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Dec 30th 2017 at 12:08:43 PM •••

"Designated Evil is when a writer paints the solution to a problem, committed by a protagonist, as indisputably wrong or evil, but either doesn't make an alternative action clear, or shows the audience that the alternative would have been ineffective." The protagonist is the hero of the tale. Did the author mean "antagonist", or villain? The rest of the article seems to be describing the Designated Evil act as having been committed by an antagonist.

Edited by doomquokka Hide/Show Replies
Aug 26th 2018 at 2:19:09 PM •••

Nope. 90% of the time the action is Shoot The Dog, committed not necessarily by the main character, but by someone who is nominally on the side of the good guys, but painted as Jumping Of The Slippery Slope, He Who Fights Monsters or something similar, even though in context there was no other option. Of course, it CAN be done by the villain because Tropes Are Flexible, but generally it will be a good guy or an Anti Hero.

Aug 3rd 2016 at 4:27:49 AM •••

Moved this here for discussion:

  • Daybreakers gives us the Mass Execution of the Subsiders via sunlight. Subsiders lose their higher brain functions and devolve into Always Chaotic Evil humanoid bats with Super Strength and flight, and a voracious appitite for fresh blood. Killing them all may not be pretty but it's hardly evil.
    • Killing the Subsiders is presented as the final moral tipping point for Edward's brother. At that point he realizes his choice of allegiance can only end with him becoming a monster like a Subsider. Even though he "was never very good at being human" he chooses to side with humanity and help Edward

I think this example misses the point of the whole scene. First, it leaves out that the turning point for Frankie is not simply killing the Subsiders, it's seeing someone whom he turned into vampire against her will preferring to kill herself rather than live as a monster. It's this that makes him reconsider what he put his brother through. Second, as with the dwingling human food supply, I think the point it misses is that the entire vampire society was doomed and devouring itself because of its terminal dependence on blood. Killing the Subsiders may be Necessarily Evil from the vampires' perspective, but they wouldn't have existed in the first place if so many people didn't choose to become predatory monsters and hunted humanity to extinction.

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Aug 10th 2016 at 3:52:48 AM •••

And that makes the entry invalid... how exacly? As long as mass killing of Subsiders is presented as wrong it's this trope, unless you have other solution that wouldn't be as bad, and you yourself have said that it's Necessarily Evil. The point of the entry isn't going into excesive details of the plot, it only needs to explain how the trope is in play.

Apr 20th 2016 at 12:47:56 PM •••

  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Marietta Edgecombe rats out Dumbledore's Army, which causes her to breakout in permanent boils because of a jinxed sign-up sheet. You might be thinking that she was just an evil snitch that deserved it, but then we learn from Cho that she only did it out of fear that her mother would lose her job with the Ministry of Magic. Since not much is known about Marietta, Cho may very well have been telling the truth.
I know there are people siding with Marietta, but in terms of this trope there is a problem, that example paints Marrietta's decision as choice between telling about DA and getting her mother fired which is not what happened. Marrietta went to Umbridge of her own will before Umbridge even suspected existence of DA. There wasn't any reason for her mother to be fired, because no one from the Ministry knew about potential reason. If she was uncomfortable with joining the DA she could've simply not joined in the first place.

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Apr 20th 2016 at 1:54:27 PM •••

I was going to side with you, but then I reread the description.

Designated Evil is when a writer paints the solution to a problem, committed by a protagonist, as indisputably wrong or evil, but either doesn't make an alternative action clear, or shows the audience that the alternative would have been ineffective.

The thing with Edgecomb is that the work (through Cho) offers the point that her mother's job is at risk and the rebuttal is... "so what?" The work itself doesn't point out any alternatives for her other than saying "well she should have risked it anyway." If the work had said "your mom's job wasn't at risk" then I'd be 100% down to pull, but it just... doesn't. It just treats her like she should've taken the risk, not that the risk isn't there.

So yeah. My gut agrees with you on every single point, but upon further consideration I lean towards leaving it in. I won't fight very hard, though.

That said, the last bit strikes me as very odd. Is there any reason whatsoever to think Cho wasn't telling the truth? Where does that come from?

Apr 20th 2016 at 9:59:27 PM •••

"Designated Evil is when a writer paints the solution to a problem(...)" The thing is Marietta's decision wasn't really a solution to the problem, but what caused problems in the first place. DA was working for months at the time and her mother wasn't at any risk of losing a job because of it. Considering that Umbridge wasn't any closer to finding out about DA than at the begginning and Marietta knew the risks when she joined i say this doesn't fit the description not because there were other solution to the problem(then again like i said solution is "not join at all") but because there was no problem to solve to begin with.

Apr 21st 2016 at 6:04:33 AM •••

The problem in this case is Marietta's mother losing her job. The narrative didn't give any reason to think her mother's job wasn't at risk, and didn't offer any solution other than "risk it." If the narrative scoffed and said "no, her mother was never at risk" then that would be one thing, but it never does anything to dismiss her problem as not a problem. It just says "well too bad."

