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aka: The Hypocrite

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"Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue."

People — particularly those with authority, be it moral or political — are expected to act in accordance with the ideals they espouse. That is to say, they should practice what they preach.

Those who don't are hypocrites. The dichotomy here is that they may fervently and honestly believe what they say is right and good... they just don't have the moral strength or willpower to consistently live up to their own high standards. (Unless, of course, they're outright liars with no intention of living up to said standards.) They might believe that Utopia Justifies the Means and that they aren't worthy of it — or that only they can be entrusted to use those means because they're so enlightened (ie. better than everyone else). Maybe they're deeply in denial or have a severe lack of self-awareness, and justify their hypocrisy as either necessary or dismiss it with a simple, "That's different." In other cases, they might find the lure of Forbidden Fruit impossible to resist.


Frequently, they will be found out, be it in an Engineered Public Confession or through investigation. The Hero may have the choice of either exposing them as a fraud and discrediting them before their followers, or keeping their secret and blackmailing them into cleaning up their act or helping in another matter. How this turns out depends on how sympathetic or "Jerkass-ic" they are, and how humanizing their "vice" is, whether it be a diet guru eating donuts (probably OK), an eco-businessman clear-cutting forests (probably not OK) or a moral crusader outright molesting children (most certainly not OK). If a villain finds a friend of the hero's Fatal Flaw this way (or worse, the hero's own), they might use Flaw Exploitation to torment and control them.

If found out and/or exposed, the hypocrite will have the chance to mend their ways and do a Heel–Face Turn in one of two forms: either loosen their standards (and cut everyone else the same slack they give themselves), or tighten their belt (and actually live up to their espoused ideals). Failure to do either is usually enough for either a mental breakdown (heroic or villainous, depending on the character) or a full-on Face–Heel Turn as they reject their morality and embrace their vice. Alternatively, because they are feigning what they claim to be, they may find they are Becoming the Mask.


Heroes are often accused of hypocrisy by villains who want to believe they're not that different and brag At Least I Admit It. Heroes who actually are hypocrites tend to hear "What the Hell, Hero?" quite a lot. (Unless they don't.) Hypocrites, be they heroes or villains, often find themselves hated by the audience (intentionally or not) even more than the Card-Carrying Villain, chiefly because they lied about their convictions, while those evil villains come off as being pretty honest in what they do. This is usually because of the Holier Than Thou implications that someone who publicly preaches about good things is signaling to other people that they are a good person (or are at least better than some others), and people feel cheated when that does not end up being the case; Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil, after all, and a Hypocrite's actions betray their words, preaching, and supposedly good proposals. Remember also, however, that the Hypocrite Has a Point; just because someone is being hypocritical does not also mean that they are wrong.

However, like mentioned above, it's possible to be hypocritical and a good person at the same time, whether that would be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, or a full-blown Nice Guy, and it depends on how severe the hypocrisy is (and the hypocrite's level of self-awareness). This in return, is what makes hypocrisy mainly considered to be a minor form of jerkassery by default.

It depends on whether this is intentional or not. One writer would do this intentionally so the character would go through a Jerkass Realization. Hypocritical Humor is a minor degree of this, when Played for Laughs. Another writer may make a character or do something but then forgot about it later on, then making them do things that contrast with earlier claims. It usually takes fans or other writers to point them out, and it’s up to the writer to fix it or leave it like that.

Hypocrite is NOT a YMMV trope. Please don't add it to YMMV pages. A character is a Hypocrite in-universe or isn't one at all.

The word "Hypocrisy" redirects to this page. For the Swedish Melodic Death Metal band, see Hypocrisy.

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A Super-Trope to:

