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The world took everything away from me! Everything I have ever loved!! But I'm going to make sure we're even. I'm going to track down anyone who would even think about being loyal to you... and I'm going to put their ass in the dirt right next to Zuri!!
~ Erik Killmonger on his father N'Jobu's death.
It all began on the day of my actual birth... both of my parents failed to show up.
~ Heinz Doofenshmirtz telling a story about his childhood.

Villains who although acting for evil goals have understandable reasons for their motives; hence audiences can sympathize with them. 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 suffer posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD and become DelusionalInsecure and/or Egotists because their experiences twist them towards insanity; many of them can also be Fallen Heroes and/or Vengeful.

There are three ways to declare Tragic Villains:

  • Villains with backstories giving them negative emotions and shaping them into destructive and hateful beings. However, their Broken Hearts cause their actions since they were forced into darkness and their pasts made them Distrustful and Misled. This can happen if they were loners, bullied, scarred and/or Addicts, lost loved ones and so on (e.g. Atrocitus, SpinelTyrion Lannister, Count Bleck).
  • Protective Villains committing crimes to save those they care about. They are only looking out for whoever they love or care for the most but use extreme measures to do so and are confronted by Heroes or even the ones they are protecting making it more difficult to save them (e.g. most versions of Mr. FreezeJohnny Klebitz, Cersei LannisterWalter White).
  • The Possessed and/or Brainwashed controlled or corrupted by an evil presence. Therefore they are not willingly evil but manipulated by the Higher Powers controlling them (e.g. CujoGollumArthas Menethil, Ice King).

/!\ However, villains that are Pure Evil CAN NEVER be Tragic. Either their tragedies would be extremely and outrageously logic-defying or they'd simply use it to justify themselves 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 and some fake at least one tragedy (e.g. Jagi).

Even if they were given reasons for what they were doing involving traumatic experiences they are FAR PAST it (e.g. ScarJohan LiebertLord VoldemortArcturus MengskSauronGrand Moff TarkinKoba, Lots-o'-Huggin' BearIsaac Ray Peram Westcott, Dio BrandoFreddy KruegerCaptain Phasma, Luca BlightEmperor GanishkaInfinite, Kefka Palazzo, ZoomMilady de WinterLight YagamiAdam TaurusHerrscher of the Void, Michael MyersDrago Bludvist, Ellen, Gul'danUltraman BelialEmperor PalpatineEvoltSyndromeFrank Underwood, Viktor Adler, Carnage, most versions of Joker).

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

  • Villains crossing the Moral Event Horizon due to MERE EXCUSES FAR TOO PETTY to count (e.g. Nigel).
  • Villains whose crimes were so horrible no excuses or experiences justify their actions no matter how unfortunate they seemed (e.g. Madara Uchiha).
  • Villains faking tragedies and/or bringing it on themselves while blaming others (e.g. King Stefan).
  • Villains with defeats like being Betrayed but no tragedies to begin with (e.g. Naria).

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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