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Pride Before a Fall

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"Pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."

A character is introduced as an insufferable jerk; arrogant because of some amazing talent or high station in life. Everyone hopes, as soon as he's introduced, that he's going to eventually get what's coming to him...

...and then he does. Immediately. Right at the start of the story. The character is overthrown and knocked out of that high station; or has his marvelous talents somehow taken from him, and spends the rest of the story learning to cope, with varying levels of success.


That's right, this trope begins with his fall from a position of power or influence to learn An Aesop, rather than giving him his due late in the story. Alternatively, we may meet the character just after his fall from power, and learn about his stuck-up, careless past and subsequent karmic punishment via Flash Back. The story spends just enough time showing the audience (or, if the writers are in a hurry, telling us) that he's an arrogant bastard to convince us, before knocking him off his high horse.

The major conflict of the story usually involves the character learning to be humble. Or at the very least, learning not to indignantly ask everyone he runs into "Do you KNOW who I AM?!" as he is often, despite being hit over the head with the humility stick, still very interested in continuing his thoughtless ways.


The story arc completes with character accepting the Aesop. The Aesop can vary, but a typical lesson would be how dependent on other people he is, and how other people need to depend on him. With this change of character, the arc may continue to his return to a power as a juster, kinder soul.

On a cultural or setting level see Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!, Soiled City on a Hill, and And Man Grew Proud.

May overlap with Fallen Princess and Tragic Hero. Compare with The Atoner (who is necessarily repentant by definition), Break the Haughty (for a slower descent), A Taste of Power (for when this happens in video games), and Third Act Stupidity (when near the end of a story). Compare Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot.

