Created By: ChrisLang on November 27, 2010 Last Edited By: ChrisLang on April 17, 2012

Suicide Sacrifice

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So a character's decided to die in the process of saving others' lives. It'd be a Heroic Sacrifice, except the audience has to wonder: Does the character really value the life he's giving up that much? He's been acting all angsty and emo, at the very least, and may be an overt Death Seeker at the most.

When a character such as this sacrifices themselves, the line between Heroic Sacrifice and a (usually non-literal) Suicide by Cop blurs.

Spoiler alert. This is a Death Trope, and as such contains spoilers for just about every work mentioned in it.

Examples:

  • Highlander: Endgame has Connor Macleod being put through a Trauma Conga Line courtesy of the Big Bad so that he retreats to a Sanctuary for fifteen years, and is generally morose. He forces his clansman Duncan Macleod into a kill or be killed fight, because one of them needs the other's Quickening to defeat the Big Bad. He basically tells Duncan "Kill me or I'll kill you." In the end, Duncan reluctanctly complies.
  • Colossus is all better now, but the 90's was not a good decade for him. His younger sister died from the mutant-killing Legacy Virus, his brother went insane, and he genuinely became an angsty basket case. Eventually, a cure for the Legacy Virus was discovered, but it was a case where Someone Has to Die for the cure to be released into the atmosphere. Colossus chose to be the one to do this, while everyone else was distracted.
  • The movie Seven Pounds. Yes, Tim kills himself so that his heart can be transplanted to save the life of a woman with a heart condition, but he's also doing it out of Survivor Guilt. He blames himself for a car accident that killed seven people, and has been donating organs he can spare to six other people before this point. As a clincher, he chooses the most painful method available to him as his means of suicide .. death by box jellyfish sting. (Yes, the jellyfish venom would make the heart not suitable for transplant, but tell that to the makers of the film.
  • Mr. Hyde, in League of Extraordinary Gentleman Volume II, before going out to face the Martians in the climax, admits that his actions will make him seem rather noble when all he really wanted to do was slaughter something. Word of God confirms that Hyde has a death wish, caused by his feelings for Mina, and his knowledge about how he knows he cannot act on those feelings.

Do We Have This Already? It might also need a better title.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • November 28, 2010
    wanbli
    Speaking of Colossus, what about Thunderbird? (The original.)
  • November 28, 2010
    c0ry
    [[Spoiler: Topher]] in Dollhouse pulls off one of these - either that, or Plot Induced Stupidity. [[Spoiler: He builds a device]] which could [[Spoiler: restore all the memories to everyone wiped, ever]] but apparently [[Spoiler: he]] can't build a remote detonator. Fridge Logic leads you to believe that [[Spoiler: he]] really wanted to die.
  • November 29, 2010
    NativeJovian
    Doesn't really seem trope-worthy to me. Most of it seems covered by Death Seeker or Suicide By Cop.
  • December 10, 2010
    ChrisLang
    Well, this is, to me, where the line between Heroic Sacrifice and Suicide By Cop blurs, because the character in question may be a Death Seeker, or at least angsty enough that one might think the character is a Death Seeker.
  • March 18, 2011
    Bisected8
    I think this might just be Death Seeker.
  • March 18, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    This might be Taking You With Me?
    • In Starship Troopers, a seriously woulded marine asks to be left behind... with a bomb.
    • Similarly, Gorman and Vasquez in Aliens.
    • In Drowtales, when Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen uses her seed to win a battle, a suicidal move.
  • June 9, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    • Ken in In Bruges. Seriously injured and losing blood, he first attempts to get a shot at Harry from the top of the tower-- but it's too foggy. He needs to warn Ray, who is directly across the square. The fastest way get there is for Ken to jump.
  • June 9, 2011
    Bisected8
    @c0ry: The word "spoiler" in spoiler tags has to be all lower case.
  • June 9, 2011
    azul120
    At the end of Code Geass, Lelouch makes himself the enemy of the world and stages his assassination to unite the world in peace after his death. However, he apparently enacted this plan, the Zero Requiem, out of a death wish after apparently losing Nunnally in the FLEIJA blast and getting betrayed by the Black Knights. More importantly, said plan involved him being the worst person in the world, and from what we see, he brainwashes soldiers en masse into becoming Faceless Goons and later uses them as meat shields against Schneizel, and blows up the sakuradite reserves of Mt. Fuji, no doubt causing massive damage over Japan. Many nobles are assassinated as well, and C. C. notes that said nobles had a right to object to what he was doing.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    Is this Death Seeker? Does it need to be discarded, or is there a separate trope that can be made here?
  • April 17, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^^^^ Taking You With Me doesn't necessarily involve protecting/saving others. This trope does.

    ^^^^^^, ^ Death Seeker is someone who wants to die and fights as a way of achieving that goal. This is about someone choosing to cause their own death because they have to do so in order to protect or save others.

    Film
    • Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan. Due to an alien monster being wrapped around his brain, Captain Terrell is under Khan's control. When Khan tells him to kill Captain Kirk, Terrell commits suicide by phaser rather than kill a fellow Starfleet officer.
  • April 17, 2012
    uncannybeetle
    Speaking of Colossus' sister, in New Mutants 37 when the Beyonder came to kill the team she offered herself up as a sacrifice. Subverted when he proceeded to kill everyone anyway after reducing her to ash. He then brings her and the rest of the team back as an experiment. And at the end of Inferno she erased herself from existence to save an alternate version of herself and the world. She always hated her life and has been theorized to have wanted to die, so I think it fits.
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