It won't shock anyone who knows my love of melodrama to hear that I have a huge thing for early nineteenth century Gothic novels. Gothics are the opera of the writing world. They are morality plays, if you will, punctuated by bones and ghosts and creaking chains. One example of this would be Lewis's The Monk.
The Monk starts with Ambrosio, a young abbot who is such an excellent speaker with such a great reputation for holiness that everyone practically worships him. Unfortunately, he knows exactly how awesome he is. When Agnes, a nun from the nearby convent, discovers she's pregnant and begs Ambrosio to intercede for her, he spurns her. The nun upbraids him, saying all his virtues are nothing without mercy, and when he falls prey weakness himself to remember how he refused to show compassion on her. Ambrosio is tempted shortly afterwards by lust, gives in, and proceeds to destroy himself and everyone around him.
One really interesting aspect of the book is how the subplot of Ages and her lover, who is desperate to marry her, ties in with Ambrosio's downward spiral. Twice Ambrosio has an opportunity to help Agnes after his initial rejection; once just after he gave in to lust with Matilda, and once when Matilda tempts him to use witchcraft. In both cases, helping her would have rescued Ambrosio from temptation. The first time if he had helped Agnes he would have been admitting that he was not perfect himself, instead of making excuses. Instead of falling into evil, he would just have been someone who messed up but repented. The second time if he had turned aside to help Agnes he would not have fallen into witchcraft and would not have had the supernatural ability to commit Evil. (In Gothics, a capitol E on evil is always justified.) As in so many tragic story arcs, small decisions are vital.
That's a good thing to be reminded of.