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This character is someone whom the audience would consider a Villain in any other story. They Kick the Dog, they Rape, Pillage and Burn, they cross the Moral Event Horizon time and time again...because someone or something else is making them do it.

This type of character is similar to, but separate from a Necessarily Evil villain. A Necessarily Evil villain typically performs their heinous acts of their own free will, because they they think an ideal solution isn't possible or because it's the path that guarantees the most success. Ultimately, they may be right or wrong, but the responsibility rests completely with themselves. They believe their actions will lead to a greater good, and they are carrying out their own will. No one made them do anything.

Not so for this character. These characters are villains because they truly don't have another option (that they know of anyway). Either they, someone they know, or even the world itself is in grave danger if they don't do what they've been told, and there isn't enough time or opportunity to find another way. They know that their actions are evil and will mean inevitable victory for the evil side, but their actions, no matter how horrible, mean the difference between evil winning now or evil winning later. Another example is that they may have Power Born of Madness or a Super-Powered Evil Side, but have no choice but to use it to solve a bigger problem. Either way, all this person generally needs is to be freed from any external coercion or taught a better solution to their problem.

Usually a Noble Demon, Friendly Enemy, Tragic Monster, Slave Mook or Anti-Villain (almost always a Type IV). Given enough time, they may fall prey to Evil Feels Good, Evil Tastes Good or Evil Is Easy and make a full Face Heel Turn. Explosive Leash, I Have Your Wife or Please Spare Him, My Liege usually turns into this (when The Hero is the pleading party). May lead to a Faustian Rebellion. A character who is trying to fight back may be a Stealth Mentor for the good guys.

Contrast with Brainwashed and Crazy or other Brainwashed tropes where the character is forcefully modified and robbed of free will to be steered into evil, or Mind Rape where they were wrecked so hard their free will wasn't working straight to steer them into evil. Not so for this character, this character knows what he/she is doing and had the free will intact and straight, but still couldn't do a thing to resist the forcing... for the moment.

Examples of Forced Into Evil include:


Anime and Manga

  • Yurin L'Ciel in Mobile Suit Gundam Age allowed herself to get captured and get on a mobile suit used by Desil to empower his mecha through telekinesis... on basis that if she doesn't comply, she'll never see Flit again. What results was her tragic death, being killed by force by Flit, as well as the cementation of how utterly horrifying and despicable Desil is.
  • An interesting case in Brave 10. As revealed, Anastasia served Hanzo in the first place because Hanzo was holding her family heirloom that she has been looking for since childhood and her parents dead, at first playing it straight. Over time, however, she developed into a cold Broken Bird Ice Queen that is nearly as bad as Hanzo himself (though not quite), therefore subverting it. Once Hanzo's dead, however, she actually regretted that her whole life as an evil assassin has been for naught, since she found out that the heirloom was fake, thus making it somewhat of a double subversion.
  • Sailor Moon loved this trope, especially during the Dark Kingdom arc, ranging from brainwashed random innocents-of-the-week up to the horrifying brainwashing of Endymion/Mamoru- sure, it didn't take at first, but after the second go he pretty much beat Usagi within an inch of her life before Usagi tearfully reminding him of their history together, holding out their music box locket snapped him out of it. And, according to the manga continuity and a blink-and-you-miss-it reference near the end of the season, the four Dark Generals/Shittenou all suffered this fate, too, being brainwashed by Beryl and Metallia the same way Endymion was. This might suggest some semi-failed brainwashing on the part of Nephrite...

Live Action TV

  • In the Highlander TV series, at some point Methos is coerced with physical harm or death by Kronos into rejoining his evil old friends. However, this development only lasts a few episodes.

Tabletop Games

  • In Dungeons and Dragons, devils have been known to alter a society's culture so that coming-of-age rituals involve acts that will send you to hell (or increase your chance of ending up there).

