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Villainous Overview
The Pact with The Devil

The Pact with The Devil

Now, I call out to the spirits of this place, I will give anything or pay any price. If only you will help me save my people.
~ Arthas Menethil before taking up the Frostmourne blade.

A Pact with The Devil, also known as a Deal with The Devil and a Faustian Bargain, can refer to any scenario in a work of fiction where a character, villainous or otherwise, is driven to ask the dark forces for help. A hallmark of a Pact with The Devil is that it always comes at a cost to the user, leading to either death, eternal damnation or any other unsavoury ending. The best example of a Pact with The Devil is in the story of Faust who made a deal with Mephistopheles.

Typically there are 2 different scenarios for these deals, the older one is when Satan or the person or creature representing the Great Deceiver sabotages the deal to make the deal unfair. Other cases usually found in darker stories is when The Devil keep his end of the bargain, and instead the focus is whether the user will pay their end of the bargain when it's time.

In fiction, case regarding the Faustian Bargain or the Pact with the Devil, however, not always involves the pact between the client and the Devil himself. Instead, the similar deal also can be made with other antagonistic individuals/beings or accursed/dangerous objects (such as the Death Note for example). In either cases, the price would always same.

Examples

  • Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles

    The early example of the Pact of The Devil concept is the legend of Johnathan Faustus and Mephistopheles, where a German alchemist traded his soul to a prince of hell in exchange for 24 years of magic and everlasting youth and ultimate knowledge.
  • In the Disney movie The Princess and The Frog, Dr. Facilier obtains voodoo magic and artifacts from his "Friends on the Other Side". These come with two costs: he cannot use them for his personal gain, requiring the manipulation of others for his bidding, and if they are damaged, he will be dragged body and soul into their world and face eternal torment.
  • Similarly in the movie Anastasia, Rasputin sells his soul for greater power, allowing him to overthrow the Romanov family, summon demons and cheat death. The cost being that when he cheats death, his body still decomposes and if his mystic reliquary is damaged, he will instantly die.
  • In "Treehouse of Horror", Homer makes a pact with Devil Flanders for a donut. Flanders tells him that once he finishes it, he will claim Homer's soul. Homer seemingly exploits this loophole by not eating the last chunk, but his absent-mindedness crossed with his craving for donuts causes him to be cast into Hell. After a trial, it is decided that Marge is the legal owner of Homer's soul and as such, his contract with Devil-Flanders is null and void. Out of spite, Devil-Flanders turns Homer's head into a giant donut, which neither Homer, nor a squad full of hungry police officers, can resist.
  • Crowley is a demon who is in charge of the business of Faustian deals, he controls all the demonic deals done by humans and demons in the show Supernatural. Dean Winchester himself did a deal with one of Crowley's henchmen, and the cost was his soul being turned into a demon. After forty years Hell time, Dean did become evil, and torture human souls, but the angel Castiel rescued him. Dean was corrupted by this deal and became a demon again in season 10. Many other humans, including Bela Talbot and Ruby did deals with demons, and became demons themselves.
  • In Death Note series, there's a pact named Shinigami Eyes where a human possessor of a Death Note making a bargain with their Shinigami partner where the said Shinigami bestowed them power named Shinigami Eyes which giving them ability to see other people's name as well as their remaining lifespan as the cost of the half of their own lifespan.
    • In the Death Note spin-off L: Change the World, L had already written his name in the Death Note, along with details that he would die peacefully after 26 days. This made him practically indestructible for the brief period of time he had left, giving him enough time to expose Light as Kira. However, he did it not for a nefarious/selfish intentions, but rather as means to convince Soichiro to help him expose Light, an act that still considered a noble deed albeit at the high price.
  • In the Pirates of the Carribbean franchise there are two Pacts:
    • The Cursed Aztec Gold bestows immortality upon the first person to remove a piece from it's chest. The cost being that the holder would be ever hungry, ever thirsty and never sexually satisfied. How they became the ever hungry, ever thirsty, and never sexually satisfied was due to them reduced into skeletal, lich-like undead being whom true form revealed by the moonlight.
    • Davy Jones offers his victims the chance to extend their mortality by 100 years, or face death. Those that choose life are gradually turned into horrific fish-men, accumulating aquatic flora and fauna for body parts and in some cases fusing to the ship.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the nine Nazgúl were originally nine mortal kings of men who accepted rings of power from Sauron in exchange for their souls. When Sauron rose in power, they were resurrected as ghoulish apparitions that were invisible except for their black cloaks and armour.
  • In Naruto:
    • Orochimaru tempts Sasuke into his servitude with the promise that he could make him a stronger shinobi than the peaceful teachings of Konoha could. His payment being that after three years, Orochimaru would steal his body and consume his soul.
