Follow TV Tropes


Driven by Envy

Go To
Who's the greenest one of all?

"In the untalented, excellence generates a sense of wonder and amazement. In the merely talented, on the other hand, genius creates burning hatred and envy."
Harlan Ellison, from his introduction to The Sandman: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman

Sometimes, the hero's many strengths and talents will inspire due awe and respect... and envy. No matter how amazing and lovable the protagonist is, these traits will invariably manage to rub somebody the wrong way, sometimes prompting people into doing horrible things just to get the hero out of their sight.

A sub-trope of Green-Eyed Monster, Driven by Envy is a trope that deals specifically with a character acting on his envy. It is related to Always Second Best. Expect the character to think the one he envies is as preoccupied with him as the other way around, and even that he deliberately excels in order to rub the envious character's nose into it.

For those instances where love, rather than envy, is the impetus for the misdeeds, see If I Can't Have You… and Murder the Hypotenuse.

Compare The Resenter and Tall Poppy Syndrome. Super-Trope of Fairest of Them All.


    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 
  • Black★Rock Shooter: Yomi turns into Dead Master out of envy toward Yuu, who (from her POV) is taking Mato from her.
  • In Case Closed, this is why Motoyasu Tsukumo killed Yashiro Kinoshita: he was envious and fearful of his pupil's raw talent as a magician, so he tampered with the supplies of the water escape and as a result, Yashiro drowned while practicing. Too bad he didn't count on Yashiro's little sister Mako, who saw the whole thing, she becomes his apprentice herself as part of her plot to get revenge for Yashiro's death.
  • Salia in Cross Ange has felt upstaged by Ange for taking the attention of her idol and commander, Jill, and the privilege of piloting the Villkiss, to the point where she spends most of the second half on the other side trying to best her in battle, even when it involves disobeying her new leader, Embryo, who she now adores. And yes, Embryo is also more interested in Ange while she's just a pawn in his eyes, doing her ego no favors either.
  • Vegeta of Dragon Ball Z has this as his sole reason for, in order, leaving Earth to look for Goku in space, staying on Earth after failing to find Goku, achieving his own SSJ transformation, and training further. Up to the Buu Saga, his Always Second Best status was taken for granted, but in his Majin state, he finally let it out and accepted that Goku's purity led to his strength always eclipsing his own.
  • Mello of Death Note wants to defeat Kira simply to satisfy his own inferiority complex. While he hates Near for surpassing him, Near hardly takes notice of this.
  • Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist. In the 2003 anime, it's envy towards the Elric brothers, because they received the love of their shared father, Hohenheim while Envy was abandoned and thought of as a monster. In the manga and Brotherhood, it's envy towards the entirety of humanity because they're able to feel things he, as an Artificial Human, cannot.
  • Jagi in Fist of the North Star, who is so envious of his youngest brother Kenshiro becoming the successor of Hokuto Shinken that he corrupted his best friend Shin into committing the acts that kick off the series proper.
    • Yuda is an even better example in regards to Rei and his Nanto Suichou Ken style.
  • This trope drives the story of Ga-Rei and its prequel Ga-Rei -Zero-. In the prequel at least, Mei's Face–Heel Turn is fueled by her envy toward Yomi and then Yomi's Face–Heel Turn is caused by her envy toward Kagura. It didn't end well for everyone involved.
  • Gundam SEED's Muruta Azrael is a genocidal madman who's out to exterminate every Coordinator. He claims it's because they are a threat to humanity, but his flashbacks and some of the things that he says suggest that what he's really angry about is that they dare to be better than him.
  • In Inuyasha, the miko Tsubaki becomes overwhelmed with envy that Kikyou was chosen to be the guardian of the Shikon Jewel instead of her. Her envy would lead her to become a black miko.
  • Lunar Edomae from My Bride is a Mermaid. She halted her job as an idol solely to gloat about her career when she found out that Sun was getting married. Eventually she confesses to Nagasumi that her resentment of Sun stems from her having so much more than she does, especially a full, loving family.
  • A combination of envy, arrogance, and stubbornness prove to be the driving motivation of Naruto Big Bad Madara Uchiha. While he and future 1st Hokage Hashirama Senju considered each other a Worthy Opponent while their families were at war, Madara went mad with envy when he ended up Always Second Best to Hashirama in the final days of the war and the early days of the Hidden Leaf Village their families founded together. Many of Madara's future actions can be chalked up directly to spite against his arch-rival's descendants; even nearly a century after the final battle between the two of them, Madara's still not over the fact that people chose to follow Hashirama's vision of the future instead of his own. What's tragic is that, while Madara made a reasonably good point that Tobirama would be elected Hokage after Hashirama's tenure, which could lead to the Uchiha being ostracized, ultimately this only came to pass because Madara allowed his envy to consume him.
  • Cavendish from One Piece is this, being resentful of Luffy and the rest of the Worst Generation for overshadowing his fame (Cavendish was a Super Rookie from a year before the story's beginning). He tells this to "Lucy" without realising who is really under the fake beard, and, predictably, Luffy is revealed in front of Cavendish, who then tries to murder him. Until the Donquixote Family turns him into a toy and the Straw Hat crew saves him, that is.
