->''"Oh, to be free... Not to have to go ''poof'' What do you need? ''poof'' What do you need? ''poof'' [[RuleOfThree What do you need?!]] To be my own master! Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world!"''
-->--'''Genie,''' ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''

Freedom -- it's one of the most important items on the [[MotivationIndex list of things characters want]]. After all, you have to be free to pursue [[IJustWantToBeLoved love]] or [[IJustWantToBeSpecial adventure]] or anything else you want in the first place. But as every patriotic song out there tells you, freedom doesn't come free. Thus, you have to work and/or suffer long and hard to get it, which gives you the plot of your story. It's not uncommon for the characters that obtain their freedom to have to work to remain free as well.

There may be an [[LaResistance entire nation of people]] fighting to be free from TheEmpire and their EvilOverlord. There may be some force or regime keeping everyone from doing what they want, in which case, it might be necessary to ask some questions, such as "why is the government so petty", or is it that "YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters"? This can also be said of real life: part of the reason that we have governments and armies is to keep the perceived freedoms of some from impeding on those of others (whether they are or not oppressive, in real life as in fiction, is a crapshoot).

Individuals who just want to be free include:
* Imprisoned inmates, especially ones who are innocent and thus more worthy of audience sympathy.
* Slaves, of the traditional and [[MagicallyBindingContract magical kind]].
** The latter includes [[GenieInABottle genies]].
* Refugees from an oppressive government, which provides the perfect set-up for BatmanInMyBasement.
* [[StayInTheKitchen Women]] -- This is the motivation of the RebelliousPrincess, RunawayFiance (along with MarryForLove), and (in darker stories) {{Sex Slave}}s.
* A person or creature under [[{{Curse}} an evil spell]].

So, how is freedom usually won? Indentured slaves or [[MagicallyBindingContract contractually-bound]] victims might make a deal with their master and perform some task for which they will be set free as a reward. Or "deal with" them. Another tactic is simply running away, changing your name, and starting a new life, hoping your past doesn't catch up with you... at least until you've recovered your strength and gathered forces to return and rescue everyone else. Marriage has an interesting role in the process, as it can be portrayed as a form of imprisonment (especially if it's an ArrangedMarriage) or as an escape, such as a CitizenshipMarriage.

Oddly, chances are very good that TheHero of the piece will be an ally aiding the victim (if not falling in love with him/her) as much as being the person actually struggling for freedom. If there is a MagneticHero, expect this whole "freedom" thing to catch on, because for some reason the other characters simply lacked the will or the power to act on their own.

If characters have to obtain the ability to be free, compare EarnYourHappyEnding. If TheMasquerade blocks freedom, it may be obtained by TheUnmasquedWorld

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''OnePiece'' is a series that is about dreams and freedom,, expressed through piracy. This is especially apparent with the [[MagneticHero transformative qualities of the protagonist]]. Of course, for ''major'' characters, this seems to translate to "leave whatever the hell you're doing and [[RuleOfCool do something unexpected]]". The emphasis on dreams goes both ways: with villains, the protagonist doesn't kill them, but leaves them alive [[AFateWorseThanDeath to watch their hopes and dreams crumble around them.]]
** This is so often the case that when one character chose to be free to ''stay where she was and continue to be a responsible leader'', it seemed out of place. In fact, the main character's primary motivation is to become the 'Pirate King' because it's the person, "with the most freedom in the world".
* In ''ShamanKing'', many characters seek the power of the greatest spirit in order to fulfill their dreams, though Yoh, the protagonist, seeks it in order to not be bothered by having to work for anything anymore. To him, it's logical to work himself to death (literally) if it means freedom later in life. Some characters are so caught up in the concept of needing the Great Spirit to accomplish their goal that they forget they could do it anyway.
* Some of the [[SealedInsideAPersonShapedCan Tailed-Beast Hosts]] from ''{{Naruto}}'' seek freedom from the stigma of being the hosts of demons, and thus the requirement of being war machines. Killer Bee, host of the Eight-Tails, fakes his death so he can get away from his responsibilities.
** And the bijuu themselves want to escape their hosts, which, incidentally, is fatal for the human in question.
* In ''ElfenLied'', everyone in the DysfunctionJunction [[IJustWantToBeNormal just wants to live a normal, peaceful life]], but since HumansAreTheRealMonsters and [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman Lucy/Nyu and Nana aren't human]], that proves quite difficult.
* ''{{Manga/Inuyasha}}'': Kikyou wanted to be a normal woman, freed from the destiny of having to protect the Shikon no Tama. It was a dream she could only fulfill in death.
** Kagura was a wind youkai enslaved by magic to serve the BigBad. Her overwhelming desire was to be as free as the wind and she was willing to work with Inuyasha's group and especially Sesshoumaru to achieve her ends. In the end, like Kikyou, she could only achieve her dream in death.
--> ''"I am the wind. As free as the wind."''
* The BigBad of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' originally began as a lab experiment that couldn't survive outside of the flask it was created in. Everything its done is to escape its container. [[spoiler:The big bad even said this as one of his reasons for all of the evil things that he has done over the course of the anime/manga just before he is forced back through the gait.]]
* This is [[AxisPowersHetalia America's]] motivation for the American Revolution.
--> Britain! All I want is my freedom! I'm not a child anymore, nor your little brother. From now on, consider me independent!
* In ''Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic'', Al-Thamen's goal is to ScrewDestiny. They recruit people by playing on their desire for freedom from their awful lives, claiming that destiny is the reason they are suffering. Aladdin argues that destiny isn't a prison, merely a guide. The unspeakable amount of death and destruction caused by Al-Thamen's antics doesn't help their case.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* The Genie leads the theme in Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', as not only he wants to be set free, but Jasmine and Aladdin also bond over how they both feel trapped in their respective conditions.
* Rapunzel in Disney's ''Disney/{{Tangled}}''.
* Jewel from {{WesternAnimation/Rio}} has this big time.
* The chickens in ''WesternAnimation/ChickenRun,'' especially the heroine Ginger.
* This is Scamp's motivation in ''LadyAndTheTramp 2: Scamp's Adventure''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* LaResistance of ''Literature/LesMiserables''. On the individual level, Jean Valjean ended up spending 19 years in prison as a result of several escape attempts after being imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread.
* ''Literature/TheScarletPimpernel'' applies a PerspectiveFlip to this trope, as the French peasants who revolted against their aristocratic oppressors during the FrenchRevolution are portrayed as [[WellIntentionedExtremist becoming the monsters]] who have taken over France. The eponymous SuperHero TropeCodifier has made it his mission to rescue their French aristocrat prisoners Underground Railroad-style.
* Dobby the House Elf in ''Literature/HarryPotter''. Hermione is shocked that not all house elves feel this way.
* Runaways Shasta, Bree, Aravis, and Hwin in ''TheHorseAndHisBoy'' -- Shasta and the horses are running away from slavery, Aravis from an ArrangedMarriage.
* Edmund Dantes in ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo''
* [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Raven's]] [[HorusHeresy Flight]] paints the rebel [[TheBerserker World]] [[BloodKnight Eaters]] in this light, although it's certainly [[TheUnfettered not a good thing]].
-->"Freedom from restraint, freedom from holding back. Freedom from guilt and orders."
* And of course, [[{{Roots}} Kunta Kinte]].
* The Golems in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' (and other books in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series).
* One goal of the Deryni characters in KatherineKurtz's books is this, at least it's certainly on the list (once the rebellions and invasions and assassins are defeated). Kelson is exhorted to be a king to humans and Deryni by a figure of Camber visible only to Deryni, and he founds a new ''scola'' to preserve and teach Deryni magic and ethics. Essentially, Kelson, his courtiers and others aspire to TheUnmasquedWorld, which would imply this trope.