If you're looking for pride before a literal fall, see Disney Villain Death.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Code Geass: The main character Lelouch Vi Britannia is a walking, talking definition of pride, thinking that no one can defeat him and that he is infallible. That kind of attitude ends up biting him in the ass hard. Twice, in fact. The first happens in episode 7, where he challenges his half-sister Cornelia in a skirmish but makes the mistake of underestimating her just because he defeated their half-brother Clovis very easily. Because of that, he gets his ass handed to him and experiences defeat for the first time (which, as expected, he takes badly); the only reason he escapes is because C.C bails him out. The second time happens near the end of season one and it's even worse as the consequences this time prove earth-shattering; Lelouch unwittingly causes a horrible accident that results in him being forced to kill someone very close to him, the attack on Tokyo and his decision to leave in the middle of said battle to save his beloved sister who was kidnapped, ends with his army destroyed and his rebellion a total failure and Lelouch himself sold out to his father the Emperor by someone he thought was his friend. All that because of his hubris, arrogance and pride.
  • Outlaw Star: The opening narration of Aisha's introductory episode lampshades how her excessive pride eventually lead to her being demoted from Interplanetary Petentiary, to a mere field officer. She spends the remainder of the series being forced to work minimum wage jobs, while hitchhiking across the galaxy 'til she finally tracks down the crew of the Outlaw Star.
  • The Prince of Tennis:
    • Hyoutei's Shishido is introduced as a cocky, conceited, over-confident jerk who makes snide comments about a player underestimating his opponent... only to get his ass handed to him in his next match against Fudoumine's captain, Tachibana Kippei. Since at the time Hyoutei regulars were not allowed to lose, he is immediately off the team. However, Shishido learns from the experience and after Training from Hell and an Important Haircut he earns back his spot on the team.
    • Also, Ryoma in the anime goes through another of these. He behaves uninterested and apathetic towards Kevin Smith until he sees him play, then pretty much demands to be included in the line-up of the Senbatsu team. Tezuka does NOT take this kindly and promptly bitchslaps Ryoma in front of others, since his selfishness sounded extremely out of place for someone supposed to become a future leader in Seigaku. Ryoma has to go into a Pose of Supplication to regain Tezuka's favor and be even considered as a reserve player. Due to Values Dissonance (teamwork vs. stardom, Japanese mentality vs. Western views), the episode is often derided by fans.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • In the manga and Brotherhood anime, the homunculus Pride is reduced to a lilliputian-size infant, right after a Curb-Stomp Battle and a panicked attempt at Grand Theft Me of the main character. Kimblee even lampshades that Pride has essentially cast aside his own pride as a homunculus.
    • In the first anime adaptation, Pride is a different character, but still fits the bill. He fights his final battle all by himself because he doesn't want to let anyone else in on it and still completely curb-stomps his opposition, but he inadvertently makes his foster son believe he wanted his 'secret treasure' to fight at his fullest. The 'secret treasure' turns out to be the skull of the man he used to be, and when his foster son brings it to him just as he's winning it paralyses him and lets his opponent kill him.
  • Naruto:
    • Pain has Naruto pinned down and impaled with six chakra draining rods to prevent movement. Instead of simply capturing him right then and there, he stabs Hinata in a way that would make her bleed out quickly without immediate medical attention. Which angers Naruto enough to bring out Kyuubi. Turns out those chakra draining rods are no match for six tails of the Kyuubi's power, and his trump card is no match for eight tails. Pain snatches defeat, but also some redemption, from the jaws of victory because of nothing but his ego.
    • The same can be said of his annihilation of the Hidden Leaf Village shortly beforehand. Despite having already won the battle and gotten what he wanted (the location of the Kyuubi jinchuriki), Pain insists on physically destroying the entire village before leaving, expending significant chakra to do so and severely straining himself. It's entirely possible that, had he not been weakened by this effort, he might have been strong enough to succeed in his capture of the Kyuubi. And it's particularly notable considering that, up until this point, despite his repeated declarations of godhood, Pain had demonstrated a very realistic evaluation of his own abilities, putting careful thought into his strategies and averting Explaining Your Powers to the Enemy to great effect. In both the above instances, he did what he did to make others know pain, showing how important that motivation is to him.
  • Reoccuring theme used in Pokémon. If a main character is being excessively prideful or vain, 9 times out of 10 they're going to suffer a Worf Effect to the trainer of the day.
