The Pure Good hero is a type of hero that is considered to be the most noble and incorruptible character in the story. Pure Good heroes are completely good.
Pure Good (PG for short) goes by different names, such as Pure Good hero and Pure of Heart.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Criteria
- 3 Categories
- 4 Additional Notes
For a hero to be Pure Good, the hero must:
- The hero must have no corrupting qualities. For example, shown to harbor wrath, shown to enjoy harming others etc.
- The hero must show that they are selfless. They are shown to be motivated to help others and have no self-serving character traits.
- The heroes are not susceptible to being corrupted, tempted, or persuaded by villains or characters that have corrupting qualities to commit evil acts. They are shown to be incorruptible.
- The hero is very admirable in comparison to other heroes in the story.
- Heroes must be passed the Goodness Zone with their heroic acts.
- Heroes may have sympathetic qualities like a tragic past.
The Pure Good hero must meet all criteria to qualify.
A Pure Good hero must have a clear personality and character. The hero must be characterized in the story to have positive qualities. These positive qualities must be salient to the character such as being all-around selfless, friendly, kind-hearted, and forgiving.
These heroes must also have some depths to their character than to show that they are one-dimensional characters with little to their overall character. Characters that are robotic in personality and behavior and are devoid of emotions may not qualify as they do not have the positive character traits that a Pure Good hero would have.
A Pure Good hero must be beyond the General Standards, the In-Story Standards, and System Standards. These heroes must meet these standards to qualify:
- General Standards: This is the standards that shows major difference between the average hero and a Pure Good hero. These standards apply to acts that would be acceptable in society. For this standard, it shows actions that would be very noble than the acts of most other heroes. Going against villains and injustices and rescuing individuals from danger are basic principles of heroism. These are actions that heroes in general act on. This standard looks for unique actions that goes beyond basic principles of heroism such as simply being against wicked individuals. This would include, how selfless and determined and dedicated a hero is to saving lives, serving and protecting their communities, and helping others at the expense of their own time and interests. Comparison to other heroes across different works can be used to decide whether meets this standards.
- In-Story Standards: This is the standards that is within a specific story. This standard separates heroes and characters within the stories from those within the story that are Pure Good. This standard only looks to actions of the heroes and characters in the story itself. For example, if most heroes in the story are shown to be benevolent and selfless within the story, the In-Story standards are going to be higher in that specific story than in another story. In a story like this, the hero may have to be more heroic than the other already-established selfless heroes and their actions would have to stand out in comparison to these other heroes. However, because of the standards for heroes in this story, it may be harder for a hero to stand out from other heroes in the story in order for them to qualify as Pure Good.
- System Standards: This is the standards that is for specific benevolent system. Since a hero is already a part of a just and benevolent system, these heroes would have to compete against other heroes in the system in order to stand out to them. These heroes must go beyond the norm of the group or organization they are a part of. Usually the leaders of the organizations or other members that are very dedicated to helping others are likely going to pass this criteria.
The Goodness Zone is something a hero must be passed. This is the point in a character’s history where they have been shown to be exceptionally honorable and admirable. In many cases, their could be many moments in the character's history that could be considered their Goodness Zone. This criteria is important to mark a significant part of the Pure Good hero’s character history.
The Individual Capability goes over what the hero is capable of doing by themselves. This goes over whatever good acts a character is capable of doing by themselves with the resources at their disposal. Resources means any access to tangible materials within the story which is based on the character’s role and the setting of the story. This criteria it distinguishes type of characters within a story and the accesses to their resources. For example, it distinguishes the resources of a benevolent ruler from that of a revolutionary hero. As these are two different type of characters they are judged on their access to resources and the type of actions they are capable of doing. This criteria also goes over the extent to which a hero utilizes their resources. For instance, if the revolutionary hero can utilize all their resources within the time of the story, they may qualify for the criteria even with a benevolent ruler.
In a single work, a One Shot hero and a Big Good could both qualify to be Pure Good. This also applies to the literal character role that a character have. A hero must utilize the resources they have with the amount of time they have in the story to possibly qualify. The heroes must stand out by using their resources. However, if another hero is shown to be more admirable through their actions than another hero, then this may take precedence over this criteria and the hero may not qualify. Pure Good heroes have to be as virtuous as they can be with the resources they have access to and how they use them in the story.
