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 and traumatic 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, if not both. Some may even become Addicts because of their experiences.

There are three ways to deem a villain as tragic:

Tragedies are sympathetic factors 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 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 sanity to make them become such a violent person, they may qualify. Some of these villains can even be anti-villains and/or remorseful, or even Villains by Proxy. Some tragic villains can even be fuelled 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.

/!\ However, villains that are Pure Evil 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 and some have faked at least one tragedy (e.g. Jagi, Chairman Drek, Scarlet King, Dark Danny and Queen Ingrith).

Even if they were given reasons for what they were doing that may indeed involve traumatic experiences, they are FAR PAST it (e.g. Johan Liebert, Arcturus Mengsk, Sauron, the Master, Lord Voldemort, Koba, Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, Isaac Ray Peram Westcott, Donquixote Doflamingo, Dio Brando, Freddy Krueger, Captain Phasma, Lady Van TasselMuzan Kibutsuji, Sigma, Sōsuke Aizen, Yhwach, Emperor Palpatine, Infinite, King Boo, Carnage, Light Yagami, Porky Minch and Envy). 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. 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.

IMPORTANT: In order for a villain to qualify as Tragic, they must have been a hero/a good person or a neutral character BEFORE turning evil to qualify. If a villain suffered a tragedy or loss while during the time they were already evil, they DO NOT qualify (e.g. Khan Noonien Singh (and his alternate counterpart), Killian, Nigel and the Man in the Red Room). Save those for the Protective, Insecure and/or Scapegoat categories instead.

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