  • In My-Otome, newly crowned Queen Mashiro is more concerned about her birthday celebration and rebuilding her castle than about the lives of the commoners. This changes when Nagi's plan results in him controlling Windbloom and forcing her into exile with the poor people of her country, where she hears of their suffering and watches as they corner her maid Aoi and cause her to fall off a cliff when she refuses to tell them where Mashiro is, mainly because of her having served the Queen.
  • In Saki, this happens to a few mahjong players.
    • Kazue, an anime-only character, enters the indiviudal tournament and not her school one because she doesn't want weak players to drag her down. She ranks relatively high, but doesn't advance onward.
    • Although Izumi of Senriyama doesn't go around flaunting her skill, she thinks she's the strongest player among all first years (not entirely unreasonable, since she managed the unprecedented feat of getting onto the team as a first year). However, in the semifinals, she goes up against three third-year students, and ends up getting last place and losing over 30,000 points. Her teammate FunaQ doesn't mince words when saying Izumi not only is at a disadvantage against the third-years, but also isn't in the same league as the main character.
    • Awai of Shiraitodai is incredibly arrogant, considering her teammates' losing enough points to drop her school from an overwhelming first place lead to second as a mere handicap for her. However, she doesn't do quite as well as she expects, and ends up having to desperately seize second place to ensure her school remains in the competition.
    • From Saki Shinohayu -dawn of age-, Kanna Ishitobi is undefeated at every game she's played until she branches off into mahjong; while she manages to reach the final round of the tournament, she loses to a young Hayari Mizuhara (who, in the present story, is a professional player), and while practicing for her rematch, loses to her friend Kyouka, despite Kyouka being just as inexperienced.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • A version of this happens to Frieza after he's rebuilt into a cyborg. He goes to Earth, stronger than ever with his dad, ready to seek vengeance against Goku for his defeat on Namek. Not even five minutes after landed on Earth he's cut to pieces by Trunks and unceremoniously blasted to hell.
    • Android 20, better known as Dr. Gero. He makes his grand entrance by putting a hole through Yamcha and nuking half of a city. He is sure that thanks to his data on all of Earth's great fighters that he and Android 19 are more than strong enough to kill Goku and the others. While Android 19 did almost manage to kill Goku in their battle, it was because he was sick, and as soon as the healthy Vegeta arrived, saved Goku and turned Super Saiyan, Android 19 was quickly defeated by him. Then, Android 20 was completely outmatched against Piccolo, even after he drained some of his energy. He's reduced to retreating and activating Androids 17 and 18, who kill him.
    • Not long after Super Buu becomes nearly invincible after absorbing Gohan, he had to fight the newly-fused Vegetto. It didn't end well for Buu.
    • Happens every time Vegeta gets a huge power boost. He goes to Namek, stronger than ever after his fight on Earth, and gets nearly killed by a transformed Zarbon. After he got a boost from that battle, the Ginyu Force comes and wipe the floor with him. Then again, he gets a major power-up to fight Frieza and he gets easily murdered. His luck doesn't improve in the Cell or Buu Sagas. By the end of the series, he finally became more humble.
  • The Fort Severn arc of After War Gundam X has Garrod decline an upgrade to the Gundam because he thinks its Wave-Motion Gun makes him unbeatable. Then he runs into Carris Nautilus, a Tyke Bomb with Psychic Powers, who becomes the first person in the series to hand Garrod a resounding defeat. The next few episodes have a humbled Garrod get very serious about learning to pilot the Gundam without relying solely on its signature weapon.
  • Sword Art Online: Sugou Nobuyuki/Oberon is introduced as an arrogant, self-assured creep, declaring himself the god of ALO and rubbing in Kirito's face that there's nothing he can do to stop him. This culminates in him pinning Kirito down and making him watch as he molests Asuna just to rub in how powerless he is rather than just finish him off and be done with it... which allows Kayaba to grant Kirito access to his admin ID, which outranks Sugou's own, and allows Kirito to finally put Sugou in his place. For his ego, Sugou lost everything and landed himself in prison.
  • In One Piece, the Big Mom Pirates are so used to putting down any rookies that enter their territory that they feel the it won't be that different with the Straw Hats, and write them off on vague reports. Naturally, the Straw Hats' counterattack knocks the Big Mom Pirates flatfooted, and things go From Bad to Worse from there, from Big Mom's palace collapsing and the Sea Slug they monitor the ocean with going missing. Mort d'Or insists those last two are a coincidence, but Baron Tamago points out that ever since the Straw Hats arrived, there have been lots of coincidences, and warns that "An arrogant king loses his crown."

