History Main / DirtyCoward

24th Jul '16 6:36:46 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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* [[GodOfEvil Morgoth Bauglir]] from ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', probably because he knows that unlike other Valar, he won't be resurrected if he dies.

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* [[GodOfEvil Morgoth Bauglir]] from ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' shows signs of this. It's probably because he knows that unlike other Valar, he won't be resurrected if he dies.
21st Jul '16 7:00:46 PM Drakkenmensch
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Added DiffLines:

* Similar to [[Series/{{RedDwarf}} Arnorld Rimmer]] but UpToEleven, Brad Spitfire from the french canadian show ''Series/DansUneGalaxiePresDeChezVous''. He not only admits to being a cowardly opportunist, TheQuisling and TheStarscream of the starship Romeo-Fafard, he is ''immensely proud of it'', crediting his mile long yellow streak as the distilled genetic heritage of a long line of cowards who outlive a pursuing tiger by tripping up their friend.
-->'''Brad:''' (upon recovering his memory after an alien mindwipe) YES! I'm a ''dirty bastard''!!!
19th Jul '16 10:38:44 AM siberia82
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* In ''Film/XMenApocalypse'', when Jean Grey unleashes Weapon X (a BrainwashedAndCrazy Wolverine) who attacks and slaughters every soldier at Alkali Lake, Stryker tells his men that [[BlatantLies he will be right back]]. He boards his helicopter and leaves - the only other surviors? The mutants he took captive.

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* In ''Film/XMenApocalypse'', when Jean Grey unleashes frees Weapon X (a BrainwashedAndCrazy Wolverine) who from his cell, he attacks and slaughters every soldier at the Alkali Lake, Lake facility. Stryker tells his men that [[BlatantLies he will be right back]]. He boards his helicopter and leaves - the leaves--the only other surviors? survivors? The mutants he took captive.
16th Jul '16 11:05:09 AM Doug86
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* In ''{{ComicBook/Violine}}'', Kombo, the NominalHero sidekick of Violine, tries to save his own skin whenever danger looms, and is resigned to the apparent fate of whoever he abandons. Other characters always drag him back onto the good side, though, to his disgruntlement. Despite this, he is not treated as a villain, and the heroes insist on dragging him along anyway. After the heroes are saved, [[MilesGloriosus he will boast that it was all him, even when he has done nothing at all]].
* GrantMorrison's ''DoomPatrol'' has an expy of [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] who acts competent and tough when he has the advantage but becomes a sniveling coward whenever he doesnt.

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* In ''{{ComicBook/Violine}}'', ''ComicBook/{{Violine}}'', Kombo, the NominalHero sidekick of Violine, tries to save his own skin whenever danger looms, and is resigned to the apparent fate of whoever he abandons. Other characters always drag him back onto the good side, though, to his disgruntlement. Despite this, he is not treated as a villain, and the heroes insist on dragging him along anyway. After the heroes are saved, [[MilesGloriosus he will boast that it was all him, even when he has done nothing at all]].
* GrantMorrison's ''DoomPatrol'' Creator/GrantMorrison's ''ComicBook/DoomPatrol'' has an expy of [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] who acts competent and tough when he has the advantage but becomes a sniveling coward whenever he doesnt.



** In that vein, the [[{{Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse}} Expanded Universe]] (particularly VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed) does a good job of establishing Darth Vader as a self-pitiful coward.

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** In that vein, the [[{{Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse}} [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] (particularly VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed) does a good job of establishing Darth Vader as a self-pitiful coward.



* On the sitcom ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', the main character's wife fits this trope. Whenever Debra is in conflict with another person, she will usually bully her husband Ray into confronting the other person for her, almost always growling "You need to back me up on this!", to the point where that line is almost her catch phrase (and even if [[{{StrawmanHasAPoint}} the other person has a perfectly valid point]], they will still be treated as being [[{{DesignatedVillain}} horrible]] simply for opposing Debra). Then when Ray inevitably caves in to her demands and starts doing the verbal battling on her behalf, Debra always finds a way to sneak into the back and [[{{CowerPower}} hide]] behind Ray while ''he'' takes all the heat from the other person. Then when Ray gives her a chance to speak her mind and join in, Debra always says something like "hey, it wasn't me, [[{{BlatantLies}} this was your idea]]," and goes back to cowering behind Ray's back and letting ''him'' be the target of the other person's anger. What's really infuriating about this pattern of behavior is the fact that Ray himself is usually in favor of [[{{Pacifist}} making peace]] with the other person and wants everyone to get along, but he gets dragged into the argument anyway because his wife wanted him to, and yet she herself is totally unwilling to actually take responsibility for it, even when the fight is her idea. And yet she still treats him as if he's an unworthy husband, even though he always ends up doing her dirty work for her.

to:

* On the sitcom ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', the main character's wife fits this trope. Whenever Debra is in conflict with another person, she will usually bully her husband Ray into confronting the other person for her, almost always growling "You need to back me up on this!", to the point where that line is almost her catch phrase (and even if [[{{StrawmanHasAPoint}} the other person has a perfectly valid point]], they will still be treated as being [[{{DesignatedVillain}} horrible]] simply for opposing Debra). Then when Ray inevitably caves in to her demands and starts doing the verbal battling on her behalf, Debra always finds a way to sneak into the back and [[{{CowerPower}} [[CowerPower hide]] behind Ray while ''he'' takes all the heat from the other person. Then when Ray gives her a chance to speak her mind and join in, Debra always says something like "hey, it wasn't me, [[{{BlatantLies}} [[BlatantLies this was your idea]]," and goes back to cowering behind Ray's back and letting ''him'' be the target of the other person's anger. What's really infuriating about this pattern of behavior is the fact that Ray himself is usually in favor of [[{{Pacifist}} making peace]] with the other person and wants everyone to get along, but he gets dragged into the argument anyway because his wife wanted him to, and yet she herself is totally unwilling to actually take responsibility for it, even when the fight is her idea. And yet she still treats him as if he's an unworthy husband, even though he always ends up doing her dirty work for her.



* George Costanza from Series/{{Seinfeld}} exemplifies this Trope perfectly in one scene- he's willing to push women and children out of his way and knock them to the floor to get to out of a burning building. The episode's writer said that such an act was, "George stripped down to his essentials."

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* George Costanza from Series/{{Seinfeld}} ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' exemplifies this Trope perfectly in one scene- he's willing to push women and children out of his way and knock them to the floor to get to out of a burning building. The episode's writer said that such an act was, "George stripped down to his essentials."



* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** The Literature/NightLords. [[SuperSoldier Yes,]] [[TheDreaded really]]. They are a legion of Chaos Space Marines who specialise in raids, terror tactics, and guerrilla warfare. However, their reliance on this kind of fighting means they are themselves rather cynical and cowardly, lacking the conviction of the other, more fanatical legions. Several Night Lords characters are also shown to be willing to abandon their own brothers in the name of self-preservation, a trait which is also symptomatic of many fallen Chaos Space Marine warbands.

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* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'':
** The Literature/NightLords. [[SuperSoldier Yes,]] Yes]], [[TheDreaded really]]. They are a legion of Chaos Space Marines who specialise in raids, terror tactics, and guerrilla warfare. However, their reliance on this kind of fighting means they are themselves rather cynical and cowardly, lacking the conviction of the other, more fanatical legions. Several Night Lords characters are also shown to be willing to abandon their own brothers in the name of self-preservation, a trait which is also symptomatic of many fallen Chaos Space Marine warbands.
11th Jul '16 8:06:21 PM WillBGood
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** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', the Hierarch, who Chrom and his sisters had known for ''years'' and who had helped Emmeryn during the early years of her rule sells them out to the Plegian army to save his own hide. When the Plegians begin the ambush, the very first thing they do is kill the man, [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves stating that they were told to bring back a man, not a coward who betrayed his own country]]; the Hierarch's last words, other than begging to go free, are a terrified [[ScreamLikeALittleGirl "EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!"]]

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** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', the Hierarch, who Chrom and his sisters had known for ''years'' and who had helped Emmeryn during the early years of her rule sells them out to the Plegian army to save his own hide. When the Plegians begin the ambush, the very first thing they do is kill the man, [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves stating that they were told to bring back a man, not a coward who betrayed his own country]]; the Hierarch's last words, other than begging to go free, are a terrified [[ScreamLikeALittleGirl [[ScreamsLikeALittleGirl "EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!"]]
10th Jul '16 3:04:17 PM fruitstripegum
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** Taken UpToEleven in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', where he makes [[spoiler: several clones to help him overthrow Megatron (hey, it's TheStarscream we're talking about here), each of which represent one facet of his personality.]] This being [[TheStarscream Starscream]], his 'army' consists of a pantophobe[[note]]Skywarp and Clone #3370318[[/note]], an egomaniac[[note]]Thundercracker[[/note]], a suck-up[[note]]Sunstorm and Clone #2716057[[/note]], a chronic liar[[note]]Ramjet[[/note]], a GreenEyedMonster[[note]]Thrust[[/note]], and... [[YouDoNotWantToKnow something]].

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** Taken UpToEleven in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', where he makes [[spoiler: several clones to help him overthrow Megatron (hey, it's TheStarscream we're talking about here), each of which represent one facet of his personality.]] This being [[TheStarscream Starscream]], his 'army' consists of a pantophobe[[note]]Skywarp and Clone #3370318[[/note]], an egomaniac[[note]]Thundercracker[[/note]], a suck-up[[note]]Sunstorm and Clone #2716057[[/note]], a chronic liar[[note]]Ramjet[[/note]], a GreenEyedMonster[[note]]Thrust[[/note]], a greedy slagger [[note]]Dirge[[/note]] and... [[YouDoNotWantToKnow something]].
1st Jul '16 11:56:26 AM JamesAustin
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** Gibbis from the episode "The God Complex". At first it's PlayedForLaughs ("All I want is to go home and be conquered and oppressed, is that too much to ask?"), but ultimate