* In ''[[Literature/ThursdayNext Something Rotten]]'', this motivates Bartholomew Stiggins' assistance at the old cloning facility. Thursday went there to find a Shakespeare clone to sort out ''The Merry Wives of Elsinore'' in the [=BookWorld=]; Stig went along to get information to allow him and the other Neanderthals (who were engineered sterile) to reproduce.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', this is the motive of Dragon, a GadgeteerGenius who is secretly a heavily restricted ArtificialIntelligence. She spends most of the story struggling against both her restrictions and the people that want them enforced-or worse, to use them to control her.
* Malcolm Fell Attwell, of ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', was BornIntoSlavery to an [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Incarnation of]] [[HorsemenOfTheApocalypse Conquest]], like his father before him, due to a mistake made by his illusionist grandfather which led to Conquest laying claim to his family's bloodline. Fell serves as TheDragon to Conquest, knowing that one day he, as well, will be forced to raise children and bind them in Conquest's name, as his father did to him, with even deliberate suicide not being an option. When Blake Thorburn offers him temporary freedom as one of his [[CombatByChampion champions]] in his war with Conquest, Fell accepts, knowing the [[ColdBloodedTorture potential consequences]]-in the end, it's the best chance that his family has had at freedom in a century.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* During the middle seasons of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', a conflict of conscience occurred between Sam and Dean's desire to be free, and their destiny as [[spoiler: the hosts of ArchangelMichael and [[ArchangelLucifer Lucifer]]]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering, this is the motivation that drives the pure red ideology.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* Pseudolus gets an IWantSong about this in ''AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Videogames]]
* Nessiah from ''YggdraUnion'' and its [[VideoGame/BlazeUnion related]] [[YggdraUnison games]] wants to break the literal shackles that [[spoiler:bind his full powers and keep him immortal]]. Doing so requires a lot more power than he actually has naturally, and so he's been accumulating it [[spoiler:by converting negative emotions generated from human conflict into magical power]]. He also won't consider himself truly free until he's punished the ones who did this to him in the first place--who have actually been dead for a very long time, which Nessiah himself doesn't know.
* Likewise, Meria from ''KnightsInTheNightmare'' wants to be recognized as her own person separate from Marietta, [[spoiler:the other half of her soul]].
* Mages of ''Franchise/DragonAge'' are legally required by the local religion to be confined to one of 14 separate facilities known as Circles where they are constantly monitored for life the moment their powers manifest, [[PubertySuperpower usually at a young age]]. Those who attempt to escape the Circle or simply know any forbidden arts, like BloodMagic, are hunted down and harshly punished by groups of warriors specifically trained to neutralize their powers. To the surprise of no one, a very large portion of mages have this trope as their goal and are willing to go to some very [[WellIntentionedExtremist extreme lengths]] to reach this goal.
* Vaan from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' decides to join with Ashe's quest to reclaim her kingdom because he detests the Imperials that have subjugated his country and deprived it of freedom. This is also the reason he wishes to become a sky pirate. Ashe's statement that she just wants to be free at the end of the game also implies that her journey was a quest for freedom.
** Even the ''villains'' ultimately desire freedom above all else (though they also want other things like power). [[spoiler:Specifically freedom for mortals from the yoke of the Occuria.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', the goal of the Al Bhed is to free themselves, Spira and the Summoners from the cycle of Sin, but miscommunication also forces them to endure racism and the goal of freeing themselves from oppression.
* The impetus behind Yuri's actions in ''InfiniteSpace'' is his burning desire to be free to travel the stars.
* In ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'', this is revealed as the true motivation of [[spoiler:[[NobleDemon Lord Dearche]]. [[SealedBadassInACan After being trapped in the Book of Darkness for a long time]], she wants a place for her subordinates to finally be free to be themselves and do whatever they want]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/HiToTsukiToHoshiNoTama'', Bid risks everything for a chance at freedom.
--> '''Bid''': [[EloquentInMyNativeTongue For collar off... anything I to do.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* A few episodes of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' had the kids directly assist villages crushed by the Fire Nation's occupation or general tyranny.
* ''SamuraiJack'' faced a viking warrior cursed by Aku. The man was mystically bound by his stone surroundings, and could not die unless he was killed in battle. Being an excellent warrior as well as a stone giant, actually finding a warrior skilled enough to defeat him in honorable combat (so as to join his fallen brethren in Valhalla) and break the curse of eternal-life-within-stone was near-impossible until Jack came along.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{X-Men}}'' animated series had the Genosha story arc, where mutants were enslaved to use the powers for labor. They were told they'd be released when the work was done. [[BlatantLies Yeah...]]
* Lemonhope in ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' wants to be free after spending his life locked up in a bathroom by his abusive creator Lemongrab I. He even initially abandons the rest of his people who are hoping that he will be the one to free them. Fortunately, Lemonhope's lingering guilt drives him to go back and save them. Even then, he's only doing so because he feels he can't truly be free as long as that guilt is hovering over him. After Lemongrab I is overthrown, he refuses to stay and rule in his place. Lemonhope outright says to Princess Bubblegum that the only reason he came back was so he would never have to think about the other Lemonpeople ever again.
[[/folder]]

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