He's the one who got lucky, got his cape around Miss Lois Lane
I can't believe my dilemma is real
I'm competing with the Man of Steel."
Envy and jealousy are among the most powerful motivations in both fiction and Real Life. The Bible condemns it in many places, most famously in the Ten Commandments, and it's also one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Envy is the desire for some object, item or abstract notion (such as love or power), which can lead to hatred of the possessor(s) of said object. If they cannot secure the object for themselves, the envious party may go so far as to harm or… eliminate the possessor. If they're egocentric enough, they may even destroy/kill the object. The Envious party may not have coveted the object at all until they saw another person having or enjoying it.
Similar to but distinct from envy is jealousy, which applies much more to relationships. Jealousy is the fear by the possessing party of losing the object. For those in a relationship, this means fear of being supplanted in the object's heart by someone (or even something else). To be precise, envy is the desire for something one does not have whereas jealousy is the fear of losing that something. Both result in similar behaviour.
Envious and jealous characters on the losing side of a Love Triangle will often fall into the trap of assuming things about their competitor — or "competitor". Such characters are seldom portrayed positively — most are villains — and as such they tend to assume some rather bad things about their rivals. Expect to see some element of What Does She See in Him? on their parts. Furthermore, they may slander their rivals with accusations of unsavoury actions and/or attribute base motives (such as pride) to their actions. Whether they actually believe there is a fundamental truth to such slander — or have even been manipulated by a third party — plays a big part in determining audience sympathy for them.
This is the motivation behind the bad kind of Dead Person Impersonation. A character may attempt to exploit this with Operation: Jealousy. See also You're Just Jealous. Feet of Clay or Shrouded in Myth may prove that the envy was unmerited — often to the glee of the envious. On the other hand, a story about the Lonely Rich Kid or some other Sour Grapes Tropes may demonstrate that the envy is wrong because the envied person really suffers more than the person doing the envy (and not because it's wrong to hate people for what they have).
Romantically, may stem from being Love Hungry and lead to a desire to Murder the Hypotenuse — or be sacrificed because I Want My Beloved to Be Happy. Occasionally, it can actually overcome Cannot Spit It Out — Operation: Jealousy may overtly attempt to engineer this — or lead to a Love Epiphany. A man driven by it will often unreasonably doubt whether a child really is his.
Because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, frequently two characters envy each other, as when an ordinary child envies the gifted child's abilities and rewards, and the gifted child envies the ordinary child's freedom from pressure.
When a character acts upon their envy, then we have the trope Driven by Envy. The Lancer (among heroes) and The Starscream (among villains) are particularly prone to the Green-Eyed Monster. The Dark Magical Girl often envies the Magical Girl. Inspiring envy is a defining trait of there being Always Someone Better, and feeling it, of Clingy Jealous Girl, Crazy Jealous Guy, the Fairest of Them All, and The Resenter. The Yandere is defined by it to the point of murderous insanity. The Daddy's Girl, inspired by it, may regard any possible stepmother as a Wicked Stepmother, even if she's truly the sweetest person in the world. Divided We Fall is often motivated by it.
Oddly enough, not correlated with characters who have green eyes, or with monsters, though they may overlap. Not related to the 37-foot-high left field wall at Fenway Park in Boston, unless you're envious of someone else having a ballpark with something cool like that.
Not to be confused with this green-eyed monster.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fairy Tales
- Fan Works
- Films — Animated
- Films — Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Mythology & Religion
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- In The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Aristaeus watches Orpheus and Eurydice kiss and inserts herself in Eurydice's place. Then she murders Eurydice when Orpheus refuses her advances.
- In Flash Gordon, Dale's attempt to vamp the king of the hawkmen into sparing Flash backfires when his jealous favorite pushes her from the tower.
- In FoxTrot, Peter's ability to eat endlessly and not gain any weight causes jealousy from both his parents. In one strip, when he makes a thousand-calorie chocolate shake because he has to gain weight for swimsuit season, Andy dumps it over his head. ("Nobody ever feels sorry for the skinny," he muses.) In another strip, Andy wears earplugs when he weighs himself, and Roger needs an extra strawberry on his rice cake when Peter loses a pound and a half simply by skipping another shake.