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel's The Mighty Thor, at least a few times.
  • Doctor Strange was an insufferable but talented young neurosurgeon with everything he could ever want, until he suffered nerve damage in his hands in a car accident. Cue the plummet to rock bottom, which ended only when he started to care about people other than himself.
  • In White Sand, this is what happens to Sand Masters as a whole - they've grown so prideful and haughty, they've stopped caring about other people's opinions and figured they're too powerful to ever be attacked, so they've stopped training for combat as well. Cue being invaded by an army and slaughtered almost to a man.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls story "Smart And Smarter" (Cartoon Network Block Party #59, DC), Blossom lets admittance to a school for especially smart children go to her head to the point that she not only alienates her sisters but also arch-foe Mojo Jojo. During a face-to-face battle, Mojo cuts Blossom down to size, with Bubbles and Buttercup's blessings.
  • In Barracuda, Maria starts as a haughty young noblewoman, still in her teens, but in the first volume she is captured by pirates and sold into slavery. She is thoroughly demeaned and defiled, when she hits rock bottom, she resolves to take back control of her destiny, and begins her totally ruthless climb back to the top.

    Fan Works 
  • Son of the Sannin:
    • This is what caused the downfall of Uzushiogakure. During the Second War, the leader of the village, Kuniotoko Uzumaki, took advantage of a dispute between Kumo and Kiri, declared himself Uzukage, and tried invading Kiri to replace it as a Great Village, despite Konoha's warnings. The act was so egregious and insulting that Kumo and Kiri buried the hatchet and not only repelled the invasion, but counter-invaded Uzushio and crushed it to the last man.
    • Konan suggests that this happened to Hanzo as well. He was able to defeat the three Sannin together during his prime, but not being on the battlefield for years caused his abilities to rust, and he coasted on his fearsome reputation to remain as Amegakure's leader until Pain killed him off.
    • Suzumebachi reminds her brothers that their clan's fall from grace was caused by pride, so she's willing to swallow it as much as it takes to restore it to its former glory.
  • This trope is commonly found in many Prince Hans redemption fanfics. Because he tried to kill Anna and Elsa in a selfish bid to become the king of Arendelle, he's sent back to Arendelle to be an unpaid servant for the sisters. He starts out grouchy about this initially, but eventually mellows out after a long lesson on how being selfish made him an enemy of the sisters. Sometimes, the sisters and Kristoff will give a lengthy Kirk Summation to him, with his standard response being a lame I Did What I Had to Do excuse. It takes an adventure for Hans to realize how being deceptive and greedy made him an enemy of the sisters, that Love Redeems, and that he should enjoy life rather than just being obsessed with power in general.
  • In the epilogue of The Chronicles of Tanya the Holy, it's mentioned that the Horde and Night Elves eventually went to war over resources and the Horde absolutely crushed the Night Elves, partially due to the latter's refusal to call upon their numerous allies even when they were obviously losing.
  • Occurs thrice in A Young Woman's Political Record, though one instance is only an omake.
    • Albion prides itself on having the best football teams in the world. During their first match at the World Cup, they lose 5-4 and at halftime had been losing 4-1, because they were so confident of their victory that they went pub-crawling the night before the game and had to play the game while hung over.
    • The Parisee chief of police sees the Francois Republic's swift defeat by Germanianote  this way, declaring that God was punishing them for their hubris.
    • In the Albish Foreign Policy omake where Albion goes to war against Germania, the higher-ups in both the Albish military and government are confident that the Germanian military "can't scratch their navy". Their first battle against Germania results in losing all but one in five battleships and half a carrier of their Grand Fleet, while only taking out two destroyers and a handful of aircraft due to Germania's advanced submarines.

    Films — Animated 
  • Emperor Kuzco of The Emperor's New Groove. We're made aware that he's a careless, self-absorbed emperor, and then the story begins as he's overthrown by Yzma and turned into a llama.
  • Beauty and the Beast. A prince refuses to provide shelter for an old woman. She turns out to be a powerful enchantress who curses him (and everybody in his castle, including a kid) for his judging her by her appearance. To be restored, the beast must learn to love another and receive love in return.
  • Stitch in Lilo & Stitch. He goes from being a badass mutant escapee to a little girl's "dog". He learns an Aesop about the value of family and his gleeful feral edge is ... softened.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the beginning of the movie Bella, we see the main character as a famous up-and-coming soccer player driving with his manager a few years ago. He is then shown in the present day working as a chef at his brother's restaurant. Through flashbacks throughout the movie, we find out that when he was driving, he accidentally hit and killed a small girl, causing him to stop playing soccer.
  • Friday Night Lights: Boobie, the star running back on the team, is extra cocky at the outset, basking in various recruitment offers from top colleges. Of course, this all comes to a halt when he suffers a career-ending injury during a game.
  • Stephen Chow's character in God of Cookery. When he starts to regain his former glory halfway through the film, he begins to revert to his haughty attitude, until tragedy forces him to reevaluate his priorities.
  • Vizzini, in The Princess Bride. When he meets Westley, he says, "Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons." Within five minutes, he has been outwitted to the point of death.
  • You know, despite the fact Count Dooku was a Sith, Anakin really should have heeded his warning about "Twice the pride, double the fall" in Revenge of the Sith.
  • Pacific Rim shows Jaeger pilot Raleigh Beckett's pride before the fall in the beginning. At first, he's brash, eager to fight, and sees the sighting of the Kaiju codenamed "Knifehead" as another potential notch in his and his co-pilot brother Yancy's belt instead of rightly giving it the regard as a threat it deserves. What results is him getting to witness his brother's Despair Event Horizon in his own head as he dies, the mental strain of piloting a Jaeger by himself, and the shattering of the invincible mystique of the Jaegers against the Kaiju menace. He becomes a Shell-Shocked Veteran and later has to be dared to come back into the service.
  • Thor: Thor believes he can take on Jötunheim with just his buddies and nearly starts a war as a result. He ends up getting exiled from Asgard and losing Mjölnir until he learns some humility.