  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: A group of people who won't act maliciously towards each other, but will be malicious towards everyone else.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Characters who deal with the strange and bizarre on a regular basis are skeptical when they run into something strange and bizarre.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: A gay person who hates homosexuality.
  • Beg the Dog: Someone beg the ones who they usually bully and expect kindness from those they usually torment and/or completely apathetic to their problems.
  • Bigotry Exception: Someone who feels prejudiced against a whole group of people just arbitrarily decide that one of them is actually decent.
  • Bigot with a Crush: Someone feels romantic and/or sexual attraction to a member of a group of people whom they are normally disgusted by.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Someone feels hatred or contempt for a group of people that they belong to.
  • Broken Aesop: When a story itself doesn't mesh with the ideals it promotes.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Criminals who openly live a very sinful lifestyle, but they can easily be forgiven by praying to God regularly, right?
  • Complaining About Complaining: A character complains about another character complaining.
  • Corrupt Church: Priests and ministers who command their worshipers to live a righteous, sacred lifestyle while they themselves do the exact opposite.
  • Corrupt Politician: A government official who hides behind their political ideology as an excuse for selfishly unethical goals.
  • Crocodile Tears
  • Dirty Cop: A policeman is supposed to enforce and uphold the law, but instead they break it like any other criminal.
  • Disobey This Message: "Pushing individualism" by forming yet another collectivist group.
  • Don't Be Ridiculous: A character dismisses another character's beliefs or observations as being absurd, before giving a correction that's just as (or even more) ludicrous than the other person's statement.
  • Double Standard: For when one person or group would get a free pass of something that another person or group would be completely ridiculed for doing (and vice versa).
  • Doublethink: AKA cognitive dissonance; when one believes in two mutually exclusive ideas at the same time.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While this trope is not necessarily about hypocrisy, it can end up becoming an example of such if a villainous character expresses disgust at some sort of evil misdeeds that they have already committed in some other form.
  • False Prophet: Someone claiming to be a messianic figure is actually deceiving their followers.
  • Favouritism Flip Flop: Changing your opinion of an idea depending on who proposed it (e.g. hating a suggestion by the intern but loving it when hearing it from the boss).
  • Female Misogynist: A woman who dislikes women.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: A revolution that reverts to the status quo it fought against.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In cases where a character becomes increasingly more like those he fights against while claiming that he still has the moral high ground. See also Knight Templar.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: When a character uses their faith to mask hypocrisy. Very often a fanatical zealot who doesn't even live up to most of what they believe in.
  • The Horseshoe Effect: The extremists on one side aren't that different from the extremists on the other side.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Acknowledging one's own hypocrisy in a self-aware way.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: Someone manages to provide valid points on a subject in spite of his/her hypocrisy.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Protecting someone from abuse because only you have the right to abuse them.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Hypocrisy being Played for Laughs.
  • Hypocritical Singing: Hypocrisy in the form of song.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Saying something, then saying or doing something clearly contradictory to it.
  • Internalized Categorism: A person believes that being part of a group that's discriminated against makes them guilty of the negative stereotypes associated with that group.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Objecting to an insult in a way that only proves that the accusation is true.
  • Knight Templar: A person who firmly believes his/her own cause to be just and righteous, even when it isn't.
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: A foreigner who claims to hate Western culture, but privately gains or has gained great benefits or enjoyment from some parts of it.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: A human who hates the human species. Double points if they see themselves as an exception.
  • Moral Myopia: When you do bad things to someone, it's justified. When they do the same to you, it's an atrocity.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Fighting for and supporting one's country while disliking its actions.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: If a man has a lot of sex, he's a badass. If a woman has a lot of sex, she's a dirty whore.
  • Never My Fault: A person who blames things on other people... who for added effect may be among the afflicted.
  • Not Like Other Girls: Complimenting a girl or woman by contrasting her against the rest of her gender.
  • No True Scotsman: One makes a general statement, someone calls that person out on it with a counterexample, then that person redefines their original statement such that, by definition, the counterexample no longer counts.
  • Not So Above It All: Believe that you are the Only Sane Straight Man and that you are Surrounded by Idiots; yet share some of those traits of the idiots you criticize, and/or when pushed you actually join them. This trope isn't a case of hypocrisy if the character is really generally normal and doesn't claim to be superior.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: A character remarks on their similarity with their enemy.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: A person claims that their extreme actions are in the service of righting wrongs, when in reality they're just doing it for completely self-serving reasons.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: When parents chastise their children for doing the same things that they themselves did at their age.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: When the dictator of an autocratic country pretends that he's running a democratic government.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Bemoaning one's miserable lot while conveniently overlooking many, many wrongdoings one has committed.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Whatever the protagonist does is morally justified and/or anything that harms the protagonist is morally wrong.
  • Psychological Projection: Most (though not all) cases of this trope are a character denying having a problem, and accusing others of having the problem instead.
  • Revenge Myopia: A person taking revenge for something that he/she or their peers started.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: A villain will punish someone who betrayed a third party for their benefit, even though they accepted the traitor's help in the first place, and by punishing the traitor, betrayed them.
  • Selective Enforcement: Law enforcement will ignore someone doing something major but will punish someone doing something minor.
  • Selective Obliviousness: When a character refuses to comprehend a particular fact that could harm their hypocritical filter if that is the reason.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: A character who thinks Sex Is Evil and who believes that anyone he sexually desires is to blame for having seduced him.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: Claiming to have friends from a certain group, and then make offensive comments about their group when they're not around.
  • Start X to Stop X: To fulfill some goal, the character does its exact opposite.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Not only does this person not even bother to practice what they preach, they only pretend to believe or care about what they say as a cover for their actions.
  • Such a Phony: You talk smack about someone you don't like behind their back, but act nice when they're around.
  • Tautological Templar: Somebody who believes that they are good, and that makes everything they do good by default.
  • Think of the Children!: A Moral Guardian who selfishly blames media for being a poor parent rather than their own mistakes.
  • Two-Faced Aside: When a character says one thing to Person A, but then immediately expresses the opposite sentiment to Person B in an aside.
  • Villainous Parental Instinct: A person will hurt children, but not their own.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: A character that has idealistic goals, yet uses cynical methods to achieve it, which would normally be against that mindset. Especially if they start devolving into committing the same kinds of injustices they hate.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Complimenting a member of a given group in a backhanded way that tends to imply prejudice against that group on a more general level.
  • You Are What You Hate: People hating others for the same traits they themselves have or what they would eventually have.
  • You Hate What You Are: An index of tropes where characters hate what they are.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

  • The Viscount (later Earl) from Marriage A-la-Mode carries on numerous affairs before and during his marriage, but when he finds out his wife is also having an affair with Silvertongue, he flies into a rage and challenges the man to a duel (which he loses).


  • The 'Social Justice Sally' meme targets hypocritical and self-righteous social justice 'activists' who just act exactly the same as the kind of bullies and bigots they claim to oppose.
  • The Daily Struggle meme, where a nervously sweating person representing whatever person/group is currently being made fun of must choose between two buttons labeled with contradictory statements, both of which the person/group ostensibly believes. For example, a social justice warrior having to choose between "Racial profiling is wrong" and "All white people are racist" (picking the former means that you can't believe all white people are racist because that would be racial profiling, picking the latter means that you believe racial profiling is okay because you just racially profiled white people), or a racist redneck having to choose between "Foreigners are all lazy" and "Foreigners are takin' all our jobs" (if they're lazy, how are they taking your jobs? If they're taking your jobs, how are they lazy?).
  • The 'College Liberal' meme points out the hypocrisies of radical left-wing people who claim that they are smart due to being progressive.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Zeus from Classical Mythology was said to despise liars, oath-breakers, and people who picked on the weak. He killed the mortal Ixion and later punished him in the afterlife for breaking the laws of hospitality and trying to sleep with Hera. Yet Zeus himself cheated on Hera regularly, sometimes with other men's wives, breaking his marriage vows and often lied to her to try and hide it. He also tended to victimize weak mortals or allows the other gods to do so when it was convenient.
  • Odin from Norse Mythology is sometimes viewed as one. Contrary to Norse virtues of honesty, manliness, and meeting your opponents openly in battle Odin was known to use trickery, disguises, and underhanded tactics to get what he wanted and practiced a form of magic considered womanly. Loki once claimed Odin went so far as to give the undeserving victory in battle.
  • Ammoron in The Book of Mormon declares that he is leading the Lamanites to take back control of the government, which the Nephites stole from them. Except that Nephi didn't usurp anything, he just led an exodus of those people who would rather follow him than his brothers. And Ammoron is himself a Nephite by birth, and he inherited the crown from his brother Amalickiah, who plotted and murdered his way to the throne (including having his servants stab the previous king while he was greeting them, raising a hue and cry to blame the king's servants, then deceiving and marrying the widow).
    • Bonus points because Ammoron also accuses the Nephites of murdering Amalickiah - who, at the time, was in the field, leading an invading army that had already conquered/sacked several Nephite cities, with accompanying casualties, and with the avowed intention of drinking the Nephite general's blood, until a Nephite soldier snuck into his tent and stabbed him.

  • In The Fallen Gods, the top-tier wizards in the realm call themselves "The Towers of High Sorcery". They also hate sorcerers. Tuatha, a sorcerer, is suitably displeased by this.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A common trait among Heels. This includes:
    • Deeming a match unfair when they themselves often resorts in cheating.
    • Demanding rematches for a championship they fail to win but denying challenges from others including the former champion.
    • Calling someone a coward when they themselves would be the first to run away when they are in a disadvantage.
  • During Mick Foley's tenure in ECW he made a Heel turn over the extremity of the wresting in ECW, and during that time he had some of the most brutal matches in his career. Foley then realized what he was doing so he went to the other extreme, purposely having boring matches which were fought mostly with headlocks and other holds.
  • CM Punk admonished his girlfriend Lucy for breaking Ring of Honor's code, even though she attacked Raven, whose feud with Punk started because of Punk refusing to follow that very same code when it came to Raven. Punk would also break the code when pursuing revenge against Christopher Daniels for attacking Lucy.
  • Christopher Daniels himself would accuse Alexis Laree of having no honor, which in itself was hypocritical because Daniels's mission in Ring Of Honor was to put an end to the code but furthermore, her "Dishonorable" action was to try and stop Simply Luscious from giving him an unfair advantage over the wrestlers she managed, AJ Styles and Amazing Red. Finally, he challenged Laree to prove him wrong by confronting Luscious face to face then laid out Laree from behind.
  • During Melina's time in WWE, she went on a campaign to defeat every woman on the Raw roster who had posed for Playboy, and badmouthed anyone who posed for the magazine anytime the subject was brought up. So Ashley Massaro spread a rumor about the magazine wanting her to pose for them to get her and cohort Jillian Hall's excited reactions on camera.
  • Perhaps it is to be expected of a politician but Drew Gulak's Campaign For A Better Combat Zone is vocally against the abuse of officials, even though they slap around the same glass jaw referees everyone else does.
  • Beth Phoenix's vote of no confidence regarding Monday Night Raw being a safe working environment despite her and Natalya being two of the reasons behind it not being a safe environment. Though the biggest hypocrite in that angle was Wade Barrett, since Raw had become safer since he stopped leading The Nexus.
  • AJ Lee's claim to have "saved" the Divas division felt a little hollow considering she was general manager during the period it supposedly needed her return to wrestling to save. If she cared so much about the division she could have A) stayed in it, B) hired the necessary talent, as a GM is supposed to do and her experience outside of WWE made her qualified to do. Furthermore, her rant was nearly identical to those given by Beth Phoenix and Natalya Neidhart, whom AJ was a target of when Beth was still in the company. AJ inadvertently helped get rid of Beth so if anything she only helped save the division from people like herself.note 
  • Of the three members of Decade, the stance against celebrating those who leave Ring Of Honor for larger companies makes sense concerning the ever loyal BJ Whitmer and Roderick Strong, who gave up his job in TNA to keep wrestling for ROH. Jimmy Jacobs on the other tried to destroy ROH as a member of S.C.U.M.
  • Allysin Kay, when explaining what disqualified one from being called a "lady" said that ladies did not curse, despite dropping SHINE's first F Bomb(it was censored but pretty obvious).
  • Seth Rollins scolds Dean Ambrose for cashing in his money at the Bank against him to win the WWE World Heavyweight Champion though he himself did the same in Wrestlemania XXXI.
  • In the second half of 2018, Charlotte Flair entered a feud with her best friend, Becky Lynch, after the latter turned heel at Summerslam 2018 following Charlotte winning the SmackDown Women's Championship in match that originally involved Becky and then-champion, Carmella. The angle made Charlotte as if she was the one who valued friendship and Becky the selfish one who only cares about the championship, completely forgetting that Charlotte betrayed Becky first two years earlier for similar reasons. Charlotte would also called out Becky's heel traits in the following months (traits that Charlotte had done as well during her 2016 heel run) as well as calling her a no-show for being absent for two weeks after receiving a broken nose when Charlotte herself was absent for a month due to ruptured breast implant.
  • One time, CM Punk and John Cena, who were feuding at the time, were forced into a tag team together. During the match, Punk started copying Cena's moves, constantly pausing to turn around and mock Cena. Annoyed, Cena started copying Punk's moves, but stayed focused on winning. Punk angrily abandoned the match, saying Cena insulted him and he will not tolerate it.
  • On the January 17, 2000 WWE Raw, Ivory objected to having to take part in the "Miss Rumble 2000" bikini contest at Royal Rumble 2000. Luna Vachon and Jacqueline told her that if they have to be in it, she has to be in it. During the contest, Luna refused to show her bikini.

  • On The Debaters, comedian/debator Jon Steinberg debated that debates themselves are pointless. He won.

  • Parodied in Arctic Monkeys' "A Certain Romance", where the singer is complaining about a bunch of violent, drunken chavs, and surmising that if anyone pointed out to them how vulgar they are they wouldn't take the blindest bit of notice. It then goes on to admit that the singer's own group of friends are also drunken, brawling louts who "might overstep the line, but you just cannot get angry in the same way".
  • Daniel Amos:
    • Hypocrisy is a major theme of the album ¡Alarma!, with "Hit Them" discussing it the most directly: "Words have their place / but live what you say."
  • Cher's song "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" calls people out on this in the chorus:
    ♪ Gypsies, tramps and thieves!
    ♪ We'd hear it from the people of the town, they'd call us
    ♪ Gypsies, tramps and thieves!
    ♪ But every night all the men would come around
    ♪ And lay their money down.
  • Jay-Z put "Death of Auto-Tune (D.O.A.)" on an album with several Auto-Tuned hooks. Jeez.
    • The complaint was about rappers using auto-tune as a gimmick, not about auto-tune in general.
  • 50 Cent called out his rival Ja Rule for doing duets when he started doing the same thing when he released his second studio album The Massacre.
  • The folksinger Phil Ochs loved to ridicule this trope from any side of the political spectrum. "Draft Dodger Rag" is about a red-blooded conservative who's all for that war in Vietnam, so long as he doesn't have to go himself, while "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" is about someone who pays lip service to every left-wing cause until it becomes dangerous, distasteful or personally uncomfortable. ("The people of old Mississippi / should all hang their heads in shame, / I can't understand how their minds work. / What's the matter, don't they watch Les Crane? / But if you ask me to bus my children / I hope the cops take down your name ....")
  • The song "Rude" by Magic! has a bit of a hypocritical premise: the singer wants to marry the daughter of a man, but he basically wants to say screw you and marry her anyway (Why you gotta be so rude?/Don't you know i'm human too?/Why you gotta be so rude?/I'm gonna marry her anyway). In that very mindset you can say the singer is the one who's being "rude" trying to rebel against the man and steal his daughter despite his request not to.
  • There is an Irish ballad called "The Foggy Dew", which points out the hypocrisy of England entering World War One "that small nations might be free" (that is, to liberate countries such as Belgium) while occupying and ruling Ireland.
  • The title "Neonazi" from Die Toten Hosen's "Sascha … ein aufrechter Deutscher" dislikes Croats but loves ćevapčići. (Judging from context, he might just be too stupid to ponder their origin.)
  • The demo for "Cabinet Battle #3" in The Hamilton Mixtape centers around hypocrisy, describing the Founding Father's apathy towards slavery despite their dedication to freedom. The only one who tries to have a serious discussion about it is Hamilton, who tries to besmirch Jefferson's name by accusing him of having an affair with one of his slaves. The irony is even Hamilton is being hypocritical in this debate, since he was having an affair of his own, something Jefferson knows and uses to force Hamilton to end the discussion.
  • The Megas:
    • In "Look What You've Done", Wily presents himself as a Visionary Villain who believes that robots deserve to be liberated so they can rule over humans. Both Get Equipped and History Repeating (Red) have songs from the perspective of a Robot Master that he's reprogrammed against their will: "Programmed to Fight" is about Crash Man Fighting from the Inside, and "Afraid of the Dark" is about Shadow Man succumbing to the need to kill Wily programmed into him.
    • Wily gets another shot when he condemns Mega Man for being a Hunter of His Own Kind. It's not OK, in Wily's book, for a human to send a robot to kill other robots, but it's just fine for him to send robots to kill other humans.
    • Proto Man's oft-stated conviction that neither he nor Mega Man are more than their programming mostly seems to exist to justify his campaign of vengeance against Dr Light and Mega Man, with Proto Man spending a lot of "I'm Not the Breakman" talking about his desires, goals and emotions. It's especially clear when he mockingly dismisses Mega Man as "a machine who calls himself a man" in "Make Your Choice"; Mega Man throws it back to him as an Ironic Echo, since Proto Man also calls himself a man.
  • Marina Diamandis:
    • "Hypocrates".
      You tell me one thing and do another
    • In "Savages," Marina accuses humanity as a whole of this:
      Underneath it all, we're just savages
      Hidden behind shirts, ties and marriages

