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Tyrion: I'm guilty of a far more monstrous crime: I'm guilty of being a dwarf!
Tywin: You're not on trial for being a dwarf.
Tyrion: Oh, yes I am! I've been on trial for that my
entire life!
~ Tyrion Lannister lashes out at his father for his lifelong poor treatment of him due to being a dwarf.
A Scapegoat is a villain who is punished much more than he/she would actually deserve.

By definition, they are the opposites of Karmas Houdinialthough certain cases can apply for both, especially if a villain becomes more sympathetic (see examples 7, 11, 13, 15 and 16).

Just being a "bad guy" and having bad intentions is never enough to suffer such a punishment, which must be given according to acts. Some villains, however, are submitted to a retribution that can be very harsh, even unfair, thus winning over the audience's sympathy.

The very definition of a Scapegoat is someone who is framed for something the individual did not commit, although Scapegoats also include:

  1. Villains whose fate is so horrific that the audience feels pity for them (Charles F. Muntz, Viserys Targaryen, Barty Crouch Jr. suffering the kiss of the Dementor, a fate worse than death, or Arthur Reeves being driven insane by the Joker).
  2. Villains who are subjected to some horrendous torture as a way of karma that they did not deserve (Theon Greyjoy).
  3. Villains that have horrible lives that almost never improves or even gets worse (Aggie Prenderghast from ParaNorman, Hansel & Gretel from Black Lagoon, Carrie White, Lucy and Andrew Detmer).
  4. Minions that are often unfairly abused or killed by their master, either for failure or because they've outlived their usefulness (Lefou by Gaston LeGume, several Makuta by Makuta Teridax because he does not need their competition for power, Nute Gunray by Emperor Palpatine, Bruiser and Joe Cramp by Thrax because the virus cared about breaking his record, Charlie Walker by Jill Roberts because she did not actually loved him and the Other Father by The Beldam).
  5. Tragic villains who, in the end, suffered more than they made others suffer (Gollum, Rameses, Daniel Cross, Aubrey Davis and Kiritsugu Emiya).
  6. Remorseful villains who wanted to redeem themselves, but died before they could (Boss WolfWendy, Euphemia li Britannia, Siren and King Nachtigal).
  7. Incompetent villains, whose recurring defeats are often humiliating and degrading (Disney's Captain Hook, Dr. Neo Cortex, Heinz Doofenshmirtz, or Angelica Pickles).
  8. Comic reliefs who are defeated or punished in a slapstick manner, sometimes brutally so (Tom from Tom & Jerry or Harry and Marv).
  9. Villains who are constantly revived and killed over again (Lifty and Shifty).
  10. Anti-villains who intend to do good and never resort to dirty tactic, but just go about it the wrong way (Rinne Sonogami and The Brain from Pinky and the Brain).
  11. Former Karma Houdinis who can no longer get away with their actions because their karma has reached the inescapable point (Magneto).
  12. Jerks or otherwise not very antagonistic villains who constantly have to put up with the protagonist's annoying behavior, stupidity, arrogance, etc. or just evil teachers with an unteachable student (Mrs. Puff, Benson Dunwoody, Principal McVicker and Horrid Henry).
  13. Insecure villains who wanted to make friends in the first place, but the people are too scared and/or disgusted by their looks, which drove them to villainy in the first place (Frankenstein's Monster).
  14. Arrogant egotists who are publicly humiliated/booed for their actions such as cheating, being revealed as a fraud, etc. (Ripslinger was publicly humilated and called "Ripstinker" by Roper.)
  15. On & Off villains and their heroic enemies who have to temporarily put their rivalry aside for the greater good, or there's a worse threat that puts the real "villain" to shame, which also leads to certain Evil Vs. Evil senarios where the more "important" villain is the only one strong enough to defeat the more dangerous threat. (Example: Dr. Eggman is bent on world domination, but sometimes, there are villains such as Black Doom and Solaris who are bent on destroying the world, preventing Eggman from building his Eggman Empire. He is then forced to "join" the heroes and "help" them defeat the dangerous threat.)
  16. In Love villains who are regularly cheated or abused by their crush, yet keep protecting and taking care of them out of devotion (Harley Quinn who is abused by the Joker or Misa Amane who's a mere pawn of Light Yagami's plans).
  17. Possessed/Brainwashed villains who instead of snapping out of their influences, had to be killed in the end. (Quirinus Quirrel was possessed by Lord Voldemort and had to be killed by Harry Potter's mother's sacrificial protection and Cujo was brainwashed due to being bitten by a rabid bat and had to be killed either with a baseball bat or the sheriff's gun by Don Trenton.)

Pure Evil villains will NEVER qualify as they are in their normal senses, display no redeeming qualities and the acts they do are always taken seriously; therefore, basically every defeat they get are equal to what they have done, and their defeat or death, regardless of brutality, is warranted.

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