Shoulder angel

Shoulder angel

A shoulder angel is a plot device used for either dramatic or humorous effect in animation. Often accompanied by a shoulder devil, the angel represents one's conscience while the devil represents temptation. They are handy for easily showing inner conflict of a character.

The shoulder angel often looks like a stereotypically angelic version of the character, with wings, a robe, a halo, and sometimes a harp. The shoulder devil likewise usually looks like a stereotypical devil with reddish skin, horns, a pitchfork and (sometimes) cloven hooves.

This idea originated from the Islamic belief of two angels residing on either shoulder of humans which records their good and bad deeds (see Kirama Katibin). Although, contrary to many cartoon references, the angels do not have influence over the choices one makes, and only records one's deeds.

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