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Villains Wiki
Psychopaths are not crazy. They're fully aware of what they do and of the consequences of their actions.
~ Hannibal Lecter to Will Graham.
Dr. Robotnik: Snively, what color is my heart?
Snively: I don't see a heart, sir.
Dr. Robotnik: Exactly...
~ Dr. Robotnik to Snively.

Psychopaths, occasionally also called Sociopaths, are villains associated with antisocial personality disorder, otherwise known as psychopathy. They lack and/or have an absence of empathy, guilt and/or emotional connections; as a result, they tend to be violent, twisted and with some exceptions, they generally are not able to feel remorse. They are rarely in love, because they are mostly incapable of true love, although some of them are protective towards a select few while still being ruthless and uncaring toward everyone else. More often than not, most purely evil villains are psychopaths. Because of their inability to feel remorse, they are unlikely to redeem themselves, unless they are high functioning and softening toward others to an extent they leave their villainous career despite themselves (e.g. Beverly Hofstadter and Jordan Belfort). For obvious reasons, it is very unlikely for anti-villains, extremists, morally ambiguous villains, villains by proxy, affable villains and/or incompetent villains to be psychopaths, though exceptions exist (e.g. Hisoka Morow, Solf J. Kimblee, Tom Ripley, Sakyo, Judge Wargrave, Alice Morgan, Hank J. Wimbleton, Darnell, SCP-076-2, Henry Stickmin, Tanya von Degurechaff, Eric Cartman, Izaya Orihara, Victor Zsasz, Tommy DeVito, Mai Mashiro, the Caretaker, and Vigilante).

As stated by Lecter's quote above, psychopaths are NOT crazy or psychotic and are often mistaken for being so. However they are dangerously unstable and highly capable of hurting others without hesitation and compunction due to their lack of restraint and empathy, regardless they are still completely aware of reality while psychotic people are the polar opposites; they hear voices, hallucinate, suffer from violent and/or delusional episodes or breaks from reality and often do not fully understand or are aware about what they are doing.

In fiction, it is common for psychopaths to come in two different forms:

  • High functioning: The cold-hearted and, in theory, more dangerous kind of social predator. If a villain is consistently apathetic towards other people's feelings, but is capable of using a façade to blend in with society, they will usually fall here. These kind of psychopaths maintain high impulse control and are able to recognize the consequences of their actions, but are generally more cunning, calculating and manipulative. They exercise superficial charm to adapt to society and tend to be expert liars. When committing wrongdoings, they may plan them in advance to avoid getting caught easily or at least carry them out when in a situation where they are guaranteed to not get caught. Though they try to make themselves look normal to the public, they are often emotionally hollow, callous, possess a grandiose sense of entitlement and care little for anyone but themselves, seeing people as tools to use for their own benefit. Dimentio, Evolt, Mephiles the Dark, Emperor Palpatine, Light Yagami, All For One, Lord Voldemort, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Masayuki Kaneki, Frank Underwood, Louis Bloom, Amy Elliot-Dunne and Roose Bolton are examples. In the uncommon cases where a psychopath redeems themselves, they are almost always from the high functioning type.
  • Low functioning: Usually, low functioning psychopaths aka “sociopaths" do not conform to basic social standards. They are eager to flaunt their pride, act on destructive impulse and have very little regard for the consequences of their actions. As such, these variants are hot-headed villains who seemingly live without shame and may or may not bring harm to others or themselves depending on the circumstances of their situation through careless misdeeds. While minor symptoms of a high functioning psychopath may be present in a low functioning one, such as a constant need for stimulation, grandiose self-importance or habitual lying, these kinds of psychopaths do not usually hide behind a façade and easily become openly hostile (if not, violent) when things are not going their way. If caught or confronted for committing villainous deeds, it is very easy for them to show no genuine remorse or outright refuse to accept responsibility for their actions (e.g. Zack Powers, Eric Cartman, Ramsay Bolton, Joffrey Baratheon, Kilgrave, Amber Freeman, Zorin Blitz, Dandy Mott, Muscular, Waingro, Jang Deok-su, Charlie Walker, Biff Tannen and Montgomery de la Cruz).

NOTE: It isn't necessary for a psychopath to specifically conform to High functioning or Low functioning. Sometimes a psychopath can have traits of both types (e.g. Dio Brando, Micah Bell, Dark Danny, The invisible man, Muzan Kibutsuji, Doma and Hisoka Morow).

Antisocial personality disorder is usually a persistent condition from birth, but it can be induced by a succession of horrific events that twisted the moral center of said characters (e.g. Prince Hans, Mr. Skinner, Herrscher of the Sexual Desire, Pitch Black, Ellen, Tsukasa Yugi, Baron Von Strucker, Terry Silver and Petyr Baelish). Furthermore, psychopaths may have redeeming qualities (even if it doesn't lead them to redemption), as long as the aforementioned qualities don't contradict their lack of empathy.

Also, just because a villain is vengeful or wrathful and therefore adapts violent tendencies does not necessarily make them psychopaths unless they are that particularly antisocial in nature.

NOTE: Do not add this category to organizations or species. It is an individual affliction only and thus only individuals can be diagnosed with it.

Also, NEVER, under any circumstances, add villains who are mentally ill or psychotic under this category because, as mentioned above, those types of villains are not completely aware of reality or their identity and suffer severely from various other mental health issues while psychopaths though they have a twisted moral center are completely aware of their reality at all times and don't present the crippling effects of mental illness associated with the other neurotype categories.

Supernatural beings, aliens, monsters, demons, plants or artificial Intelligence (e.g. It, Aku, Audrey II, Skynet, Bill Cipher, Demise, Valak, Overlord, Red Death, and King Ghidorah) normally do not count because their psychological mindset may often differ from humans. They could count if it is explicitly made clear that their minds function and behave in a similar manner to humans (e.g. Isshiki Ōtsutsuki, General Lunaris, Emperor Nefarious, Lucifer, Randall Boggs, Evolt, Ghirahim, Eramis, Valentino, Lawrence Limburger, Thanos, Cell, Carnage, Ke-Pa, Scaramouche the Merciless, David 8, Brainiac, Darkseid and the Dark Lord). Anthropomorphic characters can also count if they display all the requirements (e.g. Scar, Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, Hopper, Bradford Buzzard, Ponce de Leon, Mephiles the Dark, Doug Ramses, Koba, Professor Marmalade, Dag, and Steele).

NOTE: Psychopathy can only apply to villains with defined personalities and characterization. Insufficiently characterized villains (e.g. Zalgo, Wither Storm, and Tabuu) do not count.

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