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** Fewsham, from "The Seeds of Death", collaborates with the Ice Warriors, fearing for his life, until he sees he's helping wipe the human race out. Then [[spoiler:he grows a pair and [[TheDogBitesBack gives the secret to stopping the Ice Warriors]] [[RedemptionEqualsDeath at the cost of his life]]]].
** Gibbis from the episode "The God Complex". At first it's PlayedForLaughs ("All I want is to go home and be conquered and oppressed, is that too much to ask?"), but ultimateultimately [[spoiler: his actions directly result in the death of a sympathetic character. Worse, Gibbis [[KarmaHoudini survives the episode]] completely unscathed.]]
** The Doctor himself can get like this on occasion in that while he's no stranger to physical danger or hard choices, he'll often run from the consequences. At the end of Series 9, having undergone a SanitySlippage due to a TraumaCongaLine (and thus become -- temporarily -- a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds), he inspires his exchange from other characters:
--->'''Ohila:''' ''[disgusted]'' He's running away.\\
'''General:''' Where is he running to?\\
'''Ohila:''' Same place he always does: Away. Just... ''away''.
* Chang in the penultimate episode of ''Series/{{Community}}'' Season 2. At one point he runs through the paintball wasteland screaming "Does anyone have an alliance I can join?!", [[spoiler: having betrayed at least 3 other groups already (The Study Group, Math Club, and The Cheerleader Alliance).]]
* Lailoken, the soothsayer of King Vortigern in the ''Series/{{Merlin 1998}}'' series. He is motivated entirely to keep himself out of danger (makes sense, considering he's around ''Vortigern'' of all people) and preserve his own life. After Vortigern tasks him to try to find out why his tower is collapsing, Lailoken makes a perfect dirty coward quote while at his religious rituals.
-->''I've been a follower of the Old Ways all my life. Now, that life is in danger, and it's a precious life . . . it's mine!''
* Angel Martin of ''Series/TheRockfordFiles'' fits quite well. He frequently refuses to do his part in plans that put him in the slightest amount of danger, and he sells out his friends immediately when things go south and he ends up in jail, or in the hands of organized crime.
* On the sitcom ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', the main character's wife fits this trope. Whenever Debra is in conflict with another person, she will usually bully her husband Ray into confronting the other person for her, almost always growling "You need to back me up on this!", to the point where that line is almost her catch phrase (and even if [[{{StrawmanHasAPoint}} the other person has a perfectly valid point]], they will still be treated as being [[{{DesignatedVillain}} horrible]] simply for opposing Debra). Then when Ray inevitably caves in to her demands and starts doing the verbal battling on her behalf, Debra always finds a way to sneak into the back and [[{{CowerPower}} hide]] behind Ray while ''he'' takes all the heat from the other person. Then when Ray gives her a chance to speak her mind and join in, Debra always says something like "hey, it wasn't me, [[{{BlatantLies}} this was your idea]]," and goes back to cowering behind Ray's back and letting ''him'' be the target of the other person's anger. What's really infuriating about this pattern of behavior is the fact that Ray himself is usually in favor of [[{{Pacifist}} making peace]] with the other person and wants everyone to get along, but he gets dragged into the argument anyway because his wife wanted him to, and yet she herself is totally unwilling to actually take responsibility for it, even when the fight is her idea. And yet she still treats him as if he's an unworthy husband, even though he always ends up doing her dirty work for her.
* ''Series/ColdCase''
** The [[AssholeVictim victim]] of the episode ''Justice'' is a serial date rapist who exploited the lax laws regarding date rape to repeatedly perpetuate the crimes, peed himself when several of his former victims confronted him at gunpoint, and then acted unapologetic and unrepentant about his actions once they left. The detectives become so repulsed by what they learned of him that they ''actually tell the killer what to say in court to defend himself''.
** The killer in the episode ''Blood On The Tracks'' was fearful of whatever punishment would be meted out for a crime she, her husband, and their friends were involved in a decade earlier--which the guilt-ridden husband was planning to confess to the cops about. So she enticed her ex-lover--who clearly still had feelings for her--to help her murder her husband in order to keep his mouth shut, with the promise of them running away together. Instead, she killed her husband and a friend of theirs whom she bore a strong resemblance to, assumed the other woman's life, and allowed her ex to suffer for 20-something years thinking that he had killed her, while she lived the ideal life of a suburban housewife. When confronted by Lily, she feebly denied being a monster, but outright admitted being "a coward".
* In the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "Nor the Battle to the Strong", Jake Sisko gets a [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Reason You Suck Speech]] calling him this, which [[HeelRealization he owns up to]] at the end.
** Also something of a {{Deconstruction}}, as Jake himself starts off contemptuous of a soldier who'd shot himself in the foot. The rest of the episode is him learning [[NotSoDifferent why not to rush into judgment about such things]].
* George Costanza from Series/{{Seinfeld}} exemplifies this Trope perfectly in one scene- he's willing to push women and children out of his way and knock them to the floor to get to out of a burning building. The episode's writer said that such an act was, "George stripped down to his essentials."
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': Jack Simpson is a very well-written and wonderfully performed villain of TheBully variety. His true cowardice is revealed when he's unable to FaceDeathWithDignity and begs for his life as Horatio has right to fire at will at their [[DuelToTheDeath duel]]. Horatio's "[[NotWorthKilling you-are-not-worthy-of-the-powder]]" scornful remark absolutely psychs him out morally, and he tries to stab Horatio InTheBack.
** A sympathetic example is found in Jack Hammond, who panicked during his first battle when someone else's blood splattered on him, and ends up stranding his captain during a mission. Unlike Simpson, he's not a bad man, just a normal person out of his depth in a Naval career he didn't want and is completely unsuited to in the first place.
* It's rare to find an EvilOverlord that fits a Trope like this, but Master Vile from ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' likely does. He wasn't the only major villain who gave up and quit, but actually threw a childish tantrum and ran off to his home galaxy after the Alien Rangers defeated his army. (If you didn't see it, trust me, it was a rather pathetic display.) Sure, maybe it was a big setback, but a ''lot'' of villains in the series had experienced worse, and it didn't make ''them'' run away crying.
* Don't expect Eric Forman's friends from ''Series/That70sShow'' to stick around when things go south of the border whenever their antics (Most often Kelso's) blow up in their faces.
** More obviously invoked in episode ''Halloween'', when Kelso hears a noise which he takes for a vengeful spirit; he pushes his girlfriend out of the way in his haste to flee.
-->'''Jackie''': I can't believe Michael pushed me aside.
-->'''Donna''': Me neither. I thought he'd use you as a {{human shield}}.
* King Joffrey Baratheon from ''Series/GameOfThrones'' is this. A SmugSnake, RoyalBrat, and all around JerkAss. While he acts tough, the truth is that he's nothing more than a coward. Some of the best parts from the show are watching him squirm like the worm he is.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', a gunman comes into the coffee shop and Bulldog tries to hide behind Roz (who's ''pregnant'' at the time) to shield himself. However, when he is trying to get behind her he manages to accidentally spill hot coffee on the gunman, disarming him and promptly leading to Bulldog being hailed as a hero, to the disgust of Frasier who saw what actually happened. Bulldog does this again during the award ceremony in his honour, when Martin (who was sick of hearing Frasier whine about the whole thing) told Bulldog that there was a man with a gun and Bulldog used ''his own mother'' as a human shield.
* ''Series/{{Justified}}'' has Harlan County marijuana dealer Dickie Bennett. A vicious, {{sadist}}ic little man, Dickie tends to lose his courage the moment things aren't going his way, begging and pleading for mercy. He does it to Raylan twice, and to Boyd when the latter tries to force the location of his mother's money out of him. Late in Season 3 he seems to [[GrewASpine grow a spine]], largely because he believes that he's a dead man anyway.
* Lester Nygaard from ''Series/{{Fargo}}''. Despite being viewed by his peers as a quiet, nervous type, the truth is that he's a repellant little worm who will do anything to keep himself from harm, even if that means [[spoiler: framing his own brother for the murder of his first wife]]. He crosses the [[MoralEventHorizon Moral Event Horizon]] when, while fleeing town in an attempt to evade [[spoiler: Lorne Malvo]], he [[spoiler: ''sends his second wife to be killed in his place,'' even giving her his distinctive orange parka to ensure she resembles him as closely as possible]].
* Lydia Rodarte-Quayle from ''Series/BreakingBad''. Her first impulse whenever something goes wrong or inconveniences her, is to kill a subordinate. This is so ingrained in her personality that she expects it constantly from the people she works with but views as potential threats. She has no qualms about putting out hits on people who inconvenience her (such as Gus' henchmen, Declan and his gang, Skyler, Walt), however when her own life is in danger, she panics and begs for mercy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''Music/TheArrogantWorms'' have a song called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggl9tX9iu4g I ran Away]], unsurprisingly the protagonist resorts to ''every'' stated situation by running.
* Frank Gallop played it for laughs in "The Ballad of Irving," who was {{Too Dumb to Live}} as well as a coward:
-->The James Boys was comin' on a train at first sun,\\
And the town said, "Irving, we need your gun."\\
When that train pulled in at the break of dawn,\\
Irving's gun was there, but Irving was gone.
* Music/{{Sabaton}}'s song ''In The Name Of God'' is a ReasonYouSuckSpeech aimed directly at religious terrorists (particularly Al-Qaeda and their ilk), and it's mostly calling them this.
-->Stand up and show me your face!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myth and Legend]]
* Thersites from Literature/TheIliad.
* Ares from Myth/ClassicalMythology. He reveled in the bloodshed and chaos of war, but he actually wasn't that good a warrior and had low pain tolerance. His response to being wounded in the Trojan War was to cry and run back to Olympus.
* King Mark from the Tristan and Isolde part of the [[KingArthur Arthurian Legend]]. Or at least he's like this in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Opera]]
* Mime from Creator/RichardWagner's opera ''Siegfried'' is a Dirty Coward to the core, but is often inappropriately played as TheWoobie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* This is a classic {{heel}} character in ProfessionalWrestling. The Wrestling/HonkyTonkMan made a career out of this [[TheGimmick gimmick]] in Wrestling/{{WWE}} and Wrestling/{{Christian}} Cage was in this mode following his FaceHeelTurn in Wrestling/{{TNA}}.
* In the late 90's following his infamous FaceHeelTurn, Wrestling/HulkHogan had the bizarre distinction of being both a VillainSue AND a Dirty Coward at the same time. While he might squash any challenger that came his way at a PPV, Hogan would often spend at a least a month hiding behind members of the Wrestling/NewWorldOrder talking trash as his future opponent would rip apart the {{jobber}}s in the nWo a few feet away.
* Averting this trope is one of the reasons Wrestling/{{Kane}} is so popular, even as a Monster Heel. He will never back down and has gotten into the ring with guys far bigger than him. In the Royal Rumble match, he will always stare down the biggest guy in the ring, nod, and when it is returned the two will ignore everyone else until one of them is eliminated.
* Wrestling/KurtAngle was famous for this in early WWE run (1999-2002)
* Wrestling/{{Edge}} is very good at portraying this type of heel, though sometimes it's subverted somewhat when it is shown that the women who are in love with him actually ''want'' to risk their necks to save his, and do so without his prompting (see Wrestling/{{Lita}} and Wrestling/VickieGuerrero). Wrestling/CMPunk milked this trope as part of his Charles Manson-like cult-leader gimmick, with his skin-headed moll Serena ''smiling'' as he uses her as a human shield. (Depending on your attitude toward such relationships, I guess, this is either terrifying or FetishFuel.) Edge was such a coward as a heel that it wasn't unusual for him on house shows to spend up to ten minutes stalling outside of the ring before eventually locking up with his opponent.
* Subverted by Wrestling/JohnCena, who acted this way until his full-blown HeelFaceTurn in 2005. Despite being very strong and tough in his own right, he would use a steel chain wrapped around his knuckles to knock out larger opponents and gain victories over them - and he ''still'' got cheered.
* Wrestling/MichaelCole IS this trope following his FaceHeelTurn. To put it in perspective, he's put himself ''in a bulletproof glass case'' for his protection and constantly backs down when someone challenges him to a match.
* Wrestling/BryanDanielson's heel run in WWE is borderline comical in this respect. It's a RunningGag that, if things get hectic while he's at ringside, he'll disappear from the action, but the camera will soon cut to a shot of him leaving up the entrance ramp huddling his World Title with AJ following close behind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* Major Bloodnok (Peter Sellers) in ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' is a coward through-and-through, and there's not a thing he won't do for money.
** Also, everyone else. While deciding who gets volunteered for a dangerous mission:
--->'''Seagoon''': I'm terribly sorry, but I have a wife and 63 children!\\
'''Bloodnok''': I too have a wife and children. That only leaves dear old - \\
[rattle of telephone]\\
'''Eccles''': Hello, hello, operator? Get me the marriage bureau!\\
[later]\\
'''Bloodnok''': Flatten me cronkler with spinach mallets. So, both of you have turned cowards, eh. That only leaves me. Two cowards, and me. You know what this means?\\
'''Seagoon''': ''Three'' cowards.
* Thomas in ''Radio/OldHarrysGame'' (whose nastiness [[EvenEvilHasStandards disgusts even Satan]]) has many horrible characteristics, but his dirty cowardice is among his defining traits. Though he does occasionally show signs of CharacterDevelopment, this is nearly always unwound by the end of the episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering Ib Halfheart]], [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=157923 Goblin Tactician]]. His tactical insights include:
-->''"Everybody but me-- CHARGE!"''\\
''[[http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/card/Details.aspx?name=Blinking+Spirit "Don't look at it! Maybe it'll go away!"]]''
* [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} The Ebon Dragon]] may be one of the Titans who created the world, and one of the most overwhelmingly powerful beings in existence, but his pitiful Virtues (especially Valor), the easily exploitable holes in his defenses, and the personality constraints of his Excellency make him an utterly rank coward. He will very rarely engage in a straight fight against anything capable of hurting him (which can be everything) and will ''never'' do so against something that has the slightest chance of killing him. Fortunately for him, being the Principle of Villainy makes one ''really'' good at talking your way out of trouble, or just plain running away.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'':
** The Skaven are sneaky, conniving, selfish, cowardly, and backstabbing, and each of these ratmen would gladly sacrifice their entire race for their own hides if not for their innate fear and paranoia. However, this does not make the Skaven race weak, as their disease-resistant qualities, large numbers, and dedication to keeping themselves hidden from mankind and the other races (to the point that they are regarded as a myth even when presented with irrefutable evidence of their existence) would make them a formidable foe that could potentially overtake the world if they could just put aside their in-fighting and distrust for each other for one millisecond.
** Hobgoblins are quick to turn tail when the odds are against them. One example is a hobgoblin mercenary Oglah Khan, who constantly switches sides when the side he is on is losing.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** The Literature/NightLords. [[SuperSoldier Yes,]] [[TheDreaded really]]. They are a legion of Chaos Space Marines who specialise in raids, terror tactics, and guerrilla warfare. However, their reliance on this kind of fighting means they are themselves rather cynical and cowardly, lacking the conviction of the other, more fanatical legions. Several Night Lords characters are also shown to be willing to abandon their own brothers in the name of self-preservation, a trait which is also symptomatic of many fallen Chaos Space Marine warbands.
** The Spyrers from the spin-off game ''TabletopGame/{{Necromunda}}''. Justified by the fact that each and every one of them is a OneManArmy in a world full of {{Badass Normal}}s, so, if [[MassOhCrap a gang manages to kill one or even more of them...]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' kobolds tend to be like this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* In ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'':
** The public of The Burgundy Theater invokes this trope about Montfleury's RunOrDie decision instead of [[LastStand standing to Cyrano (who has threatened to kill Montfleury if he insists to act in a play)]] in the middle of Act I Scene IV. Subverted at the end of that scene, after [[SociopathicHero Cyrano kicks a Bore's ass and wounds De Valvert]], then [[FridgeLogic it is obvious that Montfleury displayed true valor]] despite Cyrano's prohibition to be in a scene. [[JerkAss The public still thinks that Montfleury is a Dirty Coward]].
** At Act II Scene III, Cyrano admits to himself he is one of those when he thinks to write a letter to Roxane and flee. Interestingly enough, he has a FreudianExcuse.
--> '''Cyrano''' ''(To himself):'' [[LoveLetterLunacy I will write, fold it, give it her, and fly!]]
--> ''(Throws down the pen):'' [[LampshadeHanging Coward!]]... But strike me dead
--> [[CannotSpitItOut if I dare to speak to her]],... ay, even one
--> single word!
* Garcin from ''Theatre/NoExit''.
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare used this at least twice:
** The [[MilesGloriosus braggart]] Parolles in ''Theatre/AllsWellThatEndsWell'' cravenly betrays his fellow soldiers when they make him think he has been captured by enemy forces.
** More sympathetically is Falstaff.
* Played for laughs in ''Theatre/TheRivals'', where Bob Acres is persuaded by peer pressure to challenge his romantic rival to a duel, but then immediately starts coming up with excuses to call the whole thing off.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The mayor in ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars: Days of Ruin''. A non-humorous example who [[spoiler:gets a well-deserved KarmicDeath near the end by trying to bargain with BigBad Caulder to save himself after selling out the heroes to him.]]
** From the same game, Waylon, whose own men desert him en masse after his first appearance because he would throw their lives away to cover his own. His theme song is even called "Flight of the Coward".
* More than a few of Altaïr's targets in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' would flee from him (though him being [[OneManArmy Altaïr]] might have something to do with it); ''city guards'' may quit the field if you show off your prowess as well.
** And in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', Borgia captains and couriers are more than likely to flee Ezio's grasp, though then again the same applies for Ezio, who's arguably deadlier than Altaïr.
** The Baron de Valois from ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'', who [[IHaveYourWife takes Bartolomeo's wife hostage]] to try and get the latter to surrender, makes a break for it when surprised by Ezio, and will execute her quickly if Ezio is detected trying to reach him.
** The Doctor character from Multiplayer and ''Project Legacy'' is one too.
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty: VideoGame/ModernWarfare''
** Khaled Al-Asad from [[spoiler:nukes a whole city ''to cover his own ass''. While hiding in a safe house in Russia, while the war is in the [[{{Qurac}} Middle East]]]]. Doesn't get much more cowardly than that. [[spoiler: Subverted, it turns out it was [[BigBad Vladimir Makarov]] who nuked the city on the first place.]]
* Patches the Hyena of ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', and [[LawyerFriendlyCameo later]] ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' and ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}''.
** Also from ''Demon's'', Long Bow Oolan, who chose to wield a bow so she could avoid the frontlines, defended by her legionaries. When she was turned into a demon by the colorless fog, she became the helpless Phalanx, relying on the Hoplites to defend her.
* In ''Videogame/DarkSoulsII'', a couple invader spirits in use cowardly tactics against the player.
** One invades while you are descending a ladder into an enclosed space full of zombie dogs.
** [[ProfessionalKiller Maldron The Assassin]] does this as his career. [[spoiler: In his first encounter he will run away into an area full of enemies when he loses some health. And in his second encounter, he disguises himself as a White Phantom, only to pierce you from behind with a lance.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' we have [[ChewToy Axel the Dark Hero]] who, in the style of Disgaea demons being {{Card Carrying Villain}}s, is a Card Carrying Dirty Coward (hence the "dark" part). Further in Disgaea style, he's actually a LovableCoward.
* One of the main reasons {{Prince Charmles|s}} is one of the [[HateSink least favorite]] ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' characters is that he's both a Dirty Coward ''and'' a {{Jerkass}}, and makes you do all the work for him on the one story quest where you're forced to take him along.
* Porky Minch from ''VideoGame/EarthBound''. At the start of the game, he ditches his brother in the night and proceeds to go bug Ness for help with finding him so that he won't get disciplined, only to prove totally useless in battle, spending most of his time hiding behind you. After he starts viewing Ness as his nemesis, he shows up from time to time to simply taunt him, then run off. [[spoiler:It's only at the very end when he has Giygas backing him up that he actually has something of a spine, but even then, he bails out and leaves Giygas to deal with you once he takes a little abuse.]]
** There's also the man in the tent in Threed, who abandoned his wife and children to the zombies. He doesn't seem to understand why they're angry with him.
* [[SmugSnake Shinji Matou]] from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' is an arrogant {{Jerkass}} who likes talking about how much better he is than everyone, but quickly loses his superior facade once he is confronted and shown what a pathetic and sniveling coward he really is.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblem: [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]]'', the boss of the Part 3 Prologue, Septimus, is shown to be [[ProperlyParanoid immensely paranoid]] about laguz attacks and runs off as soon as the player or allied armies get close, leaving his second-in-command to guard the seize point. He later shows up in 3-8, assigned to enter the [[LethalLavaLand lava-filled caves]] and bring back the bodies of the enemies that [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat no doubt perished there]] as proof that they were dead -- and is ''quite'' dismayed to find them (that's the player's army, again) very much alive.
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', the Hierarch, who Chrom and his sisters had known for ''years'' and who had helped Emmeryn during the early years of her rule sells them out to the Plegian army to save his own hide. When the Plegians begin the ambush, the very first thing they do is kill the man, [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves stating that they were told to bring back a man, not a coward who betrayed his own country]]; the Hierarch's last words, other than begging to go free, are a terrified [[ScreamLikeALittleGirl "EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!"]]
* Goblins, the weakest unit of the Stronghold Faction in ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic V: Tribes of the East''. In gameplay, their cowardice causes them to run away from their attackers instead of retaliating. If enough of the stack is killed, they actually ''defect'' to the other side. Storywise, this attitude earns them a great deal of contempt from the rest of the faction, which primarily consists of {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s. As a result, their "comrades" have no problem with letting their Shamans sacrifice Goblins for mana replenishing rituals or with letting the Cyclops treat Goblins as snacks and ''ammo''.
* Tavion, TheDragon of Desan in ''VideoGame/JediKnight2'':
--> '''Kyle Katarn:''' ''"Why should I believe you?"''
--> '''Tavion:''' ''"Because I am not brave enough to die?"''
** [[spoiler:[[UngratefulBitch She]] returns in the following game as the new BigBad, even taunting Kyle Katarn that he was stupid to spare her.]]
* Kai Leng of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' is a particularly unlikable case. He's not above playing dirty tricks on his enemies, and pulls several on Shepard, including calling in a gunship to provide fire support while his shields recharge and using the salarian councilor as a shield. Even worse, he endlessly taunts Shepard when he's out of danger, including sending them an email mocking them about the events on [[spoiler:Thessia]]. In the final battle, Shepard points out that Kai Leng always runs, which the latter [[LameComeback responds to rather ungracefully]]. When [[spoiler:Shepard shatters/dodges his sword and guts him like a fish]], it's not easy not to cheer.
* The original ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' features a boss fight against "Coward Duck" (later renamed "Dirty Duck") who, although a nearly a non-entity as far as characterization goes, lives up to both his codenames in his fighting style. He strikes at Snake from the relatively safe position of being surrounded by three hostages, and killing any of them makes the game UnWinnable by virtue of being unable to get the Rocket Launcher.
* Brad Vickers, S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team helicopter pilot from the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' franchise, who immediately turns tail and runs off, abandoning his teammates during the events of the [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil first game]] when the zombie dogs attack. When Chief of Police Irons dismisses the rest of the team's claims about the mansion, Vickers goes along with them to keep his job. [[spoiler:To the satisfaction of the player, he eventually is killed off.]].
** Though to Brad's credit, he ''did'' he show up just in time to drop them a rocket launcher to use against the final boss, and then did his damnedest to extract the remaining members of S.T.A.R.S before the mansion went up in smoke. Brad will never hold a very high place in the eyes of the fandom, but if he hadn't worked up the nerve to turn back, there wouldn't have been any survivors of that mission.
* Alfonso in ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' is established as this in the game's ''opening sequence'': once his ship is attacked by the Blue Rogues, he is more concerned with escaping than fighting, and once he secures the means to do so he murders his vice captain in cold blood and tosses the corpse overboard in order to frame the vice captain as a traitor and cover his own ass. However, the surviving crewmen rat him out to [[BigBad Galcian]], who strips Alfonso of his command of the Mid Ocean Fleet and immediately [[ReassignedToAntarctica reassigns him to Ixa'Taka.]]
* The Spathi from ''VideoGame/StarControl'' are a PlanetOfHats devoted to craven cowardice and borderline paranoia as a way of life. A traditional Spathi prayer goes "Oh God, please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better", and the entire race lives in fear of a nebulous alien race they refer to (always in the same ominous tone) as "The Ultimate Evil". However, they can and will fight if backed into a corner (and they can fight quite well; the Spathi Eluder is one of the best ships in the game). However, this doesn't stop the Spathi from backing out of their alliance with the "hunams" and sealing their home world beneath an impenetrable force field the first chance they get.