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has the Githyanki, one of the races who fill the role of Scary Dogmatic Aliens. Their backstory is that they are the descendants of humans/humanoids enslaved by the brain-sucking illithids, who eventually rebelled and sundered their empire. Because of this, they have an intense aversion to the concept of slavery, and are determined that they will never be slaves again. Ever. They even refuse to worship gods because they consider religion as resembling slavery too much. This self-same aversion to slavery has also caused them to build their society into an oppressive, rigidly structured Fantastic Caste System that is devoted to churning out warriors, swearing allegiance to their lich-queen so blindly that they willingly let her eat their souls to sustain her undeath, and giving them the notorious rate of raiding, slaughtering and indirectly enslaving all non-githyanki races they encounter. They are blind to their hypocrisy and will insist that what they do is different. Usually at the end of a sword.
    • From the Dragonlance setting, the Kender. This setting's equivalent of halflings are defined by their very, very poor grasp of the concept of personal property. Most Kender will happily rifle through other people's pockets and bags to stave off boredom, but will get offended and upset at you if you accuse them of being thieves. Needless to say, Kender get a lot of hate both in and out of universe.
  • Magic: The Gathering: the Boros Legion of Ravnica opposes Guild violence. How do they do this? With violence! Lots and lots of violence!
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Imperium of Man preaches the sanctity and holiness of the pure human form. To this end, they ruthlessly seek mutants and people with "defects" to kill them. However, their greatest warriors, the superhuman Space Marines, are packed with so many biological and cybernetic enhancements that they barely count as human anymore. The Imperium also persecutes psykers, despite the fact that a) the Imperium would absolutely collapse without them, and b) their God-Emperor himself was one. The Space Marines get a pass since the augmentation process (a long and arduous process where a bunch of extra organs that grant superhuman abilities are shoved into the prospective Space Marine's body) doesn't actually change their genetic code so they aren't truly mutants or mutates. The extra organs themselves might suffer mutations however. The Adeptus Mechanicus get a pass as well since their function is a vital one and again, their enhancements do not actually do anything to their genetics.
    • The Eldar, naturally, never miss an opportunity to deride humanity as violent, irrational, decadent fools. A cursory inspection of Eldar history, or indeed the very existence of their piratical Commorrite brethren, will validate that they aren't much better. Heck, at least we didn't Squick a Chaos God into existence entirely through our own bloodthirst and depravity.
    • Angron prior to the Heresy often blamed the Butcher's Nails implanted in his head for his problems. One of the first things Angron did when he was given command of his legion the War Hounds whom he renamed the World Eaters (not a good sign) was to have the Nails copied and implanted into all of their heads.
    • The Space Wolves are among the most anti-psyker group within the Imperium, to the point they would often clash with the Thousand Sons pre-Horus Heresy and needed little provocation to attack and burn their homeworld of Prospero to nothing when the Heresy actually occurred under the belief they had turned traitor, which was the last straw for the Thousand Sons' Primarch, Magnus the Red, to pledge himself and his Legion to Tzeentch to "save" them and become real traitors. And yet, they actually possess psykers of their own called Rune Priests. Their Primarch Leman Russ and many of them maintain that they practice an ancient form of natural shamanism that draws its power from their homeworld of Fenris instead of the Warp, but it turns out that while Russ might have always believed that, a good number of them know that's a complete and utter lie and are aware of their hypocrisy. To complicate manners further, there's some tertiary evidence supporting the former viewpoint. Interestingly, as much as Russ likes to project the image of the savage, cold-hearted warrior fighting for glory and the honor of his warlord, even to their allies, he and his Space Wolves are very much very professional soldiers (albeit still very ritualistic and beholden to their old tribal trappings); and their dangerously pragmatic approach to warfare can be mistaken for impulse-driven bloodthirstiness. Hours before the Burning of Prospero, Russ takes a man he believed was a telepathically compromised agent by Magnus, and in a rare moment of consideration to his estranged brother, asks him through the agent to surrender peacefully and return with him to Terra. Ironically, this would have been Russ's original orders, before they were intercepted and Russ received orders that were altered to exterminate Magnus and his forces. And it probably would have worked, but the agent wasn't compromised by Magnus, but by a third party that had been engineering their respective forces into a civil war.