  • Aki Honda from Shadow Star is really envious of Hiroko's grades, which drives her to do horrible things to her. The end. It's not a nice end either.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul:Re, Urie and Takizawa are both fueled by envy towards Sasaki. While Urie is merely petty and driven to push himself too hard in his quest to become better than Sasaki, Takizawa gives a Motive Rant concerning his desire to claim his rival's place as Dr. Kanou's "masterpiece" prior to brutally torturing him. It seems this factored into his Face–Heel Turn, with constant comparison to his predecessor feeding into his inferiority complex and helping twist him into his current state.
    • In Jack, this combined with their Well-Intentioned Extremist tendencies is Lantern's real motivation behind their murders. They kill those who disrupt society's order, viewing them as undeserving of having the sort of normal life that their Horror Hunger meant they could never have.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: In the Silver Age comics, Ocean Master/Orm grew up as Aquaman's non-superpowered half-brother and tried competing at things like swimming, but he's had a different backstory since the first big Crisis Crossover reboot.
  • Captain America villain Flag-Smasher didn't start out this way, but from his second appearance onwards admitted to hating Cap for simply being so much better physically and morally.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Flintheart Glomgold is made of this trope; his entire motivation is that he's the Second Richest Duck in the World. Don Rosa implies in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck that being richer than him isn't the only reason Glongold hates Scrooge.
    • In a few stories it's implied that this is the reason Scrooge treats Donald so badly. Pretty much directly addressed in Don Rosa's Escape from Forbidden Valley:
      Huey: You pick on him so much! But he's so poor and you're so rich! He tries his best — You should feel sorry for him!
      Dewey: Wait... What if it's... just the opposite?
      Louie: Unca Donald has no money bin to protect! No businesses to run! No stocks and investments to worry over!
      Huey: He's free to seek the horizons that Unca Scrooge lost!
      Dewey: Is Unca Scrooge envious of poor Unca Donald?
  • Fantastic Four: Although he'll never admit it, the reason that Doctor Doom hates Reed Richards as passionately as he does is that he can't stand the fact that Reed is smarter, better, and more admired than him, and always manages to foil his schemes through superior intelligence. Doom finally does admit it in Secret Wars (2015). No sooner does he concede the point than Molecule Man strips Doom of his godlike powers and grants them to Reed.
  • The Flash: Barry Allen's Arch-Enemy and Evil Counterpart Eobard Thawne was once an Ascended Fanboy who worked at the Flash museum and dreamed of becoming just like his idol Barry Allen. Once he gains super-speed, he becomes distraught by the fact he's destined to become the Reverse Flash and die at the hands of Barry. He then makes it his personal mission to make the Flash's life a living hell. He takes his frustration of being destined to always second best to the Flash on him. Best demonstrated in a scene from The Flash (2014):
    Barry: Is this what this is about? Because you couldn't be me?
  • The Mighty Thor: One of the reasons why Loki's relationship with his brother Thor was so conflicted was because Loki envied Thor for being Odin's favored son. Of course, Loki's constant scheming against Thor (though Thor was far from being Loki's only target) in his efforts to one-up him gave Odin and the rest of Asgard more and more reasons to hate Loki, to the point that now every Asgardian except Thor and (maybe) the Warriors Three wants to kill Loki, even after he was reincarnated as a relatively innocent and powerless child with no memories of his past self.
  • The primary and secret reason for newspaper publisher J. Jonah Jameson's hatred of Spider-Man and why he uses the Daily Bugle to publicly denounce him. It is revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #10 that Jameson is envious of Spidey's altruistic heroism. Jameson admits to himself he needs to tear down Spider-Man because he can't be as good a man as him.
  • Superman:
    • The Death of Clark Kent: The Conduit hates Superman because his father was always comparing him with the Kryptonian hero.
    • This is also a facet of both the Master Jailer's hatred.
    • Lex Luthor hates Superman because he's the only person alive who is simply better than him, and he believes if Superman wasn't around he would be humanity's greatest hero instead. In Blackest Night, Wonder Woman uses her lasso to make Lex admit that he wants to be Superman.
    • Catherine Grant's hatred towards Supergirl in the Post-Crisis comics stemmed to a great extent from envy. As Lois Lane bluntly put it in Superman: Brainiac, "She doesn't like someone half her age flying through Metropolis and turning heads".
    • In The Unknown Supergirl, Lesla-Lar sets out to ruin Supergirl's life because, even though Lesla is a well-recognized and respected Kandorian scientist, she knows Supergirl's popularity will dwarf hers when Superman reveals his cousin's existence to the world.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Priscilla Rich's entire grudge against Wonder Woman goes back to the superheroine upstaging her at a party. This blow to her ego proved too much for the envious Priscilla and her dark persona began to show through culminating in her becoming the supervillain named Cheetah.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Once Diana wasn't nearby to notice Doctor Psycho started playing with Vanessa Kapatelis' mind, and while she fought him off at first he was eventually able to start picking her mind apart by convincing her that Diana had abandoned her and replaced her with Cassie and that Vanessa deserved to be Wonder Girl instead, so by the time he and his fellow villains were through turning her into the new Silver Swan she hated Cassie and felt she deserved everything Cassie had.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): The Amazon Alcyone frequently tried to kill Wonder Woman, claiming that she was an abomination who would bring doom to Themyscira. After one defeat, Diana forced her to reveal the real reason: Alcyone envied Hippolyta because Hippolyta got to have a child while Alcyone couldn't. Deep down, she wished Diana was her daughter.
