From Real Life Villains Wiki
Do you know what it feels to be spit on your face and have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross? And left to bleed to death for your amusement?
~ Seung-Hui Cho in his manifesto.

Villains who, although acting for primarily evil goals, have understandably traumatic reasons for their motives due to suffering; hence, we can sympathize with them. Most of these villains are not in full control of their actions/emotions due to them not being evil by choice, but rather by them being, for the most part, a victim of circumstance.

These villains suffered an event or events that in their past that has caused them anger, trauma and anguish thus shaping them into destructive and hateful beings. However, the broken heart is what is causing their evil actions. Rather, they are forced upon a path of darkness, and their past has caused them to become distrustful and misled.

This typically includes villains:

  • who suffered severe abuse or bullying;
  • who were scarred;
  • who were tortured or raped;
  • who lost a significant one, which makes these villains vengeful;
  • who suffered in a war and were sometimes forced to flee in order to avoid a genocide;
  • who suffered public humiliation;
  • who suffered from heavy discrimination;
  • who were forced into slavery;
  • who became addicts;
  • who went insane due to a particular condition or situation and as such, lost their moral compass.
  • who were abandoned by one or both parents.
  • who suffered fates they did not deserve.
  • who were shunned unjustly by their tribe, family or group.

These people are often suffering from Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and can develop into delusionalinsecure, or egotistic villains because their experiences develop their beliefs into obsessions, twisting them to insanity.

However, this doesn't mean that their painful backstories justify their actions because no matter how unfortunate their shortcomings might've been, some of these villains are so heinous and atrocious that they would go a bit past it and their actions would only serve as the reason behind why they are so vile and cruel and have descended into a path of madness and darkness (e.g John Wayne Gacy and Nikolas Cruz).

Thus we can’t defend their actions but rather understand and sympathize with how their situation and circumstances molded them into what they became, even if we might strongly revolt against their actions.

Many of these villains are even hated by almost the entire world because of how heinous they are, even if they suffered a genuine and legitimately tragic past in their life since there are also folks who have suffered just as terribly if not worse and don't commit such foul and heinous deeds.


DO NOT ADD VILLAINS WHOSE TRAGEDIES DON'T HOLD UP AGAINST THE HORRENDOUS ACTS THEY COMMITTED; there can be no justification for their horrendous acts, regardless of their past and conditions. Their evil acts combined with their inhumanity (lack of empathy and remorse) eliminates any sympathy for these villains.

Albert Fish is a very good example of this, he suffered severe abuse at an orphanage where he grew up thus turning him into a dangerously ill cannibal. Instead of being sympathetic though, Fish didn't seem to care at all about being abused at all as a grown-up. This ruins any sympathetic background he had since it doesn’t affect him and no longer makes him tragic. As unfortunate and consequential as it was, it doesn’t hold up since albert fish committed his crimes because of religious delusions instead of a personal traumatic reason.

This also applies to villains who suffered tragedies in their past but as they grew they ultimately brought their misery (no matter how sad and unfortunate it seemingly was) on themselves but blamed or framed others for it, or intended to give themselves a sympathetic story (e.g. Ariel Castro had no excuses for his atrocious crimes of kidnapping three young girls way below his age for 11 years until he got caught and, was sentenced to a millennial years and brought his grim fate upon himself by hanging himself in his prison cell).


This category has the following 6 subcategories, out of 6 total.






Pages in category "Tragic"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 522 total.

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