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Noble Profession

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"He was a doctor, wasn't he? I'd not think he'd have many sins to purge."
"Exactly! Exactly, first sensible thing you've said all day."
William Samson Sr. and Edward Hyde on Dr. Henry Jekyll, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The opposite of Villain by Default — some occupations are just expected to be good and well-meaning and lovely. Heroes are likely to spring from their ranks, and working as one as a villain — legitimately or just for a useful disguise — is a good way to earn oneself a Heel–Face Turn.


  • Holy People - priests and vicars, usually, but if a rabbi shows up, they'll be the same — wise, willing to dispense advice and help out anyone, whether or not the person in need of help is part of their "flock". It's possible Middle Eastern stuff applies the same goodliness to imams or Shinto, Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist priests get the same deal in Asia. Monks and Nuns are also Inherently Good, and most Buddhists in Western representations come under that umbrella.

  • Schoolteachers - anyone who works with children is lovely. Possibly because they've devoted their lives to helping little people grow up, accumulate knowledge, etc. In a slightly more cynical sense, it could be that anybody willing to put up with children (especially teenagers) all the time has got to be some kind of saint.

  • Medical Professionals - for some odd reason, nurses are more goodly than doctors, in general. Possibly because doctors get paid more and get more prestige from their job, thus opening up less than noble reasons for wanting to be a doctor, whereas nurses are equally famous for being paid relatively little (although in some places nurses are well-paid, highly in-demand professionals), and doing most of the work of actually caring for patients. (Various other medical professionals and technicians that play roles in modern medicine might as well not even exist in fiction, aside from perhaps paramedics/EMTs.) On the other hand, male doctors are considered ideal boyfriend material by every female character ever. This is averted by many medical dramas, because a show about nothing but nice people would be boring to watch. House and other works of fiction that prominently feature the Dr. Jerk archetype get bonus points.
    • In the Pokémon: The Series anime, the Nurse Joys are all sweet as pie, and the one human-treating doctor we ever see is also self-sacrificing and goodly.
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    • Scrubs, as a result of eventual Character Development. The worst doctors get is rude; even Dr. Bob Kelso is eventually revealed to only seem evil as a facade to keep the hospital running smoothly.
    • The saintly Dr. Tenma from Monster, who gets contrasted with figures that run the gamut from normal, flawed human beings to outright monstrous people.
    • Averted by Dr. Christian Szell, who will give you nightmares with just three words: "Is it safe?"
    • Averted by Dr. Standish, probably the second-least-likeable character in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.
    • Mentioned in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. When Mr. Hyde is explaining his origin to other members of the League, and how Jekyll was desperate to create the potion to separate his evil side from himself, Nemo butts in to mention that he's puzzled by Jekyll needing such a potion at all, roughly saying "He was a doctor, I wouldn't think he had many sins in the first place." Ironically, Hyde agrees with this sentiment. It turns out the main "sin" troubling Jekyll so much was being attracted to other men.

Veterinarians are also considered universally good, unless the story is told from the animal's point of view. (Veterinary nurses are not usually seen in media despite fitting the "overworked, under-appreciated, and underpaid" stereotype far better than any nurse ever did.)

These days, this trope is one of the most subverted/averted ones, bordering on a Forgotten Trope. Priest? Corrupt power-grubber (and that's being kind compared to certain stereotypes). Teacher? Questionable methods, up to and including pretending to be a legendary octopus-monster. Medical Professionals? Well... as the joke goes, "What is the difference between God and a surgeon?" God doesn't believe Himself to be a surgeon. For more examples, see Sinister Minister, Sadist Teacher, Dr. Jerk, and Mad Doctor.

However, this will often take some development. As a bit character, the nobility will be assumed — thereby earning extra points when the villain makes them victims.