- Foo Fighters (2023): Several things suggest that the Overlord's villainy is driven by envy towards the Foo Fighters' success as a band. He can describe himself as a former super-fan during "All My Life," steals all manner of musical equipment throughout the game, hosts his own concert during "The Pretender," and proclaims that "now I will have what is rightfully mine!" after attempting to take over the band itself in "The Final Battle." This ends when the Foo Fighters decide to incorporate him into their group following their final fight, a position he's overjoyed to receive.
- In WHO dunnit (1995), Trixie sees Victoria as a threat to her (one-sided) relationship with Tony.
- La Tigresa, as reigning WWC Women's champion, was jealous when Amarillis was brought into the company, correctly believing she would soon be challenging for her title. She was also envious of the fact people gushed more about Amarillis being pretty than they did about Tigresa, which lead to Tigresa attacking Amarillis in an attempt to ruin her good looks, which lead to Amarillis challenging for the title.
- Pablo Marquez coveted La Tigresa, who was the girlfriend of Lightning, so he tried to break up their relationship even though that would likely have La Artilleria Pesada coming down on his head.
- While Los Guerreros were a very successful and popular tag team, it was clear the fans vastly preferred Eddie Guerrero to Chavo Guerrero Jr., which caused the latter to turn on the former out of envy and resentment.
- Envy was Matt Hardy's reason for turning on his more popular brother Jeff almost every time.
- In Ring of Honor, envy was what drove Christopher Daniels to feud with Low Ki, ROH's first Champion, and Steve Corino, boyfriend of his crush, Simply Luscious. Elsewhere, this is what sets Daniels against his more successful tag team partner AJ Styles.
- Paul London was jealous of his friendship with AJ Styles, which he was afraid The Amazing Red and Alexis Laree were going to take away from him.
- Jillian Hall used to have a friendly rivalry with 2005 Diva Search winner Ashley Massaro, until Ashley posed for Playboy and got a lot of attention, including a spot in a Timbaland music video. As an aspiring singer, Jillian was also envious of Lillian Garcia getting to sing the national anthem and having a more notable music career (or so WWE would have you believe. Jillian's album actually made more money than Lillian's) (ironically, jealousy caused Brandi Wine to try and kill her career back when Jillian was a rookie)
- Jimmy Jacobs was an especially obvious case, yet "The Lovely" Lacey either did not notice or did not care how much she provoked it out of him by all but throwing herself at Colt Cabana, catering to all his needs while treating Jacobs like crap.
- Craig Mitchell became envious of Juliette The Huntress after she got on WWE Tough Enough instead of him. Even after Ivelisse had to give up the show due to a knee injury, he still hadn't gotten over it, trying to injure her knee again when she came back to Chicago Style Wrestling.
- This is the biggest weakness in MsChif and Michael Elgin's relationship, which otherwise seems to be held together by a very strong bond. Neither one of them can hide their jealousy well when seeing the other getting too physical with the opposite sex, which usually isn't too much of a problem since both had "made it" in the business by the time they had met but some jokers like Truth Martini have arranged such matches, likely on purpose.
- Tamina Snuka and Aksana wanted the jobs of The Funkadactyls, valets to Brodus Clay. Clay himself got jealous when the Funkdactyls started valeting for Xavier Woods at R-Truth's request.
- When Thunderkitty debuted in SHIMMER, Portia Perez ridiculed her entrance attire and ring gear while silently coveting it for herself.
- Envy was the motivation that lead to Chuck Taylor leading The Gentleman's Club into EVOLVE. He once had the best record in the promotion but he couldn't win when it really counted, unlike his Ronin partners Rich Swann and Johnny Gargano, causing him to lash out at them.
- Adam Cole's antagonism of Kyle O'Reilly in Ring of Honor is a nasty combination of envy and jealously. When Future Shock started teaming together, Cole resented the fact O'Reilly was more popular with crowds and critics but was able to take solace in the fact he had a much more successful singles career than O'Reilly, winning both the Television and World Titles while O'Reilly's team with Bobby Fish, reDRagon, proved to be much more successful than Future Shock had ever been. These frustrations eventually came to a head in 2015 when Future Shock came back together but still proved to be inferior to reDRagon. Then O'Reilly began pursuing a singles career, in particular coming dangerously close to unseating World Champion Jay Lethal, something Cole would repeatedly interfere with, to ensure he could keep his bragging rights as the more successful singles wrestler.
