Villain's Remorse

She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word. To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time,and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
~ Macbeth moaning on the death of his wife.

Sometimes villains are not always proud of their actions after being confronted by the protagonists, they might feel sorry for their past actions, they may want to atone for their crimes and seek redemption, though this may not be the case for some who would continue to doing their wrongdoing afterwards. Anti-villains have a 99% of being remorseful about their actions. Often, it was related with Villainous BSOD.

There are several ways a villain can feel remorse:

  • They may have a tearjerking or/and heartbreaking breakdown if they ever considered their actions caused a lot of harm in the first place.
  • After being defeated they may turn themselves in without ranting and raging around like maniacs.
  • Kneeling down in repentance after seeing either the massive damage they caused or that they exceeded on their misdeeds that they did not expect to happen.

An anti-social individual usually have no remorse, although there are a few exceptions.

NOTE: Pure Evil should never ever be qualified in this page because if complete monsters have no altruistic virtues and redeeming values, how can we expect them to have remorse? Mainly because remorse can be a redeeming value.

In addition, even if villains are not Pure Evil, they are still disqualified as they can still commit reprehensible actions, such as the Lemons from Cars 2, stating that while they do feel bad from their nature, they still went to try and kill the heroes because it's "worth a shot!". Another case is Dr. Eggman, who pretends to show remorse to Sonic, only to lead him right into his trap and turn him into a werehog.

Example

Anime and Manga

  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy - Side: Hope:
    • In the final confrontation between him and Hajime Hinana, Ryota Mitarai started to cry in remorse since he was torn by his reckless act of making the Despair Video after deceived by Junko Enoshima, who later used to brainwash many of his classmates. After being persuaded by the former Remnants of Despair that his plan was wrong, Mitarai finally had a change of heart, prompting him to shut down the Hope Brainwashing Video and joined his classmates' atonement.
    • The former Remnants of Despair later started to atone their sin committed when they were brainwashed. They began by falsefully claiming themselves to be responsible for the Final Killing Game, which was caused by the Future Foundation itself, saving the Future Foundation from disgrace and making the world away from despair.
  • Fairy Tail
    • Laxus Dreyar shed tears while being ashamed of his actions during Battle of Fairy arc while watching the Fantasia Parade.
    • Zeref Dragneel expressed remorse for all the lives he took and sins he committed and even wanted to die to atone for it.

Cartoons

  • Elmer Fudd shows remorse after he believes to have murdered Bugs Bunny in his primal rage before carrying his body to Valhalla.
  • Discord expressing his remorse to the Mane Six and Spike for his betrayal (and in turn, Tirek betrays Discord) and realizing there is nothing worth more than friendship.

Live-Action

  • Carl Bruner feeling remorse for sending Willy Lopez to mugger his best friend Sam Wheat for the bank codes, not thinking that Willy was going to kill Sam.
  • Maleficent feeling regret over placing the sleeping curse on Princess Aurora out of spite against her father King Stefan for stealing her wings, due to raising Aurora in the Moors for nearly 16 years and loving her as an adoptive daughter. Eventually, her motherly kiss on Aurora's forehead was enough to revive Aurora from her sleep.
  • Thanos (Marvel Cinematic Universe) feeling regret after he sacrificed his adopted daughter Gamora.
  • Tobias Beckett feeling remorse after getting shot by Han Solo and tells him he wanted to kill him.
  • Darth Vader feels remorse for destroying the Jedi Order, killing younglings, destroying the friendships he had with people, and committing so many murders. Vader's greatest remorse is causing his wife, Padme to die of a broken heart which he carries a tremendous amount of guilt. He is able to make amends for his crimes and avenge Padme by killing Emperor Palpatine and saving his son Luke Skywalker.
  • Kylo Ren feels regret immediately after killing his father, Han Solo. This would turn into deep remorse making him unable to do the same with his mother, Leia, when he had the chance or with Rey, whom he had fallen in love with. When Leia dies trying to reach him, Rey confesses her feelings for him as Ben, and Han Solo’s memory encourages him to leave the Dark Side, Kylo Ren finally feels forgiven and loved. Thus, he decides to become Ben Solo again and runs to help Rey in the confrontation against Palpatine.
  • Severus Snape feels remorse for telling Voldemort the prophecy about the newborn that would be the one to defeat him in the future. This caused the Dark Lord to hunt the Potters and kill Lily, the woman Snape loved. Lily’s death is the reason Snape started to work for Dumbledore in order to defeat Voldemort and protect Lily’s child, Harry.

Western Animation

  • Song of the Sea: After Macha the Owl Witch is defeated for a while, she starts to cry due to her feeling terrible about what she did to her son.
  • The Angry Birds Movie 2: After her cannon explodes, Zeta believes her daughter Debbie to be dead and begin to regret her actions just as Mighty Eagle appears under the debris and protects Debbie from being crushed by a metal sheet.
  • Yokai after being apprehended for his crimes, he feels remorse over them after seeing his daughter for last time before being taken to judicial custody.
  • Ursula as she expresses her remorse for accidentally killing her pet eels Flotsam and Jetsam before turning her rage towards Ariel for causing it in the first place.
  • Zira as she mourns for the death of her eldest son Nuka, who was crushed to death by logs during his attempt to murder Simba in order to earn Zira's favor.
  • Amos Slade expresses genuine remorse on how his actions got him and Copper almost killed by a grizzly bear and realizing that Tod saved their lives as he is not the fox Amos thought he was; thus he decides to spare Tod's life.
  • Lola feels guilty for betraying Oscar and goes to his penthouse to apologize only to find a surprise waiting for her there.

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