    • Scientist and CEO/perfume magnate (depending on the continuity) Veronica Cale believes that she, and not Wonder Woman, should be viewed as the ultimate icon of female empowerment.
  • Peloto from Zipi y Zape. His attempts to be as famous as Zipi y Zape often backfire quite spectacularly.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • Xibalba, from The Book of Life, desperately wants to rule his wife's world because she has endless fiestas, while he rules over a dreary and vile world.
  • Frozen (2013): Prince Hans's desire to rule elsewhere stems from being last in line for his kingdom's throne. This is expanded upon in the Tie-In Novel A Frozen Heart, where he resents and envies his 12 older brothers for being favored by their father over him. It also causes him to develop an Inferiority Superiority Complex as well.
  • Hades from Hercules is this. It is implied in the animated series that Zeus put him in charge of the Underworld, knowing that it was the cosmic equivalent of janitorial duty and was dang to begin with. He's often seen as the resident Butt-Monkey by his fellow gods for his workaholic-ism. This ultimately spirals into a Cain and Abel situation where Hades is willing to overthrow Zeus and murder Hercules so he becomes the King of Olympus while Zeus is banished to Tartarus. Zeus does not realize it until the climax, and is visibly appalled when Hades betrays him by releasing the Titans from their prison.
  • Thrax in Osmosis Jones is motivated by envy — not of the heroes, but of diseases more famous than he is, like Ebola and Influenza. As a virus with immense killing power but no fame or reputation, his aim is to rack up a body count big enough to be noticed by the medical community and be the most infamous illness of all.
  • Jack Horner in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is envious of all the attention magical beings are showered with due to his career as a child entertainer ending when his audiences flocked to Pinocchio instead, and thus he wants to use the titular wish to obtain all the magic in the world. He's already a wealthy pie magnate and a powerful crime lord, but it's still not enough for him.
  • Pitch Black's motives in Rise of the Guardians are driven by the fact that the titular Guardians are believed in and loved by the children of the world, while he, the Boogeyman, is feared by them. Supplemental materials reveal that when the Guardians were first formed, he was offered a place among them, but rejected it because he thought they were upstarts who were stealing his place in the world.
  • Prince Charming in the Shrek films resents the title character, who married the princess and received the acclaim that Charming felt was his own due.
  • The Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs tries to kill Snow White for being "the fairest of them all."
  • In Turning Red, Tyler's envy of Mei's strong friendships seems to be why he bullies her. He stops bullying her once he joins her friend group.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Not nearly as evil as most examples, but it's his jealousy of Felix's fame and popularity as a hero that eventually pushes him to seek out a medal to prove he is capable of being as good as Felix.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Salieri from Amadeus has this as a core driver of the plot. The only thing this guy ever wanted was to be a great composer, and he worked hard for it all his life, but then he meets this crude, boorish boy who he recognises has a genius that he can never compete with, apparently given to him by God. This film was based on a rumor that Salieri hated Mozart for his genius and even killed the guy out of pure murderous envy, but this was most assuredly not true of Salieri in real life — the real Salieri was one of Mozart's best friends, and even tutored Mozart's sons after his death.
  • It could be argued that Dr. Evil in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is an example of this trope. In order to defeat Austin, he steals Austin’s mojo. He states that Austin’s mojo is his "libido, the life force, the essence, the right stuff." Given that Austin has this all powerful libido and Dr. Evil does not, aside from wanting to hurt Austin and leave him "shagless", it is possible that he stole it partly out of envious, wanting Austin’s sexual prowess for himself. We can see this in the scene where he drinks some of Austin’s mojo, suddenly becoming horny for Frau and wanting to take the stolen sexual potency for a test drive.
  • In Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer tries so hard to out-cool Tony Stark, but his efforts are doomed to failure.
  • Prudence from Red Riding Hood has a bad case of this towards Valerie. She thinks that Valerie is too perfect and she should be killed by the werewolf.
  • In SHAZAM! (2019), Dr. Sivana is driven by envy to pursue Shazam and wrest the power from him. He does this because the Wizard Shazam rejected him as a candidate to be the next champion when he was a child. Throughout his childhood, he was also the unwanted extra kid and treated as such by his wealthy family. Additionally, when Sivana frees the Seven Deadly Sins from the prison the Wizard incarcerated them in, he always keeps Envy close by while the other six Sins thrash Shazam about, wreck the scene, and terrorize the bystanders.