Video Games

  • Sophitia Alexandria from the Soul Series falls into this category during Soulcalibur IV. Her daughter has been captured and bound to the evil Soul Edge, meaning that if the sword is destroyed, so is her daughter's soul. Sophitia is forced to fight on the side of the villains and spill blood to save her daughter's life. The worst part of it is that her proximity to Soul Edge, her despair, her dread of doing something which can never be redeemed, and the overall exhilaration she tries to deny are all pushing her toward a permanent Face Heel Turn. To rub salt in the wound, she's killed before she's ever got a chance to redeem herself.
    • As of Soulcalibur V, her daughter Pyrrha followed in her footsteps. Practically raised by Tira from the young age she was kidnapped at, once she grew old enough to have suitors, Tira killed every single one of them, giving Pyrrha a reputation as "The Bringer of Woe" and people everywhere incentive to kill her. Tira, being Tira, advises her to kill them all. After all, it's self defense, so it's okay. Of course, Tira's true goal is turning Pyrrha into the next host for Soul Edge. She succeeds.
  • In Mega Man 4, the benevolent Dr. Cossack has to pose as the Big Bad because Wily is holding his daughter hostage.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Cid Raines is pushed into villainy by his fal'Cie masters.
  • In Deus Ex Human Revolution, the scientists who were kidnapped in the intro are forced into making what's essentially a killswitch for every cyborg on the planet...which also happens to be able to turn them into Technically Living Zombie by causing them to go berserk.
  • In Blaz Blue: Continuum Shift, the ever-kind and compassionate Hospital Hottie Litchi Faye-Ling ended up in NOL thanks to the ever-lovable, consummate Troll Hazama/Yuuki Terumi, despite being able to keep her sound mind and resisting Hazama himself TWICE on him preying on her obsession with Arakune (her Fatal Flaw)by offering to cure Arakune. This was largely because of the corruption that she took to save Arakune alone was quickly catching up to her and she only had little time left until she loses her sanity or memory due to the corruption. So even if the decision was extremely questionable (and unfortunately pegs her as idiot because players are savvy enough that Hazama is not going to fulfill his bargain, and Litchi isn't Genre Savvy), she really had no choice but to join NOL except if she wants to just rot down, become a monster and eats the other people she loves.
  • In Tales of Destiny, Leon Magnus' chief reason of betraying Stahn's party is that his foster mother figure Marian was taken hostage by Hugo Gilchrist. Depending on the version, he either subverts it or plays it straight: In the original, he's already been an incurable nihilist Jerkass, so he's not so much Forced Into Evil, he's just playing along to vent his annoyance to Stahn's party. Then he got dropped with a bridge. In the remake, he genuinely did consider Stahn and co. his True Companions, but then was powerless to ask them for help, therefore playing it straight. Then comes the Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In the first Art of Fighting, Mr. Karate's identity is actually Takuma Sakazaki, father and master of the protagonist Ryo and Robert. He only became the Final Boss working with crimelord Mr. Big because they already took his daughter, Ryo's sister, Yuri, as a hostage and blackmailed Takuma to work for them unless he wants Yuri to bite it. By the second game, Takuma returned into being a good Cool Old Guy, and Yuri Took a Level In Badass.
  • In Tekken 6, after losing in the 5th tournament and seeing his master dwindle into an even worse state, Eddy Gordo becomes desperate in giving him medical treatment. Cue Jin Kazama, after he himself pulled a Face Heel Turn into the head of Mishima Zaibatsu, offers him a medication so long as he joins the Zaibatsu. Without much choice, Eddy joins and turns from a model citizen in a soldier involved in many of the Zaibatsu's dirty works. Jin lied about the medication.
  • Oracle of Tao, the Big Bad of the first game (there's also a Playable Epilogue that has a totally different enemy) is basically sent out on an exploration mission for his fellow demons (they're in a Crapsack World and looking to escape). The very first town he visits, all the villagers treat him like a pariah and he is sealed in an urn. Needless to say, he quickly decides to do something not so good not long after, and basically decides he doesn't care enough to spare the world he visited, instead preferring to violently merge the two worlds.
  • Koihime Musou:
    • In the Visual Novel (first game), Kouchuu/Huang Zhong first ends up as Kazuto's enemy because Enshou/Yuan Shao is holding her daughter Riri as a hostage.
    • In the animated adaptation, Kouchuu also was found first as a would-be assassin about to kill a high-ranking officer because several bandits (led by the fake Ryuubi) has taken her daughter hostage. For both versions, once the daughter is rescued, she ends up becoming the good guys.
  • In Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage Dream Mode, the usually virtuous Rei ends up serving Thouzer as one of the Token Good Teammate since his beloved sister (and later, his lover Mamiya)is planted with a bomb in case he rebels. The other Token Good Teammate (Shew) has no such forcing.
  • Nearly everyone in Warriors Orochi were Forced Into Evil when subjugated by Orochi, with many blackmails to follow, be it their people in danger (Tokugawa), their leaders getting held hostage (Shu and Wu), etc. The exceptions include Maeda Keiji (feeling sympathetic on Orochi's true purpose), Sima Yi and Date Masamune (Opportunists, the latter probably got hit in Break the Haughty and lost faith in the constantly warring humanity), Fuuma Kotarou (Chaos-seeking like usual), Lu Bu (looking for good fights, this extends to Achilles later) and Dong Zhuo (because he's a dick)
    • And reversed in 3. In order to prevent reuniting with Orochi, Dong Zhuo is forced by Zhuge Liang to serve the force of Good, which makes him 'Forced Into Good'.

Webcomics

  • Homestuck: A female troll (possessing clockwork majyyks and other powers) was nearly single-handedly responsible for making planet Alternia an antagonistic, caste-warfare-torn hellhole. She rained so much destruction on Alternia that history remembered her only as "The Demoness", and mythology remembered her as Death's right-hand servant. And she did all of this because she was forced into it by a time-traveling, universe-eating demon.

Western Animation

  "I am not a lackey! I... I have no choice."

  • In Teen Titans, Robin briefly joins forces with Slade because he injected his teammates with lethal nanobots that he could trigger and deactivate at will
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