The Pure Good Hero must have clear agency over their own thoughts and actions. The hero must know what is good and bad, but chooses to do what is good and remain good. A hero’s thoughts, actions, and characterization are good indicators to determine if the hero have clear moral agency.
The instances when a hero is shown to not have a clear moral agency or may not comprehend and operate under the concepts of right and wrong:
- Supernatural beings that are shown to not operate under the concepts of right and wrong. Instead these beings have a different understanding of right and wrong that human beings cannot comprehend. Many of these supernatural beings can be eldritch abominations.
- Beings that were created and programmed by another. In this situation, these heroes moral agency is the result of a program or how they were made and as a result, they cannot understand what is right from wrong.
- Characters that are shown to have or suffer from mental illness. Because of the severity of their mental illness, it takes precedence over the actions of the hero.
- Heroes who generally have shown to not understand what is right from wrong. This may be the case for children who basically do not have a general understanding of their own actions or the impact of their actions.
- Heroes who are shown to be pure incarnations of lightness or manifestations of lightness, may not count as they do not know what is right from wrong.
Under these situations, these heroes may not qualify for Pure Good as they do not know what is right from wrong.
Groups can not qualify to be Pure Good because they do not have individual capability and moral agency. Only individuals can stand out based on their actions. No group have the ability to stand out because they do not have moral agency. Organizations, corporations, teams, families, and entire species cannot qualify. In most groups, there are leaders that lead the groups and individual members that follows the leader or the principles of the groups. Each member, as they are individuals, can possibly qualify as Pure Good if they meet the rest of the criteria. While individuals can count, partners in training (duos and trios) can also count as both members or all three members do have the moral agency and individual capability to make their actions stand out.
No Corrupting Qualities
A Pure Good hero must have no corrupting qualities. These heroes must not show cruelty, sadism, rage, envy, apathy, or hate for anyone. These heroes must demonstrate that they are selfless and have virtuous qualities. Any actions out of self-serving purposes, insincere concern, or out of pettiness are disqualifying factors.
Pure Good heroes are completely devoid of corrupting qualities and cannot be influenced by others with corrupting qualities to commit immoral acts. If a hero is shown to be influenced or persuaded from an individual to commit immoral acts, that shows the hero is a capable of having corrupting qualities or may have corrupting qualities. In general, they have corrupting qualities. Pure Good heroes are incorruptible.
The Pure Good hero’s actions must be presented on-screen. The Pure Good hero must make the most of the screen time they have within their story. It is important for their actions to be presented on-screen because it their on-screen actions are important to the hero’s characterization. Through seeing the hero’s actions on-screen, it would be important to characterizing what type of character the hero is.
Other instances of quick moments captured in the story or flashbacks are important to show what the Pure Good hero committed. Much like their actions on-screen, this is also important to show what the Pure Good hero committed.
There can be moments where the hero can qualify with little to no screen time. Under these circumstances, the hero’s actions are under a pattern or a long history that was established within the story. Also, while their actions may not have been captured on-screen, the results of their off-screen actions can have an effect of the story. For example, a famous renown hero’s actions that were not presented on-screen can inspire an entire generation of heroes to do good in society such as All Might from My Hero Academia.
However, if a hero have little to no-screen time, that can be a disqualifying factor because it holds little to no relevancy on the plot or the story as a whole. In addition, acts off-screen are left mostly up to the audience’s interpretation since the hero’s actions were not captured on-screen. Also, it does not show any definitive action the hero have made that would show what they have done.
Sympathetic Factor, better known as No Unfeeling Factor, is an important trait that shows that the hero is meant to be sympathized with by the audience and characters within the story. This shows justification for the heroes actions and the motives behind them.
While a portion of Pure Good heroes may not have a tragic past or sympathetic backstory, this criteria is important to show that the hero can be empathized with by other characters in the story and by the audience.