Apr 21st 2016 at 7:43:10 AM •••

I've read part five in my native language, so i'm not entirely sure, but the translated versions didn't even say that she was afraid her mother might lose her job, only that it's hard for her because her mother works in the ministry. If i got a quote from original version it would probably be easier. Anyway like i said Marietta was DA member for months and it didn't cause any problems for her mother because it couldn't since ministry didn't know about DA. And if old Edgecombe had problems at work unrelated to DA and Marrietta thought she might save her job by selling out DA... Sorry but if Marrietta's mother screwed up, then selling out friends to save her definitely isn't the right way. In any case while old Egdecombe working in ministry was mentioned the book simply never went into details so we don't really know what exacly was at stake. Logic dictates that DA couldn't have been a problem at the time because ministry didn't know about them. IF they did, Marietta's mother could be at problem, but like i said they were working for months without problems or reason to suspect there might be problems. Selling out 28 people because of something that may or may not ever happen doesn't seem like solution to the problem without any alternatives.

Mar 8th 2016 at 1:58:36 PM •••

  • In Akame ga Kill! the main characters, known as Night Raid are an assassination group who are on a mission to overthrow The Empire and are wanted criminals as a result. They don't even try to justify their actions either and flat out admit that they are straight up killers for hire. The series tries to paint the conflict between the rebellion and the empire as Gray and Grey Morality; However, The Empire is the embodiment of a Crapsack World. The nobles constantly kill and/or rape any women they get their hands on. The strongest soldier they have is a Noble Demon, but rather than do anything about the obviously troubled world she perpetuates it because she prefers the violence and destruction that come with rebellions against the empire. Any attempt at changing things from within the empire diplomatically has led to said individuals being killed. And the one who's the mastermind behind all of this is the Obviously Evil Prime Minister who is using his influence over the emperor to get away with it. Its pretty hard not to side with Night Raid's methods given the above; Its not even like they kill indiscriminately either as they verify if their targets actually committed any crimes or not, yet most characters they kill are quick to call them out on their actions as if they're the evil ones.
Are we sure this is an example? Haven't seen this specific anime, so i'm not the one to judge but if we go by entry itself then those who claim Night Raid are badguys are themselves bad guys, so it seems like either Never My Fault, Knight Templar or Moral Myopia. Since when audience is expected to agree with badguys complaints?

Nov 22nd 2015 at 3:56:24 PM •••

There was an episode of That's So Raven where Cory's school stops selling soda to cut back on sugar. In response, Cory starts selling home-made soda. This is treated as morally wrong, and is forced to give people their money back. Would this count as an example of this trope?

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Apr 23rd 2014 at 1:38:53 AM •••

Deleted the Supernatural example. Felt too much like agenda pushing.

Aug 6th 2013 at 9:09:23 AM •••

I removed the Discworld examples because I'm pretty sure they don't count. Neither Vimes's shooting of Wolfgang nor Carrot's stabbing of Cruces was portrayed as evil - Vimes only notes that the former came uncomfortably close to counting as murder, and Carrot is explicitly referred to as "a good man" in the scene where he kills Cruces. In fact, they both maintain the running theme of the Watch books that killing people for the right reasons is often a good act, but as soon as you start to enjoy it you're Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.

May 4th 2013 at 6:18:11 AM •••

I've removed the section on The Incredibles, for a few reasons:

  • It's a fairly idiosyncratic interpretation of what "the movie represents" as bad. It seems to me that the "really evil" points in the middle are what the movie says is bad.
  • It's an inaccurate representation of Syndrome's plans. He's going to go play hero, "have fun" getting a hero's glory (implicitly from "stopping" more death and destruction of his own design), then retire and sell his gadgets to everyone.
  • The second-level bullet point was Natter. It wasn't wrong, but it seems to me that the main paragraph can't help but attract natter.
I know this is a YMMV trope, but I don't think this is really a good example, at least not without a serious rewrite (presumably by someone who has this view of the movie).

The removed text follows:

  • In The Incredibles, Syndrome's ultimate goal is to sell gadgets to the general population that will give them super powers. Although by that point Syndrome has done, and is still planning to do, many things that really are evil (like killing off superheroes one by one, and planning to unleash a killer robot on a city just so that he can get credit for stopping it), the movie represents this ultimate goal of empowering the populace as being the worst ever thing anyone could possibly do — because super-powered people won't be "special" any more.
    • His motivation enters into it, he was motivated to do so purely out of spite due to Mr. Incredible refusing to endanger him by letting him become his sidekick.

Apr 16th 2013 at 6:20:58 PM •••

Deleted New Jedi Order example for several reasons.

1. The Vong, horrible as they are, are not Always Chaotic Evil. In fact, they have a thoroughly opressed slave caste who hate their superiors and don't support what they're doing and a very active internal resistance, and several books (particularly the Edge of Victory duology) dedicated a lot of pagetime to humanizing individual Vong. Using a virus to exterminate their race? That's genocide, and it's not cool. It's certainly not something Luke Skywalker can support and remain remotely in-character.