    • Ferrus Manus was notably against his sons engaging in cybernetic enhancement, believing that you should rely on your natural strength. Ferrus Manus was born as a ten-foot demigod with bulletproof skin, who could fight monsters bare-handed as a child, and the only reason he has sons (AKA the Iron Hands Space Marine Legion) is that a lot of people were pushed considerably beyond their natural strength by a mixture of cybernetic and biotech augmentation; if they were relying on their natural strength, they'd still be ordinary humans. The Iron Hands are certainly jerks about their cybernetics, but "augmentation will make us stronger" is a pretty reasonable conclusion for people to reach when the augmentations they've already received have given them superhuman strength and endurance, lifespans of multiple centuries, the ability to breathe nearly any atmosphere and a vast array of other useful assets.
    • The God-Emperor of Mankind was one of these, which was viciously pointed out by, of all people, a priest during the last days of old Terra. He despises religion (albeit for an understandable reason), and was intent on wiping it out completely, replacing it with his Imperial Truth, which was based on logic and reason. He prized his Imperial Truth so highly that it might as well have been a religion that worshiped logic, and it was also based on the lie that Gods don't exist. While we get to see from a metaperspective that while his intentions might have been in the right place, he was a deeply authoritarian conqueror, morally not better than the tyrants he knocked down. One of his arguments against religion was also that it only lead to hate and violence. He himself created the most xenophobic, hateful and war-mongering empire there ever was, and his war of expansion was even known as the Great Crusade.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac: At Act II Scene IV, Cyrano delicately accuses Lise of cheating on her husband, Ragueneau, with a musketeer. She is so offended, she chokes with anger… and immediately dares her musketeer lover to poke fun at Cyrano’s nose.
    (Ragueneau goes after his friends. Cyrano follows him with his eyes, then, rather sharply): Ho there! Lise!
    (Lise, who is talking tenderly to the musketeer, starts, and comes down toward Cyrano):
    So this fine captain is laying siege to you?
    Lise (offended):
    One haughty glance of my eye can conquer any man that should dare venture
    aught 'gainst my virtue.
    Cyrano: Pooh! Conquering eyes, methinks, are oft conquered eyes.
    Lise (choking with anger): But—
    Cyrano: (incisively): I like Ragueneau well, and so—mark me, Dame Lise—I permit not that he be
    rendered a laughing-stock by any. . .
    Lise But. . .
    Cyrano: (who has raised his voice so as to be heard by the gallant): A word to the wise. . .
    (He bows to the musketeer, and goes to the doorway to watch, after looking at the clock.)
    Lise (to the musketeer, who has merely bowed in answer to Cyrano's bow): How now? Is this your courage?. . .Why turn you not a jest on his nose?
  • In Rain, the Rev. Davidson almost succeeds in saving Sadie Thompson's soul, but just then his instincts get the better of him.
  • Hamlet:
    • The famous quote "Brevity is the soul of wit" is delivered by Polonius, the biggest Old Windbag in theatre history. He seriously never shuts up.
    • The whole plot of the play involves Hamlet trying to get vengeance for his father's murder. Despite how enraged he is about his father's murder, when he himself murders the totally innocent Polonius, Hamlet has the gall to crack jokes about it.
  • Pygmalion:
    Higgins: I swear! I detest the habit. What the devil do you mean?
  • In William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, Angelo stands for chastity and virtue, and therefore, wants to execute Claudio for accidentally getting Juliet (no relation) knocked up. Angelo then proceeds to attempt the Scarpia Ultimatum on Claudio's sister, Isabella, who is a nun in training, and it also turns out that he has an ex-girlfriend somewhere. Still, he is pretty distraught to find himself unable to live up to his own ideals, and continues to apply the same rigid standard of morality and justice to his own transgression.
  • In Hamilton, Burr pursues Theodosia, who was married to a British officer until said officer's death, but he helps spread the Reynolds Pamphlet with Jefferson and Madison when Alexander writes it, confessing to an extramarital affair. Zig-Zagged in that he's horrified along with Jefferson and Madison when first hearing about the affair from Alexander. Also, while he defeated Philip Schuyler, Sr. for a senatorial position and strained his friendship with Alexander, he has the gall to be offended when Alexander supports Jefferson instead of him, with Alexander pointing out that Burr has shown himself to be a man with no stances or loyalties.

The horns hold up the halo.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hypocrisy, Pot Calling The Kettle Black, The Hypocrite


I stole that one

Jay, in 1969, is pulled over by two racist cops who obviously believe he stole the flashy car he's driving. He begins lecturing them on stereotyping and says that just because he's black doesn't mean he stole the car...he then admits that he actually did steal it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / Hypocrite

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