  • Isaac Boxtel of The Black Tulip, envious of the hero's talent at horticulture and success at creating a black tulip, frames him and tries to steal the tulip's discovery for himself.
  • Danglars from The Count of Monte Cristo, who is envious of Edmond's success (and particularly because Edmond got promoted to a position Danglars had been angling for himself), goes as far as to frame Edmond for treason.
  • This is part of what drives Lorgar and the Word Bearers to side with Horus in the Horus Heresy. Lorgar was envious of the fact that Ultramarines Primarch Robuote Guilliman was so great in the Emperor's favor, while Lorgar's devotion was, at best, unnoticed and at worst unwelcome.
    • Perturabo and the Iron Warriors fell for similar reasons, resentful that they were always placed with the hardest, most grueling sieges and attacks against the Imperium's enemies while their rivals (the Imperial Fists) got all the glory and honor (as well as the privilege of designing some of the Imperium's greatest defenses, which Perturabo wanted to design himself).
  • In Experimental Film, this is how Lois explains Wrob's ongoing effort to screw up her project researching Mrs. Whitcomb, since Lois originally found out about Mrs. Whitcomb from seeing one of Wrob's films and then interviewing him. The ending and epilogue reveal that this may be more true than even Lois realizes - Wrob turns out to have been the student, mentioned in passing earlier, who spent a night trapped in the abandoned Whitcomb mansion, and his final words to Lady Midday strongly imply that he expected to be the one she chose as her new filmmaker/prophet.
  • Despite the fact that the Shadowhunters are effectively the dominant power in the supernatural world, Valentine from The Mortal Instruments greatly resents the Downworlders for their unique abilities, such as the vampires' ability to change shape or the magic wielded by the faeries and the warlocks.
  • In Zora Neale Hurston's Moses, Man of the Mountain, Moses's uncle Ta-Phar plots against him because Moses upstaged him with his tactical genius.
  • In the Myth Adventures book, Little Myth Marker, small-time magicians envious of Skeeve's success hire a "character assassin" to sabotage his career and destroy his reputation.
  • Played for Laughs in Only Sense Online during the PvP Tournament organized by the Crafting Guild in volume 5, when a group of participants with unlucky love lives form an ad hoc alliance and gang up on participants who they deem lead wholesome lives in and outside the gamenote , in the style of the FFF.
  • Paradise Lost: As an Angel, Satan envies God and leads a rebellion against him/her/it on the grounds that he/she would make a better lord of all creation... never mind the fact that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and thinks Satan unfit for the position for his lack of power (and general Jerkassitude).
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Zhou Yu manages to envy himself to death when confronted again and again (and, crushingly, again) with Zhuge Liang's genius.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In The Silmarillion, Morgoth's main motivation for trying to destroy reality is that he is envious of Eru's ability to create. This later morphs into envy for all his creations: the Valar, Elves, Men and Middle-Earth itself.
    • The Lord of the Rings: Saruman's fall from grace was influenced by the fact that almost everybody liked Gandalf more than him. Saruman even started smoking pipeweed in secret to imitate Gandalf.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms, Princess Shoukei from Hou had a playmate who was very pretty and graceful. Shoukei's mom, Queen Kakai, was so upset by the girl being "better" than her little girl... that she falsely accused her mother (one of her own handmaidens) of accepting bribes, which led to both mother and daughter being executed. After King Chuutatsu is overthrown and killed, the Rebel Leader Gekkei captures Kakai and Shoukei, and harshly calls the queen out for killing the two maids before he beheaded her as punishment.
  • In The Wheel of Time, at least three of the Forsaken - Sammael, Be'lal and most especially Demandred - have hatred and envy of Lews Therin Telamon as their primary motivation for turning to the Shadow. Demandred in particular is noted for being basically Lews Therin Lite in almost every way, and when their rivalry drove him to the Shadow, it's noted that no one hates Lews Therin more than him. Maybe no one hates anything more than Demandred hates Lews Therin. Considering just how hateful the Forsaken in general are... that's a hell of a lot of hate.
  • June Hayward, the Villain Protagonist of Yellowface, is an author who is deeply jealous of any writer who is more successful than her, particularly her frenemy Athena Liu. After Athena unexpectedly dies, June's jealousy and belief that she is just as if not more deserving of Athena's professional success (and, to a degree, her entire life) drives her to steal a manuscript from her and sell it as her own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Subverted with Detective Charles Boyle, who would normally be a shoo-in for this trope, as he's specifically pointed out as not being a natural at police work like many of the other characters, especially Manchild main character Jake Peralta, and has to substitute talent with hard work and still not measure up. However, instead of resentment, he actually idolizes Peralta and is one of his closest friends. Captain Holt also points out that this means that Boyle never suffers from work slumps because he's used to grinding through any obstacles, while Peralta is easily thrown by setbacks which he doesn't know how to deal with.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "The Killer in Me" is devoted to the plots of another witch, Amy the former rat, setting up traps for Willow out of sheer envy for Willow's talent at magic. The villain even rants about having to work and work and work to be half as powerful as Willow was without even trying. She also points out that Willow was Easily Forgiven for nearly killing all her friends and almost destroying the world, but she was never even given a second chance.
    • Genevieve can't believe Buffy, a colonial commoner, is the leader of the Slayers and wants to kill her to take over.
  • Frasier: Frequently happens to one or both brothers, often with disastrous results. In "Door Jam," for example, they con their way into an exclusive day spa and enjoy the pampering, until they spot a door that leads to the facility for upper-tier members. They weasel their way in here and find it truly luxurious until they see another door within easy reach. Thinking that it will take them to an area for the absolute top members, they charge through - and end up locked out of the spa in an alley strewn with garbage.
  • Hunter: In season 1 there's an episode where a guy on a bike goes around killing cops in Quick Draw-style shootouts. This is because of a Wild West arcade game in his favorite bar where he's routinely the best, and he goes after people who beat his high score. Rick Hunter deliberately scores higher on the machine precisely because he knows it will draw out the cop killer.
  • On Merlin, this seems to be Morgana's main motivating factor in her vendetta against Guinevere, considering Gwen has more or less taken what Morgana considers to be her rightful place in Camelot and is destined to be its Queen.
  • On Once Upon a Time, the entire motivation of Zelena (the Wicked Witch of the West) is that she's envious of the life Regina has led... and jealous anytime someone else looks like they might steal her perceived spotlight. She was so envious, it actually turned her green. Regina's (true) statements that her life isn't something to desire (especially being raised by her mother) only enrages Zelena further.
  • The Princess Wei Young: Chang Le already hated Xin Er, but she torments her even more after she discovers Xin Er keeps a fan given to her by Tuoba Jun.
  • Resurrection: Ertuğrul: A driving factor behind many of Ural Bey’s reprehensible actions, which includes having his men burn all the carpets the Kayis had sewn as they were being delivered and hiring hitmen to kill those working against him at a few different points, all to retaliate against Ertugrul after he sets up shop in the Hanli Bazaar.
  • Sergeant Sally Donovan from Sherlock who is always a jerk toward the main character. She appears more than a little resentful of Sherlock's abilities, especially when the media start painting him a hero.
  • Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms: Part of Xuan Nu's motivation in turning traitor is her envy of Bai Qian — and especially of Li Jing's love for Bai Qian.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • King David sends the handsome and charismatic Uriah on a suicide mission to dispose of him. This also frees up Mrs Uriah for royal attention later.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Athena, who hated losing a weaving contest so much that she turned the winner into a spider. Ironically, Arachne may also have been driven by this — as well as pride. Arachne could have been content with being (merely) one of the most genius weavers humanity had ever known... but she boasted, constantly, about how her skills surpassed both those of mortals and gods. Even when someone urged her to be more humble and not to taunt Athena (the goddess of weaving), she replied; "I am not afraid! Let Athena come, if she dares!"
    • Cupid And Psyche: Aphrodite did not take well to people claiming that Psyche was more beautiful than her. In Aphrodite's case, she ordered her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with a monster... which backfired when Eros fell in love with Psyche and married her.
    • Apollo, who hated losing the first round of a music contest so much that he changed the rules of the second round to make it impossible for his competitor to win, then skinned the other guy alive.
    • The inventor Daedalus threw his nephew Perdix off a cliff because he realized the boy's natural genius would someday surpass his own — or already had — and Daedalus couldn't handle that. (Athena rescued Perdix by turning him into a bird and branded Daedalus to mark him as a murderer forever.)

