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Playing With / Graying Morality

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Basic Trope: Good and evil begin to get more shades of gray.

  • Straight: Alice and Bob have a long-drawn out battle between good and evil, but as the series progresses, Alice starts committing morally questionable actions whereas Bob has become a more sympathetic villain.
  • Exaggerated: The Always Lawful Good Alice fights off against the Always Chaotic Evil Bob, but later on, Alice becomes more of a nasty Sociopathic Hero while Bob becomes a villain who hardly poses a threat.
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  • Downplayed: Alice and Bob are on opposing sides, but later, Alice becomes a bit mean and cynical although still heroic, whereas Bob becomes more sympathetic although still unquestionably evil.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Alice and Bob are neither good nor evil, but the series later progresses as Alice becomes morally upright while Bob becomes irrevocably evil.
  • Subverted: Alice becomes meaner and Bob reveals a softer side. But then it turns out that Alice was going undercover with the bad guys, and Bob was trying to improve his image for personal gain.
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  • Double Subverted: As in subverted, but later we see that Alice actually enjoyed some of her time undercover, and Bob still has some soft spots despite having gotten what he wanted.
  • Parodied: Alice transitions from a Purity Sue to a Designated Hero while Bob turns from villain to a Designated Villain.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice does some bad things, and Bob does some good things, but then they are in conflict and it's clear Alice is in the right and Bob is in the wrong.
  • Averted: Alice and Bob remain morally unambiguous.
  • Enforced: "The whole black vs white scenario is getting boring. Let's spice up the series a bit!"
  • Lampshaded:
    Bob: Look who just forgot to take their medication.

    Alice: You're not as evil as you were before.
  • Invoked:
    • The Corrupter tempts Alice to compromise her morals.
    • Bob's Morality Pet makes him reconsider his evil actions to some extent.
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  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied:
    • After some debate, Alice refuses to compromise her moral.
    • Bob has Chronic Villainy, and rejects a redemption opportunity
Alice: Once, it seemed obvious that I was in the right, and he was in the wrong. Now, after all we've done, I'm not quite sure...
  • Conversed: "Why is Alice suddenly more of an asshole? How come Bob's not as threatening as he used to be?"
  • Deconstructed: In reality, Alice and Bob were always grey characters. It was just Alice's POV that made them appear to be black and white in the first place.
  • Reconstructed: In spite of this, Alice has really been getting worse, and Bob has been getting better.

Back to Graying Morality.



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