and not caring for politics in the least. The Dalinar we see in the series is a far more respectable man, who fights when he needs to but tries to find a peaceful solution, and gets a lot more involved in politics. Though this of course lets people of his Blood Knight country start thinking he's gone soft.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • "The Mayors": Discussed by the Actionist (political) Party; Sermak believes that Mayor Hardin and his firebrand defence of Terminus up until the First Seldon Crisis means that he would've wholeheartedly supported their policies during the Second Seldon Crisis, but the intervening thirty years has made him a coward. However, Mayor Hardin is actually doing the same sort of underhanded manipulation of his enemies and public opinion that he did during the First Crisis.
    • "Search by the Mule": The introduction of Lt General Han Pritcher of the Union of Worlds (formerly Captain Pritcher of the Foundation) is a lengthy contrast between the man he is now and the man he had been before his Conversion. He used to be a staunch democrat, working for the Foundation as an intelligence operative while also dedicated to removing the authoritarian rulers from power for a more democratic process. After the Mule came and conquered the Foundation, he even volunteered for a Suicide Mission to kill the warlord. However, now the Mule is his beloved dictator, but without the conditioning, he'd kill the Mule in hatred. He tries to consider how he might even dislike the Mule, but his loyalty and love are so complete that the mere thought of going against the Mule's wishes sickens him. He briefly becomes himself again during the Mexican Stand Off between Bail Channis and the Mule at the climax of the story when Bail undoes the brainwashing, but it doesn't last and Pritcher is turned into the Mule's servant once again.
    • Prelude to Foundation: The Mycogenian society claims to be descendants of Spacers (specifically the Aurorans, from The Robots of Dawn). Aurorans pictured their planet as one with full social mobility, gender equality, and a Free-Love Future. The Mycogenians, however, have a strict Fantastic Caste System, the women take the place of the Lost Technology robots, and the society is implied to be very restrictive sexually.
  • Worm: Taylor begins the story as a passive girl who gets bullied every day, and likes heroes. After she gets powers, she joins a group of villains to spy on them, only to definitely join forces later, fights the heroes multiple times, becomes more proactive and ruthless and ends up essentially bullying the villain so badly it lets others kill it.
  • Jeff Higgins, in the 1632 series starts off as a sweet, quiet, nerdy, small-town kid. A few years of trying to keep his loved ones alive in the depths of the Thirty Years' War turns him in a tough-as-nails, gun-toting, constantly suspicious enforcer.
    Rebecca: I can remember when you were a trusting and innocent sort of person, Jeff.
    Jeff: Yeah, sure, so can I. Wasn't all that long ago, either, if you measure it in years and months.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This happens to Jack in the 8th season of 24 when he snaps and goes on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. While he previously averted Revenge Before Reason (while he's never been above revenge, he always had standards regarding it, only targeting the person who actually wronged him and never doing so if it would compromise the greater good), now he even ends up killing some of the head antagonist's accomplices just for being associated with them despite having nothing to do with the actual crime he's seeking revenge for. Just one season prior he chastises Tony for using the death of his loved ones as an excuse for causing mayhem to carry out his own selfish goals, and winds up doing the same thing after his own love interest is killed, being willing to start World War III if it means killing the mastermind behind it. Thankfully, thanks to a much-needed verbal smackdown from Chloe he finally calms down.
  • Paul Abrahamian in US Season 19 of Big Brother. Throughout Season 18, when he first played, he railed against the Vets, especially James and Nicole, for getting production-granted boons that aided them in the game at the expense of the newcomers and for how many players would willingly be their minions and not play the game for themselves. Now that he's the Creator's Pet returning player and getting all the benefits his sitcom arch nemeses (along with the advantage of hands down the stupidest group of people to ever be cast for the show) the previous year got, he's just fine with all of it, and bragging about how awesome he is.
  • Walter in Breaking Bad goes from being a meek chemistry teacher and loving family man to a ruthless murdering gangster after he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and starts cooking meth to provide for his family. What is truly frightening is that his wife doesn't even notice the profound change in his character until he carefully explains to her how much of a monster he has truly become.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • The Twelfth Doctor of Doctor Who temporarily becomes this in two storylines.
    • In the final stretch of Series 9, between the events of "Face the Raven" and "Heaven Sent", he is betrayed by both Ashildr and his own people, Trapped in Another World, and subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture — suffering that he goes through completely alone because his beloved companion and Living Emotional Crutch Clara Oswald is Killed Off for Real in a Senseless Sacrifice and he has no access to his TARDIS. Driven to Madness, the result is that in the finale "Hell Bent" a man who is usually desperate to avoid embodying Beware the Superman becomes The Unfettered, willing to harm others and risk the destruction of time itself for nothing more than the chance to bring Clara back from the grave and give her a nice SAFE life — exactly what Clara demanded him not to do, but then she had no idea he'd be tormented to the point his grief and rage would be too much to overcome and too big an obstacle for What the Hell, Hero? speeches to undo. But he eventually has a Heel Realization, and with the help of Mind Rape regains his sanity and moral compass, leaving him sadder and wiser, a selfless healer once more.
    • In the Monks Trilogy three-parter of Series 10, a season in which the value he places on each and every sentient life is a major theme, he fights tooth and nail to stop the Reality Warper Monks from enslaving humanity in "The Pyramid at the End of the World", but You Can't Thwart Stage One and the planet falls when his companion Bill allows them to conquer so he can get his eyesight back and escape a lab rigged to explode. Six months later in "The Lie of the Land", he has become the Monks' Propaganda Machine, helping keep humanity Brainwashed and under a deadly Police State...and his companions are desperate to find out what made him change.
  • Hemlock Grove: Roman utterly despises his manipulative mother Olivia and did everything possible to distance himself from her, but he ends up becoming a remorseless, selfish predator quite like her with just as little regard for human life or collateral damage.
  • Highlander:
    • It happened to Knight in Shining Armor Duncan after the dark Quickening, and to the warlord Darius after a light Quickening.
    • The guy Duncan got it from was described as "pretty much a saint" - until he beheaded one too many evil Immortals.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Taiga goes from gentle doctor to self-centered Jerkass through the run of the series' prequel, Kamen Rider Snipe: Episode Zero.
  • Legend of the Seeker:
  • Merlin (2008):
    • Morgana was at first a confident, brave, and always compassionate young woman, who didn't judge any differences between magicians and non-magicians. After she discovers she has magical powers and would thus be hunted by Uther and shunned in Camelot, she becomes insecure and paranoid. Her feelings of isolation and lack of self-worth make her more self-focused. She slowly begins seeing everyone in Camelot as an enemy and reinterprets her relationships with them. After a betrayal, she begins to feel justified in her fear and considers all non-magic users in Camelot as worthless and cruel enemies who deserve to die. She then uses her insight into their inner lives to trap them, manipulate their minds, and ruin their romantic plotlines.
      Arthur: What happened to you, Morgana? I thought we were friends.
      Morgana: As did I.
    • Though an unwilling example, Sir Lancelot at first appeared as a generous and loyal knight with an inconspicuous but significant lack of self-confidence, leading to his Heroic Sacrifice. He's brought back as a shade by Morgana and is forced to integrate the personality she wants. This makes him behave cruelly, act as a traitor, and finally, display overconfident Handsome Lech and Manipulative Bastard behaviours towards his New Old Flame Guinevere.
    • One of the points of the show is to introduce an impulsive and clumsy teenage servant, a self-conscious Shrinking Violet, the aforementioned straightforward lady, and a slightly immature prince, and to turn them into a wise trickster mentor, a High Queen with a hint of Pride and a Good Is Not Soft approach on things, a much more complex and doubtful Well-Intentioned Extremist, and a Good King.
    • King Uther begins the show as a regal, arrogant, powerful, indomitable ruler, and ends as a crippled, frail, mentally shattered shadow of his former self.
  • Mr. Robot: Angela Moss' initial goal is to get revenge for the deaths of her mother and Elliot's father, E Corp employees whose terminal leukemia was caused by radiation from the structurally unsound power plant they worked at. By season three, she's become one of the very Corrupt Corporate Executives she once devoted her life to taking down, abused Elliot and even helps orchestrate a terrorist attack that leads to the deaths of over 4,000 innocent low-level E Corp employees.
  • Smallville:
    • The young Clark Kent became a shadow of himself whenever he was exposed to red kryptonite, or any product that could alter his personality. It was sometimes hinted by Martha to be a case of True Self revealed or "all inhibitions removed", which would mean that Clark mainly spent the first four seasons of Smallville tempted to blast Lex against a wall while cheating on poor Lana, all while quite conspicuously ruining his reputation and throwing money by the windows.
