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Mask of Confidence

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Bertie Wooster: And he was attending that fancy-dress ball, mark you—not, like every other well-bred Englishman, as a Pierrot, but as Mephistopheles—this involving, as I need scarcely stress, not only scarlet tights but a pretty frightful false beard... "And why not as a Pierrot?" I said, taking up the point which had struck me before. "Why this break with a grand old tradition?"
Gussie Fink-Nottle: He particularly wanted me to go as Mephistopheles... Jeeves is a great believer in the moral effect of clothes. He thinks I might be emboldened in a striking costume like this. He said a Pirate Chief would be just as good.

Mask of Power needn't be magical: all it needs to do is to cover your face. The symbolism noted under that trope, of taking a new face and thus becoming a new person, works especially strong here, and there is no magical effect involved whatsoever: the wearer becomes more powerful and confident simply because of the psychological effect.

Always a Cool Mask by default. Compare Beneath the Mask and Magic Feather. Split Personality, Secret-Identity Identity, and What You Are in the Dark are often related. Not to be confused with Inferiority Superiority Complex, which about unconfident characters who pretend they are confident.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mamoru in Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor wears a Goubain mask when piloting his Fafner, which makes him act more Hot-Blooded.
  • In One Piece, after leaving the Straw Hat Crew, Usopp develops an alternate identity of Sogeking, so that he might still help to save his companion without betraying his true identity to the rest of the crew and let them know that he did not leave (it doesn't work, but that's beside the point). The mask included in the costume is nothing but a common carnival souvenir but "Sogeking" is drawn out once again in a future battle and grants Usopp enough confidence to win.
  • Sket Dance: Daimon Akitoshi is a shy and timid guy who tends to overthink things and is very considerate. When he puts on his mask to become Enigman, he becomes a Large Ham.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: One story established that Mysterio has severe confidence issues when not wearing his helmet, to such a point that he is too cowardly to speak to a woman he is attracted to over the phone without donning the mask.

  • The Adventures Of Panthera Noire: As Panthera, Juleka is almost unrecognizable, becoming a flirty, quick-witted sass master. Ironically, her mask actually makes her insecurities in her normal life worse as it leads her to believe that Rose is in love with Panthera and not the real her.

  • The Mask revolves around an actual Mask of Power that grants the shy, lovesick Stanley Ipkiss an absurd level of confidence (and Reality Warper powers) as the title character, but when he asks an anthropologist for more information about the artifact, he doesn't believe it's magic and instead brings up the psychological effect of wearing a mask!
  • In Star Wars, the villainous Kylo Ren is a much darker take on this. When he's wearing a black, voice-altering mask (deliberately designed after Darth Vader's), he comes off as more cold, menacing, and controlled. When the mask's off, he is a lot more awkward and emotional to the point where it's implied part of the reason he wears the mask is to hide his true feelings. Case in point, his master Snoke contemptuously tells him to "take that ridiculous thing off".

  • Discworld: In Maskerade, no one suspects that Walter Plinge could be the Phantom, because without the mask he acts like an altogether different person. When Granny and Agnes give him an "invisible mask" to face Salzella at the climax, he retains the confidence and poise of his alter ego.
  • The self-help book Goodbye Shy, which is about beating shyness, recounts an anecdote of a young boy who was painfully shy in public to the point of never speaking or interacting with anyone until he was allowed to wear a mask to school one day. In an instant, he loudly declared himself to be "Nobody", and became gregarious and friendly. As this became his new normal, he made lots of friends and stopped needing the mask.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: In Right Ho, Jeeves, Jeeves invokes this trope advising Gussie Fink-Nottle, who Cannot Spit It Out to Madeline Basset, to get a pirate costume or a Mephisthopeles costume to a costume ball Madeline has invited Gussie. We will never know if it would have worked because Gussie gives the taxi the wrong address and his costume has no pockets where to save money and he expends the night at jail.
  • In Masques, Aralorn's friend Wolf wears a mask. His face is heavily scarred, but apart from that he looks exactly like his evil father, so he really needs a new face.
  • The titular item in The Stragglers Mask, when given to the Lovable Coward Peal and told that it's magic, allows him to stand tall and perform actual heroic deeds. How much of it is this trope, how much Magic Feather, and how much actually magical, is left ambiguous to the very end.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Benny Hill Show, "In Boutique Mask Dance." Benny goes to a mask boutique, tries to flirt with the shopgirl who rejects him. He puts a handsome mask on and she's falling all over herself, but he plays hard to get. Then he takes the mask off momentarily and puts it back on, but puts on a female mask by mistake, so now the shopgirl doesn't care for him. He's confused. Then a man enters the shop, sees this beautiful girl (Benny), and tries to woo her.
  • The Red Hood's mask in Gotham is basically just some ragged red cloth, yet whoever wears it becomes a confident, dangerous villain.
  • Nonsuperhero example in The Masked Singer, which naturally requires all of its contestants to be hidden via masks and costumes, as guessing them is the whole point of the show. Many singers have commented on how liberating it is to perform anonymously and get away from their existing reputations.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Alessio Rinaldi AKA the Peacock Prince has found himself with a rather problematic case of this: as the Malkavian Prince of Ravenna, he's more than capable of dealing with all the problems that governance throws at him - but only once he dons his mask of peacock feathers. Without it, he's frail, meek, and incapable of dealing with his station as prince... and worse still, the Peacock Prince has actually begun to develop into an independent personality in its own right.

  • Plushie Dreadfuls: The NPD bunny is a plain brown bunny wearing a shiny gold crown that's described on the website page as fake; the intention is to reassure NPD sufferers they're good enough, because the bunny is cute enough not to need any crown at all.

    Video Games 
  • Murakumo from Senran Kagura: While wearing the Hanyaa mask, she acts cool, stoic, and talks with a deep, tough-sounding voice. Without it, she turns into a Shrinking Violet with an incredibly timid voice who's too nervous to form complete sentences.

    Web Comics 
  • Flipside: Maytag is outgoing and freethinking when in her jester outfit, and extremely shy and neurotic without it. Subverted when the shy personality turns out also to be an act — she's really an analytical Emotionless Girl who struggles to relate to people without putting on an act.

    Western Animation 
  • Hunter from The Owl House comes across as incredibly cocky when he's in uniform as the Golden Guard, but losing his mask gives way to the insecure and awkward teenager underneath. He even lampshades this in "Thanks to Them", when he notes to Luz how he never used to be scared back when he was the Golden Guard, leading Luz to try and invoke the effect by giving him a Halloween mask that bears a superficial resemblance to his old mask.

    Real Life 
  • People are known to act as a much less 'filtered' and 'conformed' version of themselves when wearing a mask of some sort. This is particularly true when said mask is the internet. Of course, this means that people who suppress their natural nastiness will unleash it online.