This hero has to be the best hero in the story with little to no competition from any other hero or character. This criteria goes over heroes who stand out in the work they appear in. If another hero is not as admirable as another hero, then they cannot count as Pure Good. Generally, the hero has to go above and beyond in the story they appear in with nothing to mitigate their heroism. In addition, the hero must already be passed the Goodness Zone to qualify. There can be more than one Pure Good hero in the same story, but each one has to stand out in their own unique terms of being admirable.
The hero would have to be the best hero in the story they appear. They would have to be very admirable and virtuous in comparison to other heroes within the story. In comparison to other characters in the story, the hero must show through their actions that they are the most noble character in the story. The hero must also not have anything to mitigate their heroism and they must already be passed the Virtuous Zone. In a story, there can be more than one Pure Good hero. However, each Pure Good hero must stand out with their own unique actions.
Type of Stories and Portrayals
The type of story the Pure Good hero appears in is important to the portrayal of the hero and their actions.
- Comedy Genre: In Comedies, the heroes may be presented with humor. Depending on the comedy, their portrayals and actions may not be meant to be taken with much seriousness and only played for humor. Because of their portrayal, the heroes in some comedies may only be presented for humor which may take away from their heroic actions and admirable qualities. This also applies to works that are sitcoms.
- Exploitation Genre: Because of the nature of the story, the hero’s actions may be presented as vicious in comparison to other heroes in different genres. Because of the material in the story, these heroes may be portrayed with corrupting qualities as the quality of the show was design for shock value. In addition, heroes who appear in these works would rarely qualify to be Pure Good.
Through the type of story the hero appears in, it is important that they are presented in a way where their character can be portrayed with no corrupting qualities and where their actions can stand out.
Special Cases That Can Apply
This is a list of categories in which under normal circumstances, a hero would be disqualified for counting as Pure Good. However, under certain circumstances Pure Good can apply.
- Angels: These heroes are hard to qualify because they are known to only do good. These beings may only know how to do good and not have an understanding of what is evil. Exceptions can happen if the angel knows what is right from wrong choose to do good.
- Animals: Animals may not have moral agency, there can be exceptions if the animal is personified as a person or is anthropomorphic. Under these conditions, an animal could meet the criteria for Pure Good.
- Antagonists: Since these characters go against the protagonists and their supporting characters, these characters may have it hard to qualify as Pure Good. It is uncommon for antagonists to qualify as Pure Good. However, if they meet the criteria for Pure Good, they can qualify.
- Artificial Intelligence: These type of heroes rarely qualify for Pure Good as they are programmed and made by another to what they are made to do. However, if these characters are shown to have agency over their thoughts, actions, and programmings, and meet all the criteria, they may qualify.
- Comic Relief: Pure Good heroes are shown to lighten the mood of the story. Comic Relief characters however may just be portrayed for humorous purposes and it may look over the heroes admirable traits and qualities. However, these heroes can qualify as Pure Good if they meet all the criteria.
- Dissociative: Heroes with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) usually would not count because of their mental disorder. However, they can qualify if one of their identities meet the criteria for Pure Good. Also if the character with the disorder is shown to not be influenced by the other personalities and have an understanding of their actions, they may count.
- Dreaded: These heroes are feared by others. In most cases, if the heroes are feared because of history of violence and committing crimes, then they cannot count. However, if the hero is dreaded because they are unfairly ostracized by others and they have meet the criteria for Pure Good, then they can count. This may also be the case for Redeemed Villains who have shredded all their corrupting qualities that they use to have.
- Envious: Heroes who show a minimal trait of envy can qualify. Usually the envy is not played for anything too seriously and thus does not become a significant problem. In other cases, these heroes having envy may be a part of them growing to understand themselves and those around them and these heroes may shed this quality later on.
- Friends of a Villain: A Pure Good hero can qualify under this category under two conditions. One, if they were once friends with a villain in the past, but is no longer friends with them any longer. Two, the hero is still friends with the villain and the hero sees the good in them and values a genuine friendship.
- Heroic Criminals: Heroes who commit crimes may not qualify if they demonstrate selfish motives or commit brutal crimes. However, heroes who are willing to help others through their crimes or step outside of the law to stop a villain from committing a crime could have a chance of qualifying. In other instances, the hero may no longer be a criminal and may no longer have these corrupting traits.
