Created By: TheHandle on May 22, 2014 Last Edited By: TheHandle on June 30, 2014

Strength-Obsessed

They see life as nothing but a power struggle.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
To them, it's nat that Might Makes Right, it's that Might is Right. That moral claims are only valid if backed by force, and that power only belongs to the strongest. Proud Warrior Race Guy is when you have an entire culture like that (at least, an the surface).

They will be obsessed with being Bad Ass, and will only respect others if they prove to be a Worthy Opponent. The Power of Love, The Power of Trust, The Power of Friendship... they don't regard those as True Strength. They are not necessarily heartless; they will show mercy to the weak... as long as they know their place. In fact, they can have a rather well-developed warrior ethic.

Frequent flaws among this kind are Pride, Wrath, and Rashness. They may gather vassals for one purpose or another, but they don't feel attached to them, and probably won't take betrayals personally (though punishment will be swift and brutal nonetheless), relying on their own strength rather than personal ties to keep the 'alliance together.

This trope is especially relevant in societies where personal strength does matter a great deal, where the rule of law is weak, and clan-like groups impotent.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Rurouni Kenshin
    • The motto Shishio Makoto lives by is "the weak are food for the strong". He believes that innocent people are just sheep to be controlled by strong people like himself. He believes this so strongly that he wants to recreate Japanese society into a "hell on earth" where only the strongest murderers and assassins can survive.
    • Shinomori Aoshi became obsessed with becoming the strongest fighter in Japan after his friends were killed by a Gatling gun. He wrongly blames Kenshin for their deaths and during the Shishio arc wants to kill Kenshin to prove he's the strongest fighter.
  • This is the overall ideology that underlies the world of Fist of the North Star. See its entry in Unbuilt Trope for a summary of how this works: basically, it's a world where personal, physical strength decides everything. Morality, any morality, cannot stand without being backed up by strong-enough individuals who endorse it.
  • Dio from Jojos Bizarre Adventure believes in power and becoming top dog, and nothing else. He's also extremely petty about it. Jonathan Joestar was the only man he ever respected, not because he was an Ideal Hero, a perfect gentleman, and a paragon of the Seven Heavenly Virtues, but because of his extreme combat prowess.

Literature
  • Okonkwo from Things Fall Apart is obsessed with strength and never expresses any other emotion than anger. His Freudian Excuse is that his father was a lazy weakling musician who preferred playing the fiddle to helping out the family at the farm, leaving his wife and children in dire straits.

Video Games
  • Metal Gear Rising has this trope become relevant because of the immense personal power human cyborgs can have.

Real Life
  • Friedrich Nietzsche seemed to suggest that this mentality was a healthy way to live, although he placed a high emphasis on the mental, intellectual and philosophical side of things, rather than brute physical strength.

Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • May 22, 2014
    bitemytail
    That Fist Of The North Star entry is a bit of a Wall Of Text.

  • May 22, 2014
    Chabal2
    ... Surely the Fot NS one can be shortened.

    • In Twilight Princess, the Gorons see strength as marking moral superiority, which is why they won't even let you on their mountain until you prove yourself stronger (by resisting a Goron charge), and only let you into their mines once you defeat their current leader at sumo wrestling.
    • Orks in Warhammer 40 K grow bigger the more orks they're in charge of. The winner of an intercine battle will then absorb the loser's surviving troops into his own Waaagh, and likely grow another six inches or so.
  • May 22, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ And your Harry Potter example is Zero Context Example.

    Videogame
    • In Devil May Cry, Vergil wants nothing more than power. According to him, "Might controls everything - and without strength, you cannot protect anything; let alone yourself. This was because he was Forced To Watch along with his brother, the sight of their mother getting killed by demons when they were kids. So he sought to become more powerful than any demon.
  • May 22, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    The Fist Of The North Star example needs to be rewritten as a proper example and not like an opening narration to the show itself.

    Also, like the State the source section of How To Write An Example tells us, the name of the work is to be mentioned near the beginning of the example. You sure as hell don't save it to the very last line.
  • May 22, 2014
    xanderiskander
    Anime and Manga
    • Rurouni Kenshin:
      • The motto Shishio Makoto lives by is "the weak are food for the strong". He believes that innocent people are just sheep to be controlled by strong people like himself. He believes this so strongly that he wants to recreate japanese society into a "hell on earth" where only the strongest murderers and assassins can survive.
      • Shinomori Aoshi became obsessed with becoming the strongest fighter in Japan after his friends were killed by a gatling gun. He wrongly blames Kenshin for their deaths and during the Shishio arc wants to kill Kenshin to prove he's the strongest fighter.

    As defined (and judging from the Wall Of Text example at the bottom) this seems extremely close to being the same thing as The Social Darwinist. What makes this different?
  • May 22, 2014
    TheHandle
    It might be a subtrope. The Social Darwinist is about "survival of the fittest", and its definition of fitness can encompass much more than personal Bad Ass-ery. I've checked the five types mentioned there, and this doesn't seem to quite fit any of them; they all seem to believe that "superiority" is inherent to the individual, rather than something to be built up. Also, would you call Okonkwo a Social Darwinist?

    The guy who inspired me to write this trope up was Kaito Kumon from Kamen Rider GAIM. This is partly an attempt to pin him down.

    Sorry for the Fist Of The North Star example, I lifted it directly from Unbuilt Trope.
  • May 22, 2014
    Tiiba
    Most Saiyans from Dragon Ball Z. Their whole society is built on Asskicking Equals Authority. Vegeta in particular constantly struggles with the fact that he, a royal, is weaker than Goku, of lower-class ancestry.
  • May 22, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^^ That's an actual example existing on this wiki?! Ok, sorry for lashing out on you for that, it's obviously not your fault... but dear God, can't people write proper examples anymore?

    EDIT: Off-topicing aside, namespaced and italicized a couple examples + sorted examples by media.
  • May 22, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
  • May 22, 2014
    DAN004
    Uh... I believe this isn't distinct from Might Makes Right. And somehow it has no examples...
  • May 23, 2014
    TheHandle
    ^^^^It's one of the oldest examples in one of the oldest pages we have, greenhorn ;)

    ^I believe it is, but it would take me some effort to articulate why. They overlap but are not equal: for instance, in Death Note, both protagonist and main antagonists take the view that, in the question of whether Kira is just, whoever wins the struggle is determined as just, in a deeper way than just Written By The Winners. But none of the characters are obsessed with personal strength: they're just obsessed with winning.
  • May 23, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Long story short: strength and power are two different things.
  • May 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ I think I can.

    Power's keyword is "conquest". power = control. aka The Man Behind The Curtain, all power no strength.

    Strength's keyword is "triumph". strength = survival. aka Submissive Badass, all strength no power.
  • May 23, 2014
    Arivne
    • Corrected spelling (wan't -> won't).
    • Added blank line(s) for readability.
    • Examples section formatting
      • Blue Linked media section titles(s).
      • Added a space between *'s and the first word following them.
    • Capitalized (japanese, gatling).
  • May 23, 2014
    TheHandle
    ^Thank you very much!
  • May 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Conquest vs Survival, huh...

    Took quite some time to understand and accept their differences, but I see.

    Still, my problem is that it's hard to distinguish someone's motivations for might, either conquest or survival... examples' gonna have a lot of debates.
  • May 23, 2014
    MorganWick
    I'm not even sure which trope is supposed to be which. The name for this one says strength, the laconic implies power, the name of Might Makes Right says strength to me but I could see it being power...
  • May 23, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ which is why I suggest revamping Might Makes Right.
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