** The Spathi can fight quite well -- mostly because their ships are so fast no one can catch them, and because they pelt anything that ''tries'' to catch them with a hailstorm of [[FunWithAcronyms Backward Utilizing Tracking Torpedoes]] fired out of the back of the ship as it flees. Which means, fittingly, that they fight best when they're running away.
** A memorable quote comes from the Spathi High Council, about a Spathi (named Fwiffo) who has been "captured" by the protagonists: "If you held a weapon to Fwiffo's head, he would say anything you wanted him to say. In fact, if you held a vegetable to his head he would probably say anything you wanted him to say."
* Yuber from ''{{Suikoden}}'' is a perfect example of this trope: Once he realizes he's in danger, he will flee, be it in a one-on-one duel or in a big scale battle as commander of his troops. On the other hand if he's feeling superior he will destroy a village out of boredom or summon a huge monster to deal with the hero. What a dick.
** Snowe from ''SuikodenIV'' is a particularly sickening example. Late in the game after everything he has done, you are given the chance of either adding him to your team or killing him, and it is ''very'' easy to make the second choice. Although if you kill him, you won't get the True Ending. [[spoiler: And the main character will die.]] And if you do forgive him he gets better and [[CharacterDevelopment becomes more humble and respectable]]. It could be said, though, that only the [[spoiler: sudden escape from marauding pirates at the beginning of the game]] is cowardice. Everything else, he faces with at least a modicum of courage, [[spoiler: including the ''three'' times he's captured by the player and threatened with death]].
* Alduin in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' turns out to be one of these when faced by someone who can actually hurt him. It's one of the reasons Odahviing agrees to help you pursue him -- the other Dragons are no longer certain that Alduin deserves to be their leader.
** The Orc chief Yamarz has the dubious distinction of being a deceitful weakling amongst [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy a race of proud warriors.]] When his tribe is besieged by Giants, he opts to hole up in the village and let everyone else fight them off rather than lift a finger to do it himself. When he is tasked with slaying the Giant chief, he tries to bribe the player to do it for him and let him take the credit. If the player agrees, he then tries to kill them too to keep his cowardice from being discovered.
** And of course the first example we're confronted with is during the intro, where Lokir the horse thief spends his last moments desperately pleading to his captors, his fellow captives and finally to every one of the Eight Divines for salvation. When you reach the chopping block, he attempts to run for it and shouts "You aren't gonna kill me!" only to be unceremoniously [[InTheBack shot in the back.]]
* The Mean Emcee from ''VideoGame/WarioWorld'' is this. He is absolutely terrified of Wario and will hide under a cup after he punches him enough.
* Anub'Arak in the Old Kingdom dungeon in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' is widely regarded as a despicable coward due to his fight mechanics, where he constantly burrows underground becoming untargetable and sends minions after the players. Far from being a challenge it is merely an annoyance and prolongs the fight unnecessarily. Although that's probably more due to a ScrappyMechanic more than anything else. In ''The Frozen Throne'', when he is first introduced, he is pretty brave, serving as Arthas' [[TheDragon dragon]], accompanying him through Azjol-Nerub and fighting at the front. In one mission, the duo meet a [[http://www.wowwiki.com/Forgotten_one forgotten one]] (an Old God-lite), and Anub'Arak's first response is to charge the thing.
---> '''Anub'Arak:''' [[ThisCannotBe It cannot be...]] Look to your defences, Death Knight! Fight as you have never fought before!
** Many generic enemies in ''World of Warcraft'' have a cowardly streak, upon depleting most of their health they will attempt to flee and the message "[enemy] is trying to run away in fear." is displayed. If not controlled or killed they could potentially reach other enemy groups for help resulting in a wipe.
** Meng the Demented, one of the four Spirit Kings in Mogu'shan Vaults, alternates between attacking the tank normally and fleeing while putting a shield on himself that reflects damage on the raid, in alternating respective "Crazed" and "Cowardice" phases.
* Mumkhar from ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' should get some sort of award for this, because he left his friends to die in the middle of a battlefield just to save his own skin... 5 minutes into the game.
* ''[[VideoGame/AdvancedVariableGeo Advanced V.G. II]]'':
** Despite genetically enhancing her own body, [[BigBad Miranda]] knew she still couldn't defeat [[TheHero Yuka]] in a fair fight. So she forced Yuka to fight [[{{tykebomb}} the Material Twins]] first, then took advantage by attacking Yuka while she was exhausted.
** Ironically, Miranda falls victim to her own tactic, when Yuka proves stronger than she had anticipated; causing Miranda to exert herself just finish Yuka off. Which enabled [[{{fangirl}} Tamao]] to [[LaserGuidedKarma return the favor]] by [[ThisIsUnforgivable whupping.]] [[UnstoppableRage Miranda's.]] '''''[[YouWouldntLikeMeWhenImAngry Ass.]]'''''
* Jyrall in ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'', which takes any and all occasions to get Zael in trouble, but flees at the slightest hint of danger. Even when he tries to sell him off to [[BigBad Zangurak]], the latter is barely interested in him at all. It takes him [[BladeBelowTheShoulder being fused with a demonic sword]], being in numerical advantage AND a full-on mental breakdown to actually challenge Zael to a fight.
* Ben from ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' could be viewed as a deconstruction. Ben is in the unenviable position of being too old to have resilience and trust of authority to protect him (like Clementine and Duck), but too young to have developed self-sufficiency or determination (like Lee and the others in their thirties and forties). He's old enough to comprehend the full horror of the ZombieApocalypse and be terrified of it, but not old enough to have a decade or so of adult life experience to strengthen his character and resolve. He's likely watched a lot of his young and vital peers die right in front of him, as well as teachers he thought could protect them. It's hard to say who Ben might have become if he'd had the chance to age a decade more before all this happened. This is likely why characters like Lee sympathize with him. Ben can be viewed as a masterful deconstruction of a lot of tropes, including this one.
* Lenny from ''VideoGame/HitmanAbsolution'' is a rare overlap between this and IneffectualSympatheticVillain.
* Sundowner from ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance''. Despite his [[TheBrute imposing size]], [[ShearMenace scary weapon]] and [[BloodKnight talk of how awesome war is]], he's revealed to be rather pathetic as an adversary. His only story accomplishments are pretty much just killing one unarmed and [[{{Muggle}} unaugmented]] man in cold blood, and tormenting a bunch of orphans and homeless kids. When you fight him, he clearly can't keep up with Raiden straight on and has to resort to "gimmicky shit" like an explosive shield, not to mention he calls in helicopter drones to back him up when the fight starts going badly for him.
* Anyone who has fought a [[VideoGame/MonsterHunter Rathalos]] will know that the damn thing will fly away the moment the fight begins going badly for it. Luckily, there is a [[BlindedByTheLight thing]] [[PitTrap or]] [[AntiAir two]] you can do about that...
* Ser Jory from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. Introduced as a boastful, proud GloryHound, the ''moment'' the party encounters a wounded soldier and he realizes that he will actually have to ''fight'' Darkspawn, he immediately tries to convince the Warden to desert, and continues to do so even after [[MauveShirt Daveth]] angrily points out that they're the only true defense against the Blight. [[spoiler:This culminates in him outright ''attacking'' Duncan during the Joining in a final attempt to desert. Naturally, this costs him his life]].
* Satan in ''Videogame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow2'' is revealed to be one. Satan is afraid to face anyone who can seriously challenge or even kill him. The only reason he is returning in the present is because he's certain that Dracula is dead. Dracula exploits this trait at the end of their battle by making it look like he is [[ShootTheDog willing]] to [[spoiler:kill his own son Alucard/Trevor (whom Satan is possessing) again just to get rid of Satan]]. Satan panics at the last moment and leaves [[spoiler:Alucard's body]], giving Dracula a clear shot at finishing him off.
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'', Holus, the ex-mayor of New Tristram is regarded as a this by pretty much everyone in the game, and not without reason. While the people of New Tristram, most of them being simple farmers, are desperately trying to keep the ZombieApocalypse at bay, Holus worries more about his broken cart and how he can't flee anymore. The man can't catch a break, because he turns up later in the game as a stranded merchant at Bastion's Keep... which is besieged by TheLegionsOfHell. He complains about wanting to flee the entire time and the PlayerCharacter constantly chews him out for it... [[spoiler:only for him to die when Diablo is resurrected. A nearby soldier notes how he had the chance to flee, [[FaceDeathWithDignity but never did]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/JurassicParkTheGame'', Nima suggests to Miles that they need a distraction when they're surrounded by a pack of ''Dilophosaurus''. Miles' response is to push Nima right in front of one.
* Antharia Jack from VideoGame/ZorkGrandInquisitor is not only one, but outright confirms it. He isn't a brave dashing hero, he just played one on TV. While he does help you a few times. Though in the end, he helps create a plan to have you climb the Macguffin tower which will save the world, while he creates a distraction which is telling the BigBad what you're doing. Then again [[spoiler: if the immortal BigBad didn't climb after you, he wouldn't have been blasted by pure magic and killed. So...]]
* Prince Gordon in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' ran away from Fynn when TheEmpire invaded, leaving his brother Scott to die. He spends his time moping in Altair, feeling insignificant compared to the three refugees who have become the best agents of the [[LaResistance Wild Rose rebellion]], until [[spoiler:he runs away once the Dreadnought begins bombing towns]]. By the time he finally gathers his nerve, he finds himself stymied by the monsters that have overtaken Kashaun Keep [[spoiler:and inadvertantly causes Josef's death, as the heroes wouldn't have needed to go to the Ice Cavern to obtain the Goddess's Bell if Gordon had been there to hold the door open for them]]. He joins with [[TheLoad pitiful stats]], but [[MagikarpPower can level up quickly if you put in the effort]] and [[TookALevelInBadass Takes a Level In Badass]] while accompanying the heroes, eventually taking the role of Commander of the Wild Rose forces [[spoiler:and immediately volunteering to join in on the real Princess Hilda's rescue]].
* ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3'': The murderer turns out to have been this, [[spoiler:when confronted by the ghosts of the children he killed, he turns into a raving coward and runs away like a scaredy cat before trying to hide in an animatronic, which kills him]].
* When laying siege to a raubritter's castle in ''VideoGame/{{Darklands}}'', the party may try to challenge him to a duel. However, a failed skill check will just make him laugh at the heroes and then he will send more henchmen to the field.
* ''VideoGame/MinecraftStoryMode'':
** Ivor drops everything to save himself after his plan goes off the rails in ''The Order of the Stone''. If you choose to have Jesse confront him about his selfish and cowardly behavior, he simply replies that cowardice [[FearIsTheAppropriateResponse keeps him alive]].
** [[spoiler: Soren being one is hinted at in ''The Last Place You Look'' and comes to fruition in ''A Block and a Hard Place'', where he abandons the group right before the final battle. Jesse is even given the option to call him a coward as he flees.]]
* Kratos's StartOfDarkness and the kickstarter of the entire ''VideoGame/GodOfWarSeries'' is because upon having his forces being [[CurbStompBattle curb-stomped]] by the Barbarian forces, rather than die honorably like a Spartan, chose to beg Ares for his own life. While he helped managed to defeat all of their forces including Alrik himself, this act ultimately destroys Kratos's life in the process.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/CommanderKitty'', [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2010/10/24/press-any-button/ CK himself has his moments.]] His [[http://ferretface99.deviantart.com/art/CK-Expressions-244764825 expression sheet]] even has him pushing Nin Wah into the line of fire for "fierce".
* In ''Webcomic/{{Endstone}}'', the [[GraveRobbing Grave Robber]] Bolo [[http://endstone.net/comic/issue-1-page-32/ tries to steal the Lightstone and puts the blame on his companion when caught]].
* The Chief in ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}''. Who survived the massacre by hiding and ignoring the cries of his villagers. Afterwards he becomes a cleric to start a path of redemption.
** Which comes to a [[TearJerker tragic end]] when he performs a HeroicSacrifice to prevent Kore from slaying his fellow goblins.
* Lightning from ''Webcomic/{{Sidekicks}}'' all the way. Despite being a {{Superhero}}, he never puts himself in the line of fire unless he absolutely has to or he is [[BerserkButton provoked]] into doing so. It's no wonder that three [[spoiler:(four if you count Theo being overtaken by Metheos as the former dying)]] of his previous five sidekicks have died. He's also [[NiceJobBreakingItHero indirectly responsible for the destruction of the Committee headquarters.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ImpureBlood'', [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/Issue05PAGES/ib105.html their ride dumps them in the city and leaves.]]
* Dr. Schlock, from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', is played for laughs in this manner: He helps the cast out more often than not, but that's only because Riff has a gun to his head. When he eventually gets into a situation he ''can't'' run away from, he's revealed to be [[CorneredRattleSnake more dangerous]] than he looks.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' gives you Parakewl, a tall, haughty [[JerkWithAHeartOfJerk jerkass]] with a green fish face, who in general calls everybody scum, is the first to abandon somebody, demands that people should be sacrificed for his ends or in his stead, sticks up for nobody, openly switches sides to gain the majority's favor and has neither skill nor intelligence to back his behaviour up. He is known in fandom as the ass. Why he survives is a [[MemeticBadass mystery to all]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebAnimation/DeadFantasy'': Aptly sums up what ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Final Fantasy]]'' fans thought about [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/DeadOrAlive Hayate]]]]'s actions in episode 5. During live screenings, the crowd could be heard booing because he sent an entire squad of {{ninja}} after [[spoiler: [[Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren Tifa]]]][[note]]who's one of [[Creator/SquareEnix SquareEnix's]] [[BreakoutCharacter most beloved characters]][[/note]], who'd been weakened during her fight with Hitomi. And stood idly by, [[WeHaveReserves not caring how many of his men died]], just to keep from getting his hands dirty. It isn't until [[spoiler: Tifa]]'s exhausted and bound in chains that [[SmugSnake he casually strolls up to her]] and finishes her off. At which point, a member of the audience shouts: "That's fucked up! C'mon!!" [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpStJIdDUiw (heard at 4:31).]]
* A possible interpretation of [[EnigmaticMinion Neopolitan]] from ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}''. Against Yang, a rookie first-year Huntress, she's very smug and confident while {{Curb Stomp|Battle}}ing her, but up against a real opponent [[spoiler:such as Raven Branwen]], [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere she pisses off]] [[OhCrap in a rather undignified manner]].
** [[TheSmartGuy Blake]] seems to ''think'' she's this, as one of her defining traits is her inability to tackle her problems head-on - any time the going gets tough, she runs away. Such as the time she accidentally outed herself as a former terrorist, or how she [[spoiler:abandons Team RWBY after the fall of Beacon to the Grimm in the epilogue of Volume 3, even abandoning a badly wounded Yang without a word of warning.]]
* Gaea from ''Franchise/{{Noob}}''. She blackmails and cons her own guildmates while thinking of them as human shields in battle and weasels her way out of contributing to her guild's common fund while frequently stealing from it. She even plays SquishyWizard, which makes her optimal battle strategy consist of taking cover (or sometimes attempt to ditch the battle while pretending to do so) and hitting enemies with powerful attacks.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Daffy Duck of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' is a self-admitted one of these characters, and proud of it. He'll sell out his friends in an instant to save his own hide and/or claim wealth for himself. As he puts it, "Sure I'm a louse, but I'm a ''live'' louse!" During the "Hunter Trilogy" of cartoons, he freely admits he's only sending Elmer after Bugs because it's "Really [[DuckSeasonRabbitSeason duck season]]".
** Inverted slightly in the Hunter's Trilogy, while he is out for "thelf-prethervation", he also seems ''very'' set on his rival getting his head blown off. The numerous instances Elmer actually turns his attention on Bugs, and naturally screws up, Daffy will actually [[MotiveDecay go up to Elmer and berate him to his face to]] "Shoot him! SHOOT HIM!". On one occasion he actually snatched the gun from Elmer and attempted to do the job himself, [[HarmlessVillain the latter just walked off bewildered]].
** His greed can overcome this, though: in "Ducking the Devil" (1957) he ''beats up the Tasmanian Devil'' when Taz takes some money from him!
--->'''Daffy:''' I may be a coward, but I'm a ''greeeedy'' little coward!
* There are many examples from ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''
** When the chips are down, Zapp Brannigan is a coward. This quote from him sums it up.
--->''"I surrender and volunteer for treason!"''
** Bender. In one of the movies, he, Amy and one other character are trapped by a bunch of orcs in a castle. Bender tells the two ladies he has a plan, The next scene shows him holding them up in the and ''tells'' the orcs to take his friends first, just to give him one more second of sweet sweet life. In "Bendin' in the Wind," the crew is plunging off a cliff. Bender grabs a nearby cable, loudly declaring, "I'll save ME!" The rest of the crew is only saved by grabbing his legs just in time.
** Fry is also this. In "The Series Has Landed" Fry gets a moon rover caught in a lunar dust pool. He declares "It's every man for himself!" and bails out, only to sink up to his neck in the very same dust. He immediately calls for Leela to save him. He gets called this in "War is the H-Word" when he, wielding the only charged phaser, blasts himself a hole to hide in. Though at the end of that episode, he does ride a bouncing ball to the peace meeting to save the life of his best friend.
--->'''Zapp Brannigan:''' Look at this sissy, Kif. While others were fighting and dying pointlessly, he was hiding in a hole; wallowing in a pool of his own cowardice.\\
'''Fry:''' That wasn't cowardice!
** Towards the end of the series Leela would seem to override Fry's cowardice, particularly in "A Farewell to Arms" [[spoiler: Fry chooses to stay behind on an apparently doomed Earth to let Leela have a chance of life.]]
* Throughout ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', Starscream is and always has been a dirty coward, instinctively fleeing as soon as any fight starts even leaning in the enemy's favour. He will also fight like a coward, with cheap shots and ambushes, even if he probably had the advantage anyway.
** Taken UpToEleven in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', where he makes [[spoiler: several clones to help him overthrow Megatron (hey, it's TheStarscream we're talking about here), each of which represent one facet of his personality.]] This being [[TheStarscream Starscream]], his 'army' consists of a pantophobe[[note]]Skywarp and Clone #3370318[[/note]], an egomaniac[[note]]Thundercracker[[/note]], a suck-up[[note]]Sunstorm and Clone #2716057[[/note]], a chronic liar[[note]]Ramjet[[/note]], a GreenEyedMonster[[note]]Thrust[[/note]], and... [[YouDoNotWantToKnow something]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'': King Grippulon, supposedly a fearsome king, frequently uses his wife as a shield when his life is in danger, and is willing to put his son on the throne after there are several assassination attempts.
* Captain Hero of ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether''.
--> ''[[CatchPhrase Save yourselves]]!''
* Antoine of the [[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAm Sonic The Hedgehog]] animated series, initially more of an arrogant LovableCoward, was [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] into this trope later on, at least once [[CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys offering to switch sides]] when the Freedom Fighter base had supposedly been found. Even [[SmugSnake Snively]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards found him to be a " little worm"]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' con-artists Argit and Simian, although Simian can and will fight if backed into a corner.
** Ben calls Malware out on being this in 'Omniverse' when Malware sends a gasoline tanker at a busload of innocent children just to escape Ben.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Yon Rha, [[spoiler:the man who killed Katara's mother]], is this. When confronted by his victim's vengeful [[spoiler:daughter]], he cowers in terror and while he admits that what he did was wrong, he offers [[spoiler:his mother]]'s life instead of his own. [[spoiler:Katara]] [[NotWorthKilling merely gives him a]] TheReasonYouSuckSpeech [[CruelMercy and leaves]].
* Dale Gribble from ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' will often sell out his friends or run away.
** Everyone on it has traits of it. Each character on the show is more than willing to abandon each other at a minute's notice or rat the other out if the thought entered their mind. but doubly so for Peggy, who would often switch sides whenever it would benefit her. Going from supporting Hank when he was accused of Racism to claiming he was Racist just so she could enjoy a DoubleStandard with a smug smirk on her face. Whenever its time to put up, she backs away or blames somebody else for what had happened when she's clearly at fault.
* Eustace Bagge from ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog''. There's even one episode where the shadow of a deceased man, who spent the whole night scaring other people, declared that Eustace is an even bigger coward than Courage himself.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor''
** The Delightful Children from Down the Lane are the biggest example Apparently, the term "fair fight" is unknown to them, and they rarely confront even ''one'' member of Sector V without at least one DumbMuscle, an army of mooks, or a HumongousMecha supporting them. And if they lose their edge, they're quick to [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere run for it]]. Of course, you can hardly blame them; the few times they ''have'' tried to stand up to them have been [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]] (with them hitting the curb) and [[spoiler: in the SeriesFinale, Numbuh One defeated all five of them alone.]]
** Ironically, [[spoiler: they were once KND Operatives before being {{Brainwashed}} by Father, and they were far braver originally, as proven when the effect was reversed. (Sadly, Numbuh Zero knew of no way to reverse it permanently.)]]
** On the subject of irony, [[spoiler:Father himself was like this when he was a child. While his far braver brother led the rebellion against ''their'' villainous father, he ran and hid like a coward. Thus, his brother would become the legendary Numbuh Zero, while he would grow up to be the KND's worst enemy. Of course, he became much braver as an adult, but in "Operation: Z.E.R.O.", while his heroic brother was still more than brave enough to face their father, the younger villain still chickened out.]]
** Another example from the show Negative Numbuh Four. Given the fact that everyone in his world is an EvilCounterpart (or a good counterpart, if the character is evil) and a polar opposite of someone in the "real" world, he is [[LeeroyJenkins Numbuh Four]]'s opposite in every way, and is thus a coward in every sense of the word. (Amazingly, Numbuh Four is the first one to realize this, a rare case of him holding the SmartBall.)
* [[JerkJock Flash Thompson]] ''[[AvertedTrope wasn't]]'' one in the original SpiderMan comic, where he usually is portrayed as hot-headed and brave enough to face villains, but ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'' made him one; in this version, he has no scrupples trying to offer Peter as a snack to save his skin when confronted to Venom, and even left Harry Osborn behind to escape Taskmaster.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' has Die Fledermaus, who has no problem ditching the other heroes of The City whenever trouble comes up.
* Safari Joe in the original ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats''. Lion-O assumes he's a coward from the start, and when he finally runs out of ammo and no longer has any tricks, the hero is proven right. The villain does nothing but fall to his knees and [[AintTooProudToBeg plead for his life.]] (Given what he had done, Lion-O might not have spared him if this had been the DarkerAndEdgier remake.)
* The king in ''WesternAnimation/WatsPig'' does not want to fight the battles. During the second battle, he goes and hides under Wat's covers in the countryside while his brother does all the fighting. As a result, [[TheBadGuyWins the invaders successfully take over the kingdom]].
* Preston Northwest from ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls''. [[spoiler: He was gonna leave everyone in his mansion to burn while a ghost wreaks havoc.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerPuffGirls:'' Major Man was secretly a coward with superpowers whose acts of heroism were all staged and to gain him popularity.
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales:'' Major Courage, "Where No Duck Has Gone Before."
* ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'': In "School Spirit", when attacked by monsters, Brittney Wong uses the people around her (including a girl in a wheelchair) as shields and shoves several of them into the monsters to slow them down while trying to escape.
* Dagur the Deranged from DragonsRidersOfBerk is a skilled warrior, loves violence, and is chief of the feared Berserker tribe. Yet for the first two seasons he never goes anywhere without a large armada backing him up, hides behind his men in battle, panics at the first sign of things going wrong, and begs for mercy when captured. He only fights when he has no choice or he gets enraged to a point his madness takes over.
* In IvanhoeTheKingsKnight Prince John shows shades of this at least once but not without justification. While participating in a siege, he has all of the enemy's arrows being fired at him and intends to spend the rest of the siege watching it from a hill. As John so eloquently put it "What is the point of having an army if all of their arrows are meant for me?"
* WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond: Nelson is a great example, beating up a schoolmate until Terry steps in and challenges him, at which point he is no longer mister big and tough.
* An episode of ''TheSimpsons'' has Homer get scared and run away from an operation where he was donating a kidney to Grampa (losing them was Homers fault in the first place), and spends the rest of the episode fleeing in shame. After he decides to return, he freaks out and flees AGAIN, only donating the kidney because he gets crushed by a falling car while running and the doctors just takes one of his kidneys while putting him back together.
[[/folder]]

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1st Jul '16 11:34:34 AM JamesAustin
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* In "The Four Feathers" Harry Faversham is not a coward, but it has been drummed into his head by his father that he was. He was so terrified of showing cowardice in combat (with all the social punishment that follows) that he resigns his commission just before he was to be sent to the Sudan. This brings on all the things he tried to avoid, including losing his friends and his fiancé. He then goes on a private mission to prove his courage to them and redeem himself. Ironically, although he makes a good case for choosing his own life and its responsibilities, he actually proves his father right in that physical courage is the only measure of a man.

to:

* In "The Four Feathers" ''Film/TheFourFeathers'' Harry Faversham is not a coward, but it has been drummed into his head by his father that he was. He was so terrified of showing cowardice in combat (with all the social punishment that follows) that he resigns his commission just before he was to be sent to the Sudan. This brings on all the things he tried to avoid, including losing his friends and his fiancé. He then goes on a private mission to prove his courage to them and redeem himself. Ironically, although he makes a good case for choosing his own life and its responsibilities, he actually proves his father right in that physical courage is the only measure of a man.



* When Jean Grey unleashes Weapon X (a BrainwashedAndCrazy Wolverine) who attacks and slaughters every soldier at Alkali Lake, Stryker tells his men that [[BlatantLies he will be right back]]. He boards his helicopter and leaves - the only other surviors? The mutants he took captive.

to:

* When In ''Film/XMenApocalypse'', when Jean Grey unleashes Weapon X (a BrainwashedAndCrazy Wolverine) who attacks and slaughters every soldier at Alkali Lake, Stryker tells his men that [[BlatantLies he will be right back]]. He boards his helicopter and leaves - the only other surviors? The mutants he took captive.