- Heroic Disciplinarians: If these heroes demonstrate good spirit and only look to help others grow as opposed to outright harming them, then these heroes can qualify.
- Heroic Liars: Usually telling a lie is a considered a corrupting quality. However, due to the circumstances these heroes are under they may lie when it is necessary to help another. At times these heroes may tell minor lies and these moments may be played for humor. When these heroes lie they are usually apologetic afterwards.
- Inconclusive: If the story ends early or was canceled, then it interferes with how the hero would have developed if the story was complete. In addition, if the hero was suddenly written out of the story and have not made another appearance in other story arcs or seasons, it leaves out how they would have developed as characters. But, if a hero is still alive and active by the time the story ends prematurely and meets the criteria, then they can qualify.
- Kids: Because they are young, their moral agency may not be made clear. But if the child shows that they have clear understanding of their actions and meet the criteria, they can qualify.
- Love Rivals: A Pure Good hero can be a love rival with another person for a love interest. In this situation, the hero is competing against another character (whether they are a hero or villain) so they can get into a relationship with their love interest because they genuinely love them. At the same time, the hero does not harbor any negative emotions for their love rival.
- Mentally Ill: Since they have a mental illness and a limited view on reality, it would be hard to tell whether they have a clear moral agency. However, if they show to maintain a consistency with their character traits over time and are understanding of their own actions, and know right from wrong and meet the criteria they can qualify.
- Misguided: These type of heroes may have a corrupting qualities and may not completely learn from their actions. Exceptions to misguided heroes are if they did not intend to hurt, harm, or deceive anyone. In most instances, the heroes learn from their actions and makes efforts to not make the same mistakes again.
- Mute: Heroes who are mute may lack a personality and a clear motive for their actions. However, through their actions and personality, they may qualify if they meet all the criteria.
- Obsessed: This may be a disqualifying trait since the hero may go to extreme lengths to keep gratify their obsession. A hero could qualify under this if, they are shown to not harm others or if they shed their corrupting quality. In other instances, their obsession may be played as a comedic gag and not anything to be taken seriously.
- Paranoid: Heroes who are shown to be paranoid are likely to not count due how their paranoia. In many instances, these heroes may act on their phobias to harm others. However, these heroes can qualify if they are shown to not harm others and demonstrate moral agency.
- Partners in Training: Partners in Training can qualify for Pure Good as long as they meet the criteria. Duos can qualify if both characters are shown to work together and meet all the criteria. Trios can also qualify if all three individual work together and meet the criteria for Pure Good.
- Pessimists: Holding pessimistic views could be a disqualifying trait, if the hero is shown to harm others or shown to constantly hold this trait. If a hero only shows this trait minimally or lacks any corrupting quality then they have a chance of qualifying.
- Predators: Heroes who kill for food cannot qualify as it is a part of their nature. If the hero is shown to take pleasure in killing for food then they also cannot qualify. This may be the case if the predator is animal that is personified as a human or is anthropomorphic. However, these characters can qualify as they eat dead meat or plants. If the character meets all the other criteria, then they may count.
- Possessed/Brainwashed: Pure Good heroes who fall under possession or brainwash are not accountable for their own actions. Under these cases, the heroes did not willingly commit anything that was corrupting and was forced into this situation from an outside force.
- Redeemed Villains: Under certain circumstances, if the character shred all corrupting traits and make up for their actions, then they can count as Pure Good. As heroes, these type of characters are incorruptible and do not have any of the corrupting qualities that they had in the past.
- Reluctant: If a hero was shown to be reluctant at first, but accepts their role by having no corrupting qualities and by being very admirable, then these heroes can be Pure Good.
- Thieves: Heroes can qualify for this if they are shown to steal help another. This would include, stealing medicine to help those who have an illness or successfully stealing an object from a villain to stop their master plan. Any other reason to steal, such as stealing for selfish gain or to help unscrupulous individuals would disqualify them from.
- Traitors: While betrayal can be an automatic disqualification, the reason for the betrayal and how it takes place could save them from being a disqualification. If the hero has to choose to forsake a code that they followed that was wrong or had to turn on a villain to save others, these may be plausible excuses for their betrayal as they see this as a way to help others than serving themselves.