  • In the backstory of Mad Daedalus, the Greek inventor Daedalus is driven to murder after he is envious of the accolades his nephew received.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Promethean: The Created, this is how disquiet manifersts for the Galatea. Being around them causes people to feel intense envy. At first, a thought that they can't quite get out of their heads but gradually becomes an obsession as the guilt of feeling attracted to this person leads them to commit evil acts that eventually turn towards attacking the Galatean.

  • Iago from Othello. Subverted, as his priority is not Cassio, but Othello (although he might envy the latter's relationship with Desdemona).
    • Invoked Alternative Character Interpretations by Shakespeare scholars also suggest the possibility that Iago was in love with Othello himself, so the entire play was really a ploy to remove those people closest to Othello so Iago could either have him all to himself or so he could make Othello suffer for marrying Desdemona and promoting Cassio.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Strong Style developed in New Japan Pro-Wrestling was a means for the wrestlers, who wanted the attention and great foreign talents All Japan had to let out (on each other), and let the everyone watching know they were better at everything and deserved what All Japan had. For what it's worth, All Japan remained the more mainstream company until the NOAH exodus but Antonio Inoki did become a bigger star than All Japan founder Giant Baba.
  • On Pro Wrestling Syndicate show BLOW, La Rosa Negra did a brief Heel–Face Turn at the start of 2013 due to Mia Yim showing an unusual hostility towards her. As it turned out, Yim's final overseas contract, with the joshi fed REINA, was due to run out before she could get another title shot. Negra had a belt and won another before Yim's final REINA match put Yim back where she started with no belt of her own to show for it. So Yim wanted one Negra's, or failing that, to stop Negra from getting any more.
  • Darby Allen's antagonism of Jon Moxley in All Elite Wrestling runs on Allens envy of what Moxley has, especially after Moxley won the championship belt from Chris Jericho. Defeat Means Friendship though, so Allen's not TOO obsessed with beating Moxley after losing to him twice.

    Video Games 
  • Always Sometimes Monsters eventually reveals that your old friend Sam was secretly envious of your protagonist, seeing them as more talented and luckier than them.
    • Depending upon the choices you make, this could also apply to the protagonist themselves. After learning that their ex-lover is about to marry an old friend, they set out to make it there before the wedding... and potentially put a stop to it.
  • Reed Wahl of the BioShock 2 DLC "Minerva's Den", who became crazy and paranoid from ADAM, ratted out his former partner Charles Milton Porter to the Ryan's security in order to get the Thinker, thinking he could get universal knowledge and predict the future from his superior capacities.
  • Sticky Fingaz in Def Jam: Fight For NY. His resentment of the player character's greater skills leads to him switching sides and trying to kill the hero and his girlfriend.
  • Dominus Ghaul from Destiny 2. For all his talk of conquest and leading the Cabal into a brighter future, his real motivation for laying siege to the City and waging war against the Guardians is a mixture of envy and insecurity. He’s can’t understand or accept that the Traveler chose the Puny Humans as it’s champions, while he was ignored despite being one of the mightiest warriors in the universe. The crippling blow to his ego has left him obsessed with gaining the Traveler’s attention and proving to it that he’s not weak or a failure, even if he has to kill millions to do it.
  • The true Big Bad of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Hugh Darrow, the inventor of Augmentation enacts a plan that will sour humanity on augmentation forever by using a signal to drive every Augment alive insane. He claims that it's for the greater good so that people will see how dangerous augmentation is. In reality, he's simply envious of Augments because his own body cannot accept augmentation. Darrow is willing to drive a good chunk of the populace mad, causing global panic and destruction, just because he's envious of other people who can replace bad limbs with augments while he's stuck walking with a cane.
  • Arl Howe, in Dragon Age: Origins, is consumed with envy for his best friend and liege lord, Teyrn Bryce Cousland. As illustrated in the Human Noble Origin, this envy leads him to ally with Loghain and murder the Teyrn and nearly his entire family and household.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series' primary Creation Myth, Padomay is The Anti-God personification of the forces of change, chaos, and darkness. He is the twin brother to Anu, the God of Gods personification of the forces of stasis, order, and light. Their interplay in the great "void" before creation led to creation itself, sometimes personified as the female entity "Nir". Nir favored Anu, which angered Padomay. Envious of Nir's love, Padomay killed Nir and shattered the twelve worlds she gave birth to. Anu then wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the twelve worlds to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever". It is from their spilled and intermingled blood that the series' famous Aedra and Daedra would emerge.
  • The backstory of the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money has singer Dean Domino envious of businessman Francis Sinclair's happiness, which he saw as self-absorbed pretentiousness. Because of this, he planned to rob the vault of his casino, the Sierra Madre with the help of Vera Keyes, an old fling. The plan failed due to a combination of Vera getting cold feet and the nuclear holocaust happening moments afterwards, though Dean (now a ghoul) stuck around trying to rob the vault. By the end of the DLC, Dean either gets killed by the Courier or survives and helps the Courier into the vault, where in the epilogue he learns Sinclair and Keyes' side of the story, goes through a Heel Realization and leaves the Sierra Madre for the world outside.
  • The story of Fatal Fury exists because of this. Years before the first game, Geese Howard and Jeff Bogard were both students of the martial arts master Tung Fu Rue. Tung Fu Rue chose Jeff to learn the secret arts of the Hakkyokuseiken style. Geese, outraged that he wasn't chosen, attacked and killed Jeff, an act witnessed by Jeff's adopted sons, Terry and Andy. The two swore to avenge their father, and years later, when Geese announced the King of Fighters tournament, the two saw their opportunity...
  • Fate/Grand Order: Antonio Salieri himself appears as a Servant, with his personality being based entirely around his envious hatred of Mozart. The game and Salieri himself acknowledge that the historical Salieri did not possess this trait, but due to the popularity of Amadeus, enough people think he did that his Servant form has become a warped caricature of the real Salieri, which he isn't happy about but his irrational hatred of Mozart doesn't subside.
  • This is the motivation of some of the Garleans in Final Fantasy XIV — there's Nero tol Scaeva, for instance, who is pissed off that Cid Garlond and his dad got the attention he struggled so hard for. Similarly, Livia sas Junius' hatred for the Warrior of Light is motivated in no small part because Gaius is giving them all his attention. Nero eventually grows out of it for the most part, but there's still a slight undertone of envy in his every move.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Erik of Laus in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade in regards to Hector and Eliwood.
    • What drives a good part of the conflict between Travant of Thracia and Quan of Lenster in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. Thracia is a mountainous land that borders on Crapsack World, while Lester is more peaceful and fertile; this drives Travant to desire at first for the well-being for his people, and then to cruelly murder Quan and his wife Ethlyn and take their daughter Altena hostage so his land will have the upper hand.
  • Joseph Bertrand of Infamous 2. His reason for wanting all Conduits dead, is because of his raw deal as a Conduit. While people like Cole and Nix got easily manageable powers, Bertrand's Conduit form is a mindless, enormous monstrosity. His envy and anger over this is what leads him to brand Conduits as 'Abominations'.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: While it was bad enough in the films, the Evil Stepsisters' envy towards the extremely beautiful and kindhearted Cinderella was enough to drive them towards their attempt to murder her after the glass slipper fits her, which grants her not only freedom but also the prince's hand in marriage. Not only that, this very act made their hearts go deathly black, making them the opposites of Cinderella, who's a Princess of Heart; Kingdom Hearts III implies that this is what caused Cinderella to become a New Light, as unlike Snow White and Aurora, her pure light was not detected right away.
