Maybe your character was TheCape, but [[FallenHero fell on bad times]]. Maybe he was an AntiHero who made a mistake and [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope went flying off the slippery slope]]. They could even be a VillainProtagonist or AntiVillain who is interested in redemption, either because they've [[EvenEvilHasStandards kept their standards]], or because they've [[EvilVersusEvil been in conflict]] with an [[EvilerThanThou even worse villain]] and shown hints that there might be some good left in them after all. Whatever the case may be, the character is in a bad place but wants to do better, and they are granted one final chance to do so, usually in the form of a grand, nearly impossible task.

Maybe they're being asked to prevent TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, or to cure TheVirus, or to stop the EvilOverlord. [[RedemptionEqualsDeath They may not be expected to live through this]], but if they can pull it off no one can say that they haven't cleared their name, regained their honor, or insured an afterlife in good old FluffyCloudHeaven. (That said, you may wind up with a case of RedemptionEarnsLife instead.)

Sometimes done in a quieter way as CharacterDevelopment in a non-fantasy setting, where a character is looking to undo a past mistake or wrong to a love one that has haunted them or caused misery for people around them. Also known to happen in [[SportsStoryTropes Sports Movies]], where a character may see one last great year or performance as a redemption of their prior deeds or careers.

A SubTrope of [[TheHerosJourney The Hero's Journey]] and MustMakeAmends. Usually follows a HeelRealization, NiceJobBreakingItHero or someone saying WhatTheHellHero. Naturally, a staple of TheAtoner. An alternative to RedemptionEqualsDeath. Often a result of GoAndSinNoMore. Contrast RedemptionFailure.
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!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* ''RurouniKenshin'': Kenshin's quest to protect people and fight for justice without killing is his redemption for all the lives he previously took as an assassin. Both in the anime and manga, (but particularly in the anime, especially filler episodes or arcs whose stories were changed) he encourages other warriors to try to make amends and work towards making a better world rather than commit {{Seppuku}} when they fall into similar situations.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'':
** Edward Elric ''"I'm sorry Al. This is all my fault. So I promise that no matter what, I'll get you your body back."''
** Hohenheim, in a much longer timescale.
** Mustang, Hawkeye and Doctor Marcoh are doing it as well. Though from their point of view, they are past the point of redemption and can only make sure the next generation will not repeat their mistakes.
* Being a deconstruction of the FightingSeries PlayedForLaughs, MutekiKanbanMusume deconstructs this trope with Nishiyama Kankuro, who has come back from a local university to Hanami City to [[BrokenAesop “stand up for himself”]] against Miki, his former bully who now is twenty and a SchoolyardBullyAllGrownUp ManChild. Problem is, Kankuro is an IdiotHero, [[DefeatMeansFriendship and really wants to get Miki respect]], but Miki is incapable of respecting anyone weaker than her, and she is stronger than Kankuro: to beat her is truly an ImpossibleTask. Kankuro is trapped in a CycleOfRevenge. Here he explains why while we see a PhotoMontage in a computer… complete with a ''delete trash can'' image:
--> ''[[FreudianExcuse Being made a fool by a girl younger than me, and the tormenting memory of being treated as a slave…]] If I don’t erase those images I’ll never be to [[CharacterDevelopment leave this town and put it behind me]], [[VerbalTic Nya]].''
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The whole point to the ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' spin-off ''ComicBook/BadGuys''.
* ComicBook/BlueDevil in ''ComicBook/{{Shadowpact}}'' is assigned a RedemptionQuest by the Catholic Church, to make up for selling his soul for fame in ''ComicBook/UnderworldUnleashed'' - which led to the death of his friend Marla - and also to try and counter the FamilyUnfriendlyAesop of a guy who sold his soul and subsequently gained demonic power being a high-profile superhero. [[spoiler:It later turned out the Church couldn't do anything to help him... after he completed all the quests.]]
* [[ComicBook/{{Venom}} Anti-Venom]] (Eddie Brock, the original Venom) is on one of these to destroy the Venom Symbiote; and find some peace from the [[FateWorseThanDeath psychotic remnants of Venom locked in his mind from their bonding.]]
* ''{{Incorruptible}}'', the companion story of ''{{Irredeemable}}'' has former supervillain Max Damage trying to be a superhero after The Plutonium, the Superman analogue becomes a FallenHero.
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[[folder:Film]]
* A frequent theme in the ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' movies. Apollo pursues a rematch with Rocky in the second movie so he can regain any respect he's lost from nearly losing to a bum, Rocky goes for a rematch with Clubber in ''Rocky 3'' to erase the self doubts caused by the dramatic beating he got in their first fight, etc.