    • The same happened to Conner Kent, briefly.
    • Just as briefly, it happened to Lana Lang who went from a shy and polite girl to an uncivil attention seeker for an episode after smelling strange spores.
    • This seems to have happened to Tess Mercer, who was seen in flashbacks as an innocent, soft, optimistic, and vulnerable young woman when she met Oliver. Cut to her being a Well-Intentioned Extremist, who can fight with almost everyone without superpowers, candidate to being the Big Bad, and fully believing that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • The overarching plot for the first four seasons of Supernatural. Sam Winchester starts out as a college student who abandoned his hunting family to live a normal life and be a lawyer. Even when his fiance is killed and his dark destiny and powers are slowly revealed, he remains an empathetic, kind-hearted heroic character whose greatest fear is "going darkside". Then his brother sells his soul and later dies. Poor grief-stricken Sam, who had previously started being more ruthless as a response to his brother's impending death, snaps and turns to doing demon blood, using his powers and allying with demons in an effort to hunt down the demon that killed his brother. His blind quest for revenge leads him to inadvertently start The End of the World as We Know It. The corruption doesn't stick though and Sam spends the next season being The Atoner.
  • In That '70s Show, Jackie dislikes the fact that Fez chose to be with Crazy Caroline instead. When he rejects her love confession, Jackie ends up being exactly like Caroline, hurting Fez out of sadistic fun.
  • It happens to Boris in Young Dracula. From The Cutie and The Comically Serious with "Well Done, Son!" Guy and Rebellious Rebel tendencies to a handsome devil and The Charmer who becomes an Antagonistic Offspring. Bonus points for actually using a mirror.

  • A meta-example: This can be a major problem for bands, artists and even the musical movements they may be tied to that promote authenticity and an anti-establishment ethos, if they gain immense success further down the road. Some artists known for their anti-establishment attitude have gotten flak for participating in things like advertisements, such as John Lydon of the Sex Pistols doing a commercial for Country Life Butter in 2008, despite him blatantly having did it for the money.
  • During the course of Pink Floyd's The Wall, Pink sinks further and further into isolation and goes mad, the fragmented parts eventually metastasizing into the ultimate embodiment of all his negative emotions, which take the form of a fascist dictator — the same kind of evil that originally killed his father and established the very first brick in his emotional Wall.
  • This is the entire point of Marina & the Diamonds' Electra Heart album.
  • "Death or Glory" from The Clash's album London Calling is about, erm... how even the most diligent of punks eventually sell out.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka, started in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling as bullied rookies routinely crushed by bigger and or nastier heels, toughening up from the experience and meeting to form the most successful women's Tag Team of all time, in the Crush Gals, who became the top faces and role models to arenas full of cheering little girls. Then they turned twenty-five and were forced into retirement not long afterwards. Nagayo kept her spirits up, forming her own promotion in GAEA and forming a partnership with WCW to help "old" retired wrestlers and rookies to the sport alike. Asuka was more bitter, forming the Super Star Unit for the purpose of taking over GAEA and putting out all the hopeful rookies who were filling the arenas with cheering young girls.
  • Chris Hero and Kevin Steen entered into Ring of Honor lore as an angry wrestler wishing to destroy it on the behalf of CZW and a wrestler who saw it as a safe haven to flee from CZW. By 2012, Steen was part of the SCUM Stable, which wished to destroy the whole wrestling industry, starting with ROH and in 2013, Hero claimed to represent everything the promotion stood for.
  • Carly had no interest in the pro wrestling business and only worked as a cameraman in the Puerto Rican version of the World Wrestling Council to help his dad through a tough time in business. Unfortunately for him, Ray González was out to destroy his father and the company and learning Carly was a son of a founder, decided to beat him up to make a point. This led Carly to train in pro wrestling in order to defeat González and rid WWC of La Familia Mileno. Come 2015, Ray González has (supposedly) retired from pro wrestling, and opened a mini market that his son helps out with. Carly, not done with González, storms into the store and attacks Ray González Jr, causing Jr to train in pro wrestling to avenge himself and his father against Carly and La Revolucion he had allied with.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, a Blackguard is Prestige Class that is an Evil Counterpart of a Paladin; many were originally actual Paladins before they committed some unforgivable crime, even getting class bonuses if that was their previous class.
  • Exalted: Deathlords. Once, they were glorious Solar Exalts who ruled Creation and shining paragons of everything that is good (mostly). Now, they are ghosts of said Solars, serve the embodiment of nihilism, and seek to plunge everything into absolute nothingness. Parallels to Nazguls are noted.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The primarch Horus was the Emperor's favorite son, who was to be the greatest of all Space Marines. When he fell to Chaos, he attacked everything he'd held dear, including the God-Emperor.
    • It's also a depressingly common trajectory for Inquisitors. It can be summed up in these steps:
      1. New Inquisitor starts as an Acolyte, and is the closest thing one can find to a Wide-Eyed Idealist in this setting, believing in never touching alien or daemonic weaponry, always doing the right thing, that they'll always be able to save a lot of people. In other words, they're a Puritan Inquisitor.
      2. They'll see a Radical Inquisitor, which they consider to be no better than a Heretic.
      3. The constant atrocities, Exterminatus, and other such horrible things begin to get to the Inquisitor, and they feel as if they should do anything to save the Imperium because there has to be a better way.
      4. The formerly Puritan inquisitor becomes a Radical and is then (possibly) shot by a Puritan. Or worse, and there's plenty of fates like that cause it's Warhammer 40K.

  • In Macbeth, the eponymous character turns into The Caligula, after being a loyal general who proved himself to be heroic and have qualms about his wife's plan to take power. He slowly loses all moral scruples, while his wife, who pushed him to ruthlessly betray his king, feels deep remorse and is Driven to Suicide.
  • In the French play Topaze, the eponymous character starts off as a naive, idealistic, and honest schoolteacher who is fired from his job and recruited by people involved in a con scheme, who believe his truthful nature will convince people to fall for it. Fast forward ten years or so, and Topaze is now a hardened con artist, even manipulating his former boss to leave his position. The end shows him attempting to convert his old colleague from the school, and it is left ambiguous whether the other teacher will fall down the same path.
  • The title character of Hamilton goes from an idealistic, eager revolutionary soldier and scholar to a bitter, calculating politician who learns to play the game and, if necessary, throw others under the bus to get what he wants. This eventually comes to a head when Jefferson accuses Hamilton of betraying Lafayette after the latter argues against helping France in their revolution; however, Hamilton does not have his Heel Realization until his son Phillip is killed in a duel defending Hamilton's honor.

    Video Games 
  • Shaundi from Saints Row starts off as a fun-loving, hedonistic hippyesque girl, if still a gangster. A game later, she has turned into the most serious, angriest, and most bloodthirsty member of the Saints. It's mentioned that this happened because the Saints became famous and due to her new job as the star of her own tv show, Shaundi didn't have time to get stoned anymore.
  • Blizzard, being fond of the Black-and-Gray Morality and Fallen Hero tropes, does it a lot:
    • King Leoric of the Diablo series went from a righteous and noble king to a bloody-handed madman and eventual undead abomination by the time that Diablo and his Evil Chancellor Lazarus got through with him.
      • His granddaughter is forced into this in Diablo III; she tries to help the heroes save the world in the third act of the game, only to get backstabbed by her own mother and devoured by Diablo himself. What is left of her spirit after the ensuing insanity from being force-fed some of Diablo's pure evil, seeks revenge on everyone and tries to break the spine of the universe as to destroy everything.
    • In Warcraft III, Arthas went from a noble, heroic paladin to a Knight Templar to an all-out evil Death Knight seeking to Take Over the World.
      • In World of Warcraft, Sylvannas Windrunner leads a rebel undead faction called the Forsaken against Arthas, despising him for putting her in her undead state and uniting them under the shared suffering of their condition. After Arthas' death in Wrath of the Lich King, however, she gains control of some renegade Val'kyr she uses to raise more Forsaken in Cataclysm, becoming exactly what she hated so much in Arthas. Though her new-found attitude is partially justified in a short story set between the two expansions, where she sees a vision of what would become of her spirit and the remaining Forsaken should she ever end (what's left of) her life.
      • Likewise, Arthas' girlfriend, Jaina Proudmoore, used to be one of the biggest promoters of peace between the Horde and the Alliance due to their teamwork at Mt. Hyjal to drive away Archimonde, enough that she would see her warmongering father dead for peace even if she grieves about it. Then the Horde, now under Garrosh Hellscream, willy-nilly nuked her home Theramore, and after that, every reasonings were lost to Jaina, she became a warmonger that wants the Horde destroyed for her own vengeance, even citing that her father was right, with people saying that she just became a warmonger blinded by hatred, just like her father.
