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"I'm not the man that killed President Luthor. Right now, I wish to Heaven that I were, but I'm not."
Superman, Justice League Unlimited, "Divided We Fall"

"Man, atonement's a bitch."
Angel, Angel

"If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we'd live like animals or angels in the happy land that needs no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust, and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice, and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all... why then perhaps we must stand fast a little- even at the risk of being heroes."
Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons

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Chandler: You know, Richard, you are a good guy.
Richard: I know. I hate that.
Friends, "The One with the Proposal: Part 2"

The king knew with certainty that the knight who had crossed the bridge was far better than any other, for no one who harboured Cowardice within himself, which shames those who have it more than Nobility brings them honour, would dare to cross. Nobility cannot accomplish as much as Cowardice and Sloth, for it is the truth - and never doubt it - that evil can be more easily done than good.

"I try to be a good husband and you took my wife away. I tried to be a good father and now my son hates me! The people at my job torture me every day leaving me coming home battered and bruised crying myself to sleep! What did I do to deserve this? Am I not a good person?! Can't you just give me a break for once in my miserable fucking life?!"
Breakfast Duck, on Christmas Eve, delivering a fed-up Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter! speech shortly before being struck by lightning.

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Clark Kent: What's that on your face?
Billy Batson: Eh, it's [a bruise from a punch] what you get for trying to be good. Should have just kept my mouth shut. 'Be good and good will follow'. That's what my parents used to always tell me. But, you know, Mr. Kent, I was good before they were taken from me. I was good at the foster home. And I was good fifteen minutes ago. I'm starting to think being good isn't good for me.
Clark Kent: It seems that way sometimes, doesn't it? But that's because good is hard. Bad is always easy.

Wish I'd never met you, Doctor. I was much better off as a coward.
Jack Harkness as he kisses the Doctor goodbye, "The Parting of the Ways"

I believe there's a hero in all of us...that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the things we want the most. Even our dreams.
Aunt May, Spider-Man 2

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You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
John McClane, Live Free or Die Hard

Conscience do cost.
Butchie, The Wire

I am quite certain that there are people who do not repent of their good deeds when the return they get for them is treachery and ingratitude. I think that these few ought to be in Heaven; they are in the way here.
Mark Twain, "Something About Repentance"

So "divisive" was Abraham Lincoln's embrace of abolition that it got him shot in the head. So "divisive" was Lyndon Johnson's embrace of civil rights that it fractured the Democratic Party. So "divisive" was Ulysses S. Grant's defense of black civil rights and war upon the Klan, that American historians spent the better part of a century destroying his reputation. So "divisive" was Martin Luther King Jr. that his own government bugged him, harassed him, and demonized him until he was dead.

I wanted him to reawaken the evil in my heart. I wanted him to return me to the way I was before! I was the perfect warrior, cold and ruthless. I lived by my strength alone, uninhibited by foolish emotion.... but slowly, over the years, I became one of you, my quest for greatness gradually giving way to this life of mediocrity. I awoke one day to find I had settled down, formed a family, I had even grown quite fond of them. Would you believe... I almost started to think the Earth was a nice place to live. You understand now, Kakarot? That's why I needed Babidi, to set me free. By releasing the evil in my heart, he has freed me of these petty attachments... and I have to say it feels pretty good.
Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z to Goku (Kakarot)

Simple logic then dictated the conclusion: Every person's suffering is indicative of the measure of their guilt in the eyes of God. In the abstract, this conclusion appeared inescapable, logically imperative and theologically satisfying.
But what thus appeared to be theologically self-evident and unassailable in the abstract was often in radical tension with actual human experience. There were those whose godliness was genuine, whose moral character was upright and who had kept themselves from great transgression, but who nonetheless were made to suffer bitterly (see, e.g., Ps 73). For these the self-evident theology brought no consolation and offered no guidance.
Commentary on the Book of Job's social context

Is this what we get for saving the world!?
Fu Inubozaki, Yuki Yuna is a Hero

It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate, it takes strength to be gentle and kind
The Smiths, "I Know It's Over"

"I can't keep doing this. I can't! I can't always do this! It's not fair! Clara, it's just not fair! WHY CAN'T I JUST LOSE?!"
The Twelfth Doctor, Doctor Who

"Without hope. Without witness. Without reward."
The Twelfth Doctor, Doctor Who

"This cannot be happening to me.
It's all wrong, just a dream. What have I done?
No hope, no way to get out of this.
Please just let me die now. I don't want this fate.
I don't want to be a hero anymore.
Can't breathe, can't do it, just let me fall.
We're all lost. Fighting enemies that don't exist.
And they turned us into this."
Never Existed, Keldian

"You are an honest and honorable man, Lord Eddard. Ofttimes I forget that. I have met so few of them in my life." He glanced around the cell. "When I see what honesty and honor have won you, I understand why."

