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Forgiven But Not Forgotten
A character forgives another character in a rather grudging manner.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-12-18 19:09:33 sponsor: 313Bluestreak (last reply: 2013-03-01 20:52:17)

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"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the na´ve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."
--Thomas Szasz

When it comes to forgiving one another, it can be difficult at times. Some of your good-hearted people like the Nice Guy and the Wide-Eyed Idealist would be always willing to let bygones be bygones, but as for the Anti-Hero, Knight Templar, and the Jerkass, not so much. Then, there are some people who actually can (or will) forgive and can still give others the cold shoulder, which is this trope.

In short, this is more of a cynical cousin of Easily Forgiven. Unlike The Messiah who always follows the adage "forgive and forget", these type of characters only take the "forgive" part only. Perhaps the character still feels genuinely hurt by the transgressor's actions or words, which explains the harsh attitude. Perhaps the character is still distrustful towards him and believes that the transgressor might do the same thing all over again; then again, this reason may be justified. Perhaps the person has a bit of a short temper and takes the little things too seriously (like having his foot being accidentally stepped on), which makes it impossible to forgive the other completely. When it comes to this trope, people who only forgive doesn't necessarily mean they have completely moved on.

Usually, other variants would show that The Hero will come to sincerely apologize to The Chick and she will still call him out of his wrongs with responses such as "you've hurt my feelings" or "you should be sorry". She may hear that he's trying to change his ways, but is still not good enough to make her completely happy again. Forgivers would always focus on the bad qualities of others, and if they already forgiven them, they will also give out threats if they ever screw up again. As far as forgiving others and not forgetting their act goes, this is seen as a character still finding it difficult to truly move on at best or just a character being an insufferable Jerkass at worst.

The Atoner may not care if the forgiver is still not going easy on him, since the only thing that matters to him is that he is pardoned for his wrongs. If he does care, though, then he will work his darndest to make that person happy with him again, or at least improve himself morally. As for the forgiver, however, it will take a long time to him to completely forget the bad. And by the time he's happy, it can be heartwarming. If not, then this can make a rather complicated story, and it may be an implication that the character has never really forgiven him at all.

Just as Grudging Thank You is when a character displays half-hearted gratitude, this trope is when a character displays half-hearted forgiveness.

Can be Truth in Television, but let's not go there. Compare Flippant Forgiveness (the sarcastic variant), My Fist Forgives You, and Restrained Revenge (both tropes are about getting even with the wrongdoer while forgiving him). Contrast Reformed, but Rejected and Heel Face Door Slam where both tropes demonstrate that the character, no matter how he has seriously turned his life around, is NOT forgiven at all. Can be found in the middle of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar was given this sort of advice from his master in regards to avoid dwelling himself in revenge too often or he will turn into a beast:
    "Enduring and forgiving are two different things. You must not forget the unjustness of society. As a human being, you must hold the event in contempt. Yet, you must endure. You must put an end to the chain of hatred!"
  • In Kotoura-san, Hiyori was uneasily forgiven for bullying Haruka and nearly getting Manabe killed, although this is because Haruka can read her mind and see that she's genuinely sorry for what she's done. Also, Manabe knows Hiyori was the one responsible for the attack, and was actually shocked and suspicious when she starts hanging out with them.

Film
  • From Warrior, we have this conversation from Paddy and Brandon Conlon. The former was an alcoholic abusive father who favored the latter's brother, Tommy:
    Brendan: You never had any interest in underdogs. But I was your son.
    Paddy: You are my son, Brendan.
    Brendan: Am I?
    Paddy: Yeah, you are. I'm just asking you if can find... find a little bit of space in your heart to forgive me a little bit.
    Brendan: Yeah? All right, I forgive you.
    Paddy: Okay.
    Brendan: But I do not trust you.
    • Brandon and Tommy, however, have reconciled at the end of their fight.
  • Steven tries to avert this in the film The Wisdom Of Crocodiles:
    Anna Labels: It's been a difficult day. I'm sorry. Problems at work. There's no excuse for taking it out on you. Is it alright for Saturday with Martin and Karen?
    Steven Grlscz: Sorry? Oh yes.
    Anna Labels: Good.
    Steven Grlscz: Actually can we not do this? I can't do it this quickly. Accept apologies when I'm still angry. You can't say something like that and then say sorry. Do you see?

Live-Action TV
  • In the Grand Finale of M*A*S*H, Margaret reopens old woulds about Charles supposedly touching his nose while in surgery; even before Margaret actually comes out with, Charles states, "Oh, no you don't! We settled that a long time ago!"
  • Discussed and played with a little in the pilot of Stargate SG-1. Jack O'Neil(l)'s son Charlie died after accidentally shooting himself with Jack's sidearm before the movie, and Jack has this to say about it:
    Jack: I think, in her heart, [my ex-wife] forgave me for what happened to our kid. She just... couldn't forget.
    Daniel: And what about you?
    Jack: I'm the opposite. I'll never forgive myself. But sometimes I can forget. Sometimes.
  • iCarly: The episode "iStillPsycho" shows Nora, who was released from prison, coming to apologize to Carly and the gang for what happened in "iPyscho". Even though they rebuked her for her psychotic behavior, they immediately become in good terms with Nora. For now...
  • From the Burn Notice episode "The Hunter", Sam and Madeline had a conversation about Sam blowing up her living room in "Lesser Evil":
    Sam: Maddy, I thought we've forgotten about that.
    Madeline: Forgiveness is a process...
  • From The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "The Script Formerly Known As...", Philip was rather reluctant to accept both Will and Hilary's apology for bringing a dismissed juror of Philip's trial to Hilary's talk show.

Music
  • Papa Roach's "Blood" pretty much deals with this trope. This line in particular:
    I will forgive, but I won't forget
    And I hope you know you've lost my respect

Religion
  • As far as Forgiveness is concerned, some verses in The Bible state that forgiveness isn't always about forgetting the bad. Exodus 34:7 shows us, for example, that while a person forgives the wrongdoer, that doesn't mean he trusts him.
    • In retrospect, this trope is played straight to humanity who is more or less able to forgive, but isn't able of forgetting the past in contrast to God who is able and willing to forgive humanity's sins and is able and willing to forget them, despite that He still has to punish His people from time to time, especially in the Old Testament.

Web Original
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    Seto Kaiba: I can't believe the five of you tried to take over my company.
    Mokuba: And don't forget how they kidnapped me!
    Seto Kaiba: Yeah... that too.
    Gansley: Mr. Kaiba, please let us explain. We were just pretending to work for Pegasus!
    Seto Kaiba: I instantly forgive you. But I'm still pretty sore about that whole trying to kill me thing.

Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons episode "$pringfield, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling.":
    Homer: You know, Marge, for the first time in our marriage, I can finally look down my nose at you. You have a gambling problem!
    Marge: Hmmm, that's true. Will you forgive me?
    Homer: Oh, sure! Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears?
    Marge: Hmmm.
    Homer: Well, that's nothing, because you have a gambling problem! And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house 'cause he was dressed like Santa Claus?
    Marge: Hmmm.
    Homer: Well you have a gambling problem!
    Marge: Homer, when you forgive someone, you can't throw it back at them like that!
    Homer: Aw, what a gyp.
    (they kiss)
    Homer: Remember when I -
    Marge: Homer!
    Homer: Oh yeah, I forgot already.
    • Another episode involves a flashback to Homer and Marge meeting as kids, and Marge livid with Homer when realizing he is actually a boy who stood her up for a date. When he reveals the insane chain of events that had actually stopped Homer arriving in time, Marge calms, but is still sore about her experience, despite Homer constantly hounding her whether she's let it go afterwards.
  • Avatar The Last Airbender: Katara seems to have this sort of attitude toward Zuko after the latter's Heel-Face Turn. She does fully forgive him at the end of the series, though.
  • Franklin: In the episode "Franklin Forgives", Franklin was advised by Bear to forgive and forget in regards of forgiving Harriet for knocking off a bowl of Goldie, Franklin's goldfish. Franklin response was that he doesn't want to forget Goldie.
  • Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has finally earned the trust of the Mane Six, but they still haven't forgotten about when he had caused them to go Brainwashed and Crazy and making the World Gone Mad.
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