This is when you have a character who, for whatever reason, is taking on an enemy but can't be the first one to strike. So they deliberately provoke the enemy in an attempt to get them to attack first. They may taunt them a little, they might just outright ask. Either way, the implication is 'let's fight already.'
Sometimes combined with a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner
, in this manner:
Bob: You can fight me or you can surrender. Please, fight.
Of course, the enemy will always take the 'fight' option. Bob will always be confident he can defeat the enemy- whether he actually
can may vary.
This can be for a variety of reasons. Maybe Bob is Lawful Good
, an Actual Pacifist
, or has taken a vow against violence, and will only fight when provoked. Maybe Bob is actually The Mole
, and wants to make the other guy look like the bad guy, or to be blamed for what occurs during the fight.
This can also happen in cases where Bob needs to strike another character, usually to knock them out for a ruse. If Bob is honorable enough, he may insist that the other character hit him first so that he can "hit back" without shame.
Please note that an example is only this trope if Bob provokes the hitter to avoid blame for the fight. Not to be confused with Hit Me, Dammit!
, which is getting someone to hit you to teach them something, this is just provoking someone to a fight. Works well as part of a Wounded Gazelle Gambit
Anime and Manga
- In Gundam Wing: Endless Duel Heero needs to make it look like he knocked Duo out in a fight, as the guards are about to enter. Without explaining, Heero asks Duo to hit him, as a favor. After expressing surprise, Duo punches him in the face. Heero immediately retaliates by socking Duo in the gut so hard that he blacks out.
- In Soul Eater Black*Star does this to Death the Kid twice by breaking a spike off the school and ruining the symmetry. The first time he wants revenge for Kid getting more attention than him, the second he's going a bit crazy after suffering from the Worf Effect (in the anime Kid literally beats the crazy out of him, in the manga he and Tsubaki head off to spend some time with her parents and train).
There is a Russian joke
where a German, a Frenchman, and a Russian are captured by cannibals on safari. After the French and German have made their last requests and are eaten, the Russian asks the chief to punch him in the face. The chief is surprised, but obliges. The Russian then pulls out a gun and begins to shoot the cannibals.
Chief: Why did you not do this before?
Russian: Russians are not aggressors!
Live Action TV
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, after the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match (which Gryffindor scrape a win in thanks to Harry) Malfoy provokes Harry and the Weasley twins into attacking them so they'll be banned from playing.
- Northern Exposure: The spring pre-ice cracking time makes everyone go a little crazy; Holling, normally pacifistic, wants a fight. He keeps trying to provoke people into punching him so he can have a fight but everyone remembers last year when he broke a guy's ribs, so no one will take the bait. Until a (female) cop comes to town; she agrees to meet him in a boxing match. Just as the bell rings, the ice cracks - he's "cured" but the cop won't let him out of the fight and knocks him out with one punch.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble With Tribbles". A group of Klingons are in the same bar as a group of Enterprise crewmen. The Klingons start insulting the "Earthers" and eventually get them to throw the first punch, which turns into a Bar Brawl. A later scene shows Captain Kirk chewing out his crewmen out for starting the fight.
- Another Trek example: Kirk does this to Spock in Star Trek XI, knowing that if Spock can be made to lose his temper he will admit to being "emotionally compromised" and relinquish command.
- In one early Bugs Bunny cartoon, Bugs seems to act remorseful and asks Elmer to kick him for all the awful stuff he's done to him. After much prodding, Elmer gives Bugs a half-hearted tap on the butt. Bugs suddenly turns around and declares, "Of course you know, this means war!"
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Red Hulk employs The Mole variation, provoking The Incredible Hulk so he comes out the hero while the Hulk looks like a monster. It... doesn't end well for Red Hulk.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2, Khelgar interrupts a trio of people trying to rob him with the words 'Come on, someone try and hit me already' because he's spoiling for a fight.
- Dave Gorman describes a Real Life instance of this in his book Googlewhack, in which he meets a man who claims to know martial arts, and asks to be attacked so he can demonstrate his talents. Dave assumes he's the world's politest mugger, and doesn't want to initiate the mugging until he's attacked first.