  • Ultimately, an act of envy was what triggered everything that goes wrong in Live A Live. Streibough, friend and accomplice of the beloved knight Oersted, was so tired of being trapped in Oersted's shadow that he sabotaged the other man's life, tricking him into murdering the king and turning everyone else in the kingdom against him. This ended with Oersted killing Streibough, Oersted's beloved Alethea committing suicide out of her love for Streibough, and Oersted, having lost everything he had in his life, turning his back on all of humanity and becoming the Lord of Dark, Odio. All because Streibough was envious of Oersted's fame.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man (Classic): Dr Wily perpetually played second banana to his colleague and best friend Dr Light (he was the five consecutive year runner-up of the LIT Manual Design Contest, won the silver prize at the World Technology Award and was a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Physics. Guess who was always the winner.) This eventually drove Wily insane and his dreams of world conquest are in part to prove everyone that he's better than Light.
    • Mega Man's rival Bass is envious of the other robot's status as a world champion, so much so that he's eager to eliminate him.
    • Mega Man Battle Network: Lord Wily's research into robotics was pushed aside in favour of Lan's grandfather Dr. Tadashi Hikari's vision of computer sciences and the further development of the internet. From here on, Wily turned into a life of crime on his quest to destroy everything that the technology his hated rival stood for.
  • Harvey from Octopath Traveler II is motivated entirely by his envy towards Osvald. While Osvald himself states that Harvey is intelligent and they often had debates on magic, Osvald was still the better scholar of the two. This led to Harvey developing a massive inferiority complex towards and becoming completely obsessed with Osvald. As a result, Harvey burned down Osvald's house so he could steal Osvald's research, killing Osvald's wife and daughter in the process, for which Osvald got blamed. It gets even worse than that, though: Harvey bribed the judges to give Osvald a life sentence rather than execution because he wanted Osvald to eventually break out... just so Harvey could gloat about getting credit for Osvald's discoveries, and it turns out that Osvald's daughter was still alive, and Harvey wanted to show off the fact that he planned to use her in his experiments, too! All because he viewed Osvald as better than him.
  • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Isle of Armor DLC introduces one of the tutor moves known as "Burning Jealousy". It is a fire-type damaging move that inflicts burn on opponents that boosted their stats, hence the "jealousy" part.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • A major reason why Arpeggio, the assumed Big Bad of Sly 2: Band of Thieves, wants the Clockwerk parts is out of envy towards other birds, because they can fly while he cannot. Turns out, he just wanted to be immortal.
    • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time had its plot built on this trope in the form of Penelope, who hates and resents Sly for his successes, and for seemingly holding Bentley back. This extreme envy caused her to steal Bentley's time machine blueprints and sell them to a rival faction of the Cooper Gang with the aim of erasing Sly, his ancestors, and presumably Edward Longshanks and Robert the Bruce from history, mold Bentley into her personal weapon designer to make a fortune, and conquor the world through warfare. All Penelope acomplished in the end was getting exposed as an angry, sociopathic slimeball who's willing to wreck and exploit those more succesful than her, and winds up a homeless fugitive hated by everyone.
  • Sonic Forces: Episode Shadow reveals that Infinite suffered a crushing defeat by Shadow, and now wants to prove his strength by one-upping him.
  • Wario's plot to take over Mario's castle in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins was fueled by his lifelong envy of Mario.
  • In Touhou Project there is the hashihime note  Parsee Mizuhashi who feeds on jealousy and envy and can manipulate it in others. At this point she is, herself, closer to being an Anthropomorphic Personification of jealousy and envy more than anything else: She becomes envious of someone if she thinks they're happier than she is; if they are about on the same level, she'll boast about how she is more unfortunate; if she thinks the other person is the unfortunate one yet they aren't envious of her she'll become envious of their forbearance and if they are envious of her, then their envy becomes her sustenance... Either way, the person is screwed because Parsee can get violent if she's envious of someone and she would likely attack if she got enough power from another's envy to overpower them.
  • Uncharted 4: Rafe. At first, it seems he's trying to buy his way into history books by funding the expedition to find the world's greatest pirate treasure. But when he finally makes it to the treasure spot, which is currently on fire, he's completely fixated on killing the Drake brothers even as Nathan surrenders all rights to the treasure without so much as a complaint, and rather than figure out a way to escape a room on fire that is also connected to a mountain of gunpowder, he grabs a sword and rants about Drake's infamous misadventures and how he didn't deserve them. From an earlier conversation, he makes it clear to Nadine that he thinks that millions of gold is worth nothing compared to Sam Drake making it to the dangerously rigged deathtrap of a treasure room first.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, a large part of Dennis’s motivation is envy of boys who are good with girls.
  • Shinji Matou of Fate/stay night, despite being a descendant of the Matou line of magi, lacks any magic circuits and thus cannot perform any magecraft. He is intensely envious of Shirou and Sakura, and his main goal in the Fifth Grail War is to become a magus by using the Grail.