  • So a cat thought it could take down a bird of any size, until one day it suffered a bittern defeat.

  • Kennedy in Bubba Ho Tep.
  • The appropriately nicknamed Prince Brat in the children's book The Whipping Boy.
  • The classic children's historical novel Johnny Tremain. The main character is more skilled and harder-working than his fellow apprentices Dove and Dusty, and doesn't hesitate to remind them of that. Later their master, Mr. Lapham, has Johnny read the part in their Bible about pride coming before a fall. While rushing to finish an order, Johnny gets a cracked crucible from Dove (who had picked a bad crucible to make Johnny look like a fool but not get injured), resulting in molten silver spilling onto his hand, which fuses his thumb to his palm and ends his career as a smith.
  • A subtler version—or at least, one that would have been, had it not been for the journal entry that hammered the reader over the head with An Aesop—was when Drizzt left his friends to go dissuade the drow from invading Mithral Hall. Why? Because he didn't want to put them in danger, and only trusted in his own abilities to... scare off an entire city of his kinsmen, many of whom were more powerful than him? He is promptly captured (and not even by drow!).
  • Prince Roger in March Upcountry doesn't get knocked down quite in the first few pages, but pretty quickly nonetheless.
  • The first chapter of Melusine, the first book in Doctrine of Labyrinths, sees arrogant Lord Felix revealed as a commoner and former prostitute.
  • Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there, Lewis Carroll's 1871 sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Martin Gardner, in his The Annotated Alice, points out Humpty Dumpty's frequent use of the word "proud", lampshading the pride that goes before his fall.
  • "The Tortoise and the Hare"'s eponymous hare. He's so confident in his victory that he decides to take a nap partway through the race, but when he wakes up, he sees that the tortoise has already won.
  • The Trials of Apollo begins with the prideful Greco-Roman god Apollo being turned mortal and cast from Olympus. The rest of the series revolves around him experiencing a Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot to regain his godhood.