    • Arcturus Mengsk from StarCraft, who provides this page's quote, went from a Rebel leader to The Emperor and eventually one of the Big Bads. Although if you read between the lines, that's what he had in mind from the start.
    • His lieutenant Sarah Kerrigan manages to do it twice. She starts out as a good and idealistic character, only to get infested by Zerg and be turned into an Sociopathic, backstabbing Magnificent Bitch who quickly becomes the most evil villain of the franchise. Then StarCraft II gets her partially turned back to normal, and she becomes a heroic Dark Messiah Noble Demon, in contrast with Arcturus' Villain with Good Publicity.
  • This slowly happens to the prince in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, when the side effects of the sands of time corrupt him.
  • In The Sims, this can happen if a Sim drinks the yellow potion of the potion-maker machine.
  • Andrew Ryan of BioShock. He built Rapture in an attempt to create a free-market paradise where the world's greatest entrepreneurs, scientists, and artists could live free of government regulation, taxation, and censorship. Yet both the flaws in his society, the actions of Frank Fontaine and the invention of ADAM have slowly morphed him into a brutal fascist dictator by assassinating dissenters, instituting curfews and executions, nationalizing Fontaine's business, and finally using pheromones to Mind Control Rapture's mutated populace, in short not only becoming a "Big Government" much worse than the one he founded Rapture to get away from but even destroying free will, the one thing he considers that truly "separates a man from a slave".
    • Hinted for Sophia Lamb, too. She was probably kinder and more compassionate before becoming what she was at the end of the second game.
  • Emiya Shirou from Fate/stay night is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who wants to be a Hero and protect everyone, and he only wants to do what seems to be right. His Future Self from another reality, Archer, on the other hand, is a Cynic who hates being a Heroic Spirit, says that it is a curse and a goal Shirou should not pursue, wants to kill him, and is willing to use rather ambiguous methods to reach his self-destructing goal...
    • Shirou aspires to become a hero and has thought to follow Kiritsugu's ideal of sacrificing the few to save the many. In Heaven's Feel, he must choose to either kill Sakura or risk the lives of hundreds of innocents. He chooses to abandon his ideal and follow his selfish desire to protect Sakura, even though he knows it's a betrayal of his very self.
  • Lord Dearche of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games is a villain to Anti-Hero example. In the first game, she was an Omnicidal Maniac Big Bad who was trying to reduce everything to nothingness. By the end of the second game, however, not only has she saved countless worlds by stopping the rampage of that game's Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds but in the epilogue, it's shown that she's actively and successfully reversing the decay of the dying planet of Eltria. Mind you, as a Card-Carrying Villain, she tends to get angry when someone points out the Heel–Face Turn.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: In Peace Walker, Huey Emmerich courageously defied his boss, refusing to work for a deluded megalomaniac who thought he could do no wrong, and survived an attempt on his life in the process. In The Phantom Pain, Huey's become the deluded megalomaniac, abandoning his wife to die when she tries to defy him. All the courage and integrity he showed in Peace Walker is gone by the time of The Phantom Pain.
  • The Eastern Brotherhood of Steel as of Fallout 4. Owyn Lyons lived in self-imposed exile in the Capital Wasteland for refusing to follow the Western Brotherhood's self-destructive policies. After his death, his daughter Sarah tried to continue his teachings until she died in battle a few years later. Once Maxson took over, the Lyons' teachings were lost and the Brotherhood became much like the Mojave chapter but without the NCR to curbstomp them. It seems the inevitable fate of any Brotherhood chapter is to either turn tyrannical or be destroyed by their beliefs. Ironically enough, if you were to pinpoint a power armour and Vertibird-using dictatorial military institution that flew around with the stated goal to wipe out all non-humans, who would you be describing? The Brotherhood, or the Enclave?
  • This can be a possible outcome in Streets of Rage during co-op play. If both players reach Mr. X, he'll ask if they're willing to become his right-hand man. If both players can't agree to a decision, then they fight to the death with the winner either accepting Mr. X's offer (which sends the player back two levels since it was a trap) or refuse the offer and fight him. Refusing the offer and defeating Mr. X shows the player becoming the new crime lord in Mr. X's place and thus they have become the very thing they were fighting against.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Miles Edgeworth was the son of a defense attorney and idolized his father, but fifteen years of Manfred von Karma's tutelage turned him into a ruthless prosecutor who hated criminals and their attorneys equally. Phoenix Wright changed the whole course of his life just to meet Edgeworth and try to shake him out of what he had become. He succeeded.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order, was feared by the other Daedric Princes for his growing power. They came together and cursed him, literally and deliberately invoking this trope by turning him into Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. The main quest of Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion is Jyggalag finding a way to escape this.
  • Mega Man:
    • The Dark Elf from Mega Man Zero was originally the Mother Elf, created as the cure to the Maverick Virus. Under Weil's control, however, it became corrupted and used to brainwash Reploids into servitude, effectively becoming a virus in and of itself.
    • In the original draft of the story, X was also supposed to turn into a Knight Templar and Well-Intentioned Extremist from fatigue after centuries of ruling Neo Arcadia, only for the draft to be thrown out when it was considered too extreme.
    • Mega Man 11 reveals that Dr. Wily initially wanted to use his Double Gear system to create heroes out of robots, and the rejection of the project led to him becoming consumed with jealousy and resentment towards Light until he became the megalomaniacal Mad Scientist out for World Domination he is today.
    • Sigma from Mega Man X was originally the dutiful leader of the Maverick Hunters, until he was infected by the Zero Virus and became a living virus himself, corrupting reploids and waging war against the Maverick Hunters and the humans they're sworn to protect. Conversely, Zero was originally an Ax-Crazy war machine created to continue the feud between Light and Wily, but after his battle with Sigma ended up joining the Maverick Hunters, becoming close friends and allies with X, and ultimately becoming the savior of the world in the next series (ironically fulfilling Wily's original intent.)

  • It's been stated in Homestuck that Sburb players who are especially resistant to their roles within the game will sometimes act as though they're an opposite class or aspect. This is seen to happen with Rose, who despite being a Seer of Light decides to fly around breaking things with dark magic and winds up going grimdark and blacking out their session.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, Dee Dee is turned into an Insufferable Genius for an episode.
  • It is discussed in Kid Paddle. The child hero imagines it can happen by surgery, turning his brain around. He becomes terrified at the idea that his sister and his father would do this to him. It is a nice metaphor of his impression that they do not like him, and that there is not a thing they accept in him. They actually care more, but it is made clear that he and them have almost nothing in common.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • It happened to Fluttershy and Luna when they failed to (or felt that they failed to) use their special gifts. Cue to the Cutie Mark Failure theory amongst the fandom.
    • In the two-parter "The Return of Harmony", Discord corrupts all the mane six through a combination of verbal trickery and mind control, until they all invert the virtues they formerly embodied. Applejack lies all the time; Rarity becomes greedy, Fluttershy becomes cruel, Rainbow Dash abandons her friends, and Pinkie Pie alternates between over-seriousness and laughing at other's misfortune. Twilight (who embodies the esoteric "magic", and in this series friendship is magic) loses all faith in her friends and in friendship itself.
  • Tangled: The Series: Cassandra went from a loyal friend to Rapunzel who wanted nothing more than to become a royal guard to defend the kingdom to a traitor who cared about no one but themselves and destroyed Corona in a fit of rage.
  • Totally Spies! features a town in which rebellious teenagers are turned into docile, serious, and polite young people via Brainwashing. When they are healed, Clover is displeased by the result on her Love Interest Todd, who goes from prim and proper Knight in Shining Armor to self-serving musician and Handsome Lech.
  • In Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Razer begins the series as an angry, vengeful Red Lantern. He ends the series as a potential Blue Lantern, as his hope and belief that he could be reunited with Aya drew a Blue Power Ring to him.
  • In the episode "Joker's Favor" from Batman: The Animated Series, Charlie Collins begins the episode being an Everyman Ungrateful Bastard that becomes a Miles Gloriosus when feeling unappreciated he indulges at Mugging the Monster and Holding Out for a Hero. At the end, he becomes an Action Survivor Bully Hunter that really appreciates his life.
  • Transformers: Prime: Megatron of all people comes to a Heel Realization that he became this centuries ago after being tortured by Unicron in the "Predacons Rising" film. He was born a slave, forced to fight for his life in gladiatorial games. He formed the Decepticons to liberate the subjugated masses of Cybertron. Eons later, he's a tyrant ruling with an iron fist, treating his own soldiers as expendable.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Cree Lincoln went from hero of the KND to kid-hating-teenager, becoming the embodiment of what she had despised and fought against while still on the team. And it would seem she isn't the only one; the whole reason operatives are subjected to Laser-Guided Amnesia and mandatory retirement upon turning thirteen is because so many of them have turned traitor.
  • Peridot in Steven Universe starts as a cold, calculating force who couldn't care less about anything not in her job description as "technician for an evil empire". Her appearance on Earth was a genuine threat to the Crystal Gems. Then she gets stranded on Earth and loses all her tools, forcing her to learn about the world and understand the people around her. By the time she realizes her bosses can be wrong, cutting off her last reason for following orders, she's become an over-the-top, Constantly Curious Large Ham who, at the very least, cares for the Crystal Gems.
    Rebecca Sugar: She's excited by the infinite potential of everything, and fascinated by her own capacity to care, because those things had been a total blind spot for her.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Shredder comes to New York when he discovers Yoshi has been training ninjas. He mocks and belittles his rival when he finds out Yoshi himself is now a rat and his ninja clan is a bunch of mutant turtles he considers his adopted sons. Shredder also actively hates and ignores all the Fantasy Kitchen Sink occurrences happening in New York. Flash forward a few seasons, he's replaced all his low level Mooks with robots based on Kraang technology and mutated all his high-level apprentices, generals, and adopted daughter. He's become the Token Human of the Foot Clan, which has turned into a dark version of Turtle and Kraang weirdness-only to eventually use mutagen on himself to hasten his near-death recovery, the consequences of which result in a giant monster of a mutant named Super Shredder. Karai lampshades it, declaring that Shredder has become everything he hates.
  • South Park:
    • "Splatty Tomato" has Heidi Turner reflect on her past where she started off as a kind, caring, naive, and healthy girl before becoming a bitter, resentful, bigoted, and fat Jerkass as her relationship with Eric Cartman continues. This leads to her Heel Realization and eventual decision to break up with Cartman.
    • Randy Marsh also has this Dilemma. In Season 22 he fancied himself as a simple weed farmer with integrity and fought against corrupt big businesses. In Season 23, he becomes just as unethical as those types of businesses, if not more so.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: For most of the series, Azula is depicted as a cold and calculating strategist, tactician, and manipulator in contrast to her hotheaded brother Zuko. This is best demonstrated in their first on-screen battle where Azula uses Zuko's insecurities and desperation for their father's love against him. During the finale, the two have a duel for the Fire Lord crown. However, Zuko has undergone character development that allows him to be more focused in battle while Azula is suffering a mental breakdown after being betrayed by Mai and Ty Lee and her father has refused to allow her to join him on his mission to burn down the Earth Kingdom. This makes her attacks sloppy and predictable. Worse, during the aforementioned first battle, Azula mockingly claimed that the only reason Ozai would bring Zuko back to the Fire Nation was to lock him up where Zuko couldn't embarrass him. By the end of the series, Azula ends up in a mental asylum.
  • While Harvey Dent in Beware the Batman is far from a good person, he is against all caped and costumed freaks and demands Batman's arrest to Gordon in his debut, stating that no one is allowed to break the law. By the end of the series, his witch hunt against Batman has turned him into a horribly disfigured and increasingly insane criminal who chides Gordon for being a boy scout.

    Real Life — Psychology 
  • The concept of Shadow Archetype itself is an interesting take on what someone rejects as foreign despite the fact that it is very much a part of one's possibilities and could manifest in one's behavior despite denial. This seems to cause the belief that people suffering DID have an alternate personality which is contrary to the principal one.

    Real Life — Others 
  • The popular conception translated in In Vino Veritas. Supposedly it happens when someone completely represses a great part of their natural personality and drinks too much. That, or alcohol just makes you act goofy for no reason.
  • This trope is frequently invoked in Real Life in cases involving extreme social pressure to avoid some behaviors and opinions and some ill-considered secret or denied traits being suddenly uncovered. Someone tries to hide one's opinions, one's religious beliefs, or one's sexual orientation, covering up what could indicate its existence and vehemently denying it (sometimes even to oneself), until it suddenly appears and generates either Internalized Categorism (and actual changes) or demonization from their peers, giving birth to tropes such as You Are What You Hate.