** Gibbis from the episode "The God Complex". At first it's PlayedForLaughs ("All I want is to go home and be conquered and oppressed, is that too much to ask?"), but ultimately [[spoiler: his actions directly result in the death of a sympathetic character. Worse, Gibbis [[KarmaHoudini survives the episode]] completely unscathed.]]
** Fewsham, from ''The Seeds of Death'', collaborates with the Ice Warriors, fearing for his life, until he sees he's helping wipe the human race out. Then [[spoiler:he grows a pair and [[TheDogBitesBack gives the secret to stopping the Ice Warriors]] [[RedemptionEqualsDeath at the cost of his life]]]].
** The Doctor himself can get like this on occasion in that while he's no stranger to physical danger or hard choices, he'll often run from the consequences. At the end of Series 9, having undergone a SanitySlippage due to a TraumaCongaLine (and thus become -- temporarily -- a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds), he inspires his exchange from other characters:
--->'''Ohila:''' ''[disgusted]'' He's running away.\\
'''General:''' Where is he running to?\\
'''Ohila:''' Same place he always does: Away. Just... ''away''.
* Chang in the penultimate episode of ''Series/{{Community}}'' Season 2. At one point he runs through the paintball wasteland screaming "Does anyone have an alliance I can join?!", [[spoiler: having betrayed at least 3 other groups already (The Study Group, Math Club, and The Cheerleader Alliance).]]
* Lailoken, the soothsayer of King Vortigern in the ''Series/{{Merlin 1998}}'' series. He is motivated entirely to keep himself out of danger (makes sense, considering he's around ''Vortigern'' of all people) and preserve his own life. After Vortigern tasks him to try to find out why his tower is collapsing, Lailoken makes a perfect dirty coward quote while at his religious rituals.
-->''I've been a follower of the Old Ways all my life. Now, that life is in danger, and it's a precious life . . . it's mine!''
* Angel Martin of ''Series/TheRockfordFiles'' fits quite well. He frequently refuses to do his part in plans that put him in the slightest amount of danger, and he sells out his friends immediately when things go south and he ends up in jail, or in the hands of organized crime.
* On the sitcom ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', the main character's wife fits this trope. Whenever Debra is in conflict with another person, she will usually bully her husband Ray into confronting the other person for her, almost always growling "You need to back me up on this!", to the point where that line is almost her catch phrase (and even if [[{{StrawmanHasAPoint}} the other person has a perfectly valid point]], they will still be treated as being [[{{DesignatedVillain}} horrible]] simply for opposing Debra). Then when Ray inevitably caves in to her demands and starts doing the verbal battling on her behalf, Debra always finds a way to sneak into the back and [[{{CowerPower}} hide]] behind Ray while ''he'' takes all the heat from the other person. Then when Ray gives her a chance to speak her mind and join in, Debra always says something like "hey, it wasn't me, [[{{BlatantLies}} this was your idea]]," and goes back to cowering behind Ray's back and letting ''him'' be the target of the other person's anger. What's really infuriating about this pattern of behavior is the fact that Ray himself is usually in favor of [[{{Pacifist}} making peace]] with the other person and wants everyone to get along, but he gets dragged into the argument anyway because his wife wanted him to, and yet she herself is totally unwilling to actually take responsibility for it, even when the fight is her idea. And yet she still treats him as if he's an unworthy husband, even though he always ends up doing her dirty work for her.
* ''Series/ColdCase''
** The [[AssholeVictim victim]] of the episode ''Justice'' is a serial date rapist who exploited the lax laws regarding date rape to repeatedly perpetuate the crimes, peed himself when several of his former victims confronted him at gunpoint, and then acted unapologetic and unrepentant about his actions once they left. The detectives become so repulsed by what they learned of him that they ''actually tell the killer what to say in court to defend himself''.
** The killer in the episode ''Blood On The Tracks'' was fearful of whatever punishment would be meted out for a crime she, her husband, and their friends were involved in a decade earlier--which the guilt-ridden husband was planning to confess to the cops about. So she enticed her ex-lover--who clearly still had feelings for her--to help her murder her husband in order to keep his mouth shut, with the promise of them running away together. Instead, she killed her husband and a friend of theirs whom she bore a strong resemblance to, assumed the other woman's life, and allowed her ex to suffer for 20-something years thinking that he had killed her, while she lived the ideal life of a suburban housewife. When confronted by Lily, she feebly denied being a monster, but outright admitted being "a coward".
* In the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "Nor the Battle to the Strong", Jake Sisko gets a [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Reason You Suck Speech]] calling him this, which [[HeelRealization he owns up to]] at the end.
** Also something of a {{Deconstruction}}, as Jake himself starts off contemptuous of a soldier who'd shot himself in the foot. The rest of the episode is him learning [[NotSoDifferent why not to rush into judgment about such things]].
* George Costanza from Series/{{Seinfeld}} exemplifies this Trope perfectly in one scene- he's willing to push women and children out of his way and knock them to the floor to get to out of a burning building. The episode's writer said that such an act was, "George stripped down to his essentials."
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': Jack Simpson is a very well-written and wonderfully performed villain of TheBully variety. His true cowardice is revealed when he's unable to FaceDeathWithDignity and begs for his life as Horatio has right to fire at will at their [[DuelToTheDeath duel]]. Horatio's "[[NotWorthKilling you-are-not-worthy-of-the-powder]]" scornful remark absolutely psychs him out morally, and he tries to stab Horatio InTheBack.
** A sympathetic example is found in Jack Hammond, who panicked during his first battle when someone else's blood splattered on him, and ends up stranding his captain during a mission. Unlike Simpson, he's not a bad man, just a normal person out of his depth in a Naval career he didn't want and is completely unsuited to in the first place.
* It's rare to find an EvilOverlord that fits a Trope like this, but Master Vile from ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' likely does. He wasn't the only major villain who gave up and quit, but actually threw a childish tantrum and ran off to his home galaxy after the Alien Rangers defeated his army. (If you didn't see it, trust me, it was a rather pathetic display.) Sure, maybe it was a big setback, but a ''lot'' of villains in the series had experienced worse, and it didn't make ''them'' run away crying.
* Don't expect Eric Forman's friends from ''Series/That70sShow'' to stick around when things go south of the border whenever their antics (Most often Kelso's) blow up in their faces.
** More obviously invoked in episode ''Halloween'', when Kelso hears a noise which he takes for a vengeful spirit; he pushes his girlfriend out of the way in his haste to flee.
-->'''Jackie''': I can't believe Michael pushed me aside.
-->'''Donna''': Me neither. I thought he'd use you as a {{human shield}}.
* King Joffrey Baratheon from ''Series/GameOfThrones'' is this. A SmugSnake, RoyalBrat, and all around JerkAss. While he acts tough, the truth is that he's nothing more than a coward. Some of the best parts from the show are watching him squirm like the worm he is.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', a gunman comes into the coffee shop and Bulldog tries to hide behind Roz (who's ''pregnant'' at the time) to shield himself. However, when he is trying to get behind her he manages to accidentally spill hot coffee on the gunman, disarming him and promptly leading to Bulldog being hailed as a hero, to the disgust of Frasier who saw what actually happened. Bulldog does this again during the award ceremony in his honour, when Martin (who was sick of hearing Frasier whine about the whole thing) told Bulldog that there was a man with a gun and Bulldog used ''his own mother'' as a human shield.
* ''Series/{{Justified}}'' has Harlan County marijuana dealer Dickie Bennett. A vicious, {{sadist}}ic little man, Dickie tends to lose his courage the moment things aren't going his way, begging and pleading for mercy. He does it to Raylan twice, and to Boyd when the latter tries to force the location of his mother's money out of him. Late in Season 3 he seems to [[GrewASpine grow a spine]], largely because he believes that he's a dead man anyway.
* Lester Nygaard from ''Series/{{Fargo}}''. Despite being viewed by his peers as a quiet, nervous type, the truth is that he's a repellant little worm who will do anything to keep himself from harm, even if that means [[spoiler: framing his own brother for the murder of his first wife]]. He crosses the [[MoralEventHorizon Moral Event Horizon]] when, while fleeing town in an attempt to evade [[spoiler: Lorne Malvo]], he [[spoiler: ''sends his second wife to be killed in his place,'' even giving her his distinctive orange parka to ensure she resembles him as closely as possible]].
* Lydia Rodarte-Quayle from ''Series/BreakingBad''. Her first impulse whenever something goes wrong or inconveniences her, is to kill a subordinate. This is so ingrained in her personality that she expects it constantly from the people she works with but views as potential threats. She has no qualms about putting out hits on people who inconvenience her (such as Gus' henchmen, Declan and his gang, Skyler, Walt), however when her own life is in danger, she panics and begs for mercy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''Music/TheArrogantWorms'' have a song called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggl9tX9iu4g I ran Away]], unsurprisingly the protagonist resorts to ''every'' stated situation by running.
* Frank Gallop played it for laughs in "The Ballad of Irving," who was {{Too Dumb to Live}} as well as a coward:
-->The James Boys was comin' on a train at first sun,\\
And the town said, "Irving, we need your gun."\\
When that train pulled in at the break of dawn,\\
Irving's gun was there, but Irving was gone.
* Music/{{Sabaton}}'s song ''In The Name Of God'' is a ReasonYouSuckSpeech aimed directly at religious terrorists (particularly Al-Qaeda and their ilk), and it's mostly calling them this.
-->Stand up and show me your face!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myth and Legend]]
* Thersites from Literature/TheIliad.
* Ares from Myth/ClassicalMythology. He reveled in the bloodshed and chaos of war, but he actually wasn't that good a warrior and had low pain tolerance. His response to being wounded in the Trojan War was to cry and run back to Olympus.
* King Mark from the Tristan and Isolde part of the [[KingArthur Arthurian Legend]]. Or at least he's like this in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Opera]]
* Mime from Creator/RichardWagner's opera ''Siegfried'' is a Dirty Coward to the core, but is often inappropriately played as TheWoobie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* This is a classic {{heel}} character in ProfessionalWrestling. The Wrestling/HonkyTonkMan made a career out of this [[TheGimmick gimmick]] in Wrestling/{{WWE}} and Wrestling/{{Christian}} Cage was in this mode following his FaceHeelTurn in Wrestling/{{TNA}}.
* In the late 90's following his infamous FaceHeelTurn, Wrestling/HulkHogan had the bizarre distinction of being both a VillainSue AND a Dirty Coward at the same time. While he might squash any challenger that came his way at a PPV, Hogan would often spend at a least a month hiding behind members of the Wrestling/NewWorldOrder talking trash as his future opponent would rip apart the {{jobber}}s in the nWo a few feet away.
* Averting this trope is one of the reasons Wrestling/{{Kane}} is so popular, even as a Monster Heel. He will never back down and has gotten into the ring with guys far bigger than him. In the Royal Rumble match, he will always stare down the biggest guy in the ring, nod, and when it is returned the two will ignore everyone else until one of them is eliminated.
* Wrestling/KurtAngle was famous for this in early WWE run (1999-2002)
* Wrestling/{{Edge}} is very good at portraying this type of heel, though sometimes it's subverted somewhat when it is shown that the women who are in love with him actually ''want'' to risk their necks to save his, and do so without his prompting (see Wrestling/{{Lita}} and Wrestling/VickieGuerrero). Wrestling/CMPunk milked this trope as part of his Charles Manson-like cult-leader gimmick, with his skin-headed moll Serena ''smiling'' as he uses her as a human shield. (Depending on your attitude toward such relationships, I guess, this is either terrifying or FetishFuel.) Edge was such a coward as a heel that it wasn't unusual for him on house shows to spend up to ten minutes stalling outside of the ring before eventually locking up with his opponent.
* Subverted by Wrestling/JohnCena, who acted this way until his full-blown HeelFaceTurn in 2005. Despite being very strong and tough in his own right, he would use a steel chain wrapped around his knuckles to knock out larger opponents and gain victories over them - and he ''still'' got cheered.
* Wrestling/MichaelCole IS this trope following his FaceHeelTurn. To put it in perspective, he's put himself ''in a bulletproof glass case'' for his protection and constantly backs down when someone challenges him to a match.
* Wrestling/BryanDanielson's heel run in WWE is borderline comical in this respect. It's a RunningGag that, if things get hectic while he's at ringside, he'll disappear from the action, but the camera will soon cut to a shot of him leaving up the entrance ramp huddling his World Title with AJ following close behind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* Major Bloodnok (Peter Sellers) in ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' is a coward through-and-through, and there's not a thing he won't do for money.
** Also, everyone else. While deciding who gets volunteered for a dangerous mission:
--->'''Seagoon''': I'm terribly sorry, but I have a wife and 63 children!\\
'''Bloodnok''': I too have a wife and children. That only leaves dear old - \\
[rattle of telephone]\\
'''Eccles''': Hello, hello, operator? Get me the marriage bureau!\\
[later]\\
'''Bloodnok''': Flatten me cronkler with spinach mallets. So, both of you have turned cowards, eh. That only leaves me. Two cowards, and me. You know what this means?\\
'''Seagoon''': ''Three'' cowards.
* Thomas in ''Radio/OldHarrysGame'' (whose nastiness [[EvenEvilHasStandards disgusts even Satan]]) has many horrible characteristics, but his dirty cowardice is among his defining traits. Though he does occasionally show signs of CharacterDevelopment, this is nearly always unwound by the end of the episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering Ib Halfheart]], [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=157923 Goblin Tactician]]. His tactical insights include:
-->''"Everybody but me-- CHARGE!"''\\
''[[http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/card/Details.aspx?name=Blinking+Spirit "Don't look at it! Maybe it'll go away!"]]''
* [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} The Ebon Dragon]] may be one of the Titans who created the world, and one of the most overwhelmingly powerful beings in existence, but his pitiful Virtues (especially Valor), the easily exploitable holes in his defenses, and the personality constraints of his Excellency make him an utterly rank coward. He will very rarely engage in a straight fight against anything capable of hurting him (which can be everything) and will ''never'' do so against something that has the slightest chance of killing him. Fortunately for him, being the Principle of Villainy makes one ''really'' good at talking your way out of trouble, or just plain running away.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'':
** The Skaven are sneaky, conniving, selfish, cowardly, and backstabbing, and each of these ratmen would gladly sacrifice their entire race for their own hides if not for their innate fear and paranoia. However, this does not make the Skaven race weak, as their disease-resistant qualities, large numbers, and dedication to keeping themselves hidden from mankind and the other races (to the point that they are regarded as a myth even when presented with irrefutable evidence of their existence) would make them a formidable foe that could potentially overtake the world if they could just put aside their in-fighting and distrust for each other for one millisecond.
** Hobgoblins are quick to turn tail when the odds are against them. One example is a hobgoblin mercenary Oglah Khan, who constantly switches sides when the side he is on is losing.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** The Literature/NightLords. [[SuperSoldier Yes,]] [[TheDreaded really]]. They are a legion of Chaos Space Marines who specialise in raids, terror tactics, and guerrilla warfare. However, their reliance on this kind of fighting means they are themselves rather cynical and cowardly, lacking the conviction of the other, more fanatical legions. Several Night Lords characters are also shown to be willing to abandon their own brothers in the name of self-preservation, a trait which is also symptomatic of many fallen Chaos Space Marine warbands.
** The Spyrers from the spin-off game ''TabletopGame/{{Necromunda}}''. Justified by the fact that each and every one of them is a OneManArmy in a world full of {{Badass Normal}}s, so, if [[MassOhCrap a gang manages to kill one or even more of them...]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' kobolds tend to be like this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* In ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'':
** The public of The Burgundy Theater invokes this trope about Montfleury's RunOrDie decision instead of [[LastStand standing to Cyrano (who has threatened to kill Montfleury if he insists to act in a play)]] in the middle of Act I Scene IV. Subverted at the end of that scene, after [[SociopathicHero Cyrano kicks a Bore's ass and wounds De Valvert]], then [[FridgeLogic it is obvious that Montfleury displayed true valor]] despite Cyrano's prohibition to be in a scene. [[JerkAss The public still thinks that Montfleury is a Dirty Coward]].
** At Act II Scene III, Cyrano admits to himself he is one of those when he thinks to write a letter to Roxane and flee. Interestingly enough, he has a FreudianExcuse.
--> '''Cyrano''' ''(To himself):'' [[LoveLetterLunacy I will write, fold it, give it her, and fly!]]
--> ''(Throws down the pen):'' [[LampshadeHanging Coward!]]... But strike me dead
--> [[CannotSpitItOut if I dare to speak to her]],... ay, even one
--> single word!
* Garcin from ''Theatre/NoExit''.
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare used this at least twice:
** The [[MilesGloriosus braggart]] Parolles in ''Theatre/AllsWellThatEndsWell'' cravenly betrays his fellow soldiers when they make him think he has been captured by enemy forces.
** More sympathetically is Falstaff.
* Played for laughs in ''Theatre/TheRivals'', where Bob Acres is persuaded by peer pressure to challenge his romantic rival to a duel, but then immediately starts coming up with excuses to call the whole thing off.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The mayor in ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars: Days of Ruin''. A non-humorous example who [[spoiler:gets a well-deserved KarmicDeath near the end by trying to bargain with BigBad Caulder to save himself after selling out the heroes to him.]]
** From the same game, Waylon, whose own men desert him en masse after his first appearance because he would throw their lives away to cover his own. His theme song is even called "Flight of the Coward".
* More than a few of Altaïr's targets in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' would flee from him (though him being [[OneManArmy Altaïr]] might have something to do with it); ''city guards'' may quit the field if you show off your prowess as well.
** And in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', Borgia captains and couriers are more than likely to flee Ezio's grasp, though then again the same applies for Ezio, who's arguably deadlier than Altaïr.
** The Baron de Valois from ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'', who [[IHaveYourWife takes Bartolomeo's wife hostage]] to try and get the latter to surrender, makes a break for it when surprised by Ezio, and will execute her quickly if Ezio is detected trying to reach him.
** The Doctor character from Multiplayer and ''Project Legacy'' is one too.
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty: VideoGame/ModernWarfare''
** Khaled Al-Asad from [[spoiler:nukes a whole city ''to cover his own ass''. While hiding in a safe house in Russia, while the war is in the [[{{Qurac}} Middle East]]]]. Doesn't get much more cowardly than that. [[spoiler: Subverted, it turns out it was [[BigBad Vladimir Makarov]] who nuked the city on the first place.]]
* Patches the Hyena of ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', and [[LawyerFriendlyCameo later]] ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' and ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}''.
** Also from ''Demon's'', Long Bow Oolan, who chose to wield a bow so she could avoid the frontlines, defended by her legionaries. When she was turned into a demon by the colorless fog, she became the helpless Phalanx, relying on the Hoplites to defend her.
* In ''Videogame/DarkSoulsII'', a couple invader spirits in use cowardly tactics against the player.
** One invades while you are descending a ladder into an enclosed space full of zombie dogs.
** [[ProfessionalKiller Maldron The Assassin]] does this as his career. [[spoiler: In his first encounter he will run away into an area full of enemies when he loses some health. And in his second encounter, he disguises himself as a White Phantom, only to pierce you from behind with a lance.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' we have [[ChewToy Axel the Dark Hero]] who, in the style of Disgaea demons being {{Card Carrying Villain}}s, is a Card Carrying Dirty Coward (hence the "dark" part). Further in Disgaea style, he's actually a LovableCoward.
* One of the main reasons {{Prince Charmles|s}} is one of the [[HateSink least favorite]] ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' characters is that he's both a Dirty Coward ''and'' a {{Jerkass}}, and makes you do all the work for him on the one story quest where you're forced to take him along.
* Porky Minch from ''VideoGame/EarthBound''. At the start of the game, he ditches his brother in the night and proceeds to go bug Ness for help with finding him so that he won't get disciplined, only to prove totally useless in battle, spending most of his time hiding behind you. After he starts viewing Ness as his nemesis, he shows up from time to time to simply taunt him, then run off. [[spoiler:It's only at the very end when he has Giygas backing him up that he actually has something of a spine, but even then, he bails out and leaves Giygas to deal with you once he takes a little abuse.]]
** There's also the man in the tent in Threed, who abandoned his wife and children to the zombies. He doesn't seem to understand why they're angry with him.
* [[SmugSnake Shinji Matou]] from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' is an arrogant {{Jerkass}} who likes talking about how much better he is than everyone, but quickly loses his superior facade once he is confronted and shown what a pathetic and sniveling coward he really is.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblem: [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]]'', the boss of the Part 3 Prologue, Septimus, is shown to be [[ProperlyParanoid immensely paranoid]] about laguz attacks and runs off as soon as the player or allied armies get close, leaving his second-in-command to guard the seize point. He later shows up in 3-8, assigned to enter the [[LethalLavaLand lava-filled caves]] and bring back the bodies of the enemies that [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat no doubt perished there]] as proof that they were dead -- and is ''quite'' dismayed to find them (that's the player's army, again) very much alive.
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', the Hierarch, who Chrom and his sisters had known for ''years'' and who had helped Emmeryn during the early years of her rule sells them out to the Plegian army to save his own hide. When the Plegians begin the ambush, the very first thing they do is kill the man, [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves stating that they were told to bring back a man, not a coward who betrayed his own country]]; the Hierarch's last words, other than begging to go free, are a terrified [[ScreamLikeALittleGirl "EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!"]]
* Goblins, the weakest unit of the Stronghold Faction in ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic V: Tribes of the East''. In gameplay, their cowardice causes them to run away from their attackers instead of retaliating. If enough of the stack is killed, they actually ''defect'' to the other side. Storywise, this attitude earns them a great deal of contempt from the rest of the faction, which primarily consists of {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s. As a result, their "comrades" have no problem with letting their Shamans sacrifice Goblins for mana replenishing rituals or with letting the Cyclops treat Goblins as snacks and ''ammo''.
* Tavion, TheDragon of Desan in ''VideoGame/JediKnight2'':
--> '''Kyle Katarn:''' ''"Why should I believe you?"''
--> '''Tavion:''' ''"Because I am not brave enough to die?"''
** [[spoiler:[[UngratefulBitch She]] returns in the following game as the new BigBad, even taunting Kyle Katarn that he was stupid to spare her.]]
* Kai Leng of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' is a particularly unlikable case. He's not above playing dirty tricks on his enemies, and pulls several on Shepard, including calling in a gunship to provide fire support while his shields recharge and using the salarian councilor as a shield. Even worse, he endlessly taunts Shepard when he's out of danger, including sending them an email mocking them about the events on [[spoiler:Thessia]]. In the final battle, Shepard points out that Kai Leng always runs, which the latter [[LameComeback responds to rather ungracefully]]. When [[spoiler:Shepard shatters/dodges his sword and guts him like a fish]], it's not easy not to cheer.
* The original ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' features a boss fight against "Coward Duck" (later renamed "Dirty Duck") who, although a nearly a non-entity as far as characterization goes, lives up to both his codenames in his fighting style. He strikes at Snake from the relatively safe position of being surrounded by three hostages, and killing any of them makes the game UnWinnable by virtue of being unable to get the Rocket Launcher.
* Brad Vickers, S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team helicopter pilot from the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' franchise, who immediately turns tail and runs off, abandoning his teammates during the events of the [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil first game]] when the zombie dogs attack. When Chief of Police Irons dismisses the rest of the team's claims about the mansion, Vickers goes along with them to keep his job. [[spoiler:To the satisfaction of the player, he eventually is killed off.]].
** Though to Brad's credit, he ''did'' he show up just in time to drop them a rocket launcher to use against the final boss, and then did his damnedest to extract the remaining members of S.T.A.R.S before the mansion went up in smoke. Brad will never hold a very high place in the eyes of the fandom, but if he hadn't worked up the nerve to turn back, there wouldn't have been any survivors of that mission.
* Alfonso in ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' is established as this in the game's ''opening sequence'': once his ship is attacked by the Blue Rogues, he is more concerned with escaping than fighting, and once he secures the means to do so he murders his vice captain in cold blood and tosses the corpse overboard in order to frame the vice captain as a traitor and cover his own ass. However, the surviving crewmen rat him out to [[BigBad Galcian]], who strips Alfonso of his command of the Mid Ocean Fleet and immediately [[ReassignedToAntarctica reassigns him to Ixa'Taka.]]
* The Spathi from ''VideoGame/StarControl'' are a PlanetOfHats devoted to craven cowardice and borderline paranoia as a way of life. A traditional Spathi prayer goes "Oh God, please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better", and the entire race lives in fear of a nebulous alien race they refer to (always in the same ominous tone) as "The Ultimate Evil". However, they can and will fight if backed into a corner (and they can fight quite well; the Spathi Eluder is one of the best ships in the game). However, this doesn't stop the Spathi from backing out of their alliance with the "hunams" and sealing their home world beneath an impenetrable force field the first chance they get.
** The Spathi can fight quite well -- mostly because their ships are so fast no one can catch them, and because they pelt anything that ''tries'' to catch them with a hailstorm of [[FunWithAcronyms Backward Utilizing Tracking Torpedoes]] fired out of the back of the ship as it flees. Which means, fittingly, that they fight best when they're running away.
** A memorable quote comes from the Spathi High Council, about a Spathi (named Fwiffo) who has been "captured" by the protagonists: "If you held a weapon to Fwiffo's head, he would say anything you wanted him to say. In fact, if you held a vegetable to his head he would probably say anything you wanted him to say."
* Yuber from ''{{Suikoden}}'' is a perfect example of this trope: Once he realizes he's in danger, he will flee, be it in a one-on-one duel or in a big scale battle as commander of his troops. On the other hand if he's feeling superior he will destroy a village out of boredom or summon a huge monster to deal with the hero. What a dick.
** Snowe from ''SuikodenIV'' is a particularly sickening example. Late in the game after everything he has done, you are given the chance of either adding him to your team or killing him, and it is ''very'' easy to make the second choice. Although if you kill him, you won't get the True Ending. [[spoiler: And the main character will die.]] And if you do forgive him he gets better and [[CharacterDevelopment becomes more humble and respectable]]. It could be said, though, that only the [[spoiler: sudden escape from marauding pirates at the beginning of the game]] is cowardice. Everything else, he faces with at least a modicum of courage, [[spoiler: including the ''three'' times he's captured by the player and threatened with death]].
* Alduin in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' turns out to be one of these when faced by someone who can actually hurt him. It's one of the reasons Odahviing agrees to help you pursue him -- the other Dragons are no longer certain that Alduin deserves to be their leader.
** The Orc chief Yamarz has the dubious distinction of being a deceitful weakling amongst [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy a race of proud warriors.]] When his tribe is besieged by Giants, he opts to hole up in the village and let everyone else fight them off rather than lift a finger to do it himself. When he is tasked with slaying the Giant chief, he tries to bribe the player to do it for him and let him take the credit. If the player agrees, he then tries to kill them too to keep his cowardice from being discovered.
** And of course the first example we're confronted with is during the intro, where Lokir the horse thief spends his last moments desperately pleading to his captors, his fellow captives and finally to every one of the Eight Divines for salvation. When you reach the chopping block, he attempts to run for it and shouts "You aren't gonna kill me!" only to be unceremoniously [[InTheBack shot in the back.]]
* The Mean Emcee from ''VideoGame/WarioWorld'' is this. He is absolutely terrified of Wario and will hide under a cup after he punches him enough.
* Anub'Arak in the Old Kingdom dungeon in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' is widely regarded as a despicable coward due to his fight mechanics, where he constantly burrows underground becoming untargetable and sends minions after the players. Far from being a challenge it is merely an annoyance and prolongs the fight unnecessarily. Although that's probably more due to a ScrappyMechanic more than anything else. In ''The Frozen Throne'', when he is first introduced, he is pretty brave, serving as Arthas' [[TheDragon dragon]], accompanying him through Azjol-Nerub and fighting at the front. In one mission, the duo meet a [[http://www.wowwiki.com/Forgotten_one forgotten one]] (an Old God-lite), and Anub'Arak's first response is to charge the thing.
---> '''Anub'Arak:''' [[ThisCannotBe It cannot be...]] Look to your defences, Death Knight! Fight as you have never fought before!
** Many generic enemies in ''World of Warcraft'' have a cowardly streak, upon depleting most of their health they will attempt to flee and the message "[enemy] is trying to run away in fear." is displayed. If not controlled or killed they could potentially reach other enemy groups for help resulting in a wipe.
** Meng the Demented, one of the four Spirit Kings in Mogu'shan Vaults, alternates between attacking the tank normally and fleeing while putting a shield on himself that reflects damage on the raid, in alternating respective "Crazed" and "Cowardice" phases.
* Mumkhar from ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' should get some sort of award for this, because he left his friends to die in the middle of a battlefield just to save his own skin... 5 minutes into the game.
* ''[[VideoGame/AdvancedVariableGeo Advanced V.G. II]]'':
** Despite genetically enhancing her own body, [[BigBad Miranda]] knew she still couldn't defeat [[TheHero Yuka]] in a fair fight. So she forced Yuka to fight [[{{tykebomb}} the Material Twins]] first, then took advantage by attacking Yuka while she was exhausted.
** Ironically, Miranda falls victim to her own tactic, when Yuka proves stronger than she had anticipated; causing Miranda to exert herself just finish Yuka off. Which enabled [[{{fangirl}} Tamao]] to [[LaserGuidedKarma return the favor]] by [[ThisIsUnforgivable whupping.]] [[UnstoppableRage Miranda's.]] '''''[[YouWouldntLikeMeWhenImAngry Ass.]]'''''
* Jyrall in ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'', which takes any and all occasions to get Zael in trouble, but flees at the slightest hint of danger. Even when he tries to sell him off to [[BigBad Zangurak]], the latter is barely interested in him at all. It takes him [[BladeBelowTheShoulder being fused with a demonic sword]], being in numerical advantage AND a full-on mental breakdown to actually challenge Zael to a fight.
* Ben from ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' could be viewed as a deconstruction. Ben is in the unenviable position of being too old to have resilience and trust of authority to protect him (like Clementine and Duck), but too young to have developed self-sufficiency or determination (like Lee and the others in their thirties and forties). He's old enough to comprehend the full horror of the ZombieApocalypse and be terrified of it, but not old enough to have a decade or so of adult life experience to strengthen his character and resolve. He's likely watched a lot of his young and vital peers die right in front of him, as well as teachers he thought could protect them. It's hard to say who Ben might have become if he'd had the chance to age a decade more before all this happened. This is likely why characters like Lee sympathize with him. Ben can be viewed as a masterful deconstruction of a lot of tropes, including this one.
* Lenny from ''VideoGame/HitmanAbsolution'' is a rare overlap between this and IneffectualSympatheticVillain.
* Sundowner from ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance''. Despite his [[TheBrute imposing size]], [[ShearMenace scary weapon]] and [[BloodKnight talk of how awesome war is]], he's revealed to be rather pathetic as an adversary. His only story accomplishments are pretty much just killing one unarmed and [[{{Muggle}} unaugmented]] man in cold blood, and tormenting a bunch of orphans and homeless kids. When you fight him, he clearly can't keep up with Raiden straight on and has to resort to "gimmicky shit" like an explosive shield, not to mention he calls in helicopter drones to back him up when the fight starts going badly for him.
* Anyone who has fought a [[VideoGame/MonsterHunter Rathalos]] will know that the damn thing will fly away the moment the fight begins going badly for it. Luckily, there is a [[BlindedByTheLight thing]] [[PitTrap or]] [[AntiAir two]] you can do about that...
* Ser Jory from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. Introduced as a boastful, proud GloryHound, the ''moment'' the party encounters a wounded soldier and he realizes that he will actually have to ''fight'' Darkspawn, he immediately tries to convince the Warden to desert, and continues to do so even after [[MauveShirt Daveth]] angrily points out that they're the only true defense against the Blight. [[spoiler:This culminates in him outright ''attacking'' Duncan during the Joining in a final attempt to desert. Naturally, this costs him his life]].
* Satan in ''Videogame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow2'' is revealed to be one. Satan is afraid to face anyone who can seriously challenge or even kill him. The only reason he is returning in the present is because he's certain that Dracula is dead. Dracula exploits this trait at the end of their battle by making it look like he is [[ShootTheDog willing]] to [[spoiler:kill his own son Alucard/Trevor (whom Satan is possessing) again just to get rid of Satan]]. Satan panics at the last moment and leaves [[spoiler:Alucard's body]], giving Dracula a clear shot at finishing him off.
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'', Holus, the ex-mayor of New Tristram is regarded as a this by pretty much everyone in the game, and not without reason. While the people of New Tristram, most of them being simple farmers, are desperately trying to keep the ZombieApocalypse at bay, Holus worries more about his broken cart and how he can't flee anymore. The man can't catch a break, because he turns up later in the game as a stranded merchant at Bastion's Keep... which is besieged by TheLegionsOfHell. He complains about wanting to flee the entire time and the PlayerCharacter constantly chews him out for it... [[spoiler:only for him to die when Diablo is resurrected. A nearby soldier notes how he had the chance to flee, [[FaceDeathWithDignity but never did]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/JurassicParkTheGame'', Nima suggests to Miles that they need a distraction when they're surrounded by a pack of ''Dilophosaurus''. Miles' response is to push Nima right in front of one.
* Antharia Jack from VideoGame/ZorkGrandInquisitor is not only one, but outright confirms it. He isn't a brave dashing hero, he just played one on TV. While he does help you a few times. Though in the end, he helps create a plan to have you climb the Macguffin tower which will save the world, while he creates a distraction which is telling the BigBad what you're doing. Then again [[spoiler: if the immortal BigBad didn't climb after you, he wouldn't have been blasted by pure magic and killed. So...]]
* Prince Gordon in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' ran away from Fynn when TheEmpire invaded, leaving his brother Scott to die. He spends his time moping in Altair, feeling insignificant compared to the three refugees who have become the best agents of the [[LaResistance Wild Rose rebellion]], until [[spoiler:he runs away once the Dreadnought begins bombing towns]]. By the time he finally gathers his nerve, he finds himself stymied by the monsters that have overtaken Kashaun Keep [[spoiler:and inadvertantly causes Josef's death, as the heroes wouldn't have needed to go to the Ice Cavern to obtain the Goddess's Bell if Gordon had been there to hold the door open for them]]. He joins with [[TheLoad pitiful stats]], but [[MagikarpPower can level up quickly if you put in the effort]] and [[TookALevelInBadass Takes a Level In Badass]] while accompanying the heroes, eventually taking the role of Commander of the Wild Rose forces [[spoiler:and immediately volunteering to join in on the real Princess Hilda's rescue]].
* ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3'': The murderer turns out to have been this, [[spoiler:when confronted by the ghosts of the children he killed, he turns into a raving coward and runs away like a scaredy cat before trying to hide in an animatronic, which kills him]].
* When laying siege to a raubritter's castle in ''VideoGame/{{Darklands}}'', the party may try to challenge him to a duel. However, a failed skill check will just make him laugh at the heroes and then he will send more henchmen to the field.
* ''VideoGame/MinecraftStoryMode'':
** Ivor drops everything to save himself after his plan goes off the rails in ''The Order of the Stone''. If you choose to have Jesse confront him about his selfish and cowardly behavior, he simply replies that cowardice [[FearIsTheAppropriateResponse keeps him alive]].
** [[spoiler: Soren being one is hinted at in ''The Last Place You Look'' and comes to fruition in ''A Block and a Hard Place'', where he abandons the group right before the final battle. Jesse is even given the option to call him a coward as he flees.]]
* Kratos's StartOfDarkness and the kickstarter of the entire ''VideoGame/GodOfWarSeries'' is because upon having his forces being [[CurbStompBattle curb-stomped]] by the Barbarian forces, rather than die honorably like a Spartan, chose to beg Ares for his own life. While he helped managed to defeat all of their forces including Alrik himself, this act ultimately destroys Kratos's life in the process.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/CommanderKitty'', [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2010/10/24/press-any-button/ CK himself has his moments.]] His [[http://ferretface99.deviantart.com/art/CK-Expressions-244764825 expression sheet]] even has him pushing Nin Wah into the line of fire for "fierce".
* In ''Webcomic/{{Endstone}}'', the [[GraveRobbing Grave Robber]] Bolo [[http://endstone.net/comic/issue-1-page-32/ tries to steal the Lightstone and puts the blame on his companion when caught]].
* The Chief in ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}''. Who survived the massacre by hiding and ignoring the cries of his villagers. Afterwards he becomes a cleric to start a path of redemption.
** Which comes to a [[TearJerker tragic end]] when he performs a HeroicSacrifice to prevent Kore from slaying his fellow goblins.
* Lightning from ''Webcomic/{{Sidekicks}}'' all the way. Despite being a {{Superhero}}, he never puts himself in the line of fire unless he absolutely has to or he is [[BerserkButton provoked]] into doing so. It's no wonder that three [[spoiler:(four if you count Theo being overtaken by Metheos as the former dying)]] of his previous five sidekicks have died. He's also [[NiceJobBreakingItHero indirectly responsible for the destruction of the Committee headquarters.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ImpureBlood'', [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/Issue05PAGES/ib105.html their ride dumps them in the city and leaves.]]
* Dr. Schlock, from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', is played for laughs in this manner: He helps the cast out more often than not, but that's only because Riff has a gun to his head. When he eventually gets into a situation he ''can't'' run away from, he's revealed to be [[CorneredRattleSnake more dangerous]] than he looks.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' gives you Parakewl, a tall, haughty [[JerkWithAHeartOfJerk jerkass]] with a green fish face, who in general calls everybody scum, is the first to abandon somebody, demands that people should be sacrificed for his ends or in his stead, sticks up for nobody, openly switches sides to gain the majority's favor and has neither skill nor intelligence to back his behaviour up. He is known in fandom as the ass. Why he survives is a [[MemeticBadass mystery to all]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebAnimation/DeadFantasy'': Aptly sums up what ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Final Fantasy]]'' fans thought about [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/DeadOrAlive Hayate]]]]'s actions in episode 5. During live screenings, the crowd could be heard booing because he sent an entire squad of {{ninja}} after [[spoiler: [[Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren Tifa]]]][[note]]who's one of [[Creator/SquareEnix SquareEnix's]] [[BreakoutCharacter most beloved characters]][[/note]], who'd been weakened during her fight with Hitomi. And stood idly by, [[WeHaveReserves not caring how many of his men died]], just to keep from getting his hands dirty. It isn't until [[spoiler: Tifa]]'s exhausted and bound in chains that [[SmugSnake he casually strolls up to her]] and finishes her off. At which point, a member of the audience shouts: "That's fucked up! C'mon!!" [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpStJIdDUiw (heard at 4:31).]]
* A possible interpretation of [[EnigmaticMinion Neopolitan]] from ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}''. Against Yang, a rookie first-year Huntress, she's very smug and confident while {{Curb Stomp|Battle}}ing her, but up against a real opponent [[spoiler:such as Raven Branwen]], [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere she pisses off]] [[OhCrap in a rather undignified manner]].
** [[TheSmartGuy Blake]] seems to ''think'' she's this, as one of her defining traits is her inability to tackle her problems head-on - any time the going gets tough, she runs away. Such as the time she accidentally outed herself as a former terrorist, or how she [[spoiler:abandons Team RWBY after the fall of Beacon to the Grimm in the epilogue of Volume 3, even abandoning a badly wounded Yang without a word of warning.]]
* Gaea from ''Franchise/{{Noob}}''. She blackmails and cons her own guildmates while thinking of them as human shields in battle and weasels her way out of contributing to her guild's common fund while frequently stealing from it. She even plays SquishyWizard, which makes her optimal battle strategy consist of taking cover (or sometimes attempt to ditch the battle while pretending to do so) and hitting enemies with powerful attacks.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Daffy Duck of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' is a self-admitted one of these characters, and proud of it. He'll sell out his friends in an instant to save his own hide and/or claim wealth for himself. As he puts it, "Sure I'm a louse, but I'm a ''live'' louse!" During the "Hunter Trilogy" of cartoons, he freely admits he's only sending Elmer after Bugs because it's "Really [[DuckSeasonRabbitSeason duck season]]".
** Inverted slightly in the Hunter's Trilogy, while he is out for "thelf-prethervation", he also seems ''very'' set on his rival getting his head blown off. The numerous instances Elmer actually turns his attention on Bugs, and naturally screws up, Daffy will actually [[MotiveDecay go up to Elmer and berate him to his face to]] "Shoot him! SHOOT HIM!". On one occasion he actually snatched the gun from Elmer and attempted to do the job himself, [[HarmlessVillain the latter just walked off bewildered]].
** His greed can overcome this, though: in "Ducking the Devil" (1957) he ''beats up the Tasmanian Devil'' when Taz takes some money from him!
--->'''Daffy:''' I may be a coward, but I'm a ''greeeedy'' little coward!
* There are many examples from ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''
** When the chips are down, Zapp Brannigan is a coward. This quote from him sums it up.
--->''"I surrender and volunteer for treason!"''
** Bender. In one of the movies, he, Amy and one other character are trapped by a bunch of orcs in a castle. Bender tells the two ladies he has a plan, The next scene shows him holding them up in the and ''tells'' the orcs to take his friends first, just to give him one more second of sweet sweet life. In "Bendin' in the Wind," the crew is plunging off a cliff. Bender grabs a nearby cable, loudly declaring, "I'll save ME!" The rest of the crew is only saved by grabbing his legs just in time.
** Fry is also this. In "The Series Has Landed" Fry gets a moon rover caught in a lunar dust pool. He declares "It's every man for himself!" and bails out, only to sink up to his neck in the very same dust. He immediately calls for Leela to save him. He gets called this in "War is the H-Word" when he, wielding the only charged phaser, blasts himself a hole to hide in. Though at the end of that episode, he does ride a bouncing ball to the peace meeting to save the life of his best friend.
--->'''Zapp Brannigan:''' Look at this sissy, Kif. While others were fighting and dying pointlessly, he was hiding in a hole; wallowing in a pool of his own cowardice.\\
'''Fry:''' That wasn't cowardice!
** Towards the end of the series Leela would seem to override Fry's cowardice, particularly in "A Farewell to Arms" [[spoiler: Fry chooses to stay behind on an apparently doomed Earth to let Leela have a chance of life.]]
* Throughout ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', Starscream is and always has been a dirty coward, instinctively fleeing as soon as any fight starts even leaning in the enemy's favour. He will also fight like a coward, with cheap shots and ambushes, even if he probably had the advantage anyway.
** Taken UpToEleven in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', where he makes [[spoiler: several clones to help him overthrow Megatron (hey, it's TheStarscream we're talking about here), each of which represent one facet of his personality.]] This being [[TheStarscream Starscream]], his 'army' consists of a pantophobe[[note]]Skywarp and Clone #3370318[[/note]], an egomaniac[[note]]Thundercracker[[/note]], a suck-up[[note]]Sunstorm and Clone #2716057[[/note]], a chronic liar[[note]]Ramjet[[/note]], a GreenEyedMonster[[note]]Thrust[[/note]], and... [[YouDoNotWantToKnow something]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'': King Grippulon, supposedly a fearsome king, frequently uses his wife as a shield when his life is in danger, and is willing to put his son on the throne after there are several assassination attempts.
* Captain Hero of ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether''.
--> ''[[CatchPhrase Save yourselves]]!''
* Antoine of the [[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAm Sonic The Hedgehog]] animated series, initially more of an arrogant LovableCoward, was [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] into this trope later on, at least once [[CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys offering to switch sides]] when the Freedom Fighter base had supposedly been found. Even [[SmugSnake Snively]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards found him to be a " little worm"]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' con-artists Argit and Simian, although Simian can and will fight if backed into a corner.
** Ben calls Malware out on being this in 'Omniverse' when Malware sends a gasoline tanker at a busload of innocent children just to escape Ben.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Yon Rha, [[spoiler:the man who killed Katara's mother]], is this. When confronted by his victim's vengeful [[spoiler:daughter]], he cowers in terror and while he admits that what he did was wrong, he offers [[spoiler:his mother]]'s life instead of his own. [[spoiler:Katara]] [[NotWorthKilling merely gives him a]] TheReasonYouSuckSpeech [[CruelMercy and leaves]].
* Dale Gribble from ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' will often sell out his friends or run away.
** Everyone on it has traits of it. Each character on the show is more than willing to abandon each other at a minute's notice or rat the other out if the thought entered their mind. but doubly so for Peggy, who would often switch sides whenever it would benefit her. Going from supporting Hank when he was accused of Racism to claiming he was Racist just so she could enjoy a DoubleStandard with a smug smirk on her face. Whenever its time to put up, she backs away or blames somebody else for what had happened when she's clearly at fault.
* Eustace Bagge from ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog''. There's even one episode where the shadow of a deceased man, who spent the whole night scaring other people, declared that Eustace is an even bigger coward than Courage himself.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor''
** The Delightful Children from Down the Lane are the biggest example Apparently, the term "fair fight" is unknown to them, and they rarely confront even ''one'' member of Sector V without at least one DumbMuscle, an army of mooks, or a HumongousMecha supporting them. And if they lose their edge, they're quick to [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere run for it]]. Of course, you can hardly blame them; the few times they ''have'' tried to stand up to them have been [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]] (with them hitting the curb) and [[spoiler: in the SeriesFinale, Numbuh One defeated all five of them alone.]]
** Ironically, [[spoiler: they were once KND Operatives before being {{Brainwashed}} by Father, and they were far braver originally, as proven when the effect was reversed. (Sadly, Numbuh Zero knew of no way to reverse it permanently.)]]
** On the subject of irony, [[spoiler:Father himself was like this when he was a child. While his far braver brother led the rebellion against ''their'' villainous father, he ran and hid like a coward. Thus, his brother would become the legendary Numbuh Zero, while he would grow up to be the KND's worst enemy. Of course, he became much braver as an adult, but in "Operation: Z.E.R.O.", while his heroic brother was still more than brave enough to face their father, the younger villain still chickened out.]]
** Another example from the show Negative Numbuh Four. Given the fact that everyone in his world is an EvilCounterpart (or a good counterpart, if the character is evil) and a polar opposite of someone in the "real" world, he is [[LeeroyJenkins Numbuh Four]]'s opposite in every way, and is thus a coward in every sense of the word. (Amazingly, Numbuh Four is the first one to realize this, a rare case of him holding the SmartBall.)
* [[JerkJock Flash Thompson]] ''[[AvertedTrope wasn't]]'' one in the original SpiderMan comic, where he usually is portrayed as hot-headed and brave enough to face villains, but ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'' made him one; in this version, he has no scrupples trying to offer Peter as a snack to save his skin when confronted to Venom, and even left Harry Osborn behind to escape Taskmaster.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' has Die Fledermaus, who has no problem ditching the other heroes of The City whenever trouble comes up.
* Safari Joe in the original ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats''. Lion-O assumes he's a coward from the start, and when he finally runs out of ammo and no longer has any tricks, the hero is proven right. The villain does nothing but fall to his knees and [[AintTooProudToBeg plead for his life.]] (Given what he had done, Lion-O might not have spared him if this had been the DarkerAndEdgier remake.)
* The king in ''WesternAnimation/WatsPig'' does not want to fight the battles. During the second battle, he goes and hides under Wat's covers in the countryside while his brother does all the fighting. As a result, [[TheBadGuyWins the invaders successfully take over the kingdom]].
* Preston Northwest from ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls''. [[spoiler: He was gonna leave everyone in his mansion to burn while a ghost wreaks havoc.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerPuffGirls:'' Major Man was secretly a coward with superpowers whose acts of heroism were all staged and to gain him popularity.
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales:'' Major Courage, "Where No Duck Has Gone Before."
* ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'': In "School Spirit", when attacked by monsters, Brittney Wong uses the people around her (including a girl in a wheelchair) as shields and shoves several of them into the monsters to slow them down while trying to escape.
* Dagur the Deranged from DragonsRidersOfBerk is a skilled warrior, loves violence, and is chief of the feared Berserker tribe. Yet for the first two seasons he never goes anywhere without a large armada backing him up, hides behind his men in battle, panics at the first sign of things going wrong, and begs for mercy when captured. He only fights when he has no choice or he gets enraged to a point his madness takes over.
* In IvanhoeTheKingsKnight Prince John shows shades of this at least once but not without justification. While participating in a siege, he has all of the enemy's arrows being fired at him and intends to spend the rest of the siege watching it from a hill. As John so eloquently put it "What is the point of having an army if all of their arrows are meant for me?"
* WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond: Nelson is a great example, beating up a schoolmate until Terry steps in and challenges him, at which point he is no longer mister big and tough.
* An episode of ''TheSimpsons'' has Homer get scared and run away from an operation where he was donating a kidney to Grampa (losing them was Homers fault in the first place), and spends the rest of the episode fleeing in shame. After he decides to return, he freaks out and flees AGAIN, only donating the kidney because he gets crushed by a falling car while running and the doctors just takes one of his kidneys while putting him back together.
[[/folder]]

----

to:

** Gibbis from the episode "The God Complex". At first it's PlayedForLaughs ("All I want is to go home and be conquered and oppressed, is that too much to ask?"), but ultimately [[spoiler: his actions directly result in the death of a sympathetic character. Worse, Gibbis [[KarmaHoudini survives the episode]] completely unscathed.]]
** Fewsham, from ''The Seeds of Death'', collaborates with the Ice Warriors, fearing for his life, until he sees he's helping wipe the human race out. Then [[spoiler:he grows a pair and [[TheDogBitesBack gives the secret to stopping the Ice Warriors]] [[RedemptionEqualsDeath at the cost of his life]]]].
** The Doctor himself can get like this on occasion in that while he's no stranger to physical danger or hard choices, he'll often run from the consequences. At the end of Series 9, having undergone a SanitySlippage due to a TraumaCongaLine (and thus become -- temporarily -- a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds), he inspires his exchange from other characters:
--->'''Ohila:''' ''[disgusted]'' He's running away.\\
'''General:''' Where is he running to?\\
'''Ohila:''' Same place he always does: Away. Just... ''away''.
* Chang in the penultimate episode of ''Series/{{Community}}'' Season 2. At one point he runs through the paintball wasteland screaming "Does anyone have an alliance I can join?!", [[spoiler: having betrayed at least 3 other groups already (The Study Group, Math Club, and The Cheerleader Alliance).]]
* Lailoken, the soothsayer of King Vortigern in the ''Series/{{Merlin 1998}}'' series. He is motivated entirely to keep himself out of danger (makes sense, considering he's around ''Vortigern'' of all people) and preserve his own life. After Vortigern tasks him to try to find out why his tower is collapsing, Lailoken makes a perfect dirty coward quote while at his religious rituals.
-->''I've been a follower of the Old Ways all my life. Now, that life is in danger, and it's a precious life . . . it's mine!''
* Angel Martin of ''Series/TheRockfordFiles'' fits quite well. He frequently refuses to do his part in plans that put him in the slightest amount of danger, and he sells out his friends immediately when things go south and he ends up in jail, or in the hands of organized crime.
* On the sitcom ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', the main character's wife fits this trope. Whenever Debra is in conflict with another person, she will usually bully her husband Ray into confronting the other person for her, almost always growling "You need to back me up on this!", to the point where that line is almost her catch phrase (and even if [[{{StrawmanHasAPoint}} the other person has a perfectly valid point]], they will still be treated as being [[{{DesignatedVillain}} horrible]] simply for opposing Debra). Then when Ray inevitably caves in to her demands and starts doing the verbal battling on her behalf, Debra always finds a way to sneak into the back and [[{{CowerPower}} hide]] behind Ray while ''he'' takes all the heat from the other person. Then when Ray gives her a chance to speak her mind and join in, Debra always says something like "hey, it wasn't me, [[{{BlatantLies}} this was your idea]]," and goes back to cowering behind Ray's back and letting ''him'' be the target of the other person's anger. What's really infuriating about this pattern of behavior is the fact that Ray himself is usually in favor of [[{{Pacifist}} making peace]] with the other person and wants everyone to get along, but he gets dragged into the argument anyway because his wife wanted him to, and yet she herself is totally unwilling to actually take responsibility for it, even when the fight is her idea. And yet she still treats him as if he's an unworthy husband, even though he always ends up doing her dirty work for her.
* ''Series/ColdCase''
** The [[AssholeVictim victim]] of the episode ''Justice'' is a serial date rapist who exploited the lax laws regarding date rape to repeatedly perpetuate the crimes, peed himself when several of his former victims confronted him at gunpoint, and then acted unapologetic and unrepentant about his actions once they left. The detectives become so repulsed by what they learned of him that they ''actually tell the killer what to say in court to defend himself''.
** The killer in the episode ''Blood On The Tracks'' was fearful of whatever punishment would be meted out for a crime she, her husband, and their friends were involved in a decade earlier--which the guilt-ridden husband was planning to confess to the cops about. So she enticed her ex-lover--who clearly still had feelings for her--to help her murder her husband in order to keep his mouth shut, with the promise of them running away together. Instead, she killed her husband and a friend of theirs whom she bore a strong resemblance to, assumed the other woman's life, and allowed her ex to suffer for 20-something years thinking that he had killed her, while she lived the ideal life of a suburban housewife. When confronted by Lily, she feebly denied being a monster, but outright admitted being "a coward".
* In the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "Nor the Battle to the Strong", Jake Sisko gets a [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Reason You Suck Speech]] calling him this, which [[HeelRealization he owns up to]] at the end.
** Also something of a {{Deconstruction}}, as Jake himself starts off contemptuous of a soldier who'd shot himself in the foot. The rest of the episode is him learning [[NotSoDifferent why not to rush into judgment about such things]].
* George Costanza from Series/{{Seinfeld}} exemplifies this Trope perfectly in one scene- he's willing to push women and children out of his way and knock them to the floor to get to out of a burning building. The episode's writer said that such an act was, "George stripped down to his essentials."
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': Jack Simpson is a very well-written and wonderfully performed villain of TheBully variety. His true cowardice is revealed when he's unable to FaceDeathWithDignity and begs for his life as Horatio has right to fire at will at their [[DuelToTheDeath duel]]. Horatio's "[[NotWorthKilling you-are-not-worthy-of-the-powder]]" scornful remark absolutely psychs him out morally, and he tries to stab Horatio InTheBack.
** A sympathetic example is found in Jack Hammond, who panicked during his first battle when someone else's blood splattered on him, and ends up stranding his captain during a mission. Unlike Simpson, he's not a bad man, just a normal person out of his depth in a Naval career he didn't want and is completely unsuited to in the first place.
* It's rare to find an EvilOverlord that fits a Trope like this, but Master Vile from ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' likely does. He wasn't the only major villain who gave up and quit, but actually threw a childish tantrum and ran off to his home galaxy after the Alien Rangers defeated his army. (If you didn't see it, trust me, it was a rather pathetic display.) Sure, maybe it was a big setback, but a ''lot'' of villains in the series had experienced worse, and it didn't make ''them'' run away crying.
* Don't expect Eric Forman's friends from ''Series/That70sShow'' to stick around when things go south of the border whenever their antics (Most often Kelso's) blow up in their faces.
** More obviously invoked in episode ''Halloween'', when Kelso hears a noise which he takes for a vengeful spirit; he pushes his girlfriend out of the way in his haste to flee.
-->'''Jackie''': I can't believe Michael pushed me aside.
-->'''Donna''': Me neither. I thought he'd use you as a {{human shield}}.
* King Joffrey Baratheon from ''Series/GameOfThrones'' is this. A SmugSnake, RoyalBrat, and all around JerkAss. While he acts tough, the truth is that he's nothing more than a coward. Some of the best parts from the show are watching him squirm like the worm he is.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', a gunman comes into the coffee shop and Bulldog tries to hide behind Roz (who's ''pregnant'' at the time) to shield himself. However, when he is trying to get behind her he manages to accidentally spill hot coffee on the gunman, disarming him and promptly leading to Bulldog being hailed as a hero, to the disgust of Frasier who saw what actually happened. Bulldog does this again during the award ceremony in his honour, when Martin (who was sick of hearing Frasier whine about the whole thing) told Bulldog that there was a man with a gun and Bulldog used ''his own mother'' as a human shield.
* ''Series/{{Justified}}'' has Harlan County marijuana dealer Dickie Bennett. A vicious, {{sadist}}ic little man, Dickie tends to lose his courage the moment things aren't going his way, begging and pleading for mercy. He does it to Raylan twice, and to Boyd when the latter tries to force the location of his mother's money out of him. Late in Season 3 he seems to [[GrewASpine grow a spine]], largely because he believes that he's a dead man anyway.
* Lester Nygaard from ''Series/{{Fargo}}''. Despite being viewed by his peers as a quiet, nervous type, the truth is that he's a repellant little worm who will do anything to keep himself from harm, even if that means [[spoiler: framing his own brother for the murder of his first wife]]. He crosses the [[MoralEventHorizon Moral Event Horizon]] when, while fleeing town in an attempt to evade [[spoiler: Lorne Malvo]], he [[spoiler: ''sends his second wife to be killed in his place,'' even giving her his distinctive orange parka to ensure she resembles him as closely as possible]].
* Lydia Rodarte-Quayle from ''Series/BreakingBad''. Her first impulse whenever something goes wrong or inconveniences her, is to kill a subordinate. This is so ingrained in her personality that she expects it constantly from the people she works with but views as potential threats. She has no qualms about putting out hits on people who inconvenience her (such as Gus' henchmen, Declan and his gang, Skyler, Walt), however when her own life is in danger, she panics and begs for mercy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''Music/TheArrogantWorms'' have a song called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggl9tX9iu4g I ran Away]], unsurprisingly the protagonist resorts to ''every'' stated situation by running.
* Frank Gallop played it for laughs in "The Ballad of Irving," who was {{Too Dumb to Live}} as well as a coward:
-->The James Boys was comin' on a train at first sun,\\
And the town said, "Irving, we need your gun."\\
When that train pulled in at the break of dawn,\\
Irving's gun was there, but Irving was gone.
* Music/{{Sabaton}}'s song ''In The Name Of God'' is a ReasonYouSuckSpeech aimed directly at religious terrorists (particularly Al-Qaeda and their ilk), and it's mostly calling them this.
-->Stand up and show me your face!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myth and Legend]]
* Thersites from Literature/TheIliad.
* Ares from Myth/ClassicalMythology. He reveled in the bloodshed and chaos of war, but he actually wasn't that good a warrior and had low pain tolerance. His response to being wounded in the Trojan War was to cry and run back to Olympus.
* King Mark from the Tristan and Isolde part of the [[KingArthur Arthurian Legend]]. Or at least he's like this in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Opera]]
* Mime from Creator/RichardWagner's opera ''Siegfried'' is a Dirty Coward to the core, but is often inappropriately played as TheWoobie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* This is a classic {{heel}} character in ProfessionalWrestling. The Wrestling/HonkyTonkMan made a career out of this [[TheGimmick gimmick]] in Wrestling/{{WWE}} and Wrestling/{{Christian}} Cage was in this mode following his FaceHeelTurn in Wrestling/{{TNA}}.
* In the late 90's following his infamous FaceHeelTurn, Wrestling/HulkHogan had the bizarre distinction of being both a VillainSue AND a Dirty Coward at the same time. While he might squash any challenger that came his way at a PPV, Hogan would often spend at a least a month hiding behind members of the Wrestling/NewWorldOrder talking trash as his future opponent would rip apart the {{jobber}}s in the nWo a few feet away.
* Averting this trope is one of the reasons Wrestling/{{Kane}} is so popular, even as a Monster Heel. He will never back down and has gotten into the ring with guys far bigger than him. In the Royal Rumble match, he will always stare down the biggest guy in the ring, nod, and when it is returned the two will ignore everyone else until one of them is eliminated.
* Wrestling/KurtAngle was famous for this in early WWE run (1999-2002)
* Wrestling/{{Edge}} is very good at portraying this type of heel, though sometimes it's subverted somewhat when it is shown that the women who are in love with him actually ''want'' to risk their necks to save his, and do so without his prompting (see Wrestling/{{Lita}} and Wrestling/VickieGuerrero). Wrestling/CMPunk milked this trope as part of his Charles Manson-like cult-leader gimmick, with his skin-headed moll Serena ''smiling'' as he uses her as a human shield. (Depending on your attitude toward such relationships, I guess, this is either terrifying or FetishFuel.) Edge was such a coward as a heel that it wasn't unusual for him on house shows to spend up to ten minutes stalling outside of the ring before eventually locking up with his opponent.
* Subverted by Wrestling/JohnCena, who acted this way until his full-blown HeelFaceTurn in 2005. Despite being very strong and tough in his own right, he would use a steel chain wrapped around his knuckles to knock out larger opponents and gain victories over them - and he ''still'' got cheered.
* Wrestling/MichaelCole IS this trope following his FaceHeelTurn. To put it in perspective, he's put himself ''in a bulletproof glass case'' for his protection and constantly backs down when someone challenges him to a match.
* Wrestling/BryanDanielson's heel run in WWE is borderline comical in this respect. It's a RunningGag that, if things get hectic while he's at ringside, he'll disappear from the action, but the camera will soon cut to a shot of him leaving up the entrance ramp huddling his World Title with AJ following close behind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* Major Bloodnok (Peter Sellers) in ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' is a coward through-and-through, and there's not a thing he won't do for money.
** Also, everyone else. While deciding who gets volunteered for a dangerous mission:
--->'''Seagoon''': I'm terribly sorry, but I have a wife and 63 children!\\
'''Bloodnok''': I too have a wife and children. That only leaves dear old - \\
[rattle of telephone]\\
'''Eccles''': Hello, hello, operator? Get me the marriage bureau!\\
[later]\\
'''Bloodnok''': Flatten me cronkler with spinach mallets. So, both of you have turned cowards, eh. That only leaves me. Two cowards, and me. You know what this means?\\
'''Seagoon''': ''Three'' cowards.
* Thomas in ''Radio/OldHarrysGame'' (whose nastiness [[EvenEvilHasStandards disgusts even Satan]]) has many horrible characteristics, but his dirty cowardice is among his defining traits. Though he does occasionally show signs of CharacterDevelopment, this is nearly always unwound by the end of the episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering Ib Halfheart]], [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=157923 Goblin Tactician]]. His tactical insights include:
-->''"Everybody but me-- CHARGE!"''\\
''[[http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/card/Details.aspx?name=Blinking+Spirit "Don't look at it! Maybe it'll go away!"]]''
* [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} The Ebon Dragon]] may be one of the Titans who created the world, and one of the most overwhelmingly powerful beings in existence, but his pitiful Virtues (especially Valor), the easily exploitable holes in his defenses, and the personality constraints of his Excellency make him an utterly rank coward. He will very rarely engage in a straight fight against anything capable of hurting him (which can be everything) and will ''never'' do so against something that has the slightest chance of killing him. Fortunately for him, being the Principle of Villainy makes one ''really'' good at talking your way out of trouble, or just plain running away.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'':
** The Skaven are sneaky, conniving, selfish, cowardly, and backstabbing, and each of these ratmen would gladly sacrifice their entire race for their own hides if not for their innate fear and paranoia. However, this does not make the Skaven race weak, as their disease-resistant qualities, large numbers, and dedication to keeping themselves hidden from mankind and the other races (to the point that they are regarded as a myth even when presented with irrefutable evidence of their existence) would make them a formidable foe that could potentially overtake the world if they could just put aside their in-fighting and distrust for each other for one millisecond.
** Hobgoblins are quick to turn tail when the odds are against them. One example is a hobgoblin mercenary Oglah Khan, who constantly switches sides when the side he is on is losing.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** The Literature/NightLords. [[SuperSoldier Yes,]] [[TheDreaded really]]. They are a legion of Chaos Space Marines who specialise in raids, terror tactics, and guerrilla warfare. However, their reliance on this kind of fighting means they are themselves rather cynical and cowardly, lacking the conviction of the other, more fanatical legions. Several Night Lords characters are also shown to be willing to abandon their own brothers in the name of self-preservation, a trait which is also symptomatic of many fallen Chaos Space Marine warbands.
** The Spyrers from the spin-off game ''TabletopGame/{{Necromunda}}''. Justified by the fact that each and every one of them is a OneManArmy in a world full of {{Badass Normal}}s, so, if [[MassOhCrap a gang manages to kill one or even more of them...]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' kobolds tend to be like this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* In ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'':
** The public of The Burgundy Theater invokes this trope about Montfleury's RunOrDie decision instead of [[LastStand standing to Cyrano (who has threatened to kill Montfleury if he insists to act in a play)]] in the middle of Act I Scene IV. Subverted at the end of that scene, after [[SociopathicHero Cyrano kicks a Bore's ass and wounds De Valvert]], then [[FridgeLogic it is obvious that Montfleury displayed true valor]] despite Cyrano's prohibition to be in a scene. [[JerkAss The public still thinks that Montfleury is a Dirty Coward]].
** At Act II Scene III, Cyrano admits to himself he is one of those when he thinks to write a letter to Roxane and flee. Interestingly enough, he has a FreudianExcuse.
--> '''Cyrano''' ''(To himself):'' [[LoveLetterLunacy I will write, fold it, give it her, and fly!]]
--> ''(Throws down the pen):'' [[LampshadeHanging Coward!]]... But strike me dead
--> [[CannotSpitItOut if I dare to speak to her]],... ay, even one
--> single word!
* Garcin from ''Theatre/NoExit''.
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare used this at least twice:
** The [[MilesGloriosus braggart]] Parolles in ''Theatre/AllsWellThatEndsWell'' cravenly betrays his fellow soldiers when they make him think he has been captured by enemy forces.
** More sympathetically is Falstaff.
* Played for laughs in ''Theatre/TheRivals'', where Bob Acres is persuaded by peer pressure to challenge his romantic rival to a duel, but then immediately starts coming up with excuses to call the whole thing off.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The mayor in ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars: Days of Ruin''. A non-humorous example who [[spoiler:gets a well-deserved KarmicDeath near the end by trying to bargain with BigBad Caulder to save himself after selling out the heroes to him.]]
** From the same game, Waylon, whose own men desert him en masse after his first appearance because he would throw their lives away to cover his own. His theme song is even called "Flight of the Coward".
* More than a few of Altaïr's targets in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' would flee from him (though him being [[OneManArmy Altaïr]] might have something to do with it); ''city guards'' may quit the field if you show off your prowess as well.
** And in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', Borgia captains and couriers are more than likely to flee Ezio's grasp, though then again the same applies for Ezio, who's arguably deadlier than Altaïr.
** The Baron de Valois from ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'', who [[IHaveYourWife takes Bartolomeo's wife hostage]] to try and get the latter to surrender, makes a break for it when surprised by Ezio, and will execute her quickly if Ezio is detected trying to reach him.
** The Doctor character from Multiplayer and ''Project Legacy'' is one too.
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty: VideoGame/ModernWarfare''
** Khaled Al-Asad from [[spoiler:nukes a whole city ''to cover his own ass''. While hiding in a safe house in Russia, while the war is in the [[{{Qurac}} Middle East]]]]. Doesn't get much more cowardly than that. [[spoiler: Subverted, it turns out it was [[BigBad Vladimir Makarov]] who nuked the city on the first place.]]
* Patches the Hyena of ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', and [[LawyerFriendlyCameo later]] ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' and ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}''.
** Also from ''Demon's'', Long Bow Oolan, who chose to wield a bow so she could avoid the frontlines, defended by her legionaries. When she was turned into a demon by the colorless fog, she became the helpless Phalanx, relying on the Hoplites to defend her.
* In ''Videogame/DarkSoulsII'', a couple invader spirits in use cowardly tactics against the player.
** One invades while you are descending a ladder into an enclosed space full of zombie dogs.
** [[ProfessionalKiller Maldron The Assassin]] does this as his career. [[spoiler: In his first encounter he will run away into an area full of enemies when he loses some health. And in his second encounter, he disguises himself as a White Phantom, only to pierce you from behind with a lance.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' we have [[ChewToy Axel the Dark Hero]] who, in the style of Disgaea demons being {{Card Carrying Villain}}s, is a Card Carrying Dirty Coward (hence the "dark" part). Further in Disgaea style, he's actually a LovableCoward.
* One of the main reasons {{Prince Charmles|s}} is one of the [[HateSink least favorite]] ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' characters is that he's both a Dirty Coward ''and'' a {{Jerkass}}, and makes you do all the work for him on the one story quest where you're forced to take him along.
* Porky Minch from ''VideoGame/EarthBound''. At the start of the game, he ditches his brother in the night and proceeds to go bug Ness for help with finding him so that he won't get disciplined, only to prove totally useless in battle, spending most of his time hiding behind you. After he starts viewing Ness as his nemesis, he shows up from time to time to simply taunt him, then run off. [[spoiler:It's only at the very end when he has Giygas backing him up that he actually has something of a spine, but even then, he bails out and leaves Giygas to deal with you once he takes a little abuse.]]
** There's also the man in the tent in Threed, who abandoned his wife and children to the zombies. He doesn't seem to understand why they're angry with him.
* [[SmugSnake Shinji Matou]] from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' is an arrogant {{Jerkass}} who likes talking about how much better he is than everyone, but quickly loses his superior facade once he is confronted and shown what a pathetic and sniveling coward he really is.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblem: [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]]'', the boss of the Part 3 Prologue, Septimus, is shown to be [[ProperlyParanoid immensely paranoid]] about laguz attacks and runs off as soon as the player or allied armies get close, leaving his second-in-command to guard the seize point. He later shows up in 3-8, assigned to enter the [[LethalLavaLand lava-filled caves]] and bring back the bodies of the enemies that [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat no doubt perished there]] as proof that they were dead -- and is ''quite'' dismayed to find them (that's the player's army, again) very much alive.
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', the Hierarch, who Chrom and his sisters had known for ''years'' and who had helped Emmeryn during the early years of her rule sells them out to the Plegian army to save his own hide. When the Plegians begin the ambush, the very first thing they do is kill the man, [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves stating that they were told to bring back a man, not a coward who betrayed his own country]]; the Hierarch's last words, other than begging to go free, are a terrified [[ScreamLikeALittleGirl "EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!"]]
* Goblins, the weakest unit of the Stronghold Faction in ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic V: Tribes of the East''. In gameplay, their cowardice causes them to run away from their attackers instead of retaliating. If enough of the stack is killed, they actually ''defect'' to the other side. Storywise, this attitude earns them a great deal of contempt from the rest of the faction, which primarily consists of {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s. As a result, their "comrades" have no problem with letting their Shamans sacrifice Goblins for mana replenishing rituals or with letting the Cyclops treat Goblins as snacks and ''ammo''.
* Tavion, TheDragon of Desan in ''VideoGame/JediKnight2'':
--> '''Kyle Katarn:''' ''"Why should I believe you?"''
--> '''Tavion:''' ''"Because I am not brave enough to die?"''
** [[spoiler:[[UngratefulBitch She]] returns in the following game as the new BigBad, even taunting Kyle Katarn that he was stupid to spare her.]]
* Kai Leng of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' is a particularly unlikable case. He's not above playing dirty tricks on his enemies, and pulls several on Shepard, including calling in a gunship to provide fire support while his shields recharge and using the salarian councilor as a shield. Even worse, he endlessly taunts Shepard when he's out of danger, including sending them an email mocking them about the events on [[spoiler:Thessia]]. In the final battle, Shepard points out that Kai Leng always runs, which the latter [[LameComeback responds to rather ungracefully]]. When [[spoiler:Shepard shatters/dodges his sword and guts him like a fish]], it's not easy not to cheer.
* The original ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' features a boss fight against "Coward Duck" (later renamed "Dirty Duck") who, although a nearly a non-entity as far as characterization goes, lives up to both his codenames in his fighting style. He strikes at Snake from the relatively safe position of being surrounded by three hostages, and killing any of them makes the game UnWinnable by virtue of being unable to get the Rocket Launcher.
* Brad Vickers, S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team helicopter pilot from the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' franchise, who immediately turns tail and runs off, abandoning his teammates during the events of the [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil first game]] when the zombie dogs attack. When Chief of Police Irons dismisses the rest of the team's claims about the mansion, Vickers goes along with them to keep his job. [[spoiler:To the satisfaction of the player, he eventually is killed off.]].
** Though to Brad's credit, he ''did'' he show up just in time to drop them a rocket launcher to use against the final boss, and then did his damnedest to extract the remaining members of S.T.A.R.S before the mansion went up in smoke. Brad will never hold a very high place in the eyes of the fandom, but if he hadn't worked up the nerve to turn back, there wouldn't have been any survivors of that mission.
* Alfonso in ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' is established as this in the game's ''opening sequence'': once his ship is attacked by the Blue Rogues, he is more concerned with escaping than fighting, and once he secures the means to do so he murders his vice captain in cold blood and tosses the corpse overboard in order to frame the vice captain as a traitor and cover his own ass. However, the surviving crewmen rat him out to [[BigBad Galcian]], who strips Alfonso of his command of the Mid Ocean Fleet and immediately [[ReassignedToAntarctica reassigns him to Ixa'Taka.]]
* The Spathi from ''VideoGame/StarControl'' are a PlanetOfHats devoted to craven cowardice and borderline paranoia as a way of life. A traditional Spathi prayer goes "Oh God, please don't let me die today! Tomorrow would be so much better", and the entire race lives in fear of a nebulous alien race they refer to (always in the same ominous tone) as "The Ultimate Evil". However, they can and will fight if backed into a corner (and they can fight quite well; the Spathi Eluder is one of the best ships in the game). However, this doesn't stop the Spathi from backing out of their alliance with the "hunams" and sealing their home world beneath an impenetrable force field the first chance they get.
** The Spathi can fight quite well -- mostly because their ships are so fast no one can catch them, and because they pelt anything that ''tries'' to catch them with a hailstorm of [[FunWithAcronyms Backward Utilizing Tracking Torpedoes]] fired out of the back of the ship as it flees. Which means, fittingly, that they fight best when they're running away.
** A memorable quote comes from the Spathi High Council, about a Spathi (named Fwiffo) who has been "captured" by the protagonists: "If you held a weapon to Fwiffo's head, he would say anything you wanted him to say. In fact, if you held a vegetable to his head he would probably say anything you wanted him to say."
* Yuber from ''{{Suikoden}}'' is a perfect example of this trope: Once he realizes he's in danger, he will flee, be it in a one-on-one duel or in a big scale battle as commander of his troops. On the other hand if he's feeling superior he will destroy a village out of boredom or summon a huge monster to deal with the hero. What a dick.
** Snowe from ''SuikodenIV'' is a particularly sickening example. Late in the game after everything he has done, you are given the chance of either adding him to your team or killing him, and it is ''very'' easy to make the second choice. Although if you kill him, you won't get the True Ending. [[spoiler: And the main character will die.]] And if you do forgive him he gets better and [[CharacterDevelopment becomes more humble and respectable]]. It could be said, though, that only the [[spoiler: sudden escape from marauding pirates at the beginning of the game]] is cowardice. Everything else, he faces with at least a modicum of courage, [[spoiler: including the ''three'' times he's captured by the player and threatened with death]].
* Alduin in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' turns out to be one of these when faced by someone who can actually hurt him. It's one of the reasons Odahviing agrees to help you pursue him -- the other Dragons are no longer certain that Alduin deserves to be their leader.
** The Orc chief Yamarz has the dubious distinction of being a deceitful weakling amongst [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy a race of proud warriors.]] When his tribe is besieged by Giants, he opts to hole up in the village and let everyone else fight them off rather than lift a finger to do it himself. When he is tasked with slaying the Giant chief, he tries to bribe the player to do it for him and let him take the credit. If the player agrees, he then tries to kill them too to keep his cowardice from being discovered.
** And of course the first example we're confronted with is during the intro, where Lokir the horse thief spends his last moments desperately pleading to his captors, his fellow captives and finally to every one of the Eight Divines for salvation. When you reach the chopping block, he attempts to run for it and shouts "You aren't gonna kill me!" only to be unceremoniously [[InTheBack shot in the back.]]
* The Mean Emcee from ''VideoGame/WarioWorld'' is this. He is absolutely terrified of Wario and will hide under a cup after he punches him enough.
* Anub'Arak in the Old Kingdom dungeon in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' is widely regarded as a despicable coward due to his fight mechanics, where he constantly burrows underground becoming untargetable and sends minions after the players. Far from being a challenge it is merely an annoyance and prolongs the fight unnecessarily. Although that's probably more due to a ScrappyMechanic more than anything else. In ''The Frozen Throne'', when he is first introduced, he is pretty brave, serving as Arthas' [[TheDragon dragon]], accompanying him through Azjol-Nerub and fighting at the front. In one mission, the duo meet a [[http://www.wowwiki.com/Forgotten_one forgotten one]] (an Old God-lite), and Anub'Arak's first response is to charge the thing.
---> '''Anub'Arak:''' [[ThisCannotBe It cannot be...]] Look to your defences, Death Knight! Fight as you have never fought before!
** Many generic enemies in ''World of Warcraft'' have a cowardly streak, upon depleting most of their health they will attempt to flee and the message "[enemy] is trying to run away in fear." is displayed. If not controlled or killed they could potentially reach other enemy groups for help resulting in a wipe.
** Meng the Demented, one of the four Spirit Kings in Mogu'shan Vaults, alternates between attacking the tank normally and fleeing while putting a shield on himself that reflects damage on the raid, in alternating respective "Crazed" and "Cowardice" phases.
* Mumkhar from ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' should get some sort of award for this, because he left his friends to die in the middle of a battlefield just to save his own skin... 5 minutes into the game.
* ''[[VideoGame/AdvancedVariableGeo Advanced V.G. II]]'':
** Despite genetically enhancing her own body, [[BigBad Miranda]] knew she still couldn't defeat [[TheHero Yuka]] in a fair fight. So she forced Yuka to fight [[{{tykebomb}} the Material Twins]] first, then took advantage by attacking Yuka while she was exhausted.
** Ironically, Miranda falls victim to her own tactic, when Yuka proves stronger than she had anticipated; causing Miranda to exert herself just finish Yuka off. Which enabled [[{{fangirl}} Tamao]] to [[LaserGuidedKarma return the favor]] by [[ThisIsUnforgivable whupping.]] [[UnstoppableRage Miranda's.]] '''''[[YouWouldntLikeMeWhenImAngry Ass.]]'''''
* Jyrall in ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'', which takes any and all occasions to get Zael in trouble, but flees at the slightest hint of danger. Even when he tries to sell him off to [[BigBad Zangurak]], the latter is barely interested in him at all. It takes him [[BladeBelowTheShoulder being fused with a demonic sword]], being in numerical advantage AND a full-on mental breakdown to actually challenge Zael to a fight.
* Ben from ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' could be viewed as a deconstruction. Ben is in the unenviable position of being too old to have resilience and trust of authority to protect him (like Clementine and Duck), but too young to have developed self-sufficiency or determination (like Lee and the others in their thirties and forties). He's old enough to comprehend the full horror of the ZombieApocalypse and be terrified of it, but not old enough to have a decade or so of adult life experience to strengthen his character and resolve. He's likely watched a lot of his young and vital peers die right in front of him, as well as teachers he thought could protect them. It's hard to say who Ben might have become if he'd had the chance to age a decade more before all this happened. This is likely why characters like Lee sympathize with him. Ben can be viewed as a masterful deconstruction of a lot of tropes, including this one.
* Lenny from ''VideoGame/HitmanAbsolution'' is a rare overlap between this and IneffectualSympatheticVillain.
* Sundowner from ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance''. Despite his [[TheBrute imposing size]], [[ShearMenace scary weapon]] and [[BloodKnight talk of how awesome war is]], he's revealed to be rather pathetic as an adversary. His only story accomplishments are pretty much just killing one unarmed and [[{{Muggle}} unaugmented]] man in cold blood, and tormenting a bunch of orphans and homeless kids. When you fight him, he clearly can't keep up with Raiden straight on and has to resort to "gimmicky shit" like an explosive shield, not to mention he calls in helicopter drones to back him up when the fight starts going badly for him.
* Anyone who has fought a [[VideoGame/MonsterHunter Rathalos]] will know that the damn thing will fly away the moment the fight begins going badly for it. Luckily, there is a [[BlindedByTheLight thing]] [[PitTrap or]] [[AntiAir two]] you can do about that...
* Ser Jory from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. Introduced as a boastful, proud GloryHound, the ''moment'' the party encounters a wounded soldier and he realizes that he will actually have to ''fight'' Darkspawn, he immediately tries to convince the Warden to desert, and continues to do so even after [[MauveShirt Daveth]] angrily points out that they're the only true defense against the Blight. [[spoiler:This culminates in him outright ''attacking'' Duncan during the Joining in a final attempt to desert. Naturally, this costs him his life]].
* Satan in ''Videogame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow2'' is revealed to be one. Satan is afraid to face anyone who can seriously challenge or even kill him. The only reason he is returning in the present is because he's certain that Dracula is dead. Dracula exploits this trait at the end of their battle by making it look like he is [[ShootTheDog willing]] to [[spoiler:kill his own son Alucard/Trevor (whom Satan is possessing) again just to get rid of Satan]]. Satan panics at the last moment and leaves [[spoiler:Alucard's body]], giving Dracula a clear shot at finishing him off.
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'', Holus, the ex-mayor of New Tristram is regarded as a this by pretty much everyone in the game, and not without reason. While the people of New Tristram, most of them being simple farmers, are desperately trying to keep the ZombieApocalypse at bay, Holus worries more about his broken cart and how he can't flee anymore. The man can't catch a break, because he turns up later in the game as a stranded merchant at Bastion's Keep... which is besieged by TheLegionsOfHell. He complains about wanting to flee the entire time and the PlayerCharacter constantly chews him out for it... [[spoiler:only for him to die when Diablo is resurrected. A nearby soldier notes how he had the chance to flee, [[FaceDeathWithDignity but never did]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/JurassicParkTheGame'', Nima suggests to Miles that they need a distraction when they're surrounded by a pack of ''Dilophosaurus''. Miles' response is to push Nima right in front of one.
* Antharia Jack from VideoGame/ZorkGrandInquisitor is not only one, but outright confirms it. He isn't a brave dashing hero, he just played one on TV. While he does help you a few times. Though in the end, he helps create a plan to have you climb the Macguffin tower which will save the world, while he creates a distraction which is telling the BigBad what you're doing. Then again [[spoiler: if the immortal BigBad didn't climb after you, he wouldn't have been blasted by pure magic and killed. So...]]
* Prince Gordon in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' ran away from Fynn when TheEmpire invaded, leaving his brother Scott to die. He spends his time moping in Altair, feeling insignificant compared to the three refugees who have become the best agents of the [[LaResistance Wild Rose rebellion]], until [[spoiler:he runs away once the Dreadnought begins bombing towns]]. By the time he finally gathers his nerve, he finds himself stymied by the monsters that have overtaken Kashaun Keep [[spoiler:and inadvertantly causes Josef's death, as the heroes wouldn't have needed to go to the Ice Cavern to obtain the Goddess's Bell if Gordon had been there to hold the door open for them]]. He joins with [[TheLoad pitiful stats]], but [[MagikarpPower can level up quickly if you put in the effort]] and [[TookALevelInBadass Takes a Level In Badass]] while accompanying the heroes, eventually taking the role of Commander of the Wild Rose forces [[spoiler:and immediately volunteering to join in on the real Princess Hilda's rescue]].
* ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3'': The murderer turns out to have been this, [[spoiler:when confronted by the ghosts of the children he killed, he turns into a raving coward and runs away like a scaredy cat before trying to hide in an animatronic, which kills him]].
* When laying siege to a raubritter's castle in ''VideoGame/{{Darklands}}'', the party may try to challenge him to a duel. However, a failed skill check will just make him laugh at the heroes and then he will send more henchmen to the field.
* ''VideoGame/MinecraftStoryMode'':
** Ivor drops everything to save himself after his plan goes off the rails in ''The Order of the Stone''. If you choose to have Jesse confront him about his selfish and cowardly behavior, he simply replies that cowardice [[FearIsTheAppropriateResponse keeps him alive]].
** [[spoiler: Soren being one is hinted at in ''The Last Place You Look'' and comes to fruition in ''A Block and a Hard Place'', where he abandons the group right before the final battle. Jesse is even given the option to call him a coward as he flees.]]
* Kratos's StartOfDarkness and the kickstarter of the entire ''VideoGame/GodOfWarSeries'' is because upon having his forces being [[CurbStompBattle curb-stomped]] by the Barbarian forces, rather than die honorably like a Spartan, chose to beg Ares for his own life. While he helped managed to defeat all of their forces including Alrik himself, this act ultimately destroys Kratos's life in the process.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/CommanderKitty'', [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2010/10/24/press-any-button/ CK himself has his moments.]] His [[http://ferretface99.deviantart.com/art/CK-Expressions-244764825 expression sheet]] even has him pushing Nin Wah into the line of fire for "fierce".
* In ''Webcomic/{{Endstone}}'', the [[GraveRobbing Grave Robber]] Bolo [[http://endstone.net/comic/issue-1-page-32/ tries to steal the Lightstone and puts the blame on his companion when caught]].
* The Chief in ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}''. Who survived the massacre by hiding and ignoring the cries of his villagers. Afterwards he becomes a cleric to start a path of redemption.
** Which comes to a [[TearJerker tragic end]] when he performs a HeroicSacrifice to prevent Kore from slaying his fellow goblins.
* Lightning from ''Webcomic/{{Sidekicks}}'' all the way. Despite being a {{Superhero}}, he never puts himself in the line of fire unless he absolutely has to or he is [[BerserkButton provoked]] into doing so. It's no wonder that three [[spoiler:(four if you count Theo being overtaken by Metheos as the former dying)]] of his previous five sidekicks have died. He's also [[NiceJobBreakingItHero indirectly responsible for the destruction of the Committee headquarters.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ImpureBlood'', [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/Issue05PAGES/ib105.html their ride dumps them in the city and leaves.]]
* Dr. Schlock, from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', is played for laughs in this manner: He helps the cast out more often than not, but that's only because Riff has a gun to his head. When he eventually gets into a situation he ''can't'' run away from, he's revealed to be [[CorneredRattleSnake more dangerous]] than he looks.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' gives you Parakewl, a tall, haughty [[JerkWithAHeartOfJerk jerkass]] with a green fish face, who in general calls everybody scum, is the first to abandon somebody, demands that people should be sacrificed for his ends or in his stead, sticks up for nobody, openly switches sides to gain the majority's favor and has neither skill nor intelligence to back his behaviour up. He is known in fandom as the ass. Why he survives is a [[MemeticBadass mystery to all]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebAnimation/DeadFantasy'': Aptly sums up what ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Final Fantasy]]'' fans thought about [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/DeadOrAlive Hayate]]]]'s actions in episode 5. During live screenings, the crowd could be heard booing because he sent an entire squad of {{ninja}} after [[spoiler: [[Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren Tifa]]]][[note]]who's one of [[Creator/SquareEnix SquareEnix's]] [[BreakoutCharacter most beloved characters]][[/note]], who'd been weakened during her fight with Hitomi. And stood idly by, [[WeHaveReserves not caring how many of his men died]], just to keep from getting his hands dirty. It isn't until [[spoiler: Tifa]]'s exhausted and bound in chains that [[SmugSnake he casually strolls up to her]] and finishes her off. At which point, a member of the audience shouts: "That's fucked up! C'mon!!" [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpStJIdDUiw (heard at 4:31).]]
* A possible interpretation of [[EnigmaticMinion Neopolitan]] from ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}''. Against Yang, a rookie first-year Huntress, she's very smug and confident while {{Curb Stomp|Battle}}ing her, but up against a real opponent [[spoiler:such as Raven Branwen]], [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere she pisses off]] [[OhCrap in a rather undignified manner]].
** [[TheSmartGuy Blake]] seems to ''think'' she's this, as one of her defining traits is her inability to tackle her problems head-on - any time the going gets tough, she runs away. Such as the time she accidentally outed herself as a former terrorist, or how she [[spoiler:abandons Team RWBY after the fall of Beacon to the Grimm in the epilogue of Volume 3, even abandoning a badly wounded Yang without a word of warning.]]
* Gaea from ''Franchise/{{Noob}}''. She blackmails and cons her own guildmates while thinking of them as human shields in battle and weasels her way out of contributing to her guild's common fund while frequently stealing from it. She even plays SquishyWizard, which makes her optimal battle strategy consist of taking cover (or sometimes attempt to ditch the battle while pretending to do so) and hitting enemies with powerful attacks.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Daffy Duck of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' is a self-admitted one of these characters, and proud of it. He'll sell out his friends in an instant to save his own hide and/or claim wealth for himself. As he puts it, "Sure I'm a louse, but I'm a ''live'' louse!" During the "Hunter Trilogy" of cartoons, he freely admits he's only sending Elmer after Bugs because it's "Really [[DuckSeasonRabbitSeason duck season]]".
** Inverted slightly in the Hunter's Trilogy, while he is out for "thelf-prethervation", he also seems ''very'' set on his rival getting his head blown off. The numerous instances Elmer actually turns his attention on Bugs, and naturally screws up, Daffy will actually [[MotiveDecay go up to Elmer and berate him to his face to]] "Shoot him! SHOOT HIM!". On one occasion he actually snatched the gun from Elmer and attempted to do the job himself, [[HarmlessVillain the latter just walked off bewildered]].
** His greed can overcome this, though: in "Ducking the Devil" (1957) he ''beats up the Tasmanian Devil'' when Taz takes some money from him!
--->'''Daffy:''' I may be a coward, but I'm a ''greeeedy'' little coward!
* There are many examples from ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''
** When the chips are down, Zapp Brannigan is a coward. This quote from him sums it up.
--->''"I surrender and volunteer for treason!"''
** Bender. In one of the movies, he, Amy and one other character are trapped by a bunch of orcs in a castle. Bender tells the two ladies he has a plan, The next scene shows him holding them up in the and ''tells'' the orcs to take his friends first, just to give him one more second of sweet sweet life. In "Bendin' in the Wind," the crew is plunging off a cliff. Bender grabs a nearby cable, loudly declaring, "I'll save ME!" The rest of the crew is only saved by grabbing his legs just in time.
** Fry is also this. In "The Series Has Landed" Fry gets a moon rover caught in a lunar dust pool. He declares "It's every man for himself!" and bails out, only to sink up to his neck in the very same dust. He immediately calls for Leela to save him. He gets called this in "War is the H-Word" when he, wielding the only charged phaser, blasts himself a hole to hide in. Though at the end of that episode, he does ride a bouncing ball to the peace meeting to save the life of his best friend.
--->'''Zapp Brannigan:''' Look at this sissy, Kif. While others were fighting and dying pointlessly, he was hiding in a hole; wallowing in a pool of his own cowardice.\\
'''Fry:''' That wasn't cowardice!
** Towards the end of the series Leela would seem to override Fry's cowardice, particularly in "A Farewell to Arms" [[spoiler: Fry chooses to stay behind on an apparently doomed Earth to let Leela have a chance of life.]]
* Throughout ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', Starscream is and always has been a dirty coward, instinctively fleeing as soon as any fight starts even leaning in the enemy's favour. He will also fight like a coward, with cheap shots and ambushes, even if he probably had the advantage anyway.
** Taken UpToEleven in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', where he makes [[spoiler: several clones to help him overthrow Megatron (hey, it's TheStarscream we're talking about here), each of which represent one facet of his personality.]] This being [[TheStarscream Starscream]], his 'army' consists of a pantophobe[[note]]Skywarp and Clone #3370318[[/note]], an egomaniac[[note]]Thundercracker[[/note]], a suck-up[[note]]Sunstorm and Clone #2716057[[/note]], a chronic liar[[note]]Ramjet[[/note]], a GreenEyedMonster[[note]]Thrust[[/note]], and... [[YouDoNotWantToKnow something]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'': King Grippulon, supposedly a fearsome king, frequently uses his wife as a shield when his life is in danger, and is willing to put his son on the throne after there are several assassination attempts.
* Captain Hero of ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether''.
--> ''[[CatchPhrase Save yourselves]]!''
* Antoine of the [[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAm Sonic The Hedgehog]] animated series, initially more of an arrogant LovableCoward, was [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] into this trope later on, at least once [[CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys offering to switch sides]] when the Freedom Fighter base had supposedly been found. Even [[SmugSnake Snively]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards found him to be a " little worm"]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' con-artists Argit and Simian, although Simian can and will fight if backed into a corner.
** Ben calls Malware out on being this in 'Omniverse' when Malware sends a gasoline tanker at a busload of innocent children just to escape Ben.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Yon Rha, [[spoiler:the man who killed Katara's mother]], is this. When confronted by his victim's vengeful [[spoiler:daughter]], he cowers in terror and while he admits that what he did was wrong, he offers [[spoiler:his mother]]'s life instead of his own. [[spoiler:Katara]] [[NotWorthKilling merely gives him a]] TheReasonYouSuckSpeech [[CruelMercy and leaves]].
* Dale Gribble from ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' will often sell out his friends or run away.
** Everyone on it has traits of it. Each character on the show is more than willing to abandon each other at a minute's notice or rat the other out if the thought entered their mind. but doubly so for Peggy, who would often switch sides whenever it would benefit her. Going from supporting Hank when he was accused of Racism to claiming he was Racist just so she could enjoy a DoubleStandard with a smug smirk on her face. Whenever its time to put up, she backs away or blames somebody else for what had happened when she's clearly at fault.
* Eustace Bagge from ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog''. There's even one episode where the shadow of a deceased man, who spent the whole night scaring other people, declared that Eustace is an even bigger coward than Courage himself.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor''
** The Delightful Children from Down the Lane are the biggest example Apparently, the term "fair fight" is unknown to them, and they rarely confront even ''one'' member of Sector V without at least one DumbMuscle, an army of mooks, or a HumongousMecha supporting them. And if they lose their edge, they're quick to [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere run for it]]. Of course, you can hardly blame them; the few times they ''have'' tried to stand up to them have been [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]] (with them hitting the curb) and [[spoiler: in the SeriesFinale, Numbuh One defeated all five of them alone.]]
** Ironically, [[spoiler: they were once KND Operatives before being {{Brainwashed}} by Father, and they were far braver originally, as proven when the effect was reversed. (Sadly, Numbuh Zero knew of no way to reverse it permanently.)]]
** On the subject of irony, [[spoiler:Father himself was like this when he was a child. While his far braver brother led the rebellion against ''their'' villainous father, he ran and hid like a coward. Thus, his brother would become the legendary Numbuh Zero, while he would grow up to be the KND's worst enemy. Of course, he became much braver as an adult, but in "Operation: Z.E.R.O.", while his heroic brother was still more than brave enough to face their father, the younger villain still chickened out.]]
** Another example from the show Negative Numbuh Four. Given the fact that everyone in his world is an EvilCounterpart (or a good counterpart, if the character is evil) and a polar opposite of someone in the "real" world, he is [[LeeroyJenkins Numbuh Four]]'s opposite in every way, and is thus a coward in every sense of the word. (Amazingly, Numbuh Four is the first one to realize this, a rare case of him holding the SmartBall.)
* [[JerkJock Flash Thompson]] ''[[AvertedTrope wasn't]]'' one in the original SpiderMan comic, where he usually is portrayed as hot-headed and brave enough to face villains, but ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'' made him one; in this version, he has no scrupples trying to offer Peter as a snack to save his skin when confronted to Venom, and even left Harry Osborn behind to escape Taskmaster.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' has Die Fledermaus, who has no problem ditching the other heroes of The City whenever trouble comes up.
* Safari Joe in the original ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats''. Lion-O assumes he's a coward from the start, and when he finally runs out of ammo and no longer has any tricks, the hero is proven right. The villain does nothing but fall to his knees and [[AintTooProudToBeg plead for his life.]] (Given what he had done, Lion-O might not have spared him if this had been the DarkerAndEdgier remake.)
* The king in ''WesternAnimation/WatsPig'' does not want to fight the battles. During the second battle, he goes and hides under Wat's covers in the countryside while his brother does all the fighting. As a result, [[TheBadGuyWins the invaders successfully take over the kingdom]].
* Preston Northwest from ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls''. [[spoiler: He was gonna leave everyone in his mansion to burn while a ghost wreaks havoc.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerPuffGirls:'' Major Man was secretly a coward with superpowers whose acts of heroism were all staged and to gain him popularity.
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales:'' Major Courage, "Where No Duck Has Gone Before."
* ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'': In "School Spirit", when attacked by monsters, Brittney Wong uses the people around her (including a girl in a wheelchair) as shields and shoves several of them into the monsters to slow them down while trying to escape.
* Dagur the Deranged from DragonsRidersOfBerk is a skilled warrior, loves violence, and is chief of the feared Berserker tribe. Yet for the first two seasons he never goes anywhere without a large armada backing him up, hides behind his men in battle, panics at the first sign of things going wrong, and begs for mercy when captured. He only fights when he has no choice or he gets enraged to a point his madness takes over.
* In IvanhoeTheKingsKnight Prince John shows shades of this at least once but not without justification. While participating in a siege, he has all of the enemy's arrows being fired at him and intends to spend the rest of the siege watching it from a hill. As John so eloquently put it "What is the point of having an army if all of their arrows are meant for me?"
* WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond: Nelson is a great example, beating up a schoolmate until Terry steps in and challenges him, at which point he is no longer mister big and tough.
* An episode of ''TheSimpsons'' has Homer get scared and run away from an operation where he was donating a kidney to Grampa (losing them was Homers fault in the first place), and spends the rest of the episode fleeing in shame. After he decides to return, he freaks out and flees AGAIN, only donating the kidney because he gets crushed by a falling car while running and the doctors just takes one of his kidneys while putting him back together.
[[/folder]]

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ultimate
1st Jul '16 11:04:35 AM Dravencour
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* This is a classic heel character in ProfessionalWrestling. The Wrestling/HonkyTonkMan made a career out of this [[TheGimmick gimmick]] in Wrestling/{{WWE}} and Wrestling/{{Christian}} Cage was in this mode following his FaceHeelTurn in Wrestling/{{TNA}}.

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* This is a classic heel {{heel}} character in ProfessionalWrestling. The Wrestling/HonkyTonkMan made a career out of this [[TheGimmick gimmick]] in Wrestling/{{WWE}} and Wrestling/{{Christian}} Cage was in this mode following his FaceHeelTurn in Wrestling/{{TNA}}.
1st Jul '16 11:01:06 AM Dravencour
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** Jackal, a minor arc villain, is the practitioner of a martial art called "Nanto Bakusatsu-ken" -- ''South Star Exploding Kill Fist''. Despite the grandiose name, the style consists mainly of throwing sticks of dynamite at enemies while at a safe distance. Kenshiro [[LampshadeHanging calls him on this]] by snidely asking him if it's even truly a martial art.

to:

** Jackal, a minor arc villain, is the practitioner of a martial art called "Nanto Bakusatsu-ken" -- ''South Star Exploding Kill Fist''. Despite the grandiose name, the style consists mainly of throwing sticks of dynamite at enemies while at a safe distance. Kenshiro [[LampshadeHanging calls him on this]] by snidely asking him if it's even truly a martial art. When Kenshiro goes on his RoaringRampageOfRevenge, he leaves his men to die and ultimately tries to lie his way out of his fate, first tricking a giant inmate into thinking he's his long-lost brother and then trying to lie to Kenshiro about said inmate being a monster, which turns out to be the last mistake Jackal ever makes.
This list shows the last 10 events of 339. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.DirtyCoward