    • Nagato/Pain summons the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path to help him avenge his fallen friend Yahiko. The statue then cripples Nagato and drains most of his life-force and rendered him depend on remote-controlled bodies called Pain to interact with the others..
    • Kabuto Yakushi makes a truce with Tobi by allowing him to team up with him & use his entire army of revived shinobi to fight the Allied Sinobi Forces or if he refuses, he will expose to them that he is a fraud by presenting the real Madara Uchiha. Tobi had no other choice but to agree with his deal, but due to the defeat of Kabuto's strongest shinobi, he had no other choice but to unleashed Madara, thus exposing Tobi as a fraud.
  • In the DC event Final Crisis, Libra offers several supervillains the chance to defeat their arch-enemies once and for all. When the Martian Manhunter is captured and burned alive by Libra, his enemy, The Human Flame, gladly joins Libra's crusade against superheroes. Libra then brainwashes The Human Flame using The Anti-Life Equation, making him a soldier for Libra's master, Darkseid.
  • The story of Rumplestiltskin has a young woman begging the titular character to help her make gold out of straw to save her life. He complies, yet asks for something in return. At first he just asks for jewlery, but when she runs out, he makes her promise him her first-born child. When the woman gave birth, Rumplestiltskin agreed to nullify their bargain if she could guess his name in the space of three days. On the night before the final day, he (or someone greatly remsembling him) sang about how she would never guess that his true name was Rumplestiltskin. When the woman found out, she used it against him. Ironically, Rumplestiltskin cried out "The Devil himself has told you!"
  • When Peter Parker's Aunt died, Mephisto offered to bring her back, but his payment was particularly harrowing: Peter had to sacrifice his love for Mary Jane.
    • Mephisto also offer a similar deal with Johnny Blaze to save his father, though in Johnny's case, Johnny had to become the Ghost Rider and having his soul bonded with Zarathos, demonic entity that serves as his source of power as well. It should be noted that Mephisto originally intended to took Johnny's soul away, but he bonded the latter's soul with Zarathos due to Roxanne's interference.
  • Durring the DC crossever series Underworld Unleashed, Neron offered deals to many heroes and villains such as new powers, bringing loved ones back and other desires in exchange for their souls.
  • In the CW TV series Supernatural, Bela Talbot made a crossroad deal with a Crossroad Demon as a child, and Crowley was also mentioned by Bobby as having sold his soul when he was human.
  • In the BBC TV series Being Human, according to Hal and Regus, the Vampire race started when two Asian brothers made a pact with Captain Hutch/The Devil and became the original Vampires.
  • For his The Cat in The Hat review, the Nostalgia Critic was forced to babysit the Devil's daughter due to owing him a favour. The favour was a good Zod impression.
  • In the Merrie Melodies short Devil's feud cake, Yosemite Sam makes a deal with the Devil, saying that if Sam can bring Bugs Bunny down to Hell, the Devil will let Sam go.
  • In the 2004 film Van Helsing, Count Dracula became resurrected as the first Vampire by making a covenant with The Devil following his mortal death in 1462.
  • In The Little Mermaid, Ursula offers to turn Ariel into a human in exchange for her voice so she can get closer to Eric. Ariel and Eric have to kiss before the sun sets on the third day or she'll turn back into a mermaid and Ursula will take her away. This was all a plot to overthrow King Triton from his throne in Atlantica. She tried to sabotage Ariel's chance for kissing Eric by turning into Vanessa and enchanting Eric with Ariel's voice. After Ariel and the sea creatures sabotage Ursula's wedding to Eric, Ariel got her voice back, but it was too late. Ariel turned back into a mermaid, and Ursula tried to take her away only to be stopped by King Triton. Triton tried to destroy the contract that Ariel signed, but Ursula said the contract is binding. As she prepares to turn Ariel into a seaworm, Ursula did offer that Triton could take her place instead. Out of love for his daughter, Triton reluctantly accepted and Ursula turned him into a seaworm instead, obtaining his crown and trident.
  • In Peter Pan: Return to Neverland, Captain Hook, made a deal with Wendy's daughter Jane that when she gets Peter Pan to find Hook's treasure, she will blow the whistle that Hook handed to her and Hook would promise "not to harm a single hair on Peter Pan" and that he would take her home. After finding the treasure from having fun with the Lost Boys, Jane decided not to blow the whistle on them, and threw the whistle away only for Toodles to find it and unknowingly blow it instead. After capturing Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Hook remembered not to harm a single hair on Peter Pan. So he took a single hair on Peter Pan's head and said that this was the one hair he won't harm, giving this hair to Jane and leaving her while Hook and his crew left with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys in captivity.
  • In Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler), Ciel Phantomhive made a pact with Sebastian Michaelis in order to take revenge on those who mistreated him.
  • Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica grants wishes to girls in exchange for becomming magical girls who must spend the rest of their lives fighting witches, ultimatly they become witches themselves and Kyubey eats their souls, though in Kyubey's defense he does this to protect the universe and every living thing in it from the apocolypse, not out of malice.
  • Enma Ai makes a deal with her clients by using the site "Hell Correspondence" where the client writes the name of the person he/she wants to sent to hell. After the name is written, Enma Ai visits the client and gives him/her a straw doll where they have to pull the red string on the straw doll to sent the person to hell, in exchange of being sent to hell when they die.
  • The planet Lothal was suffering an planet wide economic depression that was so bad, the inhabitants willfully submitted to the Galactic Empire hoping to improve their economy, in exchange the Empire forced nearly all of the planet's youth into military service after standard education.
  • Nyx, a peasant girl makes a deal with the demonic fire scepter Funikura for power in exchange of becoming its abused sex slave.
  • G1 Transformers:
    • Megatron in the 2-part episode "Megatron's Master Plan" made a deal on Shawn Berger, a corrupt official & power hungry businessman, by promising him 2 cities if the corrupt official agrees to allows to expose the Autobots as "evil planet conquerors" and the Decepticons as the "heroic robots" into the public. After exposing the Autobots & exiling them, Megatron and the Decepticons revealed their true nature, leaving Berger humiliated by being called a traitor, abandoned by his own minions & ended up being one of the human slaves.
    • Unicron in Transformers: The Movie offers an injured Megatron a deal of reformatting him into Galvatron, with Thundercracker, Skywarp & the Insecticons reformatted as Scourge, Cyclonus and the Sweeps, in exchange of becoming his servant by destroying the Matrix of Leadership. After Galvatron defeats Ultra Magnus to claim the Matrix, he attempts to use it against Unicron, only to fail as he becomes under the latter's control. Galvatron also abanboned Unicron to die at Rodimus' hands.
    • The Constructicons in the episode "The Master Builders" made a bargain with Autobots Grapple & Hoist by helping him build his Solar Power Tower while claiming they have "left" the Decepticons. After successfully building the Solar Power Tower, the Constructicons formed Devastator to imprison the two Autobots & use the tower to create Energon cubes for the Decepticons.
    • The Quintessons offered the beaten Decepticons on the planet Chaar with Energon cubes in exchange of helping them beat the Autobots. Most of the Decepticons, with the exception of Blitzwing, agreed to help them unaware of the consequences. After Galvatron's return & reclaiming the Decepticon leadership, the Quintessons also offered him a Decepticon Matrix if he destroys all the Autobots, unknown to him that there is no such thing as a Decepticon Matrix & the Quintessons tricked him so that they can secretly disable every Transformer on the core of Cybertron & rule the planet again.
    • Starscream's ghost made a bargain with Unicron to help him regain his old body in exchange of performing tasks to the Dark God. While about to perform the final task of connecting Unicron to Cybertron, Unicron was forced to revive Starscream after he loses control of Trypticon from the Decepticons as he could not attach him without the colossal Decepticon's help. After reviving the Seeker to make things easier, Starscream abandons Unicron by telling him to do it himself. Both paid an ultimate price when the Autobots bombed them, hurling them away to space, as Starscream hurls to the cosmic void out of control as the Decepticons shoot him.
  • After a 28 year long war, the Sith Emperor and The Dark Council surprised the Galactic Republic with an unexpected peace offer. The peace offer quickly turned into a deal with the devil when the Empire siezed Coruscant and ransomed the planet for the treaty. In exchange for the planet's freedom, the Republic had to give up many of it's planets to the empire, and declare the Sith the war's victor.
  • Bill Cipher:
  • Hades: Meg made the pact with Hades to save her boyfriend (which in TV Series revealed to be Adonis) from death with her soul as payment. However, Adonis betrayed her and unknowingly banished her to underworld due to the said pact until Hercules, whom eventually become her better love interest, showed up and broke the deal himself.
  • Psycho Power: Psycho Power is a form of dark magic which in order to fully mastered it, one must expelled EVERY SINGLE goodness in his/her heart where this made him/her powerful, it would cost him/her his/her humanity, and the said humanity would manifests into separate entity that exceptionally good. Example of this was General M. Bison, who has inevitably become a Complete Monster upon expelling all the good inside him, but in process, he inadvertly mold it into one of his enemies, Rose (also alternatively referred to as "White Rose" in the film Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, who is both Bison's biological daughter and the manifestation of his kindness). In addition, excessive usage of Psycho Power can degenerate his body, resulting him must create spare bodies to keep himself alive.
  • Arthas Menethil: During his campaigns against the Undead Scourge, Arthas was forced to watch as his beloved people were turned into undead monsters, and his very Kingdom burn and be poisoned. The trauma slowly drained Arthas's sanity and eventually he became willing to use anything to save his people. He eventually found the runeblade Frostmourne and despite warnings that the sword was cursed, took it up, willing to pay any price to save his people. Ultimately Frostmourne stole Arthas's soul and ate away all that was left of his sanity, turning the once kind and noble Prince into a vile undead Death Knight of the Scourge, and eventually the Lich King.

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