    Web Animation 

  • Hilary from Sequential Art is described as being this by Art and by general exposition. Hilary started bullying Kat when they were eight because they both owned the same lunchbox, with Hillary believing that being its exclusive owner would have made her the most popular girl, something Kat remains completely unaware of to this day. Art is forced to deal with her as a client of the graphic design firm he works for, where she is unreasonably judgmental of his ideas out of spite; essentially bullying Kat vicariously through him. After blackmailing her into backing down, he points out to Kat that Hilary has no charm or personality to support her beauty, and that he believes this is why she hates Kat so much. As a bonus, this implies that he finds Kat beautiful, charming and personable, and admires her for it.
  • Hoh from Tower of God. He is very envious of fellow Wave Controller Bam's incredible talent. He eventually attempts to kill Bam during a test that would have in all likelihood failed Hoh and kicked him out of the Tower, ending his dream forever. Upon the failure of his plan, rather than face leaving the Tower, he commits suicide.

    Western Animation 
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Chad Dickson, a.k.a. Numbuh 274, was considered to be THE best operative on the planet up until his defection. Afterwards, it was believed that Nigel Uno, a.k.a. Numbuh 1, leader of Sector V, was the best. The fact that Nigel is still considered the best even though he is still an active (undercover) operative angers Chad to no end, as Chad is obsessed with being the best. The envy eventually causes him to try and kill Nigel in his last appearance on the show.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: If he's not committing crimes for sheer sadistic enjoyment, then this is the main motivation behind Katz's crimes. In "Katz Kandy", he attempts to turn Muriel into taffy because she always beats him in the Nowhere Sweet-Stuff contest, and in "Katz Under the Sea", he attempts to demolish a SUB Standards Inc. submarine because they get more customers than Katz Submarine Cruise.
  • Garfield's Babes and Bullets: This is O'Felix's motive for killing O'Tabby. He grew so jealous of his former student that the only way to get his position in the university was to murder him.
    Sam Spayed: It was the old 'power struggle in the university' routine. Old man gets passed over by younger man. Young man gets power, respect, glory. Old man gets older, bitter. Finally, in desperation, the old man gets rid of the one thing in his way: the young man. With O'Tabby gone, O'Felix becomes department head and gets what has eluded him all his life.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021), Evelyn spent her life mastering magic and seeking the power of Grayskull for herself. When the Street Urchin Teela (in Evelyn's opinion) "lucks into" being chosen by the power and becomes Sorceress, Evelyn becomes obsessed with proving herself better to Teela in every way. So much so that the power of Havoc shapes Evelyn into the most one-to-one Evil Counterpart for Sorceress as Evil-Lyn when compared to the other Dark Masters and their counterparts.
  • Stargirl in Justice League Unlimited gets very envious upon seeing Supergirl's popularity. She softens later.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Korra speculates that this is the real reason why her uncle Unalaq got his older brother Tonraq, Korra's father, banished. Tonraq was a well-respected Northern Water Tribe general who was next-in-line to become chief. Unalaq, out of envy and his hunger for power, would arrange the incident that would get Tonraq banished. Korra also suggests that Unalaq's desire to teach her stems from further envy of the fact that in spite of the shame Tonraq "brought" on the family and Unalaq's own spirituality, Tonraq would go on to sire the next Avatar.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princess Luna transformed into Nightmare Moon because she was envious of all the attention her sister Celestia received. After being banished for a thousand years, she is finally cleansed of her evil and envy by the Elements of Harmony and makes amends with her sister.
    • Sweetie Belle gets a bad case of this in "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Tolls." Her resentment over Rarity "stealing" the spotlight is serious enough that Princess Luna feels compelled to help her get over it. Luna even mentions that she's been where Sweetie Belle is.
  • Shown in the page image is Princess Morbucks from The Powerpuff Girls (1998). Her penchant for evil is entirely driven by her desire to be better than the Powerpuff Girls. Or rather, that the girls won't let her be one, and with good reason. She's a glory hog, has no powers of her own, and almost got herself killed when she tried to make her debut. In a nice bit of irony, once she gets an upgraded suit, it never occurs to her that she could strike out on her own instead of wasting her time and gadgetry on fighting the PPG. Morbucks even attacks the Powerpuff Girls' new friend Robin, because she can't understand why the girls would want to be friends with Robin and not her. Hell, the girls even spell it out for her at the end of her debut episode why they won't let her be a Powerpuff Girl: It has nothing to do with her lack of powers, it's because she's a spoiled brat who's only interested in being one because of the status attached to it, and has no interest in helping others which she could easily do with her resources. Naturally, it just goes in one ear and out the other on her.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The motivation for Catra's Villainous Breakdown in the third season is her out-of-control envy of Adora, with the incident that set it off being Shadow Weaver's defection to the Rebellion, which she sees as Shadow Weaver choosing Adora over her again. It gets to the point where she tries to destroy the world because she refuses to let Adora get another win in the form of saving it.
  • The Simpsons has one in the episode "Homer's Enemy" with Frank Grimes, who is envious of Homer Simpson. He's gotten angrier at the fact that despite Homer's stupidity and laziness, Homer met several presidents, won a Grammy, and met famous celebrities just to name a few while Frank has to work from scratch and still seems to get nowhere in life. Homer actually tries to befriend Grimes, but he's just driven further and further into anger and resentment against Homer's unearned (in his view) good fortune compared to his own miserable life and ends up accidentally killing himself after his plan to publically humiliate Homer fails and he snaps.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man:
    • This seems to have been an underlying factor for Eddie Brock/Venom—in this continuity, their parents were friends and died in the same plane crash, but Eddie seems angry that he apparently had no one to take him in while Peter got Happily Adopted by his aunt and uncle.
    • While the series was Left Hanging before he could make the full turn to supervillainy, Harry Osborn as well. Peter seems to be better than him at school and sports, Harry's father obviously prefers him, and at the end of the series, he accidentally overhears Peter and his girlfriend, Gwen, planning to get together as soon as she can break up with Harry.
  • Winx Club:
    • Chimera is very envious of Stella, and always wants everything her way. When Stella is getting ready for her princess ball, Chimera tries to ruin Stella's fun. Chimera states that she hates Stella because she is a pretty, beautiful, spoiled and lucky princess.
    • Prince Tritannus is envious of his twin brother's popularity and lock on the throne. As such, he attempts to assassinate Nereus. When this fails, he retaliates by trying to conquer the whole Magic Dimension, brainwashing Nereus in the process.
  • Yogi's Gang: The Envy Brothers. Whatever they want, they want because other people have it. They have a magic ring that can make other people become driven by their envy, and use it on Yogi's friends.

    Real Life 
  • Ethan Hawke admitted that he felt "Salieri" levels of envy of his friend and Explorers co-star, the late River Phoenix, when he got so much acclaim and attention for his work in movies like Stand by Me.
  • The main drive behind most Sibling Rivalry.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Salieri Syndrome


Envy is jealous of humans

As it turns out Envy is secretly jealous of humans, due to their inner strength and ability to make friends, despite all other obstacles. When Envy realizes this, they don't take it well.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / DrivenByEnvy

Media sources: