Created By: BlueIceTea on September 20, 2013 Last Edited By: BlueIceTea on September 28, 2013
Troped

A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

Getting revenge on someone by doing to them what they did/were going to do to you.

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Trope
A specific form of Revenge, where a person receives the same bad treatment that they showed/were going to show to others. While it may be the original victim who delivers the punishment, it can just as easily be a relative or even a complete stranger.

Superficially, this might look like Beat Them at Their Own Game, but they are motivated by different factors and have a different meaning to the plot:

  • Beat Them at Their Own Game is a survival technique. The person who successfully does it has proven that he can do whatever the other person did just as well.
  • A Taste Of Their Own Medicine is a type of Revenge. The person who successfully does it has demonstrated why the other person should follow The Golden Rule.

The two tropes occasionally overlap, but, in general, try to list an example as one or the other. If you're not sure which it is, ask yourself whether the primary motivator is survival or revenge.

Contrast Hoist By Their Own Petard, which is where a character's bad actions lead directly to their downfall, with no second-party intervention. Often a form of Pay Evil unto Evil. Can overlap with Laser-Guided Karma if the character's fate is similar to that of his victims. See also Who's Laughing Now?, which sometimes results from applying this trope.


Examples

Film
  • In The Philadelphia Story, Tracy pretends not to know that Mike and Liz are reporters and grills them about their personal lives, just as they were planning to do to her.
  • In Batman Begins, Batman quips 'Taste of your own medicine, Doctor?' as he gives Scarecrow a dose of the same fear-inducing toxin that Scarecrow had previously used to attack both Batman and Rachel.
  • In Dredd, Ma-Ma has three rival drug-dealers killed at the start of the film by dosing them with Slo-Mo (a drug which makes the user experience everything in Slow Motion) before throwing them from the top of the Peach Trees complex; when Dredd has her cornered at the end of the film, he decides to execute her by dosing her with Slo-Mo and throwing her through the window of her penthouse on Peach Trees' top floor.

Live Action TV
  • Lampshaded on an episode of Seinfeld, in which after Kramer's Girl of the Week distracts Jerry while putting on a set for a reporter by laughing really obnoxiously, then heckling him, Jerry goes down to her office and heckles her back, hurting her feelings. Kramer is flabberghasted at Jerry giving her a taste of her own medicine, however, a fellow comedian praises Jerry, and even compares him to Rosa Parks.
  • In Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Illustrious Client, Baron Gruner is left horribly disfigured after one of his former mistresses, Kitty Winter, attacks him with vitriol. The Granada Television adaptation portrays this as a revenge attack for an earlier incident in which the Baron had himself used vitriol to attack Kitty, leaving nasty scars on her neck and chest.

Mythology & Religion
  • In Greek mythology, Theseus encountered a bandit called Sinis who killed travellers by bending two pine trees and tying his victims between hem. Theseus killed Sinis by binding him between his own pine trees. When he met another robber called Sciron who forced travellers to wash his feet and then kicked them over a cliff to be eaten by as monstrous turtle, Theseus fed him to his own turtle. Finally, he met a robber named Procrustes. Procrusted would invite weary travellers to spend the night but would always claim the bed was either too long or too short for his guest. If the bed was too short he would cut the travellers limbs until they fit. If the bed was too long he would stretch his victims limbs till they fit. Theseus cut of his feet and head with his own saw.
  • Happens to the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:21-35. The servant has one of his colleagues thrown in jail for failing to repay a small debt. His master, outraged, throws him in jail, reasoning that if the servant can't show mercy to others, he deserves no mercy himself.

Western Animation
  • Used regularly by Looney Tunes protagonists such as Bugs Bunny. Perhaps most directly in "Rabbit Fire", after Elmer Fudd spends the whole short hunting Bugs and Daffy Duck, a new poster reveals it is "Elmer Season", with a very worried Elmer evading the two, now with hunting garb and rifles.

Video Games
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic IV the necromancer Gauldoth is wrongfully accused of being a child-murderer by the citizens of Vitross, and a town guard named Mardor tries to have him Burned at the Stake. Gauldoth flees from Vitross, but returns several months later with an army which he uses to besiege and capture the town. He makes sure Mardor is captured alive during the siege, and has him burned to death.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, The Legion attacks the NCR outpost at Searchlight by opening up an old radioactive waste dump within the town, turning Searchlight into an irradiated wasteland. In one quest you can undertake for the NCR, you have the option of destroying a Legion outpost at Cottonwood Cove by finding a toxic waste transport vehicle on a cliff overlooking the cove and making it dump its cargo into the outpost below. If you choose this option, the quest-giver compliments you on your sense of irony.

Web Comics
  • This Goblins strip is a story of an Alternate Universe in which Dellyn, a Torture Technician, is tortured to death by Minmax using the same torture techniques that Dellyn had previously used against Forgath and Kin, Minmax's comrades.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • September 20, 2013
    CaveCat
    Western Animation
    • The third act of the Mr Bogus episode "Museum Madness" had Ratty and Mole plot to capture Bogus with a snare trap in order to keep him from finding pirate treasure. However, thanks to a Pirate Parrot who was helping Bogus find the treasure, Bogus is warned of this plot and is able to sneak up behind the two rodents before using a tree branch to send them flying into their own snare trap.
  • September 20, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • On a whim, the Duke brothers bankrupt and discard their protege, Louis Winthorpe, and elevate street hustler Billy Valentine in his place as the plot of Paramount Pictures' Trading Places. Winthorpe and Valentine later conspire to sunder the Dukes through orange juice futures.
  • September 21, 2013
    DAN004
  • September 21, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    ^^ I dunno. The first one sounds like Beat Them At Their Own Game...

    ^ ...and the second one sounds like straight Revenge. Is what Winthorpe and Valentine do to the Dukes the same as what the Dukes did to Winthorpe? From the current description, it doesn't sound like it.
  • September 21, 2013
    Astaroth
    • In Heroes Of Might And Magic IV the necromancer Gauldoth is wrongfully accused of being a child-murderer by the citizens of Vitross, and a town guard named Mardor tries to have him Burned at the Stake. Gauldoth flees from Vitross, but returns several months later with an army which he uses to besiege and capture the town. He makes sure Mardor is captured alive during the siege, and has him burned to death.
    • In Batman Begins, Batman quips 'Taste of your own medicine, Doctor?' as he gives Scarecrow a dose of the same fear-inducing toxin that Scarecrow had previously used to attack both Batman and Rachel.

    EDIT: would it count if the person who carries out the 'Revenge' hadn't been wronged personally, but knew that the method they were using held significance? For example:
    • In Dredd, Ma-Ma has three rival drug-dealers killed at the start of the film by dosing them with Slo-Mo (a drug which makes the user experience everything in Slow Motion) before throwing them from the top of the Peach Trees complex; when Dredd has her cornered at the end of the film, he decides to execute her by dosing her with Slo-Mo and throwing her through the window of her penthouse on Peach Trees' top floor.
    • This Goblins strip is a story of an Alternate Universe in which Dellyn, a Torture Technician, is tortured to death by Minmax using the same torture techniques that Dellyn had previously used against Forgath and Kin, Minmax's comrades.
  • September 21, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Live Action TV
    • Lampshaded on an episode of Seinfeld, in which after Kramer's Girl Of The Week distracts Jerry while putting on a set for a reporter by laughing really obnoxiously, then heckling him, Jerry goes down to her office and heckles her back, hurting her feelings. Kramer is flabberghasted at Jerry giving her a taste of her own medicine, however, a fellow comedian praises Jerry, and even compares him to Rosa Parks.
  • September 21, 2013
    Psi001
    Concerning Trading Places, I think it's more the Ironic Echo that made it sound like a taste of their own medicine (which them sarcastically claiming they made a bet they could ruin the Dukes for one dollar, the same they made for ruining Winthorpe). Otherwise it mostly fits in the generic case of the Dukes ruined Winthorpe (and planned to send Valentine back on the streets) so they'd ruin them.

    • Used regularly by Looney Tunes protagonists such as Bugs Bunny. Perhaps most directly in "Rabbit Fire", after Elmer Fudd spends the whole short hunting Bugs and Daffy Duck, a new poster reveals it is "Elmer Season", with a very worried Elmer evading the two, now with hunting garb and rifles.
  • September 21, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    ^^^ Yes!!! It's totally okay for someone other than the original victim to exact the "revenge".
  • September 21, 2013
    eedwardgrey3
    In mythology Theseus encountered a bandit called Sinis who killed traveller by bending two pine trees and tying his victims between hem. Theseus killed Sinis by binding him between his own pine trees. When he met another robber called Sciron who forced travellers to wash his feet and then kicked them over a cliff to be eaten by as monstrous turtle, Theseus fed him to his own turtle. Finally he met a robber named Procrustes. Procrusted would invite weary travellers to spend the night but would always claim the bed was either too long or too short for his guest. If the bed was too short he would cut the travellers limbs until they fit. If the bed was too long he would stretch his victims limbs till they fit. Theseus cut of his feet and head with his own saw.
  • September 22, 2013
    Astaroth
    • In Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Illustrious Client, Baron Gruner is left horribly disfigured after one of his former mistresses, Kitty Winter, attacks him with vitriol. The Granada Television adaptation portrays this as a revenge attack for an earlier incident in which the Baron had himself used vitriol to attack Kitty, leaving nasty scars on her neck and chest.

    BTW, the categories for 'Heroes of Might & Magic' and 'Goblins' are 'Videogames' and 'Webcomics' respectively
  • September 25, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    Well, this is about ready to publish. Can I get a couple more hats?
  • September 25, 2013
    DAN004
    You sure people won't be confused by "Medicine"?
  • September 25, 2013
    acrobox
    yes
  • September 26, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    ^^ Er, in what way?
  • September 26, 2013
    clockworkboy
    definitely compare Whos Laughing Now?,which is usually the type of response to come after they've been given a taste of their own medicine.
  • September 27, 2013
    DAN004
    So I think "A Taste Of Their Own Medicine" is already an idiom or something? I'm not a native English speaker so I may not immediately know...
  • September 27, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    it is. and i'm no englishman either but it's pretty common.
  • September 27, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    Yeah, the full idiom is "To give [someone] a taste of their own medicine." It means just what the trope says it does, which makes it a pretty intuitive name.
  • September 27, 2013
    313Bluestreak
  • September 27, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ It's okay, then. =P
  • September 28, 2013
    Astaroth
    • In Fallout New Vegas, The Legion attacks the NCR outpost at Searchlight by opening up an old radioactive waste dump within the town, turning Searchlight into an irradiated wasteland. In one quest you can undertake for the NCR, you have the option of destroying a Legion outpost at Cottonwood Cove by finding a toxic waste transport vehicle on a cliff overlooking the cove and making it dump its cargo into the outpost below. If you choose this option, the quest-giver compliments you on your sense of irony.
  • September 28, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    Launching.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rq5u2zuo0stcsv5roketnp9u&trope=ATasteOfTheirOwnMedicine