2. The Alpha Red virus is a virus. As in, something that can and will mutate. If released across an entire galaxy, there is every chance that it will jump from the Vong to galactic natives. In fact, this is what happens when the virus was released on a small scale in the last book. As the characters point out in-universe, Alpha Red stood a very high chance of exterminating both sides.

3. The Vong are the Star Wars universe's unchecked masters of bioengineering. Even if they weren't able to cure Alpha Red in time to save themselves, they're more than capable of figuring out what was happening to them and responding in kind. This also would have destroyed both sides, and is also explicitly pointed out in-universe.

4. The Vong spread themselves incredibly thin while taking over the galaxy, anda good percentage of them were killed doing so. That's why there were few enough of them left at the end that they could fit on one planet (a planet which, by the way, was introduced in a prequel-era EU novel that tied into the NJO released around the time the series began, so it can't even be called an Ass Pull- it was obviously meant to be an integral part of the Myth Arc, but the only characters who knew about it were either determined to keep it secret or a Trickster Mentor who never gave a straight answer about anything).

5. And finally, comitting genocide on your enemy with a bioengineered plague thematically goes against everything Star Wars stands for. If the good guys win by comitting a war crime on such as scale that Emperor Palpatine is kicking himself in the afterlife for not thinking of it, something is very, very wrong.

In short, the books very clearly spelled out why the idea was neither morally acceptable nor practically possible, and I'm honestly a little disgusted that anyone would think there's anything "designated" about the evil of comitting genocide via biological warfare. To use a real-world analagy, it's the moral equivalent of the Allies ending WWII by using nukes to exterminate the entire populations of Germany and Japan, as well as everything produced by either civilization.

EDIT: Also, the troper who posted that entry seemed to think that Luke was the only person who was against using the virus. In fact, a large number of characters were (including all of the Jedi and most of their allies); Luke was merely the most vocal.

Edited by MasterGhandalf
Jul 17th 2011 at 3:10:39 AM •••

The example on Dazno from Naruto should be removed. Not only is it incorrect by claiming that Danzo is knowen as evil only because of the Uchiha Massacre while there are plenty of other reasons, which also make one wonder if the Massacre was less for the "Greater Good" than it was for Danzo's ambitions, but the poster is talking about an event which has still haven't been fully reveled to the readers, so we can't judge if it was necessary.

Also, being Jewish, I find attempting to justify genocide with "the Uchiha were all evil" unbelievably offensive.

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Jun 9th 2013 at 4:53:20 AM •••

I completely agree. Especially, since the example says appeasement is asking for trouble and makes the Hokage look weak. It's better to murder am entire people than to make compromises? I'm deleting this.

Mar 27th 2011 at 9:22:42 PM •••

Can somebody who knows this series cut down this example?

  • In Zatch Bell, Koko is 'brain-washed' by an evil demon and made evil, woe! She does such horrible things now, like burn down her small village. Or the buildings seemingly at least. Even though the citizens in there mistreated and abused her sadistically for her whole life, at least she got her revenge! Though really it never really showed any of them dying, or her even vaguely attacking them... perhaps it was implied? Who knows. And then she *gasp*, brain-washes and unleashes MORE even evil demons! Well actually they weren't really evil. And she technically free'd them from a millennium long imprisonment by doing so. And actually she didn't do any of that, that was her partner, well she just chilled out in his temple-hideout watching the whole thing go down. And then she fought Sherry and Brago, another rival pair! Really, she FOUGHT? And she tried to HURT THEM? NO F***ING SHIT, BECAUSE NO OTHER MAMODO,HERO OR VILLAIN, EVER FOUGHT OR HURT ANYBODY IN AN ENTIRE SERIES BASED AROUND FIGHTING AND CRUSHING YOUR ENEMY FOR THE EXACT SAME MOTIVE TO BECOME KING. She sure was very very evil. And her dress, her EVIL DRESS. It's purple, and was pretty, and had leather boots and sleeves. Only a genocidal maniac would consider such attire As well as her eyes, their purple! That's clearly means that she's become heartless murderous sociopath. I mean really, REALLY? It's so contrived and forced it's ridiculous, minus well slap a giant sticker over her face that reads 'I'm evil. So there.' And yet, no one questions the validity of her empty character a bit for some reason.

Jun 9th 2011 at 12:41:30 PM •••

Designated Villain is a person who the story defines as evil. Designated Evil is an action the story defines as evil.

Designated Villain is an antagonist. Designated Evil can be performed by a protagonist.

Jun 9th 2013 at 12:38:25 PM •••

Actually, a character can be a Designated Villain and a protagonist simply because a character can be a Villain Protagonist.

Oct 6th 2010 at 2:19:47 AM •••

Is it just me, or is the example on the page description way to complex for casual consumption? Going into the legal system of a fictional world doesn't seem at all necessary to drive home the main concept, which is actually pretty simple.

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Aug 30th 2011 at 9:35:08 AM •••

That's what making a Laconic page is for. Not every trope has to be wrapped up into a nice little paragraph-sized bite for quick reading.

Type the word in the image. This goes away if you get known.
If you can't read this one, hit reload for the page.
The next one might be easier to see.

Example of: