Villains Wiki

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Villains Wiki
Carrie had some sort of power, but she was just like me. Like any of you. She had hopes and she had fears, and we pushed her. And you can only push someone so far... before they break.
~ Sue Snell giving a testimony of how Carrie White was bullied into madness.
You took everything from me when you sent Abigail into that machine. Now I'm taking everything away from you!
~ Yokai preparing to destroy Krei Tech and kill Krei for his supposedly deceased daughter.

Villains who although acting for evil, selfish or unethical goals have understandable and traumatic reasons that serve as a Freudian excuse, mitigating factor and/or redeeming quality for their motives and purposes; hence audiences can sympathize and connect with them on a human level. Most are not in full control of themselves due to being evil not by choice but instead being victims of forces beyond their control. This also applies to Organizations and/or Hostile Species whose members are driven by tragedies.

Villains who are tragic or sympathetic often suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD, become Delusional, Insecure and/or Egotists because their experiences twist them towards insanity; many of them can also be Fallen Heroes and/or Vengeful, if not both. Some may even become Addicts because of their traumatic experiences.

There are three ways to deem a villain as tragic:

Tragedies are sympathetic and mitigating factors and Freudian excuses for many villains’ villainies and most of the time, some of these villains have a chance/choice to redeem themselves at the end of a story. Often times, sympathetic factors including tragedies can involve a villain being mentally unstable, in love, suffering from immense psychosis on a daily basis or dissociative identity disorders (DID) and being addicts, sympathetic nihilists or suicidal are among examples of being tragic villains as well. Having a very sympathetic backstory or being protective and/or possessed/brainwashed pawns are most common ways a villain can be tragic. Suffering from a horrific and cruel mutilation and had done absolutely nothing to deserve their fates can also make the villain tragic. Being exiled or shunned unjustly is also another factor, but that rarely ever happens.

Tragic villains can cross as many lines as they can and still be tragic if they retain their sympathetic background/nature, empathy and/or their feelings (i.e.: being Faux Affably Evil, having racial or xenophobic views, destroying their own innocence or even having a misanthropic nature and/or being genocidal or cataclysmic). An antisocial villain is hard to qualify as tragic as they lack empathy and feelings, but if they suffered such horrific events in their lives that is so sympathetic to the point it twisted their moral center make them become such a violent person, they may qualify, as long as their legit tragedy doesn't contradict their otherwise ruthless nature (e.g. Prince Hans, Dabi, Penguin and Petyr Baelish). Some of these villains can even be anti-villains and/or remorseful, or even Villains by Proxy. Some tragic villains can even be fueled with hatred and pain from their experiences or they can even become completely dominant with fear if their tragedies scarred them for life with no recovery whatsoever. Sally Williams is a very good example who got murdered by her uncle.

Note: Just because a villain redeemed themselves in the end, is an anti-villain, an extremist, a fallen hero, is insecure, has honor, are on & off and has remorse doesn't automatically mean they're tragic if they never had a tragic past to begin with (e.g. Janja, Rattlesnake Jake, Lord Business, Beavis and Butt-head, Bebop and Rocksteady, Zangief, Sozin, Hondo Ohnaka, Bowser, AUTO, Beerus, Henry J. Waternoose III, Gellert Grindelwald and Zaheer).

/!\ Pure Evil villains CAN NEVER be Tragic. Either their so-called “tragedies” would have to be extremely and outrageously logic-defying to even be realistic, or they would simply use it to justify their evil actions and nothing more. Through their actions and lack of feelings, they manage to destroy their own innocence and as a result are no longer sympathetic. Their excuses may be what they deserved (e.g. Mason Verger) and some have faked at least one tragedy (e.g. Jagi, Joker, Zhan Tiri, Chairman Drek, Commodus, Queen Ingrith and SCP-5045-1). They may also try to present their excuses as tragedies, but end up being LESS sympathetic if their excuses amount to pure jealousy or pettiness (e.g. Ahmanet, Tom Cooper, Both versions of Scar, Syndrome, Professor Zündapp, Sir Miles Axlerod, Piella Bakewell, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Mysterio, Henry Evans, General Lunaris, Andross, Richard III, Howard Payne, and Jill Roberts).

Even if a Pure Evil villain was given reasons for what they were doing that could genuinely be considered a tragedy, their actions FAR OUTWEIGH their tragedies (e.g. Muzan Kibutsuji, Johan Liebert, Lord Voldemort, Koba, Donquixote Doflamingo, Dio Brando, Lady Van Tassel, Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, Gaku Yashiro, Bobby Earl Ferguson, Kilgrave, Retak’ka, Lord Commander, Adam Taurus, the Scarlet King, Porky Minch, most versions of the Joker, Griffith, Captain Vidal, Yuma Lau, Ozai, Alexia Ashford, Ricardo Diaz, Shiranami, Poison Ivy, Cinder Fall and The Batman Who Laughs). They should go under the Envious and/or Vengeful categories instead.

Being a tragic villain is a sympathetic quality and any character or even a hero are allowed to sympathize with those types of villains, no matter the lines they cross. A Pure Evil villain is not meant to be sympathized with for anything and even if they had an experience that might actually be a genuine tragedy, their villainies are so egregious to the point that whatever tragedies they may have suffered in the past are no longer relevant and they do not match up with their crimes or motives even if in the rare case some Pure Evils are written to be seen as tragic (e.g. Judge Claude Frollo, Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, Koba, Miss Gribben, Commander Rourke, Ahmanet, Captain Vidal and Griffith). Should a tragic villain get the help they deserve, they can finally stop their evil ways, have others accept them and move on from the experiences they suffered in their past.

Also, DO NOT add characters like these even if they are not Pure Evil:

This is for characters whose tragedies are not only TRUE AND LEGITIMATE but STILL hold up after crossing the Moral Event Horizon.

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