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Playing With / Noble Demon

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Basic Trope: A villainous character has a Code of Honour in spite of their commitment to the cause of evil, and is likable as a result.

  • Straight: Dracûl, despite actively cultivating a villainous reputation, often refuses to commit all-out evil actions (such as killing innocent bystanders or raping women), and will explain that said actions are "unnecessary to his goal" or a "waste of resources".
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • Dracûl actually is a nice guy, but he's convinced that being evil is a better career path, so he does his best at it.
    • He isn't heartless.
    • The Noble Demon is polite because of how he was raised.
    • His apparent "nobility" stems from Pragmatic Villainy; after all, by being a decent person, he has a higher chance of converting people to his cause, which is more advantageous in the long term.
    • Dracûl is disgusted by the so-called good guys, and wants nothing to do with them.
    • Dracûl has a legitimate and reasonable disagreement with the Crystal Dragon Jesus or Powers That Be of the setting, but the god(s) he has a difference of opinion with get to decide what's right and what's wrong. An infuriated Dracûl chooses to be evil because he feels that if something that he feels would prevent needless suffering is wrong, he doesn't want to be right.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Dracûl seems to be reasonably noble... but it's all an act to get on the heroes' good side so he can betray them.
    • Dracûl isn't evil at all; he appears evil because the heroes don't know his motivations.
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...but then, after he betrays them, it turns out that he did it to protect them from a greater evil.
    • ...then we realize he is a Knight Templar.
  • Parodied:
    • Dracûl brags about being a genocidal galactic conqueror, and all the atrocities he's committed in that capacity... while he's climbing a tree to get a kitten out of it and giving large denomination bills/coins to all the beggars on the street.
    • Dracûl's refusal to commit all-out evil actions causes him to be repeatedly fired by various evil employers.
  • Advertisement:
  • Zig Zagged: Dracûl pretends to be noble, gets on the heroes' good side, and then betrays them. However, this turns out to shield them from a more dangerous evil. Then it turns out that the shielding was completely unintentional, and to prove it, he puts a metaphorical flag on the heroes, calling that greater evil right to them. However, this is, in and of itself, a Batman Gambit: just as he expected, the greater evil interprets that flag as a trap, and avoids the heroes because of it.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: The producers don't want any character on a kids' show to be too scary or evil, so the bad guy has lines he won't cross.
  • Lampshaded: "You're awfully nice for someone who keeps saying how evil they are, you know".
  • Invoked: Dracûl, looking for an opening into a Heel–Face Turn, starts out by lightening up his evil acts, to make sure the heroes will accept him when they change sides.
  • Exploited: The heroes ignore Dracûl's threats to harm civilians because they know he will Never Hurt an Innocent.
  • Defied: Dracûl deliberately represses his more generous urges, so that he doesn't "weaken".
  • Discussed: "Maybe he's not as bad as he looks. Like, you know, in dramas, there's always that one bad guy that lets innocents get away because they're not involved."
  • Conversed: "Nah, you can always tell when they don't like being evil. See how the camera focused more on his face when he let them go? I bet he joins up with them in the finale".
  • Deconstructed:
    • Being evil means having control and respect, to Dracûl, and so he is proud of his status as evil, and works to maintain it. But in spite of his image, he doesn't have the stomach for genuine depravity.
    • Dracûl is secretly (or perhaps even not-so-secretly) ashamed of not being evil enough.
    • Dracûl's unwillingness to cross moral lines in pursuit of his goals leaves him with no allies since he is too evil for the heroes yet not evil enough for the villains. He is ultimately arrested.
    • Dracûl is a good man deep down, but has been manipulated or forced into committing evil.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Dracûl discovers that Evil Feels Good. Thereafter, if an evil act does not feel good, he doesn't see any reason to do it.
    • Dracûl's victims testify to his Pet the Dog moments, and he gets a lighter sentence than his co-conspirators.
  • Played For Laughs: Dracûl really wants to be badass, but when it comes down to it, all he can ever actually pull off is Poke the Poodle.
  • Played For Drama: The Necessarily Evil Dracûl feels terrible about his misdeeds, but sees no other path, and as a result of his guilt, spares whomever he can afford to.
  • Necessary Weasel: If the audience is not given an evil-ish character to be sympathetic to, they might direct sympathy at a villain not meant for it.

Here's a link back to Noble Demon, but I'm only doing this to prolong our fight, you got that?

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