    • When the inability to hide something stems from a trauma, the deduction is often that the trauma caused the change. This is how a Sociopath, a Narcissist, or a Con Artist can be spotted in periods of stress after lapses in judgement, lack of planning, and sudden and ill-advised outbursts of rage.
      • When an officer is about to be promoted in the Finnish Armed Forces, his or her colleagues will drink with him or her until he or she is blind drunk. A sociopath can be detected this way — his or her behaviour will get really strange. The promotion will ensue only if the candidate is not found to be a sociopath. While sociopaths are completely without any empathy and often intelligent, they are a liability in the armed forces because they are completely unpredictable. They have a knack for deceiving their friends, committing treason, or running away at the first sign of danger, endangering the whole unit as a result.
  • It is not unheard of for teenage girls who get in with the wrong boy or vice versa to turn out this way in regards to how they behave around parents and friends. On at least one episode of Investigation Discovery's Deadly Women, a sweet-hearted teenage girl started dating a warlock-wannabe who was a few years older. She quickly turned cruel and manipulative, and in the end, became a cold-blooded killer.
  • In a lot of weight-loss stories, it's often the formerly obese who become the most health- and exercise-conscious after they lose the weight. Part of it is simply Addiction Displacement, part of it is potential fear of falling back into old habits and gaining the weight back.
  • There's a general observation to be made that when people afflicted with Black and White Insanity in religion or politics realize that their position has something substantially wrong with it, instead of revising their views to something more sane and moderate, they often conclude "Everything I've ever believed is a lie!", and assume by extension that the "other guys" they've been rabidly opposing must by extension be absolutely right, and proceed to overzealously campaign in favor of whatever they see as the opposite of what they'd previously thought.
  • It has been supported by believers in the pseudoscientific Myers–Briggs personality test's that, whenever an unstable person with a given MBTI type is confronted to extreme stress, she adopts behaviors of the "shadow" type, giving in to her own "shadow", and therefore using their cognitive function in reverse order of importance if not even using the cognitive functions they are not supposed to use naturally.
    • Studies led by "enlightened" amateurs on message boards suppose that this stereotypically tends to involve someone with a type that is supposed to demand a lot of conscious effort to uphold his way of life lapsing into a more instinctive behavior which betrays one's values. The most commonly reported example is a stereotypical INFP (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving) personality type (referred to as "an INFP") becoming an "evil" ESTJ (Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judging). Other common examples include a stereotypical ISFP (Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving) becoming an "evil" ENTJ (Extroverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging), and a stereotypical INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging) becoming an "evil" ESTP (Extroverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving), which sounds very puzzling, at least to people who haven't been exposed to the MBTI stereotypes. Rather strange discussions on the otherwise perfectly understandable PersonalityCafe site center on this, enlightening both the irrational reaction provoked by people who identify with a shadow type of the type with which one identifies, and the deep emotional reaction this trope provokes. This is losing oneself par excellence, after all.
  • Some "indie" producers have actually wound up becoming the big business they fought against in their early years.
  • This is what Extra Credits has been accused of becoming. In the late 2000s, they were strong advocates for consumer rights and a voice against the Moral Guardians targeting games. In the early part of The New '10s, they spoke out against abusive behaviours such as lootboxes calling them "Skinner boxes", even saying the industry term "whale" was insulting. Then at the end of The New '10s...they have been criticised as mouthpieces for the industry. Why? They released videos flat out promoting abusive behaviours such as lootcrates (Even defending them as not technically gambling because you can't "cash out", despite several games literally allowing you to do just that without even using a third-party market), defending criticisms of industry bloat, and their "Stop normalizing Nazis" video sounded almost like a polemic of Jack Thompson or 1990s era Moral Guardians.
  • Fred Phelps, the late pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church and infamous homophobe, was originally a civil rights attorney back in The '70s. Why he changed is a mystery, but had he died way back then, he likely would be regarded as a hero today.


Video Example(s):


"Antifa Are The Real Fascists"

Jreg mocks the horseshoe centrist technique to insult both fascists and anti-fascists, portraying anarcho-communists as doing everything the nazis did TO the nazis after they take power.

How well does it match the trope?

4.14 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BecameTheirOwnAntithesis

Media sources:

Main / BecameTheirOwnAntithesis