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Playing With / The Atoner

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Basic Trope: A formerly evil character decides to spend the remainder of their life making up for their evil deeds.

  • Straight: Emmett Everson, formerly known as Emperor Evulz, decides to live out the rest of his life atoning for the atrocities he committed during his evil days.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Emmett once accidentally hurt a puppy. He's spending the rest of his life making up for that.
    • Or Emmett was once the evil incarnate in all but in the literal meaning of the word, kicking dogs left and right with a steel enforced jackboot...and in a single night he turns into a such a paragon of goodness that even Jesus would envy, becomes a patron of orphanage, earns the "Do-Gooder of the Year" award and donates cash like it would be candy and still feels he hasn't come clean and needs to do more work to attain atonement.
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • Emmett wants to show that he's truly reformed, and he feels there's no better way than to become an atoner.
    • Emmett genuinely feels bad about what he's done and wants to say sorry in the best way he can.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Emmett is pretending to atone for past misdeeds. In truth, he doesn't regret what he's done and his atoner act is simply step one in another Evil Plan.
  • Advertisement:
  • Double Subverted: Emmett Becomes the Mask, abandons his Evil Plan, and genuinely atones.
  • Parodied:
    • Emmett keeps changing or stacks the reasons for his atonement, proclaiming that he must atone for every evil deed that he does...even if they would be ridiculously small deeds, like accidentally stepping on a cat's tail or littering.
    • Emmett, an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer, declares he will become "good" by not swearing anymore when he kills people.
  • Zig Zagged: Emmett atones but it's just an act. Then he Becomes the Mask but then he's forced to committ Dirty Business and becomes a Hero with Bad Publicity. This causes him to say Then Let Me Be Evil, until a Kick the Morality Pet starts him up on atoning again.
  • Averted:
  • Advertisement:
  • Enforced: "We need this bad guy to show that he's repentant!"
  • Lampshaded: "I'm sorry...and what better way to show that than to undo my deeds?"
  • Invoked:
  • Exploited: When Emmett realizes the full gravity of his wrongdoings, Father Peter engineers a Heel–Face Turn in the villain by pointing out that this is an option that will both save his soul and at least partially assuage his guilty conscience.
  • Defied: Emmett decides not to actively atone for his crimes, instead serving out a sentence in jail.
  • Discussed: "If every evil-doer atoned for their deeds, why do they even need a jail?"
  • Conversed: ???
  • Implied: Emmett has a Dark and Troubled Past and is a little more insistent than most that people Think Nothing of It when he helps them.
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed:
    • Emmett joins a team of heroes so he can have plenty of opportunities for atoning and his new friends (and team therapist) help keep him steady.
    • "If I spend the rest of my life attempting to make up for all the things I did, and only come a hundredth of the way there when all is said and done... It will have been worth it."
  • Played For Drama:
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Emmett isn't one of the heroes. In fact, he's one of the two villains, who is attempting to atone for his role in a religious crusade against a neighboring country by helping them burn his own kingdom to the ground, and the heroes are trying to stop both him and the other villain; the Sinister Minister Claudio, who manipulated the king into starting the war to begin with.

In order to make up for my failures, I will guide you back to The Atoner.

Example of: