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Playing With / Anti-Hero

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Basic Trope: A heroic character that is flawed and/or morally ambiguous.

  • Straight: Alice is a vigilante who wants to make the world a better place by murdering criminals.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • Alice lives in a Crapsack World.
    • Alice lives in a Death World.
    • The government is evil, by fighting against them Alice is considered a criminal.
    • The setting is completely lawless and Alice stands up for the people doing things that would be against the law in our world to help out others.
  • Inverted: Anti-Villain.
  • Subverted: Alice appears to be killing crooks left and right, but it turns out she didn't have control of her actions at the time; when she's back to normal, she's The Cape, through and through.
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  • Double Subverted: Alice is revealed to have been Brainwashed and Crazy, but underneath that...she's just as brutal.
  • Parodied:
    • Alice tries to bring about her own brand of harsh justice, but she lives in a Sugar Bowl society where there's hardly ever even any conflict — Alice spends most of her time angsting that there's nothing to Angst about.
    • Alice is a lazy, hedonistic freeloader, but when the push comes to shove, she's a hero who stops bank robbers, evil overlords and people who steal content from the internet.
  • Zig Zagged:
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  • Averted: All the heroes in the story actually act conventionally heroic.
  • Enforced:
    • "No one's interested in a flawless hero anymore, let's give this character loads of issues and have her be all morally ambiguous!"
    • Alternatively; The author is trying to prove some point about the nature of heroism, or else is deconstructing The Hero or The Cape, which requires Alice to do some questionable things in the name of justice.
  • Lampshaded: "The Chosen One seems a tad unheroic."
  • Invoked: Alice is a sadist, so she decides to start taking it out on the people who society says deserve it, lowering the crime rate as she does so and leaving the town happier for it.
  • Exploited: The villain takes steps to make Alice a Hero with Bad Publicity to get her out of the way.
  • Defied: Alice feels herself slipping into anti-herodom, and works hard to maintain her moral code.
  • Discussed: "Alice's not exactly a Nice Girl, but she's on the side of good. No, really."
  • Conversed: "How did this guy not wind up in prison yet?"
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice is rapidly becoming just as brutal as, if not WORSE than, her villains, and when she's killed all of the real threats to society, she's still a dangerously unstable and violent individual.
    • Alternatively: Alice is arrested for killing a criminal because, as it turns out, murder is murder.
    • Alice kills a "criminal", only to find out the real villain's still out there. This leads Alice to question her methods, feel guilty, and wonder if all those lives she's taken away before were really the lives of innocent people.
    • Alice kills a murderer, only to find out the killer was another Anti-hero who only killed villains like her.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Alice has a line she will not cross; the villains are much worse than she is and she really is making the world a better place through her actions.
    • Alice seeks therapy to help her become a more mentally stable individual.
    • Alice decides to be even more careful not to kill an innocent person again & take time to make sure she has solid evidence against them and that the evidence wasn't planted there against the suspect before killing them.
    • Alice tries to learn about the villain's motives & make sure the villain(s) isn't really another anti-hero before killing them.
    • Alternatively, Alice suffers from Moral Myopia.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Alice's morally questionable actions makes her a more complex character and are used to analyze what "the qualities of a hero" truly are, and what it is that makes someone "heroic".

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