    Live Action TV 
  • Walter White of Breaking Bad's journey can be summed up with this trope. All of Walt's losses, both major and minor, are due to Walt's arrogance and ego.
  • My Name Is Earl. A petty criminal with no respect for authority has a lottery ticket. He loses his ticket and undertakes to reform himself. When he starts, the ticket returns to him and he sees it as a sign that he's meant to use the money to keep trying.
  • Dominar Rygel XVI of Farscape definitely qualifies as a slow learner - despite having been deposed and imprisoned some 130 "cycles" before the events of the series, he's still an arrogant bastard when Crichton arrives. It takes most of the show's run for him to work his way to something more tolerable.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Daleks' Master Plan", a council of galactic leaders delude themselves into thinking the Daleks will give them power. This is most pronounced with Guardian Mavic Chen of the Solar System, who actually orders the Daleks around. Those others on the council who survive are able to warn their galaxies when the Daleks turn on them, but Chen is exterminated, his Last Words being "You cannot kill me!".
    • In "The Invasion", Corrupt Corporate Executive Tobias Vaughn thinks he can play the Cybermen for patsies. He soon realizes he is Out-Gambitted, and is deleted trying to stop them. Interestingly, both Vaughn and Chen were played by the same actor.
  • UK soap Eastenders does this all the time. Every single time anybody is the least bit proud of anything, the fall is just around the corner. Sure as eggs is eggs.
  • Babylon 5:
    • This is part of the Back Story for the humans, who after winning a war with the Dilgar refuse to listen to cautionary advice given to them by the Centauri, and proceed to boldly stumble into a war with the Minbari because they were too proud to just leave the Minbari alone. This is complicated by the Minbari warrior caste's blind assumption that a race they had never met would be familiar with a Warrior Caste greeting traditionnote , that even their own religious leader had to have explained to him. This is further complicated by said Minbari religious leader making the unilateral decision to take his ship, with the Minbari's governing body, on an ill-advised expedition to Z'Ha'Dum, the homeworld of the long-dormant Shadows, on a whim, just to see if they were back yet. If any of these parties had swallowed their pride enough to actually listen to anyone else before acting, the disastrous Earth-Minbari War would have been avoided. Of course, then the Babylon Project would have never happened either...
    • The fate of the Centauri Republic later in the show (actually an empire) all happens due to Ambassador Londo's pride... and given how most of the other emperors had behaved (save for the sweet dying Emperor Turhan Bey and future Emperor Vir ), it's a given that most of the Centauri upper class have the same failing. Similarly, their arch-nemeses, the Narn Regime, is too proud to back down from trying to pick a fight with the Centauri in retaliation for their past occupation and slavery at the Centauris' hands, and this leads them into a similarly disastrous and one-sided war with the Centauri and the Shadows.
    • The movie Thirdspace reveals that even the Vorlons fell victim to their pride.
    Vorlon Race Memory: Our great mistake, our failing and now your failing. The error is compounded.
    Delenn: What mistake?
    Vorlon Race Memory: The first one. The one from which all mistakes precede. The error of pride.
  • The short-lived drama Citizen Baines qualifies as this, as Baines is a senator-soon-turned-former senator suddenly having to raise his kids.
  • On an episode of The West Wing, Josh attempts to run a press conference while CJ is out. Danny Kincannon warns him not to go up, and in response Josh rubs his Harvard and Yale background in his face. Josh then proceeds to get blindsided on two different fronts and become the White House's goat for the day.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard's pride in Starfleet and what they can handle leads Q to send the Enterprise-D into Borg Space. Despite Guinian warning him to turn right back around, Picard marches forth and leads to 18 members of the crew getting captured and assimilated by the Borg before Picard begs Q to get them out of there.
  • The Wheel of Time: In episode 7 Agelmar, the ruler of Fal Dara, reacts to Moiraine rather harshly when he thinks Aes Sedai sent help without him asking. His kingdom has survived long enough without outside assistance. In episode 8, after seeing the size of Trolloc army, he admits he should've called for help. His city survives, but he does not.

  • Verse three of The Beatles' "I'm A Loser":
    What have I done to deserve such a fate?
    I realise I have left it too late.
    And so it's true, pride comes before a fall,
    I'm telling you so that you won't lose all.

  • Of course, the archetypal example is Satan, dating back at least to Paradise Lost. He has respectively been portrayed as too proud to take second place to man, or too proud to take second place to God, both of which result in him leading a rebellion against God, leading to him and his fellow rebel angels getting booted out of heaven.
    • It may go back to The Bible with Isaiah 14, but interpretations differ.note 
    • The titular character of DC Comics' Lucifer was a portrayal of the second type. He actually ends up making his own Creation outside of the first one, just to show the old man up. It gets complicated from there.
    • Horus, son of the Emperor of Mankind in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, parallels Lucifer's Fall so closely that it cannot possibly have been an accident.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition core setting, Asmodeus is a Satan analogue who served a god known only as He Who Was, who was implied to be the creator of humanity and the strongest of the gods, and their leader during the war with the primordials. Asmodeus used increasingly violent tactics in the war, often slaughtering innocent mortals in the crossfire. He Who Was ordered Asmodeus to stop, and in his pride, Asmodeus refused, and He Who Was cast Asmodeus and his army down as punishment. Pretty standard so far. Until Asmodeus rose up and slew He Who Was at the most oppertune moment. While the other gods publicly cursed Asmodeus, privately they thanked him; he had slain a weak willed general who in his pride had cast down their strongest warrior and greatest army, hoping to teach them a lesson in humility, even at the cost of the war.
  • In the backstory of Princess: The Hopeful, the Kingdoms of Light grew proud and insular, each believing that their interpretation of the Light was the only valid one. That pride, and the strife that sprang from it, gave the Darkness a foothold and allowed it to grow stronger, overthrowing the Kingdoms and sealing the titular Princesses in the Dreamlands for many millennia. In the modern day, the five Radiant Courts have learned from their former failure, and make a point of reminding themselves that their fellow Radiants are servants of the Light and avatars of virtue just as they are.

    Video Games 
  • The first quarter of the Tales of the Abyss. The main character finds out the hard way that being rich does not make you right all the time — it's only when he stops relying on his family's reputation (among other things) that he becomes useful.
  • This is (partially) how Phoenix Wright is tricked into presenting false evidence and losing his badge in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. When we see his flashback case against Klavier, he's quite full of himself, mocking Klavier's inexperience and his accent, and he presents his evidence without reflecting on it. After he's caught, he's pretty much instantly humbled, and he never reaches those heights of arrogance again.
  • The protagonist of Double Homework was immensely proud of his skiing abilities, and they went to his head. Then came the Barbarossa incident, which changed him forever.
  • Subverted in God of War II. In the first level, Kratos is in his full God of War glory, but it ends with him drained of his godly power and killed by Zeus. Unfortunately for...well, everyone, Zeus forgot that when you're dealing with Kratos, it doesn't matter how 'right' you are or how 'wrong' he is: 'petulant' doesn't begin to describe the man. This turn of events unravels what little sanity Kratos had remaining, and he goes on a deicidal temper tantrum that leaves the world a flooded, darkened, zombie-infested hellhole.
  • King Trode in Dragon Quest VIII. He's an annoying, overproud king who's awfully fond of the line, "Do you know who I AM?" Just before the beginning of the game, he is transformed into a toad-like creature, and his kingdom is laid in ruins, leaving him to wander a world where most humans fear or despise him as a monster. Depressingly, he never seems to learn humility.
    • Then again, he was transformed and his kingdom was devastated because of an Omnicidal Maniac, not because of him. So why would he need to?
      • Considering said maniac was really using Trode's court jester as a temporary vessel on a mission of revenge against those who had belittled him, there probably should have been a lesson in there somewhere.
      • He does eventually come to understand that simply being a king doesn't entitle him to order everyone around. Sure, he does it anyway, but later in the game, there's a distinct shift from "Do it because I tell you" to "Please help me do this".
  • In Persona 5, after the takedown of Medjed, the Phantom Thieves are feeling very proud of their abilities and of the immense public support they are receiving. In their very next heist, they are framed for the murder of Okumura as well as all of the Mental Shutdowns that have been plaguing the town for years.
  • Marietta in Knights in the Nightmare, at least in Maria's route; happily enough, Maria is mortified at what Marietta's pride led to, and the other half of Marietta's soul, Melissa, is more worried about finding Ancardia than her dignity. We're introduced to Marietta's usual nasty attitude in Yggdra Union and Riviera: The Promised Land, along with Meria's route. (And for all her flaws, Meria's own pride doesn't stop her from being a loyal and caring individual. Marietta's still does.)
  • Clearly "inspired" by The Emperor's New Groove, Dragon Prince Ao-Jun of Tradewinds Caravans is turned into a lowly talking camel as punishment for a life of debauchery and caravan-eating, and must do one truly selfless deed to regain his true form. It goes about as well as you might think, and he briefly becomes an invisible lowly talking camel after denouncing his faith (of which he is a deity) to tithe a ridiculous sum of someone else's money to heathens because it was just the easiest thing he could think of.
  • Resident Evil 6: Big Bad Carla Radames, Ada Wong's reluctant Doppelgänger, suffers from this. Her Evil Plan is going off without a hitch, but then she calls up the real Ada to gloat about what she's doing and how Ada will take the fall for it. Ada's subsequent intervention is the very thing that ruins Carla's otherwise flawless plan.
  • The Assassin's Creed series begins with one of these, as Altair - The Dragon for the head of the Assassin's guild - is cast down from his lofty position and has to start over as a low-ranked rookie.
  • Revali, the Rito Champion from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The first thing you find out about him is that he and the other Champions were swiftly killed and their respective Divine Beasts possessed when Calamity Ganon returned to Hyrule. When Link subsequently recovers his memories, Revali is revealed to have been a smug, vainglorious guy who was openly disdainful of relative newcomer Link being the primary Champion — he went so far as to "challenge" Link to a test of skill atop Vah Medoh just to rub in the latter's inability to fly. It takes being trapped as a ghost inside Vah Medoh for a century and being freed by Link for Revali to finally acknowledge that the Hylian is worthy of being The Chosen One.
  • Warlord Asura, the final warlord Sinjid is tasked with killing in Sinjid. Due to Sinjid dispatching his troops and the other warlords before going after him, Asura only has one remaining ally left in the form of a mysterious man named Kazuro, who abandons him after explaining that he's grown tired of him constantly turning his help away because he was too overconfident in his fighting abilities. Having lost his last remaining ally, he is forced to fight Sinjid on his own, and is killed in combat, ending the war.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, one of the random battle victory conversations has Rex gloating about how nothing can stop him now, with Azurda reminding him of this trope.
  • Kingdom Rush: Vengeance has Gerald Lightseeker in the Lightseeker Camp level. Within the span of the level, he starts out boasting about how he's a One-Man Army but refuses to fight because he feels his men can "deal with you one-handed", to having his Linirean forces beaten by your Dark Army which forces him to fight you directly. By then, your defences have become strong enough to defeat him. His final action before being captured by Vez'nan and the dark army is to plead "Could I keep my honor?" while kneeling down, injured.

