->''"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying."''
-->-- '''Creator/WoodyAllen'''

Yes, we don't live forever. People and animals change as they age, and eventually catch disease and die.

Eternal life is ingrained in the collective human consciousness, having been present in literature and myths for [[OlderThanDirt as long as they've been around]]. Literally. ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh'' (the oldest heroic epic known to the modern world) is, in large part, about the titular character's search for a way to live forever.

Of course, having been around for so long, Our Immortality Is Different, and comes in several flavours. These tropes are not mutually exclusive; there's plenty of room for overlap.


* '''CompleteImmortality''' - A character simply ''can't'' die, ever.

* '''Retroactive Immortality''' - A character ''can'' die, but won't ''stay'' dead.
** BornAgainImmortality - if the character's mind or spirit is transferred to a new-born child, as in traditional {{reincarnation}}.
** ResurrectiveImmortality - if the character simply comes back to life uninjured, exactly as they were.

* '''Biological Immortality''' - A character is immune to the ravages of time, although usually still mortal to physical injury.
** TheAgeless

* '''PurposeDrivenImmortality''' - Someone who is immortal to complete a purpose; once he's done he becomes mortal (or dies instantly). Either because [[{{Determinator}} of his sheer will to live to achieve it]], or someone provided him with immortality in exchange for fulfilling the purpose.

* '''Spare Bodies''' - Any injury that would be fatal is OnlyAFleshWound for this character: his spirit will come back in another body.
** BodyBackupDrive: He has clones/robot bodies to come back into should he die.
*** BrainUploading: He mostly exists inside a computer/virtual world. He may be able to manifest himself (or a copy of himself) in the real world by either inhabiting a robot or using a hologram.
** GrandTheftMe: The character outright steals other people's bodies to survive.
*** BodySurf: The character does the above frequently.
*** FamilialBodySnatcher: A common limitation for body snatchers is making them only able to inhabit a body of their relatives.
** FightingAShadow: An effect one might feel from trying to fight someone with spare bodies.

* '''How to become immortal?''' - Methods by which a mortal character can [[ImmortalitySeeker actively cheat death]]. Key word being ''actively'', once the method is stopped or reversed, they either die or become mortal again.
** FountainOfYouth: Something that makes a character young again. Can make them effectively immortal if done a lot.
** ImmortalityInducer: Use/do this and you're effectively immortal.
*** SoulJar: Someone puts their soul into something, usually hidden at a remote place. This makes them immortal, and usually invulnerable, but that very jar becomes the person's weak point.
*** HeartDrive: The part of the being's body that houses their consciousness, which ensures their survival even if most of their body is destroyed; the drive, if it's intact can be put into another body to make them alive again. Differs from SoulJar in that HeartDrive must be put in their bodies.
*** ElixirOfLife: ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a magical liquid or potion that restores lifeforce, health or even youth.
** LifeDrinker: Someone absorbs the "life force" of another to keep himself alive.
** TouchedByVorlons: That is, someone else grants them immortality. Either it's a one time deal or it has to be done continuously.

* '''How to undo immortality?'''
** MortalityEnsues: An immortal becomes mortal, or a mortal who became immortal gets it reversed.
** [[SealedIndexInACan Sealing]]: They are still immortal, but they can't do anything. They're effectively "dead".

* '''Incomplete Immortality''': They are immortal, but with drawbacks.
** AgeWithoutYouth: Being 100+ years old suddenly matters little when your body is as old as one.
** CameBackWrong: You come back alive at a great cost.
** TheUndead: You're only partly "alive" after you come back from the dead.

* '''Legacy Immortality''': They, body-wise, are totally mortal and won't live forever. Their ''legacy'', however, will.
** LegacyCharacter: Someone who actively takes the mantle of another (usually famous) person in order to preserve the image of said famous person in the future.
** LegacyImmortality: Members of a MasterApprenticeChain deliberately pretend to be the same immortal person to create a legend.
** Seeking Fame: One reason for people with "fame" as a goal is to become known to other people even after their death.
*** FameThroughInfamy: For some people, infamy is just the same as fame.
*** NeverLiveItDown: Someone don't want people to remember the one bad thing that they did/happened to them. People remember anyway, much to their chagrin.


For general tropes relating to immortality, see ThisIndexWillLiveForever.