- Tricksters: The act of tricking someone is deceiving and this, under most circumstances, would be a corrupting quality. Exceptions are made when the hero is remorseful for their actions, the trickery is not played for anything too serious, or if the trickery is not taken too far that it could seriously harm others.
- Vengeful: These heroes can be Pure Good if they seek justice and are not looking out for their own self-interests. If these heroes are shown to motivated by malicious intentions such as rage, then they cannot qualify. Heroes who seek to make things right for others with no malicious intentions can qualify as Pure Good.
- Vigilantes: Vigilantism in most cases could prevent a hero from being pure good since the heroes are going outside the law in order to enforce it. However, if the heroes show a level of restraint and stops crime for the sake of their community they may count. Many superheroes tend to be vigilantes by definition as they are not always working alongside law enforcement to enforce the law.
- Virtually Resourceful: A Pure Good hero’s status, power, knowledge, power, or occupation may be necessary to upholding order of the place the story takes place in. Because of how resourceful they can be, many of these heroes can come off as self-serving or because of the power they have they may come off as corrupt. However, if these heroes are shown to be willing to uphold order without any self-serving motives or corrupting qualities, then these heroes can qualify for Pure Good.
- Wrathful: Pure Good heroes are known to have a control over their anger. These heroes are shown to be calm. These characters can show outrage over something that is terrible like a villain’s wicked deeds. However, if these characters are shown to harbor too much anger and are shown to harbor rage, then they cannot qualify. These heroes can qualify for Pure Good if they do not lash out at others because of their actions and are shown to meet the criteria.
Specific Cases For Pure Good
Categories that are only unique to Pure Good heroes. Similarly to the special cases categories, this list of categories are for unique instances that Pure Good heroes are in. Such instances could have resulted in the hero having disqualifying traits but in these cases that did not occur.
- Pure Goods with Heating-up Periods: These heroes may have moments in their history where they have not demonstrated any heroic quality. In these situations, the heroes may have acted antagonistic or lashed out against others. Under many circumstances, the hero may not qualify due to the corrupting qualities they show in these moments. However, these heroes are shown to reflect on their actions and are apologetic for what they have done. These heroes may also use these moments to better themselves for those around them.
- Righteous Killers: While killing can be an automatic disqualification, these heroes had to use lethal force not only for their safety, but for the safety of others or to put an end to someone’s pain. These heroes under most circumstances would choose not to kill and would try to find other alternatives to deal with the situation. Instances of killing a dangerous villain who pose a grave threat to many people or a mercy killing to stop someone’s suffering are moments where pure good heroes kill. Under these circumstances the heroes tend to be remorseful.
- Wholly Reformed: At the beginning of a story, the hero may have demonstrated many unpleasant or corrupting traits. Over the course of the story, the heroes had evolve to become better individuals and no longer have any of these negative qualities. Essentially, these heroes are reformed and do not show any of their past negative traits.
- A hero can qualify as Pure Good if their actions are shown to have a positive influence on others. This can count if the heroes actions was not done intentionally but ended up benefiting others.
- A hero that is simply loved by the audience and/or the characters in the story themselves does not mean the character can qualify as Pure Good. If the character fails the Pure Good criteria they cannot qualify.
- The Pure Good hero qualifies by meeting the criteria for Pure Good. An author’s opinions on whether a hero is Pure Good or not cannot be taken into account when determining if the character truly counts.
- If one considers a character Pure Good before their character arc is over, that leaves a possibility that the character can fail the criteria. It is best to wait until the story arc is over in order to determine if the hero can qualify.
- Heroes from different story continuities or versions can qualify. The Type Dependent on Version category shows that different versions of a character that can qualify for Pure Good.
- Heroes who trash-talk and use offensive language to insult others may not qualify as this a corrupting quality. If the hero apologizes for their actions then they can qualify.
- Comedic portrayals of Pure Good heroes should go along with the heroic traits. If their comedic traits does not go along with the heroic traits and instead does not show any seriousness in them, then they cannot qualify.