They've insulted you for your physical appearance. They've beat you up and stuffed you into the locker. They've told nasty rumors about you liking an unattractive girl. They tried to get the boss to fire you. Scratch that. Your boss wants to get rid of you, too. Heck, they even made an attempt to kill you, for goodness sake! Those jerks will do many nasty things to you just for the sake of making your life miserable.
Wait. You think that your enemies are the best thing to ever happen to you?
This is the trope where the hero has the ideology that having enemies is good, beneficial, or necessary for his life. Here are some common reasons why the hero puts up with them day after day:
- Moral character: The hero has gained a lot of enemies because he stood up for something that is right. After all, they're too cruel and nasty to understand it. This character usually believes that Peer Pressure Makes You Evil, and hanging with his boring friends is better than hanging with the wrong crowd.
- Motivation: Another reason could be that the hero sees their scorn as some sort of motivation. The more they hate him, the stronger and better he will become in the long run.
- Honesty: It could be that the hero knows that it's better to have openly honest enemies than untrustworthy friends. Reason 2 from above would be that enemies are lighting up the fire in the hero whereas friendships are just there to bring down the hero.
- Jealousy: They are torturing the hero for being different from them, but deep down, they envy him for being gifted with many talents and accomplishing so much in his life. This is what commonly creates a very dangerous villain for the hero.
- Culture: Plain and simple, the hero belongs to—or finds him/herself immersed in—a warrior culture in which the number and quality of your enemies is a measure of your achievements: the more people want you dead, the more important/powerful/dangerous they are, the greater your honour and reputation. As the page quote indicates, this is Literal Truth in Television for a good many Real Life cultures throughout history. Having this kind of reputation will often lead to people picking fights with you in order to build up their own reputation.
Other reasons may vary. Because of these reasons, it's no secret that the hero wouldn't bother changing the status quo and it's also no secret that he remains physically, emotionally, and morally strong.
Note that this doesn't always have to be exclusive to the heroes. Villains like the Visionary Villain can apply this philosophy to their goals, although that doesn't mean they wouldn't give their enemies a smug gloat if they have succeeded. Other versions would have an oppressive tyrant enjoy being hated because he believes they fear him. Even the hero would rub it in all of their faces for being inferior towards him, especially if it's reason 1 from above. Jerkass characters will use this trope to excuse their behavior towards others. Arrogant characters will often have this belief.
This is more of an alternate version of The Power of Friendship where a hero's friends and allies are the reason why he has accomplished his goals. Replace friends and allies with enemies and you have this trope in a nutshell.
Compare Misery Builds Character if opposition or mistreatment from others is what makes a character stronger. Compare Good Needs Evil if having enemies is a necessity. Obviously on the idealistic end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. If so, it can be served as An Aesop if played right. Can be the belief of a Blood Knight as far as fighting is concerned. Can be Truth in Television for many politics, but let's leave it at that. See also Tall Poppy Syndrome.
- In YuYu Hakusho, our heroes have to fight through the Dark Tournament against teams of demons. Demons also make up the entirety of the tournament's spectators, so whenever Yusuke (a human who polices demons that arrive on Earth) starts fighting the crowd will begin booing or entering into loud chants like "Kill The Human!" This all just makes Yusuke more eager to kick ass. To fit the Trope even further, Kuwabara (Yusuke's friendly rival fighting on his team) winds up jealous the demons don't boo him as loudly.
- Son Goku of Dragon Ball has allowed then-enemies Piccolo and Vegeta to escape from their respective fights because of this; he enjoyed the challenge of fighting them so much that he wanted to do it again, even though both have tried to kill him. Even when obliterating Kid Buu, Goku wished he would reborn again (as a good guy) so they could fight, a wish that came true in the Distant Finale.
- Rob Liefeld has referred to himself as "the most hated man in comics".
- The second volume collection of The Sandman opens with Destiny recapping the first arc. This involves Morpheus retrieving his lost helmet from a demon, and earning the enmity of Lucifer himself in the process.
"They say we are known by our enemies. If this is so, then Morpheus is to be highly regarded."
- In a story from the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe, Detective Casey stands by with a uniformed officer while Mickey and the Phantom Blot duke it out near them, Casey saying it's part of their ritual and remarking that "a man is defined by his enemies". The uniformed officer slyly responds "Is that why you don't have any?"
- White Chicks has a memorable line said by "Party Boy" Russ:
"Don't hate me 'cause you ain't me!"
- American Gangster has a scene where Frank Lucas, a Villain Protagonist, is advised by Domonic Cattano that he can be successful when he has enemies, but unsuccessful when he has friends.
- Cinderella: Lady Tremaine and her two daughters treated Cinderella like utter crap, but this stems from the fact that Cinderella was the center of attention of Lady Tremaine's late husband.
- This was discussed in Lords of Dogtown where Skip tells the boys how they have made enemies in the skating contest, but Montoya replies that it's good to have enemies.
- The Dark Knight: Gotham is a Wretched Hive. If the city's District Attorney doesn't have enemies (and a lot of them) then he's no doubt corrupt.
"C'mon, Harvey, you're Gotham's DA. You're not getting shot at you're not doing your job right."
- This is the reason why Jeremiah Johnson ends up with a sizeable list of mortal enemies from among the local native American tribes; it's a small relief that the other natives respect him precisely because of this.
- The Interview has Dave Skylark routinely boasting "they hate us 'cause they ain't us!" Kim Jong-un had a similar, less catchy, line, "they despise us, because they are not us." He's quick to adopt Dave's version after he hears it.
- In Easy A, Olive is (initially) pleased when other students notice her presence enough to jeer at her when she walks down the hall. In this example, it's less a sign of confidence than the exact opposite: she feels like she needs attention of some kind to give her life worth, even though she is happy in all other respects.
- This is the entire point of the "Haters Gonna Hate" meme. No matter how awesome you are, the purpose of a hater is, in fact, to hate you for being awesome.
Dita Von Teese: You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.
- Texts From Last Night:
Someone wrote that you're a whore in one of the bathroom stalls.
I didn't know I was popular enough to be hated. This is awesome.
- This quote in Gone To Texas: The Outlaw Josey Wales published by Forrest Carter:
"It is good that a man's enemies want him dead, for it proves he has lived a life of worth."
- Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack has the proverb "love your enemies, for they tell all your faults", which means that even though your enemies will cruelly tell you what you're failing at, this gives you the opportunity to improve yourself for the better, much to their displeasure.
- The Art Of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracián has this proverb which seems to also apply to the Right Way/Wrong Way Pair:
"A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends."
- Sam Vimes of Discworld's City Watch books takes great pride in having assassins constantly out for his head, because it means he's annoying people who ought to be annoyed. In fact he's almost offended when he eventually learns that the Assassin's Guild has stopped taking contracts on him.
- The Canim of the Codex Alera actually believe that a good enemy is better to have than a good friend and have multiple words for it, in much the same way Eskimos are said to have multiple words for snow. Most prominent of these is their word, gadara, which roughly translates to a "trusted enemy." Fathers and sons actually refer to one another by it.
- Any work written by Ayn Rand, particularly Atlas Shrugged, is designed with this trope in mind. The good guys are always some sort of genius, exceptional, or determined person. The bad guys are always those who hate their success.
- In Watership Down, the rabbits' ancestral hero is called "Prince with a Thousand Enemies". Since rabbits are prey animals, their mythology is based around this concept; rabbits are awesome because basically every predator around them wants them dead.
- The quote in Bennett Cerf's Shake Well Before Using: A New Collection of Impressions and Anecdotes Mostly Humorous in 1949 has some shades to this trope which also go along with the Be Yourself moral:
"Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
- This quote was then used by Bernard Baruch, who was the presidential advisor of former presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, in response to Igor Cassini's question in regards to the seating arraignments of dinner parties.
- The quote was also then used by Dr. Seuss in one of his books, but without the citation of the work.
- Harry Potter - A fledgling Voldemort is seen using a variation of this trope in a Pensieve Flashback to explain why Dumbledore has heard so many bad things about him; "Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies." While this statement may have some truth to it, Dumbledore does not believe for a second that it applies to Voldemort.
- Chappelle's Show: Played for Laughs in the skit "The Playa Hater's Ball" where people hate each other for being great... at doing very dirty, low-down things because they wish they were doing them. It makes a lot of sense considering this is one of the terms for "player hater".
- On Psych, Detective Lassiter takes great pride in the fact that there are a lot of criminals who might want to kill him.
- The pilot episode of Glee has aspects of this trope. There's Will encouraging Rachel that it comes with a price for showing her talents and there's Finn giving Puck this moving speech:
Finn: Don't you get it, man? We're all losers! Everyone in this school! Hell, everyone in this town! Out of all the kids who graduate, maybe half will go to college, and two will leave the state to do it! I'm not afraid to be called a loser because I can accept that's what I am.
- NCIS: Gibbs takes the fact that bad guys are trying to kill him as a sign that he's doing his job.
- NCIS: Los Angeles: In the episode "The Debt", Sam, G. Callen, and, of all people, Hetty use the "Haters Gonna Hate" quote.
- Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory states that the neighborhood kids hated him because they were jealous of his intelligence. Mary, his mother, doesn't think that was really the reason.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode "Checkpoint", Buffy points out that the reason she keeps being belittled by The Watcher's Council was because they wanted to keep her from realising that she had the power. She explains that Glory talked down on her and never bothered to finish her for the same reason: Buffy had The Key, and that gave her power over Glory who needed it.
- Invoked by Lex Luthor in the Grand Finale of Smallville.
"You know, I used to think it was our families that made us who we are? Then I hoped it was our friends. But if you look at history, the great men and women of the world have always been defined... by their enemies."
- A lot of rap songs, especially from the Glam Rap and Swag Rap subgenres, are all over this trope. There are too many to list, but common songs include "Hate Me Now" by Nas, "Motivation" by T.I., and "Hi Hater" by Maino.
- The first lines of Shinedown's "Bully" implies this:
- "People Hate Me" by Murderdolls.
- Eminem, who had used Winston Churchill's quote above the page, also said this:
"Behind every successful person lies a pack of haters."
- "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera.
- Ally Burnett's "Talk Of The Town".
- The point of Objectivism is to explain this trope. Ayn Rand professes that the elite and exceptional are what's good and right in the world, and true evil comes from attempts by the unexceptional to drag them down to their level. Rand opposed socialism in any form, and Objectivism was established to condemn it in any fashion.
- According to the WWE, the reason John Cena is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, star today is because not only for having a large fanbase, but also having a huge pack of haters. In this case, it doesn't really doesn't matter whether he's cheered or booed, what counts is that he has the biggest reaction out of everyone else.
- The Miz's promo during his run as the United States Champion has this Wham Line:
The Miz: "I'd rather you all hate me for who I am than love me for something I'm not!"
- He again boasts to his detractors in a promo in November 2010 after winning the WWE Championship from Randy Orton the previous week.
- Part of CM Punk's infamous "pipebomb" promo in June 2011 states that ever since he came to the WWE, he was strongly hated because Paul Heyman saw something in him that they don't want to admit. In short, he's a Paul Heyman guy.
- During his feud with Hulk Hogan in mid 2005, Shawn Michaels insults the Montreal crowd for hating him because he's everything they wish they could be. This is one of the guys who claim that he screwed Bret Hart.
- The Bible deals with this trope a lot, making this Older Than Feudalism.
- The reason why people have many enemies is because of them choosing to follow God and His laws. It's one of the reasons why Jesus wants His followers to love and pray for their enemies.
- The reason why Joseph was hated by his ten half-brothers was for three things: 1.) Being favored by Israel, thus being granted with the "coat of many colors". 2.) Sharing his dreams to his family, which said dreams were given by God. And 3.) Being the most loved son of his father, Jacob.
- David was resented by King Saul just for being the only one to defeat Goliath. Let's not forget that King Saul lost God's favor for disobeying His orders of killing the Amalekites.
- Job is a good example of a person who is doubted by others (his wife and his close friends) due to putting their trust in God during a Crisis of Faith.
- Stephen was hated and brutally stoned to death all because he was witnessing to others about Jesus, cementing himself as the first Christian martyr in history. For this matter, a Christian being persecuted for their faith in God is a sign of honor and rewards, especially in heaven.
- Let's not forget about Jesus Himself. He was hated, tortured, mocked, and was nailed to a cross for performing miracles that some thought was impossible to believe, preaching doctrines that the Pharisees strongly disagree with, angrily rebuking merchants for defiling His Father's house, and most importantly, being the Son Of God.
- The Beatitudes and Woes are a contrast that explicitly bring up this trope, pointing back to Israel's history and saying that the real prophets were always oppressed and scorned by the people, while the false prophets were always lauded and fawned over.
- Some scriptures assures that it is better for a believer to have enemies than to be an enemy of God. John 15:18-20 is an example of this:
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also."
- Real Madrid football player Cristiano Ronaldo was given huge heat for allegedly forcing the referee to send off Wayne Rooney in the World Cup 2006, although it was said that the two were close friends. Despite the hatred he received from the fans, Ronaldo states that their boos and insults is motivating him to train harder than ever. His quote in 2010 sums up this trope:
"Maybe they hate me because I'm too good."
- Legendary basketball player Isiah Thomas had experienced being hated along with the rest of the Pistons in the early 90's and states that it isn't such a bad thing. Here's this quote:
"Hate is not a bad thing in sports . . . That means that you're pretty good, you're touching people's emotions, a little controversial, and you're being talked about. That's what sports is all about. It's not about the good guy all the time. If they're chosen as the bad guys that means they're going to be on television a lot, they're going to be written about a lot, and they're going to win a lot of games."
- In Australian Rules Football, the Collingwood Magpies seem to take pride in how much fans of other teams hate them. One commercial had fans of other teams talking about how much they hate Collingwood, with a voiceover at the end saying, "Give 'em the bird. Sign up for Magpies membership today."
- Played with in BlazBlue. Hazama needs people to hate him to stay in the world.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, Loghain will remark that his late friend King Maric once told him that a man can be judged by the quality of his enemies. He wonders if that's more a compliment to you or to him.
- Mass Effect:
"They say you can judge a man by his enemies."
- This is an important belief of the Krogan. They love to fight, and the more challenging the enemy, the greater the glory. If you manage to impress a shaman, he'll tell you "May your foes be strong enough to keep you sharp!" If you don't, he'll give you a backhanded insult by saying "May your enemies give you exactly what you deserve."
- Urdnot Dagg (the third game's stand-in for a dead Grunt) specifically says he envies Shepard, the only organic considered a personal enemy by the entire Reaper fleet.
- During the "From Ashes" mission in the third game, Shepard can mention this to Ashley.
"Well, we've got the best."
- This is the very reason why most krogan have so much respect for Shepard, despite him/her being a human. Grunt decides to follow, and declares Undying Loyalty for him/her, immediately once Shepard describes the scale of the enemies that s/he's fighting against. Even Urdnot Wreav, who believes krogan to be the apex race and has almost nothing but contempt for just about everyone else, admits to having a grudging respect for Shepard based on the fact that s/he has made enemies with the Reapers.
- In The Bard's Tale, a barbarian chieftain tells the Bard that the locals "Loathe you! Despise you! They'll curse your name for a thousand years! Ahh, what I wouldn't give for fame like that...!"
- The official tagline for Batman: Arkham Origins was "Your Enemies Will Define You".
- Fallen London: Apparently, having people trying to kill you is something to be proud of, as you're "important enough to be worth murdering" in the game's own words. The person who gives you the quest is even jealous, having only gotten a few petty criminals after her. Then again, it might just be the tamer side of this trope combining with the fact Death Is Cheap and resulting in even the friendliest of rivals killing each other regularly.
- A game mechanic in Fallout 3. Having Good karma gets Mr. Tenpenny to send the mercs of Tallon Company after you, whereas with Bad karma, it's civilian militias trying to hunt you down. Either way, you get enemies for have any notable effect on the world, but No Points for Neutrality.
- Piper in Fallout 4 believes that a journalist shouldn't be considered a success until they've rattled the cages enough for someone to threaten their life. In that regard, she considers herself very successful.
- Dellyn in Goblins believes that how badly a person's enemies want to kill them decides whether or not they're worthy of being described as 'legendary'. Not that he'll let anyone he wants to kill be described as legendary.
- Stanley invokes this early on in Erfworld. Parson assumes they're "the bad guys" on the basis that almost everyone else in the setting is coming to wipe them out. Stanley retorts that everyone being out to get him proves he's doing something right.
- Among the superheroes in Basic Instructions, The Knifeketeer isn't considered badass because heroes are judged by their recurring villains, and all of his enemies are dead.
- One episode of the Spider-Man: The Animated Series featured an alternate universe version of Peter Parker who was an arrogant prick (who was also reckless and less skilled) because he didn't have his Hero with Bad Publicity status in that universe.
- In an episode of The Boondocks, we have Huey and Riley discussing this matter in "Shinin'":
Riley: I can't wait for niggas to start hatin! I can't wait!
Huey: So you judge your success by the amount of ill-will you generate from those around you?
Riley: Hey, if niggas ain't mad at you, then you doin' something wrong.
Huey: By that definition then, you have a very bright future.
- In The Venture Bros., Dr. Orpheus actually says he's jealous of Dr. Venture because he has archenemies, saying that having one is "romantic."
- Also played with in the Running Gag that the Monarch is insulted by the fact that Dr. Venture usually doesn't consider him much of a threat.
- Happens in Kim Possible. Even Drakken admits she was a worthy foe.
- In The Fairly OddParents! special "Channel Chasers", Timmy revealed that if he was never miserable with an evil and mean babysitter like Vicky, he would never had Cosmo and Wanda in the first place.
- It was also learned that in "Vicky Gets Fired", Timmy having Vicky as his babysitter was for the greater good of the world, since having her rule the city, country, or the world would have been worse.
- Teen Titans Go!:
Robin: Why doesn't anyone want to kill me?!
- In the episode "Starfire the Terrible", Robin is depressed that he has no archenemy. Having an archenemy is a status symbol because it means a villain's whole motivation, the goal of their Evil Plan, is taking you down. To make him feel better, Starfire becomes his archenemy.
- Part of the plot of the show's feature film, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, involves the Titans trying to get Slade to become their archenemy in order to earn some respect among the superhero community.
- An episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack sees the trope Played for Laughs when K'nuckles tells Flapjack that great adventurers have many enemies, so Flapjack sets out to make as many enemies as possible.
- Milo Murphy's Law: Believing Milo Murphy is intentionally trying to prevent him and Vinnie Dakota from fulfilling their assignment makes Balthazar Cavendish happy because he takes it as a sign their assignment isn't meaningless.
- DuckTales (2017): During a press conference, Mark Beaks unveils a a self-driving robot car he calls B.U.D.D.Y. Launchpad and Gyro both immediately voice their displeasure (Launchpad because such an invention would replace him and Gyro because he doesn't believe Beaks could actually create such an innovation). Beaks immediately gloats to the audience that since Scrooge McDuck's personal driver and chief inventor feel threatened by the robot, that means it's a great product.
- In the United States, John Hancock is best known to this day for signing the Declaration of Independence with an especially large signature. An apocryphal story claims he did it so King George of England could read it without spectacles and put twice as high a price on his head as any other who signed the document.