* ''Film/TheReplacements'' a Keanu Reeves comedy football movie, has this happening to Reeves' character Shane Falco. Falco had notoriously choked in the final game of his college career, and performed miserably in his little time as a pro, so this last chance at the game represents a chance for him to erase that image. At the same time, the film makes it clear that none of the replacement players, including Falco, became permanent professional players and went back to their original jobs (in one case, back to prison). This is despite the fact that they've accomplished what the original highly-paid "superstars" couldn't.
* Played with [[spoiler:but {{Deconstructed}} in the end]] in ''TheWrestler'', where what would normally be the subject of Randy "The Ram" Robinson's RedemptionQuest in most other sports movies (namely, his big reunion bout with his old sparring nemesis "The Ayatollah") in fact ''isn't''; his real Quest is to redeem himself in the eyes of his estranged daughter and to make a connection with the stripper with whom he has fallen in love. [[spoiler: He ultimately fails at both, and his decision to go ahead with the bout even if his heart problems mean it'll kill him is ultimately a symbol of his failure in this; he wins the bout, but it's heavily implied that he dies in the process.]]
* The film ''Film/TheFisherKing'' has shock jock Jack Lucas (JeffBridges) helping the deranged Henry/Parry Sagan (RobinWilliams) in getting a love interest and finding the Holy Grail, as a redemption for having inadvertently caused the death of Sagan's wife.
* The film ''Film/TheVerdict'' starring PaulNewman as a middle aged, alcoholic lawyer taking a big malpractice case against a rich hospital.
* The eponymous ''MysteryTeam'' is out to regain the respect of their community.
* In ''Film/ByTheSword'', Suba is trying to make right what he did wrong at the fencing school he used to go to, what with him [[spoiler: killing his maestro in a duel to the death.]]
* Lampshaded in ''TearsOfTheSun'' when the team decide ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight, and choose to save everyone they possibly can.
-->'''Zee:''' L.T., those Africans are my people too. For all the years that we were told to stand down and to stand by, you're doing the right thing.
-->'''L.T.:''' For our sins.
-->'''Both:''' Hooyah.
* ''Film/TheColorOfMoney'' is essentially about [[BrokenAce Eddie Felson's]] journey to redeem himself after the events of ''Film/TheHustler'' and rediscover the unbridled joy of playing pool.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In his BackStory, ''{{Dragonlance}}'' character Lord Soth was given a chance to redeem his soul after becoming a FallenHero. At first he leaps at the chance, but turns his back on preventing TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt to confront his wife about accusations of infidelity.
* In ''Literature/TheKiteRunner'', Amir seeks to redeem his past actions towards Hassan by rescuing his friend's son.
* ''Literature/TheScarletPimpernel'' is Marguerite's quest to [[TheAtoner atone]] for unintentionally causing the execution of the Marquis de St. Cyr, one of the French aristocratic fugitives her husband Sir Percy has devoted his life to protecting.
* ''Literature/TheSilverChair'': Aslan assigns Jill the task of finding the lost prince Rilian as her Redemption Quest for causing Eustace to fall off a cliff.
* Follows Lale's HeelRealization in ''TheAssassinsOfTamurin''.
* [[spoiler:Severus Snape]] spends most of the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series atoning for [[spoiler:causing Lily's death]] by protecting Harry from harm and working as a double agent for both the Death Eaters and the Order.
%%* Elizabeth Bathory toward the end of ''Literature/CountAndCountess''.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Brimstone}}'': This is the entire premise of the show, where FallenHero Ezekiel Stone gets a second shot at life and a way out of Hell if he returns 113 souls that managed to escape.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'''s Michael has a redemption arc in season 4 after [[spoiler:killing Ana and Libby]] in season 2. He manages to [[spoiler:save Desmond, Aaron, Sun, and [[strike:maybe]] Jin before [[RedemptionEqualsDeath dying]] in the season finale.]]
* Arguably, Caroline's idea to save $250,000 to launch the cupcake business, the driving arc of ''[[TwoBrokeGirls 2 Broke Girls]]''.
* Sam Winchester from ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''. After breaking the final seal which unleashed the apocalypse on Earth, Sam spends all of Season 5 by trying to fix the mess he created. Season 5 is often viewed as Sam's redemption by many viewers.
* Stefan Salvatore from ''TheVampireDiaries''. After becoming a blood-addicted Ripper who was controlled by Klaus for the first half of the third season, Stefan spends the other half of the third season trying to gain his free will back and turn on his humanity again. He tries to redeem himself for all of the immoral acts he committed during his Ripper phase by joining the fight in destroying Klaus.
* ''Series/TheEqualizer'': A retired secret agent becomes a private investigator to help people who really need it. His past is never revealed, it's only hinted that he did a lot of amoral things.
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[[folder:Mythology]]
* [[ClassicalMythology Heracles]] had to do twelve of them after killing his family in a fit of madness.
* [[JapaneseMythology Susanowo]] must make amends after throwing a dead horse (amongst other squicktastic things) at his big sister's court. He brought back the legendary Kusanagi to her. It's not known how much of it was kicking arses and taking names, and how much of it was genuine remorse.
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[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''DungeonsAndDragons'' Plothook #309: "The cleric tells you that before he will cast ''atonement'' on you, he wants you to do this for him, to prove your remorse is genuine..."
** This was a suggested method of restoring a character of an alignment-restricted class who broke his code, in earlier editions; the Player's Handbook specifically refers to fallen Rangers having to seek atonement through deeds.
** {{Paladin}}s both play it straight and avert it: if one commits a Chaotic act, she loses her powers and ''must'' go on a RedemptionQuest, but if she commits an ''Evil'' act in 1st or 2nd Edition, she loses her powers and no amount of redemption questing will ever bring them back. Third Edition made it possible to Atone (via ''Atonement'', as noted above) for committing an Evil act, and toned down the restriction on Chaotic acts so that it only applies for severe breaches of the Paladin's Code or being enough to shift the Paladin away from Lawful Good (both also solvable via ''Atonement'').
* This is a suggested plot thread for renegade Abyssal Exalts in ''{{Exalted}}''. Redeeming the Abyssal Exaltation back into its original Solar form is explicitly ''possible''- just very, ''very'' difficult. So difficult, in fact, that any PC who manages it will be, in the canonical setting, the ''first ever redeemed Abyssal.''
* ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' had Golconda, a state where the vampire no longer has the impulse to kill people and only needs minimal blood to live eternally. The exact ways of achieving it have always been left up to the individual GameMaster but the general recommendation was to make it an epic quest, throughout which the vampire in question has to feel remorse for her past sins and make amends as best as she can.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* It initially appeared that this sort of redemption was what Athena and the other gods had in mind for Kratos from ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'', but it turns out that wasn't quite the case. They do forgive him. However, it was not forgiveness Kratos wanted, but to forget all the terrible things he had done. Gods do not grant him that. And that is why [[KillEmAll there are no more Greek myths.]]
%% * The Light Side path of ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', after TheReveal.
%% ** The Light Side path of the entirety of the sequel.
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'', the Prince strives to redeem himself by undoing the damage he inflicted upon the time-space continuum by releasing the Sands in the beginning of the game.
* [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 Thane Krios]] has spent the last few years killing despicable, evil people in penance for the years he spent as an assassin for first the hanar and then private individuals and organisations. He is also dying of an incurable disease. When he learns of Shepard's mission to take down the Collectors, he signs up immediately, seeing as the best thing to do with what's left of his life.
** [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in Tali's loyalty mission. The Admiralty Board gives her (and Shepard, naturally) the task of reclaiming a quarian ship that has been overrun by geth. If she is killed, the Board promises to drop the charges against her. If she survives and succeeds, she still has to deal with the charges but the act will lend credence to her side. The subversion comes in where the admirals prematurely pronounce her as [=KIA=] and [[JerkAss one of them suggests exiling her posthumously, anyway]]. This being a RolePlayingGame, the final decision is left up to Shepard's diplomatic skills.
* Although Cecil from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' has his HeelRealization early on and, thus, has the "repair my past mistakes" part all throughout the first half of the game, it isn't until [[DarkestHour he's separated from all the allies he has made and ends up in]] [[MyGreatestFailure the town he pillaged to start this whole war off]] that the "impossible task" aspect comes into play and he breaks out of [[EvilVersusEvil Dark Powers Versus Evil]].
* ''[[RedDeadRedemption Red Dead]]'' '''''[[RedDeadRedemption Redemption]]'''''. John Marston, former outlaw, is sent by Federal agents to hunt down and kill members of his former gang. It seems like a subversion at first because the Federal agents are actually forcing Martson to leave his [[CallToAgriculture peaceful retirement on a small farm]] by kidnapping his wife and son and threatening to jail or kill Marston for his life of crime, but through the game Martson talks about his desire to atone for all the violence he's committed and how much he hates having to ''keep'' killing people.
** And then ultimately subverted at the end when [[spoiler:despite having completed the impossible mission, killed some eviler-than-thou baddies and earned his family's freedom, the Federal agents come to kill him anyway and the PlayableEpilogue shows that [[DownerEnding Marston was remembered in the same breath as the villains he killed, as just another violent outlaw that the West is better without]].]]