- Caprice Coleman began to jealously guard his spot in Ring Of Honor after he was pitted against Samson Walker and Pepper Parks, two wrestlers the promotion had shown interest in. Jealousy ended up becoming resentment when he realized Dalton Castle, a wrestler Coleman was initially supportive of, had become much more popular than him with the ROH crowds.
- During an in-ring promo shootout between CM Punk and MJF on the November 24, 2021 edition of AEW Dynamite, Punk accused MJF of being jealous that Punk chose to work his first AEW match against Darby Allin.
Punk: ...I looked at AEW and I said, "Wow! That's the place I want to be, that's the place I want to test myself," and I went for the heart and soul of AEW, Darby Allin, and boy, that just chews you up, doesn't it?
- In Old Harry's Game, this really seems to be Satan's preeminent sin. At least Once per Episode, the Professor alleges that Satan hates and corrupts various aspects of human life because "You're just jealous." This accusation is born out by the fact that Satan is clearly very self-loathing. Also interesting is that while Satan's Fall was mostly God just being a dick, it's indicated that he wanted to be top Angel and was jealous of any others being put above him. Finally, we're told (since it's a radio show) that Satan has green eyes.
- Exalted: Havesh likes killing men and raping their wives just because they were lucky enough to be born into a caste.
- In Nomine: Baal's Fall was motivated chiefly by his bitter jealousy of Michael. The two ancient beings were friends, but Baal secretly resented how the elder Seraph would always get more respect than he did, and how he would likely go through eternity as "the mightiest of the Archangels... except for Michael". Lucifer found it rather easy to inflame this jealousy into open resentment.
- Ravenloft: Strahd von Zarovich desired his brother Sergei's wife, Tatyana, but she spurned him for his age and his cruelty. Strahd ended up killing Sergei as part of a bargain with the Dark Powers for immortality (in the form of vampirism) and eternal youth, but Tatyana fled from him for fairly obvious reasons and threw herself from the castle walls. Now part of his curse is that he keeps thinking he's found her reincarnated form, but of course his target wants nothing to do with him.
- The hashihime, sometimes translated as "bridge princess", is a figure from Noh theater who either committed suicide or openly cursed her cheating husband, and was turned into a bridge-haunting spirit.
- In Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, Masetto spends most of his time borderline violently jealous toward Don Giovanni. To be fair, Giovanni is The Casanova and is openly trying to seduce Masetto's bride on their wedding day; what man wouldn't be jealous?
- In Lizzie, the title character is being raped by her father, but later starts a relationship with the neighbor, Alice. Soon after, Lizzie's father kills the birds in the barn, which were one of Lizzie's few sources of joy and comfort. It's heavily implied this action was spurred on because he knows (or at least suspects) that Lizzie's involved with Alice and is jealous. (Bear in mind, the barn where the birds lived is also where Lizzie meets with Alice in secret.)
- In the Mrs. Hawking play there's an implication in Gilded Cages that Elizabeth envies Victoria, both for her advantages in life (for which the girl has no appreciation) and the devoted attentions of Captain Hawking (in which she had no interest).
- Shakespeare was fond of this one. Envy is the primary motivation driving many of his characters, including Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing, Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Leontes in The Winter's Tale. Other examples include:
- The page pic and caption about the Green-Eyed Monster come from William Shakespeare's Othello, also the Trope Namer. The tragedy of the play comes about because of misplaced jealousy on the part of the title character because of a horrible lie about his wife Desdemona told by Iago, who many say was himself motivated by envy toward Cassio, who Othello promoted instead of him.
- Played for Laughs in a The Comedy of Errors. Adriana is so jealous of her husband's hypothetical mistress that she rationalizes his twin brother's total ignorance of her as an attempt to cover up his affair. Luciana calls her out for this.
- A Midsummer Night's Dream:
- Titania accuses Oberon of being jealous over her love for the changeling boy. He retorts by slipping her a love potion and letting her drool all over a donkey-headed man, proving he's not upset at all.
- Helena is also quite jealous of Demetrius's sudden pursuit of Hermia.