    Web Original 
  • Trevor James Goodkind of the Whateley Universe, brilliant son of the richest man on Earth, second in line to take over his father's company, and heir to the Goodkind tradition of 'recognizing the mutant threat', i.e. hating those evil mutants. In the first chapter of his first story, he manifests as a mutant freak. He is immediately disinherited, experimented on and tortured by a Mad Scientist, humiliated, abandoned by his family, not to mention becoming intersexed due to his mutation ... Within a week he's living in a basement with nowhere else to go.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Azula is very prideful and arrogant, though it does take awhile as any failures she does suffer she just brushes off, and to be fair she does win some pretty impressive victories along the way. However it isn't until she realizes that her technique of ruling through fear isn't as foolproof as she expected, and that her father considers her as expendable as Zuko, that she begins her fall.
    • Admiral Zhao's determination to make a name for himself by killing the moon spirit not only incites the wrath of Iroh, who tries to explain that such an action would cause inconceivable damage to the entire world, Fire Nation included, but also enrages the spirits of the ocean and the avatar enough to obliterate his entire war fleet. In an earlier episode, he accidentally burned his own ships after Aang's insults provoked him into being sloppy with his firebending, and his eventual death comes from his refusal to accept help from Zuko (the scene is a bit ambiguous, but preferring death to humiliation is one interpretation of his actions).
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben's cocky attitude, which began coming about after saving the world from the Highbreed, is a prime example. His ego results in the Omnitrix resetting to its faulty first series self, as well as turning Kevin into another amalgamated monster.
  • One episode of Sushi Pack featured four superhero Reality TV contestants who spent all their scenes bragging about their deeds of derring-do, and even their weaknesses. Unfortunately for them, this information is used by the show's host, an alien in disguise, to incapacitate them while he sends for the rest of his invading fleet. The Sushi Pack, snubbed by the Supers, save the day by using the alien's own bragging against him.
  • In Transformers: Animated, Sentinel Prime is introduced as an arrogant Jerkass who constantly belittles Optimus and his team and makes aside insults about the "Organics" during a public appearance. Then came The Headmaster... It isn't until season 3 though that he starts to get along with Optimus again, but sadly he's become an even bigger ass than ever. Especially after being promoted to Magnus.
  • Captain Atom in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. As he's essentially Superman class in this version, he has let his power go to his head, actively deriding people who don't have superpowers as useless. While he does invoke Jerkass Has a Point a couple of times, he is generally an insufferable ass who thinks he can't be harmed by anything. It takes a mishap with his arch-enemy, and some training from Batman, to make him anything close to humble. He even subverts this: rather than being arrogant and condescending towards people weaker than him, he is now pitying and overprotective of them.