* Tarnum from the ''HeroesOfMightAndMagic'' series spends his entire story arc trying to atone for the terrible deeds in his first life that barred him from entering the Barbarian afterlife. He was cursed with immortality and spent a thousand years fighting evil. Tarnum finally achieves redemption in ''Heroes of Might and Magic IV'' by guiding the young Waerjak as he unites the remaining barbarian tribes without repeating Tarnum's mistakes. However, when he is offered admittance into the afterlife he desired, Tarnum chooses to stay with his people, having found a new reason to live.
** The first of the redemption tasks involves helping the soul of the man who killed him, the first Gryphonheart king. While Tarnum has reservations about this, he proceeds with the task, especially when he learns that the man's daughter, the current queen of Erathia, is Tarnum's own niece (yes, the entire Gryphonheart line is descended from Barbarians[[note]]Of course, so is everyone else. The planet used to be high-technological and connected to an interstellar culture just a few centuries earlier.[[/note]]).
* [[TheLoad Ben]] from ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' begins to set out on a RedemptionQuest at the end of Episode 4 after his [[NiceJobBreakingItHero repeated screw-ups]] put the group in danger. [[spoiler: But then he goes and falls off a balcony while attempting to escape walkers with the group, and is mercy-killed by Kenny. [[SubvertedTrope He never gets the chance to]]]].
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' This is pretty much what [[spoiler: Kinzo's]] life turned into after [[spoiler: him raping his [[ParentalIncest daughter]], her [[ChildByRape giving birth]] to Yasu and Yasu being thrown of the cliff by Natsuhi. He desperately wants to be able say he's sorry and give Yasu his/her grandmother's gold. In an example of RedemptionEqualsDeath, the moment Yasu manages to solve the riddle and Kinzo can say he's sorry, he dies.]]
-->''Genji'': "...After some sad incidents, [[spoiler: Master's]] life... was completely reduced to atonement."
* In ''[[{{SpecOpsTheLine}} Spec Ops: The Line]]'', one of the reasons Walker keep pushing to find Konrad and save the people of Dubai is he subconsciously views his mission as one of these, desperate to make up for [[spoiler: [[{{MyGodWhatHaveIDone}} the]] [[{{AccidentalMurder}} white]] [[{{ObligatoryWarCrimeScene}} phosphorus]] [[{{StartOfDarkness}} incident]]. [[{{SubvertedTrope}} However]], his drive to be a hero just ends up making things [[{{FromBadToWorse}} so much worse]]. By the end, it's entirely possible that [[{{EverybodysDeadDave}} everyone in Dubai, including Walker himself,]] is dead because of his need to prove to himself that he's a hero.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Villainous example: the driving force behind all Dimension of Pain stories in ''SluggyFreelance'' is Lord Horribus seeking redemption for letting Torg escape, by hauling Torg's soul back to the demons' dimension for eternal torment.
* Similar to the Avatar example, in ''TwoKinds'', Keith is sent into exile for [[SelfMadeOrphan killing his father]] (though this was more to keep the father's good name intact by avoiding a trial) and the only way he could return was to bring back the human Grand Templar with him (which was '''supposed''' to be an ImpossibleTask). He succeeds, though mostly by accident (he'd long since befriended Trace when the group discovered he was [[LaserGuidedAmnesia the missing Grand Templar]])
* Subverted by Miko in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''. [[spoiler: After she falls from paladinhood because she killed Shojo]] she thinks that she can be redeemed by doing what the gods want of her. The problem, as it is explained by Soon's ghost [[spoiler: before she dies]], that [[NeverMyFault she never actually atoned for her wrongdoings]] or [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone considered that she'd done the wrong thing]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Initially inverted on ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', where Prince Zuko's EvilOverlord [[AbusiveParents father]] banished him for not being evil enough, with a hopeless Redemption Quest being Zuko's only means of ending that banishment. Zuko's true redemption quest then comes when he realizes how worthless the redemption his father offered is and instead pulls a HeelFaceTurn in season 3. Also, Aang and Sokka set out to redeem themselves for (different) failings in the third season. Keep an eye out for the telltale ([[IronicEcho shared]]) line, "I have to restore my honor."
%% * This forms the second half of the plot of ''ThePowerpuffGirls Movie''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* An important aspect of [[http://www.restorativejustice.org/intro restorative justice]] is about an offender making restitution to his victims. Unlike [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retributive_justice 'ordinary punishment']], restorative justice is about making redemption voluntary and (hopefully!) genuine.
%%* Michael Vick is a real life example of someone had one.
[[/folder]]
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