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You are currently reading a thread in /lit/ - Literature

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Hi /lit/

Are there are literary pieces that explore this theme? of:
"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. "

desu I can't think of any good literary examples that capture the story of an individual, whose will and passion to save their people, slowly ends up with their sense of righteousness turning into a cold ambition, and ultimately damns the people they were originally trying to save.

The best examples I can think of are from pleb culture: Anakin Skywalker in star wars, and Arthas' character in Warcraft 3. (not even joking)


Lucifer in Paradife Loft doesn't cut it, since it was his pride, and not his sense of righteousness that ends up damning him.

Oedipus' will to save Thebes from the plague doesn't really count, since it's more about his destiny than his will to save his people.

I feel like there might be some weird arthurian tale of a perfect knight, who ends up taking a curse to save his people, only to become the evil.

Any ideas /lit/?
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>>7677610
My diary.
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>>7677657
desu
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>>7677610
/lit/ is a testament to the fact that those who oppose shitposting all eventually become shitposters smhtbhfam
>>
Watch berserk. That anime narrirates the epitomy of what you are describing. I'm dead serious.
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>>7677610
>ultimately damns the people they were originally trying to save.

hmmm i know its a meme but that sounds a lot like it should be a greek tragedy.
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Beowulf
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>>7677743
academics who regret their decision to specialize in ancient Anglo Saxon lit spout this meme to make their stupid sword and sorcery bullshit seem more interesting than it is. "does Grendel represent a problem within the society?" is the same kind of meme. Beowulf is shit; stop teaching it.
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>>7677672
Seconding Berserk. I'm not much of a fan of the story beyond the Golden Age arc, but it was brilliant in what it did with that whole plot, and it pretty much describes what OP is talking about.

I'm curious if there are any more literary examples, though.
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Skulduggery pleasant: books 1-9. if your looking for a really long roundabout way to get at the whole "I want to save people but my efforts make everything worse"

Ps: starts really slow and both main characters are narcissistic
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here's a deep quote:

"you either die a hero or live long enough to be the villain"
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Warhammer 40k has this in extremely large doses.
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>>7677610
Jehovah in the old testament
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>>7677610
my diary desu
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>>7677743

I thought about germanic /nodic stories as a source for this (since biblical/arthurian stories are normally very black and white: be a good christian and good things happen).

However, my read of beowulf was basically: beowulf is a bro; he grows old but is a bro throughout. And grendel is just some crazy bitch. Who might be someone justified the second time because her son dies, but she's still a bitch.

Unless I missed something big, I never got the sense of beowulf - in his attempt to save them - ending up damning his people
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I can only think about examples of the opposite, redemption.
Think Bolkonsky, Raskolnikov.
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>>7677822

Kek is this a meme theme then, forever condemned to pop culture?

No true literary value in the righteous-but-misguided-tragic-hero-motif?
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>>7677610

Saruman from lord of the rings kinda fits.

But he's more like Dr. Faustus; does it for knowledge/personal gain, rather than to save his people
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>>7677657
>>7677921
always surprised how many JVD fans are on /lit/
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>>7677672

glad /lit/ knows its god tier
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>>7677817
Children's fiction tho
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Tommy Carcetti from The Wire
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>>7677958

See, that's exactly the thing. There's tons of examples of tragic heroes whose downfall is because their pride/search for the truth/ambition (eg lucifer, dr faust, the two brothers who kill eachother in antigone, macbeth, hamlet can even be said to fit this).

But none because their tragic flaw was that they truly wanted to save their people
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>>7677610
Mein Kampf
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>>7677937
>biblical stories are black and white (be a good christian and good things happen)
Are you fucking serious? Have you ever read the Bible? Have you heard of a character called Job? Jacob? David?
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>>7678804
Not "muh people" but Othello is sort of this with his marriage
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Walter from Breaking Bad d e s u
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>>7678848

>job
> Literally, "have faith in god, even he makes your life shit, and you will be redeemed at the end"

>jacob
> you're a good christian, so god will spare you during the 7 year famine

>david
> Have faith even though you're a beta, and god will help you overcome goliath


It's all about faith and redemption, never about faith and damnation
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>>7678815
kek
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>>7679170
>jacob
>christian
Confirmed for never having read the bible.
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you wont find it much because it's not more than a gimmick. It's a Twilight Zone type of twist ending scenario. Even though TZ is god tier.
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>>7679552

?
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>>7677610
Coriolanus, with the tweeeeest that it's the people that are the bad guys.
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>>7677610
why didn't we use this picture for the sticky?
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>>7678815
Actually a good answer. Lenin and Mao would do nicely too. Shame they're real.
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>>7680058
....oh, and Napoleon. Damn, this seems to happen more often in real life than in literature.
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>>7680065
...speaking of Napoleon and real-life examples, Animal Farm would be a literary example if it wasn't for the fact that the pigs were probably bastards all along... which is where the satire kind of falls down.
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Watchmen if you allow comics.
There's also a play about Oppenheimer.
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>>7680078
Except with animal farm, the pigs became corrupted out of their own self interest, rather than for the love of their people

>>7680065
Surely this theme can't just be a phenomenon of modern history. Part of me feels there has to be some obscure germanic or arthurian tale about it.

Something like: A promising young hero takes up arms against an evil, and in an effort to save his people, bears a curse to destroy the original evil, but only later to become the new evil
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>>7680146
>Surely this theme can't just be a phenomenon of modern history
Oh yeah, it probably happened all the time in Greece and Rome. I don't know the history well enough, but it would be pretty weird if it didn't.
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>>7679552
>implying jesus would let YAWEH's loyal followers go to hell

oy vey
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>>7680155

Brutus from Julius Caesar kinda counts

> wants to save rome from imperialism
> Genuinely wants to save the people, unlike sneaky cassius
> kills his former friend
> ruins his name in the process
> inadvertently ends up facilitating Octavius' ascension
> loses many innocents in the final civil war
> his only flaw was being "the noblest roman of them all"
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>>7677958
Forget Saruman, Sauron fits perfectly. He wanted to bring about order. He lost sight of certain details along the way.
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>>7677937
>grendel is just some crazy bitch. Who might be someone justified the second time because her son dies, but she's still a bitch.
Grendel is the son, idiot.
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>>7681965
>Sauron
You mean Melkor.
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sheev
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Diablo 1. You're welcome.
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>>7682717
Blizzard got their character development strong then.

> Arthas Menethil
> Noble birth
> Promising young paladin, who is devoted to saving his people
> Initially does a great job helping them from the orcs
> Then the horrors of the plague get to him slowly
> At some point decides to cull a whole city of innocents lest they turn into undead
> Travels to northrend, then hires mercenaries to destroy his ships, so his men can't return home
> Blames the mercenaries
> Takes up Frostmourne to save his people, "I would gladly bear any curse to save my people"
> Muradin dies coincidentally, which he thinks fulfills the curse
> But the real curse is he lost his soul, and later returns to ruin his people

Why did WOW go so wrong?
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