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Villains Wiki
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Tyrion: I'm guilty of a far more monstrous crime: I'm guilty of being a dwarf!
Tywin: You're not on trial for being a dwarf.
Tyrion: Oh, yes I am! I've been on trial for that my
entire life!
~ Tyrion Lannister lashing out at his father for his lifelong poor treatment of him due to being a dwarf.
Whatever Morfin was, he did not deserve to die alone in prison, incarcerated for crimes he did not commit.
~ Albus Dumbledore mentioning Morfin Gaunt to Harry Potter.

A scapegoat is a villain who is punished much more than he/she/they would actually deserve. By definition, they are the polar opposite of Karma Houdinis.

Just being a "bad guy" and having bad intentions is rarely enough to suffer such a punishment, which must be given according to acts. Some villains, however, are submitted to a retribution that can be very harsh, cruel, or even unfair, thus occasionally winning over the audience's sympathy to an extent, as their punishment outweighs the crimes they committed.

The very definition of a scapegoat is an individual framed for something done by someone else, although scapegoats also include:

  1. Villains whose fates are so horrific that the audience (and sometimes even the heroes) feels pity for them (e.g. Charles F. Muntz being dropped out of the sky to fall to his death, President Haltmann having his soul deleted, Viserys Targaryen having molten gold poured on his head, Orson getting eaten by Pac-Man despite the ghost only wanted some love and popularity, Devo being cut to pieces by Polnareff Arthur Reeves being driven insane by the Joker, Scuttlebutt being forced to drown in the river under the sealed tunnel alongside Chief McBrusque, the latter of which was the only one who deserved to actually die, Barty Crouch Jr. receiving the Dementor’s Kiss, Niko Bellic having either his cousin Roman or Kate killed by the mafia, René Belloq having his entire head explode after looking into Pandora’s Box, Vic Hoskins being mauled by Delta, Daniel DeVorn being sacrificed to SCP-106, Cato being eaten alive by wolf mutts or Dodge being betrayed by her girlfriend and her followers and forced to destroy her own home and then forcibly removed from her host body), yet some villains are so awful that not even their horrific death makes them scapegoats (e.g. the already mentioned Chief McBrusque, Carnage getting eaten by his own father Venom, Walder Frey's TV version having his throat slit after eating a pie made out of two of his sons, Henry Evans falling to his death after his mother chose Mark over him and dropped him, Aki Honda being raped and torn in half, Joffrey Baratheon suffering a slow and agonizing death by poisoning, Ramsay Bolton being mauled to death by his own hounds, Syndrome having his entire body shredded alive in a jet turbine, James Anderson being eviscerated, hanged from his office window with his own intestines, cut down, disemboweled, dismembered and burned, Judge Claude Frollo having a piece of a building that he is standing on break off and causing him to fall into a bottomless pit of fire to be tortured for all eternity, Horde Prime in Hordak's body getting exorcised and killed by She-Ra, the Horned King being stripped down to the bone and then incinerated by the Black Cauldron, Steppenwolf being pounded senseless, burned, impaled, and decapitated, Sam Lesser getting betrayed, stabbed, and trapped in astral form in the backyard of the manor from whence he perished or Hopper getting devoured alive by baby birds because of his horrendous treatment towards the Ants, his brother Molt and own Minions).
  2. Villains who are subjected to some horrendous torture as a way of karma that they did not deserve (e.g. Theon Greyjoy, Hexadecimal, Patolli and Victor Perkins).
  3. Villains that have horrible lives that almost never improves or even gets worse (e.g. Hansel & Gretel, Akaza, Carrie White, Tyler Down, Lucy, Andrew Detmer, and Severus Snape).
  4. Minions and Right-Hands that are often unfairly abused or killed by their master, either for failure or because they've outlived their usefulness (e.g. Lefou by Gaston LeGume, Fidget by Professor Ratigan, several Makuta by Makuta Teridax because he does not need their competition for power, Nute Gunray by Emperor Palpatine because he became useless to his plan, Kim by Earl Talbot Blake because Kim had enough of his mistreatment, Charlie Walker by Jill Roberts because she did not actually love him, Shazam by Superman after he realized that the regime had gone too far, several henchmen by both Shao Kahn and Shinnok, Lady Nagant by All For One to punish her failure knowing she would reform, or the book version of Peter Pettigrew by Lord Voldemort because he showed partial remorse for his actions), unless the minion or right-hand deserves it for committing heinous crimes (e.g. Brixton Lore by Eteon Director, Lord Commander by Invictus, Hugo Strange by Ra's Al Ghul, Shang Tsung by Shao Kahn and Krogan by Drago Bludvist because Krogan also mistreats his minions and kills them for their failures).
  5. Tragic villains who, in the end, suffered more than they made others suffer or whose tragic past outweighs the extent of their crimes (e.g. Gollum, Rameses, The Stranger, SCP-682, Strange Supreme, Aubrey Davis, Daki, Gyuutarou, Baldur, Mystique, and Kiritsugu Emiya) unless their heinous crimes outweigh their tragedies to be excused (e.g. Koba, Kai Chisaki, Bradford Buzzard, Captain Vidal, Cersei Lannister, Montgomery de la Cruz, Mother Miranda, Dawn Bellwether and Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear).
  6. Remorseful villains who wanted to redeem themselves, but their chance was either rejected or they died before they could do so (e.g. Gríma Wormtongue, Siren, Lou, Kokushibou, Jordan Cross, Krika, King Nachtigal, Jamal Elliot, and Gellert Grindelwald).
  7. Incompetent villains, whose defeats (recurring or otherwise) are often humiliating and degrading and they did nothing to warrant it (e.g. Disney's Captain Hook, Dr. Neo Cortex, Plankton, Kalimba, Shredder (1987 TMNT), DuBois' Men, Lord Betrayus, and Balthazar Bratt).
  8. Comic reliefs who are defeated or punished in a slapstick manner, sometimes brutally so (e.g. Bebop and Rocksteady or Evil-Lyn).
  9. Villains who are constantly revived and killed over again even if they didn't do anything that bad (e.g. Lifty and Shifty, Jason Voorhees and The Koopalings).
  10. Anti-villains who intend to do good and never resort to dirty tactic, but just go about it the wrong way (e.g. Rinne Sonogami, Alma Madrigal, AUTO, the Brain, and Magneto).
  11. Affably evil villains who only wanted to get along with the heroes, or other particular characters, but are disrespected, scolded or badly admonished for doing so, even if they never did anything that particularly bad (e.g. Herb Overkill or Eden Hawkins).
  12. Insecure villains who wanted to make friends in the first place, but people are too scared and/or disgusted by their looks, which drove them to villainy in the first place (e.g. Frankenstein's Monster, Salvatore Moreau, Tippy Tinkletrousers, Kyle and Killer Croc).
  13. Protective villains which in the past, they supposed to have a person that they care about, but when the person died, they became evil and they decide to do anything for brining them to life or to take them back so that they can be happy again (e.g. Oswald Whistler and Nox).
  14. Villains by Proxy who never wanted to be villains in the first place, yet still get punished for their evil actions anyway (e.g. Marguerite Baker, Dark Phoenix, Ramiverse's Norman Osborn Persona, Electro and Rob).
  15. In Love villains who are regularly cheated or abused by their crush, yet keep protecting and taking care of them out of devotion (e.g. Harley Quinn who is abused by the Joker, Dodge who is betrayed and deceived by Kinsey Locke, Hellen Gravely, or Misa Amane, who's a mere pawn of Light Yagami's plans).
  16. Possessed/Brainwashed villains who instead of snapping out of their influences, had to be killed in the end (e.g. Quirinus Quirrell was possessed by Lord Voldemort and had to be killed by Harry Potter's mother's sacrificial protection, Queen Sectonia was brainwashed due to looking into the dimensional mirror too much and had to be killed by Hypernova Kirby, Cujo was brainwashed due to being bitten by a rabid bat and had to be killed either with a baseball bat or the sheriff's gun by Don Trenton, and Eden Hawkins was possessed by a demonic entity and eventually dropped headfirst into a hole, completely unprovoked, by Frederick Gideon).
  17. Villains who, in spite of doing absolutely nothing to deserve it, became a damned soul (e.g. Tai Lung, Laura Barns and Kaecilius).
  18. Villains who are just wild predators acting by their natural instinct who, despite this, are killed or are receiving torture regularly (e.g. Cretaceous and Maelstrom, SCP-096, Serpentine, Snowballs the Ice Monster, and King Shark) unlike other Villains that take sadistic pleasure with their prey (e.g. It, Indominus rex, Dag and The Beldam).
  19. Villains who get a tragic sendoff: they might not even have a tragic/sympathetic background, have any positive qualities, be affable or anything, but their deaths are still silent moments where the characters show a deeper, more complex personality and that they may not be entirely evil, maybe showing insecurity as their primary motive and/or trying to fit in (e.g. Dracula, King Olly, Rubber Band and Zod).

Notes

This category is for characters whose punishments are not only BRUTAL and EXCESSIVE, but STILL had sympathetic traits (e.g. Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Taz, Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr., Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian, K-9, and Kuvira).

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