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Faustian Rebellion

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Just as the story of Lucifer is about betrayal, so can we expect the devil to be betrayed in turn.

The first component of this trope is that a Deal with the Devil must be made, an agreement between the protagonist and an evil figure.note  Jackass Genie interpretation of the contract is optional.

The second component of this trope is that the protagonist gains some sort of power from this agreement. Usually, these powers are part of the villain's evil theme.

The third part is rebelling against the evil figure. This may be a Heel–Face Turn but is much more likely to come from someone who was Good All Along and doesn't want to be a pawn in the devil's schemes.

Sub-Trope to Create Your Own Hero, Deal with the Devil, and Bad Powers, Good People. See also Hoist by His Own Petard, Phlebotinum Rebel, and Dark Is Not Evil. A subversion of Evil Is Not a Toy. Compare Pro-Human Transhuman and Sheep in Wolf's Clothing. Contrast The Punishment (where the powers were gained as a result of torture/curse). Is often done by the Anti Anti Christ.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • My-HiME. The HiME eventually destroy the HiME Star using the powers it bestowed upon them in the first place. After that, the powers vanish.
  • In Naruto, Orochimaru puts a curse on Sasuke during the Chunin exam. Sasuke grows more powerful from the curse, and eventually leaves in order to join Orochimaru to become more powerful. Sasuke finally betrays Orochimaru many years later. Instead of killing him, Sasuke absorbs Orochimaru, becoming even more powerful.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica have the Incubators, which are a race of creatures (of which we only see one, calling itself Kyubey) so amoral that they are just as dangerous as if they were passively malicious. They offer the ability to grant one wish to young girls, one wish that rewrites the laws of reality. But in payment, those girls must become Magical Girls and fight evil witches (who are just magical girls that have become "impure" from either using up too much magic or going over the Despair Event Horizon, the latter being an inevitability due to the flawed nature of each girl's wish).
    • Homura Akemi is a magical girl Kyubey has given the special power of time travel. She's trying to stop the Kyubey from granting Madoka a wish. Using her special power multiple times causes the titular character to have an excess of "magical girl power". Kyubey says she could cause a very powerful wish to resolve because of this energy. Homura Akemi hates hearing that, and outright kills several of Kyubey's clones in her efforts to prevent Madoka's transformation.
    • Madoka gets no special information about this rebellion by Homura, but eventually uses her contract to eliminate the dangers posed by the Incubators by wishing to erase every single witch (past, present, and future) from existence, thereby keeping all Magical Girls from becoming witches themselves. Reality becomes a bit unstable and unfortunately, her wish doesn't come without a price.
    • For those people who know German and bother to translate the runes in the series, the series is a magical girl reinterpretation of Faust, with several references thrown in.
    • And as for, well, Rebellion, this trope gets twisted around itself. The Incubators attempt to take down the inconvenient new god of goodness, using Homura as an elaborate trap; they are Out-Gambitted and defeated. But in order to stop them permanently—and because of her overprotectiveness towards Madoka—Homura decides to become another Satanic Archetype, ruling over a new universe with Madoka reverted to a normal human and the Incubators completely powerless. Whether there will be yet another rebellion against her remains to be seen.
    • The spin-off series Puella Magi Tart Magica has Isabeau de Bavarière attempt this by making a wish to gain the powers of an Incubator, in part to advance their ambitions and in part to avoid the eventual end of becoming a witch. However, their attempt didn't work as Incubators cannot purify Soul Gems, and Isabeau eventually turned into a witch.
    • The mobile game Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story and its anime adaptation features the Wings of the Magius, whose goal is this. Their aim is to destroy the witch system by making a witch that can directly convert emotion into energy for the universe. This plan would discount the Incubator and the magical girl contract as the middleman from the equation of the energy cycle, rendering the system unnecessary. Of course, this plan is still powered by humongous amount of despair, brought by the Walpurgisnacht's destruction. The way this ends differs between the anime and the game; in the game, while the Magius are defeated, the Automatic Purification System is preserved, and subsequent stories feature protagonists and former Magius members working together to improve and expand the system while others seek to take it for themselves or use it for their own gains, while the anime version falls apart, leaving the world as it always was.
  • In the battle vs Galaxia in the Stars season of the Sailor Moon anime, Neptune and Uranus sell out to Galaxia, turn on Pluto and Saturn and take their star seeds...then reveal their true intention by turning the star seed stealing bracelets on Galaxia. To their surprise, it doesn't work, because Galaxia had no star seed, and the two are killed shortly after.
  • Slayers has "Black Magic" (as well as White Magic), which comes from the local equivalent of Satan and his subordinates. It is explicitly noted and shown that black magic does not work against the ones who give the powers. So instead, Lina calls upon more powerful monsters in order to kill whatever she's facing. This is a problem because the ultimate Black Magic spell has a nonzero chance of accidentally and irrevocably releasing that monster and destroying the world. Yes, she casts it...

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in Earth X, where Mephisto's goal is to create as many alternate universes as possible so that the world will never entirely end and he will never face divine judgment. Mephisto deliberately creates as many heroes by such bargains as possible (certain none of them will ever be powerful enough to truly defeat him) as well as many other "devils" to rule their own versions of hell. The result is a multiverse in constant chaos, with people continually travelling back in time in hopes of changing the past.
  • The Silver Surfer from Fantastic Four. In the comics, the Surfer just refused to work for Galactus, and as punishment, was condemned to never return to his homeworld and girlfriend ever again (he and the FF eventually figure a way to get him off Earth and Surfer does Galactus a favor big enough to fully release him). In the movie... well, he seemed to be fully capable of killing his almighty master at the cost of his own life or maybe not.
  • Before Spawn there was Ghost Rider (though the premise changes later). Most Marvel heroes Mephisto decides to mess with as well... With one unfortunate exception.
  • In the Atlas/Seaboard comic Grim Ghost the titular character is given enhanced powers by Satan for the purpose of fighting a demon plotting against Satan on Earth. The Ghost immediately asks Satan how he knows the Ghost won't use these powers against Satan. Satan tells him that the Ghost's existence stems directly from Satan; if Satan is destroyed, so is the Ghost. The Ghost later reveals this to the renegade demon, pointing out that if Satan took this precaution with a lesser servant like the Ghost it must be true of him as well. The demon suicides out of despair.
  • Constantine in Hellblazer has played around with variations of this at times.
  • The Saint of Killers in Preacher. Initially being obedient to God, he hesitates in killing the protagonist when he learns that Jesse has information regarding the deaths of his wife and child, and eventually turns on God with the same guns he was given.
    • Though at least in this case God is pretty much an egomaniac who wants to see how much he can get away with and still make people love/obey him.
    • Don't forget that the very first thing he does with those guns is turn them on the Devil and the Angel of Death, right after they give them to him.
  • Spawn:
    • The typical story of Spawn is now about how he fights the Devil's forces on Earth, after going rogue and not using his powers to fulfill his assignments.
    • Which is really too bad, because in its original form it was a Defied Trope. Spawn was sent back to Earth with a finite amount of power. In a demoralizing lecture, the devil explains quite coldly how he does not care what Spawn does with his powers — if he uses them to do evil, great, Hell's cause is advanced on Earth. If he uses them to do good, great, he's sending evil souls down to Hell to swell the devil's army and thus hastening the final war against Heaven. If he refuses to do anything with them, great, he'll eventually turn cold and emotionless if not outright insane from the emotional stress of never getting involved with anything, the powers will drain away anyway (although much more slowly), and he'll return to Hell with a mindset much more befitting the general the devil wants him to be. Now that's a devil who knows how to bargain. Even the loophole of not killing while doing good seems thought of, as that way, Spawn is setting a positive example of Faustian bargains.
  • Wonder Woman (2006): Stalker is pretending to be trying to rebel against D'grth, and in the end actually does betray the demon once he realizes his soul cannot be recovered.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Decks Fall Everyone Dies, there is an example with monetary power instead of superpowers. The duelists get funding for their club/theater from Duke Devlin. He orders the players to promote dice games as a way of running the country (over card games). The players, most of whom are duelists, don't agree with this and plan to revolt. Duke doesn't seem to be able to take the money back after signing their contract.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Angel on My Shoulder, Paul Muni plays a gangster who is murdered by his own men. He dies and goes to Hell, where the Devil (Claude Rains) offers Muni a chance to go back to Earth, occupying the stolen body of an honest judge (also played by Muni) providing Muni does the Devil's work while wearing the judge's body and identity. In this second chance at life, Muni repents his evil ways and decides to go straight. He defies the Devil by announcing that he intends to live an honest life this second time so that when he dies in this second body he'll go to Heaven. But of course the Devil gets the last word: since Muni is occupying a body he stole from someone else, he continues to commit evil so long as he wears it: in order to do good, Muni must accept that he's had his one chance at life by giving up the stolen body and returning to Hell. He does this.
  • The protagonist in the remake of Bedazzled (2000) does this accidentally. By making the "truly selfless wish" for Allison to have a happy life, his contract with the devil is voided, he gets to keep his soul, and he seems to end up dating a girl who is Allison's long-lost twin sister.
  • The Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic Four (2005) movie somehow has enough power to defeat Galactus with a Heroic Sacrifice, even though Galactus gave him his power. And The Stinger reveals he didn't even die.
  • Faust: Love of the Damned: This is the premise of the movie, in which the Faustian character John Jaspers uses his powers to become a superhero, and, in typical B-movie violence, takes on the hordes of Hell. Though to his credit, Mephistopheles (known here as "M") is at least smart enough to make it impossible for Jaspers to harm him directly until he releases him from his contract.
  • Ghost Rider (2007): The Devil offers to remove the power from Blaze, but at no point does he say that he can reclaim the Ghost Rider power against the wielder's will. (And in fact, if he could, Carter Slade's rebellion wouldn't have been possible, to begin with.) For the record, he can't claim Johnny’s soul for refusal to surrender the curse either, as he had specifically contracted that if Johnny defeated Blackheart, his soul would be freed, with no other conditions mentioned.
  • In John Carter, the first thing that Sab Than does when he gets the power of the Ninth Ray is try and use it on the Therns. They effortlessly deflect it and knock him on his ass, with the collective expression of, "Do you think we're stupid?"
  • The film version of Little Shop of Horrors, as opposed to the stage version, which is a straight Deal with the Devil story. The director's cut, which came out about 25 years after the original movie, restraightens the story and includes the (quite spectacular) bad ending.
  • The entire plot (such as it is) of the Rudy Ray Moore blaxploitation epic Petey Wheatstraw The Devils Son In Law. After he is gunned down, Petey is allowed to return to life with Crazy Satan Powers if he marries the devil's hideous daughter. Petey agrees, and almost immediately begins scheming to use his powers to get out of the arrangement. Hilarity ensues. Ultimately, the devil is triumphant.

  • The Beginning After the End: It is eventually revealed that the Asuras, the deities responsible for empowering the inhabitants of Dicathen and Alacrya with the gift of magic in the midst of their Divine Conflict, are in fact Jerkass Gods who could not care for the lives of the lessers whom they are using as proxies for their war. As such, from Volume 8 onward, the conflict shifts as Arthur attempts to rally the inhabitants of both continents to stand up against the Asuras and put an end to their tyranny.
    • In the distant past, Kezess, the ruler of the Asuras, bestowed upon the royal families of Dicathen a set of Artifacts of Power that they were to use to empower their chosen servants, who would become the first Lances. In turn, these first Lances would teach others their art, thus giving rise to mages on Dicathen. Upon Arthur returning from Alacrya and saving the Dicathian resistance from an attempted purge that Kezess orchestrated, he begins to rally the populace not only to retake their homeland but to stand up against the Asuras. He even uses his newfound knowledge to break the Power Limiters that Kezess placed upon the Lances' artifacts to prevent them from becoming powerful enough to rebel against him.
    • On the other hand, Agrona and the Vritra Clan, upon being exiled from Epheotus by Kezess, found themselves confined to the continent of Alacrya. In order to exact their revenge, they uplifted the populace of that continent, interbreeding with and experimenting upon them to create a civilization of Vritra-blooded lessers for use as Cannon Fodder for their invasion of Epheotus. In spite of the Vritra having ruled over Alacrya for millennia to the point that the populace worships them as gods, there are a few who realize the Vritra have no regard for the lives of their subjects. The most notable of which is the Scythe Seris, who turns out to be Good All Along as she sees Agrona and his intentions for what they really are and so instigates a revolt against him. Later on, Nico, another of the Scythes whom Agrona reincarnated and promised him everything that he desired, covertly turns against his master when he realizes he had been manipulating him.
  • In The Dresden Files:
    • By White Night the Shadow of Lasciel, the Fallen in Harry's head for the past four years or so is shown by Harry if he could be swayed to the dark side, then as she is just as malleable as his own mind, the Shadow can be turned good. Harry has endured her for so long, who's to say she cannot be changed even more? This breaking in her self-confidence allows her to rethink her existence, knowing that if Harry would take up the coin one of two things would happen. Either Lasciel Proper would absorb her back into her being or because she was so corrupted by this mortal she would destroy the Shadow. Either way was a death sentence. The nail to drive this home was Harry Naming her Lash, giving her a definite and unique identity from Lasciel. Because of this, and her growing feelings for Harry, she did rebel and planned on helping Harry from then on without getting him to call on the Coin. Sadly, the first act she did with this new freedom was choose to take a psychic bullet that would have killed Harry.
    • A few words of wisdom from Archangel Uriel help Harry Dresden realize that, even as the new Winter Knight, Mab has no true control over him because he has free will. It's up to him how or even if he obeys Mab's orders. Which is just what she wants.
  • In the epilogue of the first Magical Girl Raising Project novel, Snow White and Ripple have taken it upon themselves to wipe out any of Fav's remaining followers after the hell the little guy put them through.
  • "That Hell-Bound Train" is a fantasy short story by Robert Bloch from 1958 that won the Hugo Award in 1959. Martin makes a Deal with the Devil that he would be able to stop time for himself whenever he wanted. In other words, once he found a point in his life he enjoyed, that happy moment would last forever for him. He found out that The Devil had tricked him, others have tried this wish, but they never found the perfect moment, always waiting for something better, until they died. Martin dies and has to ride the Hell-Bound Train with the Devil to Hell. At that point, knowing Hell awaits and enjoying the company of minor sinners (gambling, sex, etc.) all having their last and greatest time, Martin stops time on the train, trapping everyone there (including the Devil) forever.
  • Subverted in Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, when Pryrates uses the power the Storm King gave him in an attempt to bind the Storm King to his will. Of course, Pryrates is far from a good guy, and the power he gained is insufficient. A Karmic Death results.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Gimmicks Three": Isidore Welby had just gotten a medical discharge from the military when he was approached by another recruiter. The demonic Shapur offered him ten years of supernaturally guided life, in exchange for taking a test that would turn him into a demon if he passed. If he failed, Welby would become another soul damned to hell. Unexpectedly, Welby uses his powers to find a loophole in the contract and escapes with no consequences.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Mexican superhero comedy El Chapulín Colorado, one episode has the hero narrating the story of Faustus. In this version, Faustus regains his youth from a deal with the Devil, who also throws in a magic wand in the bargain. When the Devil comes to claim Faustus' soul, Faustus asks to be shown the contract. When The Devil produces it, Faustus uses the wand to make it disappear. The Devil cried like a little girl afterwards.
  • Sam on Reaper is trying to find a way out of the Deal with the Devil his parents made that ended up ensnaring him to serve as Hell's bounty hunter. However, when a solid opportunity comes along, he gives it up to aid another, noting that Satan would probably find another way to get him back on Hell's roster. Furthermore, several demons have considered knocking over Satan and setting up a new rule in Hell. It hasn't exactly worked out well for most of them...
  • Subverted in Supernatural. An agent of Lucifer trains Sam in mystical powers that allow him to exorcise and even destroy demons with his mind. Seems a little stupid of Lucifer, right? Except that there are a number of seals keeping Lucifer bound in Hell, and the final one is the archdemon Lilith... and Sam ends up using his power to kill Lilith, unwittingly releasing Lucifer. Which was the plan all along. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Incredibly common among the PCs in Deadlands. Heroic Hucksters tend to be more common than villainous ones, thanks in no small part to the fact that they don't so much deal with devils as gamble with them for power. Mad Science (which comes from the same source as Huckster Magic) is behind the creation of the Holy Wheel Gun. But Hucksters and Mad Scientists pale in comparison to the The Harrowed who have their own problems to deal with.
    • Mad Scientists are somewhat of a subversion, though. Once one of them comes up with the idea of splitting the Ghost Rock Atom (basically creating magical nukes capable of reducing the world to slag), the Demons giving them their creativity/power immediately stop giving any Mad Scientist the ability to make anything except these Nukes. Sort of a "Let's make all their wild plans come true until one comes up with something suitably destructive, then we'll give it (and nothing else) to everyone."
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 and 4th edition, this is pretty much expected of any Warlock, especially those who made a very literal Deal with the Devil. A sample Infernal Pact is, in fact, actually an ancient warlock who tried to pull this trope off but failed, and now teaches other humans the arts of infernal magic in hopes that one of them will become skilled enough to come and set him loose. 5E adds fewer fiendish pact options so betrayals are less expected.
  • Perfectly possible for Abyssals and Infernals in Exalted; however, there are backdoor penalties for defying the will of their undead/demonic masters. Abyssals get Resonance, which builds up as they adopt the trappings of life; if it's not bled off, it can result in an explosion of necrotic energy that basically kills everything the Abyssal holds dear. Likewise, the Infernals get Torment, which allows their master to hijack them if it builds up too much; the only way to bleed it off is to act like a supervillain. Seriously; this is what happens when the Ebon Dragon has a hand in the creative process.
    • Abyssals and Infernals have received much more dangerous (to their masters) ways to rebel, thanks to later updates. Abyssals are able to completely defy their masters, Resonance be damned, if they act to protect or support their Lunar mates. And Infernals... well, it's called the Heresy charm set, the first one allows the Infernal to eat their master alive (it's not called "Swallowing the Scorpion" for nothing), and once this gets around, the Ebon Dragon is going to be beating his head against the wall for a week.
    • More broadly, the creation of Exalts in the first place was essentially the gods using this trope to their advantage. They specifically designed Exaltation to be something they couldn't take back because they needed the Exalted to fight the Primordials and the Primordials could've just ordered the gods to remove the powers of the Exalted.
  • Liliana Vess in Magic: The Gathering, who made a deal with four archdemons from throughout the multiverse for immortality. Then killed them all. For extra hilarity, she killed the first archdemon with the very artifact (the Chain Veil) that he ordered her to bring to him. It apparently never occurred to the demon that Liliana might pull a stunt like this, or that the Veil would give her the power to pull it off. Turns out it was all a massive gambit by Nicol Bolas, who brokered the deal. With the demons dead, the contract defaults to him. Serve or die.
  • In Sorcerer (2001), a sorcerer can attempt to Banish the demon they summoned themselves, but the demon will oppose it with everything it has (and it doesn't actually break their Binding by itself). This trope is also inverted in that demons can rebel against their summoners, too, the difference being that a rebelling demon gets a chance to offer its services to another sorcerer (rather than being Banished from the material world outright).

  • Faust: Second Part of the Tragedy, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, is the first prominent story about the Faust legend to do this, making it a sort of Trope Codifier. Faust's contract specifies that he will die and Mephistopheles will claim his soul the moment he experiences perfect contentment. At the end of his life, a blind and wealthy lord, he has a Heel–Face Turn (possibly wanting to atone for his sins) and has Mephistopheles draft plans to improve his realm. Faust hears digging (actually demons digging his grave) and imagines it's the beginning of his project, and is perfectly content at the thought of how his subjects will benefit and prosper. He drops dead and Mephistopheles tries to claim his soul, but a chorus of angels appear and take his soul to Heaven, thanks to both divine intervention and the intercession of his late lover Gretchen. This was because his final acts and perfect contentment were not due to selfish hedonism, but selfless altruism.

    Video Games 
  • Zigzagged in Bayonetta 2. The titular character is a witch who made a Deal with the Devil with a demon named Madama Butterfly in exchange for demonic powers and command over the forces of Inferno. Due to events in the the first game, several demons, even a few who has served her before, turn against her, forcing her to kill them in self-defense. However, some other demons are still loyal to her, including Madama Butterfly herself.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, you can buy powerful upgrades from the Devil Room at the cost of your hearts. When you get far enough in the game to actually fight the Satan, these upgrades make killing him that much easier (although taking them does make it harder to reach Mega Satan due to the pieces of the key to his chamber residing in Angel Rooms).
  • Cuphead starts with the boys indebted to the Devil after losing a game of craps; he lets them roam free on the condition that they collect the Soul Contracts of all his other debtors. If the boys refuse to hand them over, Old Scratch decides to scratch them out; cue the final boss battle.
  • Darkest Dungeon heavily implies this is the case with the Occultist. During the fight with the Final Boss, the Occultist's response to being chosen as a target for "Come Unto Your Maker" ("Finally, the face of my tormentor! Come, then.") implies that one of the eldritch entities the Occultist draws his power from is the Heart of Darkness itself.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Supplementary material reveals that The Emperor of Final Fantasy II sold his soul to the Devil for his demonic army. After his death, the Emperor returns as the Emperor of Hell. The remake even shows that upon his death, the Emperor split his soul in two, and was able to conquer both Hell and Heaven, making him the lord of the entire afterlife.
    • In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning is chosen by the deity Bhunivelze to become the "Saviour" to guide the souls of humans so that they can be reborn in the new world that Bhunivelze is creating after The End of the World as We Know It. This being Final Fantasy XIII, it is later revealed that God Is Evil, so Lightning must fight against Bhunivelze, using the very powers he has bestowed upon her.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward has a villainous example in Archbishop Thordan, who learns the secrets of Primal summoning from the Ascians, fully intending to betray them once he achieves his own goals. He actually succeeds in this, killing your longtime nemesis Lahabrea in the process and becoming the main campaign's final boss.
  • Ares grants Kratos his powers in God of War. Kratos stays thoroughly evil throughout, but Ares manages to piss him off enough that he resolves to murder Ares.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: Hades becomes increasingly frustrated in his attempts to defeat Hercules since the hero kills every opponent the Lord of the Dead throws at him. At Pete's suggestion that he "send somebody already dead and save him the trouble," Hades decides to summon Auron, offering to let him out if he kills Hercules. Auron declines and insults him, telling him "This is my story, and you're not part of it." Hades, in a rage, attacks him just as Sora comes in, and the group escapes, later foiling Hades's next attempt at Hercules's life. Also doubly subverted in that later, during your second visit to Olympus Colosseum, Hades is able to exert power over Auron by stealing his free will and forcing him to fight Hercules without mercy. After several more events happen, Sora and the group steal back Auron's will (which was in the form of a small statue of him) and break Hades' control over him.
  • Raziel in the Legacy of Kain series.
    • Brought back from the dead (for the second time) as a wraith by the Elder God in the first game of the Soul Reaver subseries, he starts showing off some true Rage Against the Heavens by the second game, after he learns what he used to be (a Sarafan general, leader of the army that killed nearly every vampire in the land of Nosgoth in genocide), the Elder's true nature (a parasite who feeds on the souls of the dead, and who despises vampires because he cannot feed on their undying souls) and Kain's true motives (to bring the world of Nosgoth back to vampire rule, as it originally was).
    • Kain's own transition to a vampire in the first game was actually intended to end this way, since the necromancer brings him back to take his vengeance for his murder, when the necromancer himself had arranged it.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Cynder does this to some degree. Once Spyro sets her free from Malefor's spell, she retains enough of his darkness to use four elements no other dragon can; Shadow, Poison, Wind, and Fear. How does she use these powers? Why, to fight Malefor's evil army and help Spyro kick his butt of course! Though said darkness does let him take over her mind to some degree but he has to drive her over the Despair Event Horizon first and The Power of Love is an effective antidote.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • The Cerberus head honcho Illusive Man resurrects the KIA Commander Shepard (in the course of "Project Lazarus", no less) in return for the latter's help in fighting back the Collectors. Since the Collectors are a common enemy, even Paragon Shepard cooperates with Cerberus willingly (although their methods differ), but the actual Faustian Rebellion can come at the end of the game, when Shepard decides whether to destroy the Collector base for good (Paragon choice) or let Cerberus reverse-engineer it, potentially leaving a backdoor for the Reapers.
    • Miranda also performs one if she's taken along during the final leg of the Suicide Mission. She informs the Illusive Man that she's not going to stop Shepard from destroying the Collector Base, this is her resignation from Cerberus; and promptly hangs up when he begins furious ranting. For extra irony, during Project Lazarus she wanted to install a Mind Control chip in Shepard's brain to make him/her subservient to Cerberus only for the Illusive Man to veto her due to the aforementioned reasons.
    • The third game reveals that Cerberus actually did predict that this could happen and placed mechanisms on the Normandy that would allow them to take control of it remotely if Shepard tried to escape. Unfortunately for them, they didn't predict that someone would unshackle EDI, which enabled her to deactivate those mechanisms and retaliate against Cerberus's attempt to use them by flooding their database with seven zettabytes of pornography.
  • Zig-zagged in all kinds of ways with Oswald in Odin Sphere. His adopted father Melvin offered him as a baby to Queen Odette. She granted his Psypher sword dark power without equal. However, this power rots his body and dooms him to become Odette's consort upon his own death. When Oswald meets his true "master", he discovers that his hellish power cannot harm its master. However, it IS the only thing that can hurt King Gallon, whom Odette preserved in endless undeath.
  • Persona 4: In the true ending, Big Bad Izanami is defeated by the protagonist, after she gave him his powers at the beginning of the game.
  • Persona 5: Invoked. Party member Morgana, along with Big Goods Lavenza and Igor, spend the entire game trying to help the Protagonist use his newfound powers to destroy the very Big Bad that empowered him with Persona abilities and manipulated him to remove potential threats to their Evil Plan.
  • Pony Island: You use the equine Player Character from the games Lucifer makes to destroy Lucifer himself.
  • On the Bonds route of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Heroic Mime Nanashi fights the god he made a contract with at the start of the game. However, since that contract was what brought him back to life in the first place, he spends the first round of the fight completely drained of power as his life ebbs away.
  • Although not a Deal with the Devil per say, Specter Knight's betrayal of the Enchantress in Shovel Knight definitely counts. To recap, she tried to stop him from retrieving a powerful artifact and their fight led to his best friend's death, forced him to accept a terrible deal, killed him, mocked him, and used The Corruption on his best friend's son. When he gets fed up with her, he beats her and her most powerful servant to a pulp. Sadly, he had to serve her forever in exchange for purifying his late companion´s corrupted son.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time has a metaphorical case involving Le Paradox's deal with Penelope... with the twist that it's Penelope who is the devil figure. She gave Le Paradox the means to Time Travel, after all, and has full plans on conquering the planet by killing him and taking his empire after he erases the Cooper family (since she really, really hates Sly) from history. Naturally, Le Paradox abandons Penelope in Medieval England with no possibility of returning to the present when she acquires Galleth's cane, leaving her at the mercy of the last person she duped.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, it's revealed that Dr. Gerald Robotnik made a Deal with the Devil with the alien Evil Overlord Black Doom, using his blood to create Shadow as part of his immortality research in exchange for giving him the Chaos Emeralds in 50 years. When he realized that the Black Arms were plotting to destroy mankind, he raised Shadow to defend Earth and created the Eclipse Cannon for that purpose.
    • Averted in Sonic Unleashed: Sonic's Werehog form is the result of Sonic inadvertently absorbing some of Dark Gaia's essence, and Sonic spends most of the game using the form to beat up Dark Gaia's minions. Before he gets a chance to fight the big guy, however, it takes back the essence from Sonic, robbing him of the Werehog form.
  • Judas in Tales of Destiny 2 was brought back to life by Elraine and told he would be rewritten as a hero if he assisted her in reviving Fortuna. Possibly because Barbatos was so quick to agree to the same deal, she didn't seem to have any kind of failsafe for when he said no, and he spends the game trying to stop her instead.
  • In Undead Knights, Fatima made a deal with the Beast, but broke free of his control (leaving her with the awesome supernatural powers) by isolating the Beast's blood within her in a stone. After the Bloods kill her in the final battle, she claims that the Beast was pulling their strings the entire time. Her last act before dying is to give the stone to the Bloods so they can free themselves from the Beast as she did. The Bloods do so, though the Beast angrily declares that they are still damned after everything they have done throughout the game and he's keeping a spot warm for them in hell.
  • In The Witcher 3, Geralt has the option of doing this on someone else's behalf in the Hearts of Stone expansion. Geralt is forced to make a Leonine Contract with the Satanic Archetype Gaunter O'Dimm, and in exchange has to help him fulfill the terms of a contract he made with another client, a noble named Olgierd von Everec. At the end of the DLC if you've fulfilled the right requirements you have the option to gamble for both your souls at the risk of being Dragged Off to Hell with von Everec.
  • The Knights of the Ebon Blade in World of Warcraft certainly qualify. After being sent on a suicide run to draw out Tirion Fordring, head of the Argent Dawn (soon to be Argent Crusade), they turn on Arthas and decide to join the fight against the Scourge. It doesn't seem that there's any explanation why Arthas doesn't at some point just take back the spell or magic he used to bring them back... or failing that just get rid of the Death Knight powers that he gave them in the first place.
    • Similarly, what Warlocks mostly do is make the Burning Legion and its fel energy turn on itself. In fact, a big part of warlock PCs lore is that they are pretty much always an example of Bad Powers, Good People, or else they would have gone rogue.

    Visual Novels 
  • Inverted in Sucker for Love: Date To Die For with Rohk'zan's cult. She claims she initially granted her cultists benevolent gifts of fertility, health, and abundance, but they eventually trapped her in the form of Sacramen-Cho's woods and started using her power for evil against her will.

  • Inverted in Angel Down with Ward, who rebels against the angel that granted their powers by becoming a Dark Shepherd rather than solely using their abilities for Demon Slaying.
  • A subversion occurs in Dominic Deegan with Tim the infernomancer. He shows up with powers enough to rip through the legions of Hell... only for us to discover that he had the balls to steal these from his master.
    • His master then notes that he couldn't take the power (a set of gauntlets) back even if he wanted to; the gauntlets had somehow bonded to Tim. However, he hides this fact, making Tim believe he could take back the power at any time, but offering to let him keep them if he kills their mutual enemies, the Deegan family. Dominic figures the truth out and tells Tim, hoping he'll stop his highly-motivated killing spree. Instead, Tim simply decides that now he's free to take his time.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court Coyote has the ability to grant other people his powers, losing that ability while they have them. There's no indication he can't take the power back, but when he grants Ysengrin his strength, Ysengrin immediately tears his throat out before he has a chance to react then devours his body, taking the rest of his powers. May not stick, of course.
  • In Panthera, after it's revealed that Ari is actually Oosterhuis, Panthera wastes no time in transforming and getting ready to kick ass.
  • Daily Grind: Tharka used to be the Devil Bunny, a genetically augmented hitman directly working for the Devil himself, until the Insectoid Revolution (think World War II as a Bug War) somehow broke his faith. He stayed on Scratch's payroll but stopped worshiping him out of contempt, and just before he decided to commit suicide, he found true love. Now he spends the 2000s rewriting the laws of the universe to slow down on the Satan worship.

    Web Originals 
  • Chuck Norris Facts: Chuck Norris agreed to trade his soul to the Devil in exchange for his incredible martial arts abilities and rugged good looks. As soon as the exchange was completed, Norris used his newfound powers to kick the Devil's ass and retake his soul. The Devil, appreciating the irony, became friends with Norris. They now play poker in Hell every second Wednesday.
  • In Sailor Nothing, Himei and all of the Sailors were given their extremely effective Yamiko-killing powers by a rebel Yamiko general... who was easily dispatched via the same powers when he rejoined the Yamiko. Of course, being the story it is, there are more reasons too.
  • Critical Role sees this happen in both campaigns:
    • Percy refuses to kill his sister when her name appears on the List, forcing Orthax to physically manifest, before the party ultimately defeats him.
    • After months of nightmares and threats of being Brought Down to Normal, Fjord finally confronts his patron by threatening to throw his pact blade into lava. He ultimately goes through with it, and ends up becoming a paladin of the Wildmother.

    Western Animation 
  • Teen Titans:
    • Slade taught Terra to control her powers in exchange for becoming his apprentice. When she tries to bail, Slade reveals the battle suit he gave her lets him control her directly—which motivates Terra to flat-out murder Slade when she overpowers it.
    • Subverted when the demon lord Trigon decides not to honor the deal he made with Slade. Slade angrily attacks him, only for Trigon to laugh and say, "I granted you these powers and I can take them away!" He absorbs the powers out of Slade and makes him disappear. Eventually it turns out Slade anticipated this treachery and then makes an Enemy Mine with the Titans to escape Trigon's control and come fully Back from the Dead, though he still doesn't recover the powers.
  • The Transformers:
    • In the episode "Ghost In The Machine", Starscream's ghost makes a deal with Unicron's disembodied head. Starscream will help repair Unicron's body and Unicron will bring him back to life. At first, Starscream makes the repairs by taking over host bodies, but they get destroyed or lost over the course of the episode. Eventually, Starscream convinces Unicron that bringing him back to life (thus making him solid) is the only way to complete the repairs. Unicron does it and orders him to complete the repairs, but Starscream says, "Do it yourself!" and escapes, with Unicron powerless to stop him.
    • Megatron, after becoming Galvatron tried something like this earlier. After stealing the Matrix-like Unicron ordered him to, he then decided to turn on Unicron and destroy him with the Matrix's power. It didn't work out exactly how Galvatron would have liked.
  • The Sovereign in The Venture Bros. was revealed to have made a Deal with the Devil with the mysterious group known as "The Investors" in order to become the leader of the Guild of Calamitous Intent. Most who make deals with them don't live very long, and as a result the season 6 premiere revolved around his attempts to get out of his end of the deal by killing them, which involved killing off the rest of the Council.
    Dr. Mrs. The Monarch: So you signed a Deal with the Devil and now you want to welch on it.
    The Sovereign: Right? The head of a global evil organization is a bad man. Who'd have guessed? Total shocker.
  • The Owl House: In the first and second season finales, Luz makes a deal with Belos in order to ensure the safety of her loved ones, only to trick him at the last second.
    • Season 1: She hands over the portal door in exchange for Eda, King, and Lilith being spared, only to blow it up with fire glyphs while she's on her way up to the petrification platform. Of course, he has the ability to make major repairs, but it bought her time before the Day of Unity.
    • Season 2: She notes to Belos that the human world has changed and he'll need a guide to prove he's not talking nonsense; she offers to fill that role as long as he spares her friends, then brands him with his own sigil glove to put him at the mercy of his own draining spell.

Alternative Title(s): Faustian Rebel