- In Dog Sees God, Tricia speculates that Matt’s aggressive disapproval of CB and Beethoven’s budding relationship isn’t just out of homophobia and instead more because Matt is romantically obsessed with CB and is jealous. Matt even goes so far as to threaten Beethoven into staying away from CB and breaks his fingers when Beethoven refuses and calls Matt by his old nickname.
- In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, everything that Kristoph Gavin did was because they could not accept the possibility that Phoenix Wright could be a better defense attorney than them.
- In one of the bad endings for Bionic Heart, the main character's new android love interest murders his ex-girlfriend when she becomes jealous of all of the time that the protagonist spends with his ex.
- Doki Doki Literature Club!: Monika acts attracted towards the Player Character even though she's not a romanceable character, so whatever the player chooses, she's going to be left looking from the sidelines while the player character is with someone else. She seems to take this with grace at first (in spite of having literally green eyes and all). However, it's affecting her way worse than she lets on, and she ends up hurting her friends in an effort to get them out of her way. It's not even mainly about romantic attraction — though she's in love with the player, it's more that she's Gone Mad from the Revelation about the horror behind the game's cutesy world, and she sees the player as her only chance of escaping it.
- Grisaia Series: It's mostly played for comedy throughout the series, but no matter which heroine the protagonist ends up with, it leaves the rest of the girls with a somewhat bitter pill to swallow. It is most prominent in the after stories of The Labyrinth of Grisaia, and mostly takes the form of some (not so) well-intended teasing.
- Heart of the Woods
- In the "Sacrifice" ending, Tara gets jealous of her best friend Madison and Madison's new girlfriend Abigail, but not out of romantic jealousy — Tara and Madison had dated for a few weeks but concluded it was a mistake. Instead, Tara is jealous about how Madison and Abigail get to be together while Morgan, the girl Tara loves, died of a Heroic Sacrifice in the climax. Tara realizes that this is no way for a friend to act and feels rather guilty, while Abigail reassures Madison that Tara doesn't hate her and Madison holds out hope that one day, their friendship will fully recover.
- In Chapter 2, Madison notices that Tara and Morgan seem to be a couple, and gets jealous. It's not that she wants to be with either one of them — Madison's experiment with a relationship with Tara didn't work out and she doesn't like Morgan at this point in the story — she's mainly jealous that they got into a relationship while she hasn't had much luck with love. She gets over this as she gets closer to Abigail, and sees how much Tara and Morgan love each other.
- Done humorously in one particular scene in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, when Junpei inspects Clover's photo.
- In Piofiore: Fated Memories, in Nicola's route, Roberto becomes increasingly jealous and unhinged when believing that Lili and Nicola are in a relationship, eventually resulting in him attempting to kill Dante and actually murdering Marco, all so he could "rescue" Lili and kill Nicola.
- Miou in A Profile is extremely jealous of Masayuki's stepsister Rizu after Masayuki broke up with her to repair his relationship with said sister. How she reacts varies by route, but the story goes out of its way to show that she does have a point due to the circumstances involved.
- School Days: Sekai and Kotonoha. VERY jealous of each other because they both like Makoto. To make matters even worse, both girls are Yandere. The most infamous endings (as well as the one for the anime adaptation) have things ending very, very badly as a result. It is, however, possible for them to set aside their jealousy and agree to both date him.
- Spirit Hunter: NG:
- The Urashima Woman's midwife, Yasuko, was deathly envious of her for being able to give birth while Yasuko couldn't, leading her to kill the woman and steal her baby for herself.
- Akira theorizes that one of the reasons Kakuya sent a lightning bolt down on Seiji and Kaoru, besides just to liven up her game, was that she was jealous of Akira for having friends. This is confirmed in the endgame when she erases Akira's memories of them out of jealousy that he's closer to them than her.
- In Seiji's Normal End, he confesses that he's been envious of Akira since childhood since the other boy's strength (both physical and mental) make him more suited to the Yakuza than Seiji himself.
- Umineko: When They Cry features Leviathan, the second of the Stakes of Purgatory. She's a whiny crybaby who envied her sisters for seven days. However, not even her envy is a match for Kyrie(Rudolf's mistress and second wife) who envied Asumu (Rudolf's late first wife) for eighteen years, especially after Kyrie's first child was stillborn while Asumu gave birth to Battler(or so Kyrie thinks). Leviathan develops a bit of a crush on her after that.
- Wildfire of War: 13th Day tries to make Arsenik become this by going out with someone else. However, since he has the hots for Ambrosia, Wildfire ends up being so jealous herself that she wants to Murder the Hypotenuse.
- In one Mario animated video online called "The Color of Envy", Luigi(who wears a green hat and shirt with his blue overalls), jealous of Princess Toadstool favoring Mario, frees Wario from the dungeon, kills all the guards who oppose him, and throws Mario in the dungeon.
- Damaged: TJ is jealous of Dillon, the Big Robot On Campus that everybody but him loves because he has a wide assortment of gadgets that he uses to help his fellow classmates. It only lasts for that episode.
- Dreamscape: Kaila envied Keela for taking her place as the Master of the Dammed's Dragon. This, combined with the fact that Keela only did that so she could kill the Master of the Dammed, made Kaila despise her.
- DSBT InsaniT: Duck isn't very fond of Perry, because he thinks Snake is trying to use him as a "replacement".
- Etra chan saw it!: In this episode, Akane is jealous of Tsutsuji because she lives as a rich housewife, prompting her to borrow $10,000 under Tsutsuji's name behind her back. She eventually ends up getting arrested and her husband divorces her.
- Gossip City: Karin became jealous of her younger sister Miko after she took their parents' attention from her. Their parents sent her to Aunt Yoshie's house as punishment for her abuse, but she returned a year later for Miko's birthday and tricked the girl into getting her hands burned with the boiling chicken soup she made. After a scuffle with Toya got her scalded with her own soup, their parents send her far away to work at a factory.
- Mari Yoshida bullied the temp workers around her, but she had a bone to pick with Charako for being close to Mr. Tanaka.
- Abigail Ezra was jealous of Riley Hall when she announced her marriage to her fiancé Keegan, despite herself being engaged to a rich man herself. At the proper wedding, she chews Riley out for her "extravagant" wedding.
- In Red vs. Blue, South does not receive an A.I. while her twin brother North does. She does not take it well.
- Revenge Films:
- "This girl took my blind sister and left her in the middle of the intersection": Kelly got jealous when she found out that Trisha's sister Nina was in the choir and she's not in due to her parents forbidding it. She pretended to play hide-and-seek and left Nina in the middle of the intersection. Fortunately, Trisha was able to find her and take her to safety.
- "Got an invitation to a wedding, but…": The groom invited the FMC to his wedding just to mock her in front of the entire research club, but it lead to the wedding being called off because of it. Turns out he was jealous of the FMC for getting her license before him, even when he refused to study and thought he could pass it with flying colors without effort.
- "Got an invitation to a birthday party…": Blair was jealous of her former friend Ali because Bob talked to the latter more than the former. Turns out Blair had a crush on Bob and couldn't stand him being near Ali.
- Jouglat from The Cry of Mann starts to crush on Agent Martinez almost as soon as she arrives. Witnessing her share close moments with Berry contributes to his overall mental decline, as he drinks more heavily and goes on bitter rants about how secrets being kept.
- Dream Machine: In Episode 1.04, The Opposite of People, Leah implies that she’s jealous of actors like Josie getting all the credit for their work as the face of it visible to the public, when Leah’s writing is where it all begins.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Dr. Horrible's envy of Captain Hammer fuels everything he does. It starts out with perpetual envy and disgust of Hammer's success and the (arguably undeserved) worship the city gives him, but what really drives him over the edge is envy/jealousy over Hammer dating the girl he's had his eye on, and Hammer gloating about it to rub it in his face, to boot. It doesn't end well. At all.
- Part of why The Nostalgia Critic's a Mean Boss. Reviewing is the only thing he has so he's freaked out by people going into his territory and doing it better than him (or so he thinks).
- The Nostalgia Chick and Lupa are friendly at first (or as friendly as the Chick can be), but when Chick discovers Lupa has Todd's affections but doesn't want them, she's so jealous that she tries to kill the redhead.
- Contrapoints did an entire video analyzing the emotion and its various pitfalls, especially emphasizing its difference from greed being that while a greedy person wants more of a thing but doesn't care where they get it from, an envious person specifically wants what someone else already has and will happily ruin both of them to deny them both the thing.