"You must all take instructions from me!" the conscience shrieks, in effect, to all the other mental processes. The other processes try it for a while, note that the conscience is unappeased, that it continues to shriek, and they note, too, that the outside world has not been even microscopically improved by the unselfish acts the conscience has demanded. They rebel at last. They pitch the tyrannous conscience down an oubliette, weld shut the manhole cover of that dark dungeon. They can hear the conscience no more. In the sweet silence, the mental processes look about for a new leader, and the leader most prompt to appear whenever the conscience is stilled, Enlightened Self-interest, does appear. Enlightened Self-interest gives them a flag, which they adore on sight. It is essentially the black and white Jolly Roger, with these words written beneath the skull and crossbones, 'The hell with you, Jack, I've got mine!"
Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

No, he's never met a nice South African
And that's not bloody surprising, mun
Because we've never met one either
Except for Breyten Breytenbach, and he's emigrated to Paris
Yes, he's quite a nice South African
And he's hardly ever killed anyone
And he's not smelly at all
That's why we put him in prison
A bunch of racist Afrikaners, Spitting Image, "I've Never Met a Nice South African" (for context, Breytenbach, an opponent of apartheid, was exiled for marrying a non-white woman and arrested on a clandestine trip to South Africa on this charge and a bunch of other bullshit charges)

''It's not that he doesn't like the Avengers anymore; He still does... And it's not that he won't do the right thing— the heroic thing— if it falls to him again. He just won't look forward to it anymore. That's all.
Hubbie Green, The Avengers Annual #19

Big Ears: Imagine the worst thing that's ever happened to you. Now imagine that it's not just happening to you, but to everybody you care about. That's what evil feels like.
Chief: Blaah! That sounds unbearable, why would anyone want to become a Paladin?
Big Ears: So others don't have to.

Supergirl: But we don't have to go out there with our dukes up, spoiling for a fight. Do we, Kal?
Superman: No. Most of the time, it comes to us.
Supergirl: Well, it's gonna have to start coming somewhere else before long. I'm tired of this. I wasn't born to be a, a super-heroine. I just wanted to be a normal girl from Argo, and, and get a good job and a good man and settle down...
Superman: (gently) Except, there aren't very many people from Argo left anymore. Are there, Kara?

Chloe: I must have thrown a million green rocks away and I've never really saved you. Now, I can.
Clark: Chloe, listen to me, this is your life that we're talking about. Don't do this!
Chloe: Clark, if there's one lesson I've learned from you, it's that choosing the greater good is never a sacrifice.

"Empathy." I wouldn't want to live without it, but it often gives you the shit end of the stick, doesn't it?
Groterix, Spacetrawler

Green Lantern: "Your city needs you, friend Batman. Your great brain, your deductive skills, you have demonstrated them quite—"
Batman: "To hell with that! You're not from this world, Lantern. You don't know. The Batman line is based on vengeance. They make another Superman when the one doing the job decides to pass on the franchise. They make another Batman, all too many times, when somebody dies. I don't want that choice for my son, or his son, or any that come after. This is it. Our debt to Gotham, our debt to Thomas and Martha Wayne, our debt to my family...they're all...they're all paid. The Batman is just blood and death and pain. We don't fly among the eagles, soaring to the sun. We're down in the gutters, picking through the corpses for clues. We can't bounce blasters off our chests. All we've got is two fists and fear on our side. It's not a legacy, boys. It's a curse. The curse ends with me."

Cap became an Avenger in short order. If there's anybody that symbolized the good in America more than him, I've never met him. But there was something else about him. Two things, actually.
First, he'd failed to save his partner, Bucky, from getting killed. That happened in the same incident that got Cap frozen. Eventually, Cap tracked down the Nazi responsible for it, and made him pay for it. But he never really got over it. There was some part of Cap that never stopped living in World War II, before Bucky's death, and that same part wouldn't let him get close enough to somebody who might get killed the same way.
Second, he really had a burden on his shoulders with the American symbol thing. Literally, Cap was unable to accept himself messing up. Because if Captain America was seen screwing up, doing anything badly, blowing a mission, it would almost be seen as America screwing up...that's not the way I thought, but it was the way Cap saw it. So he held himself to impossible standards. And he almost always met them. Almost. He was the best man to have on your side at any time. But I never envied him. Not a single day.
Spider-Man, Fire!

"This is why I hate having a conscience."
Rick Harrison, Pawn Stars

What does it mean to wield the Sands of Time? To be the Chosen One? It means making choices that break your heart.
Liu Kang, Mortal Kombat 11


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