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Actual Pacifist

"With God as my witness, I swear on my name and my life, that I shall do no harm, that I shall place the saving of life and easing of suffering above self, above family, that my duty is not to my people, or to my nation, but to all of humanity."
— Version of the Hippocratic Oath

"Don't worry; I won't hurt you."

That's an Actual Pacifist, in a nutshell.

He's philosophically opposed to using physical violence to any degree, for any reason. To be on this trope, that includes self-defence, and if played right, can be a very moral and ethical person. On television, he or she is in contrast to the far-more-common Technical Pacifist, who is fine with punching, stabbing, shooting or maiming people as long as they survive the experience.

If an Actual Pacifist needs to use violence, most likely in the course of protecting another, expect Angst or even Wangst to result. Such a situation is usually a Matter of Life and Death. If this happens too often, they will become a Reluctant Warrior.

Certain religious figures and practitioners of White Magic are personally bound to be an Actual Pacifist, by reason of their dedication: they may support, bless, and succor those who fight, but they will not take up arms themselves. The Medic is also prone to be an Actual Pacifist, despite his common association with armies (although this is for a different reason — a Combat Medic COULD fight, but if he does, he's not under the protection of the Geneva Convention).

Trying to raise a child as an Actual Pacifist because his father was violent or loved being In Harm's Way usually fails, although the child may at least be less violent than his father and willing to try peaceful means.

Some Actual Pacifists are able to circumvent their restriction via mind games, such as Shaming the Mob. Every rule has a loophole, after all.

See also Perfect Pacifist People, for societies where everyone is an Actual Pacifist; and Sheathe Your Sword, where the only way to succeed is to avoid provoking a fight. Taken to its logical extreme, this becomes Suicidal Pacifism; elevated to awesome — Badass Pacifist.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • Bleach:
    • Chad used to be a real thug when he was younger until his grandfather lectured him about never using his fists to hurt others. Chad took his grandfather's lecture to heart and vowed never to lift his fists to fight for himself. When Ichigo saved him from being beaten by other thugs, Ichigo said he would make a vow to always protect Chad if Chad made a vow to always protect him. Chad holds to that vow to this day, raising his fists only to protect others, but never to protect himself. The anime bizarrely changed this backstory to him ignoring his grandfather's advice until his victims beat his grandfather almost to death. At that point he vows never to fight again. When the anime inevitably switches back from this adaptation to the canon, it results in an Adaptation Induced Plot Hole because Chad's behaviour (born from the manga version of events) doesn't honour the anime's version of the vow.
    • Orihime is gentle-natured to the core, she can't muster up a full commitment to even wound anybody, no matter what. This causes Tsubaki (the holder of her offensive ability) to keep getting Worfed every time he's used. Multiple characters comment on how unsuited to battle she is because of her gentle nature.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00's Marina Ismail is a pacifist to the core. At one point when she and her friends are escaping from the secret police, she refuses to take a gun even to protect the children she's looking after.
    • Relena Darlian-Peacecraft from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, born to one family of pacifists and raised by another, struggles continuously with her wish to bring about total pacifism during a time of war. In the Endless Waltz movie/OVA she realizes that peace is something you have to earn yourself and abandons the "passive" part of pacifism, urging the Muggles to stand up for themselves rather than just Holding Out For A Heero.
      • Unlike her Expy Marina, Relena isn't suicidally pacifist; in one episode, she comes under attack from the Romefeller Foundation and is saved by the defense force her right-hand woman Noin had been organizing in secret. While she's initially upset at Noin, she reluctantly agrees to let the defense force stand, since Romefeller obviously isn't going to respect their pacifist stance.
      • The original Heero Yuy (not to be confused with the pilot named after him) actually created the "Total Pacifism" philosophy; people like Relena's father King Peacecraft and Quatre's father Zayeed Winner adopted it themselves. Tellingly, all three were assassinated and their deaths led to more death as others sought to avenge them.
  • Kitano from Angel Densetsu. Most people, however do not know he's one. Being a bit scary however, actually helps him avoiding fights.
  • Tenma from Monster. Both played straight and deconstructed, as his belief that one human has no right to harm another is constantly challenged by the antagonist, starting with the fact that his main goal is to kill the antagonist.
  • Nekki Basara from Macross 7. He doesn't angst, but instead gets quite angry when he is compelled to use force.
  • Maya Ibuki in The End of Evangelion. She refuses to defend herself against the JSSDF troops invading NERV HQ on the basis that she cannot bring herself to kill other humans.
  • Kintaro from Golden Boy. He's been beaten up several times without fighting back, except for one instance where he unleashed his Kenpo training. He berated himself angrily for it immediately afterwards.
  • Yugi Mutou. And he's a Badass Pacifist, too.
    • His Split Personality, on the other hand has little problem with killing people (one early manga story has him blowing up a school bully with nitroglycerin and in another he sets a gang of toughs on fire), though this becomes less prominent as the series goes on.
  • The title character from Kimba the White Lion started out as this before becoming a Martial Pacifist.
  • Despite his significant skill in martial arts (which he uses purely to break up fights with minimum force), Simon Brezhnev of Durarara!! sticks very firmly to pacifist ideals probably to atone for his past both in the KGB and The Mafiya. He doesn't even like talking about fighting.
  • Re:BIRTH –The Lunatic Taker– 's Renji is completely unwilling to fight... Too bad no one else in this sick game agrees with him.
  • Gennosuke from Basilisk is an interesting example of this. He never starts a fight in the whole show and even orders his own people not to kill the Iga ninjas. On the other hand he eventually decides he has no choice but let the Kouga annihilate the Iga. The few times he does fight (quite brutally in fact) his power means that he never has to engage in any actual violence.
  • Vash the Stampede of Trigun, thoroughly amazing gunslinger though he may be, is one of the kindest and most selfless people you could ever meet, who despises violence and refuses to kill anyone. Though he will occasionally use his reputation as a walking disaster area to attempt to frighten his enemies into giving up, he will always, always, always avoid killing. That is, until Legato Bluesummers actually does manage to get Vash to kill him. Vash goes into a rather severe Heroic BSOD over this, as one might expect.
  • In Omamori Himari, Yuuto has absolutely no will to fight. He will only ever reluctantly fight if his loved ones are in danger, and he'll still regret it.
  • In One Piece, the royal Riku family in the Dressrosa arc had not brought on a war upon its country for eight hundred years. Even a threat of invasion did not get them to take up arms. They had to be forcibly removed from the throne in order to get them to. Ricky/King Riku strikes with the flat of his blade when forced to fight and his granddaughter Rebecca has a reputation of being undefeated despite never hitting an opponent directly.
  • Yuko "YuuYuu" Omori/Cure Honey of Happiness Charge Pretty Cure is the first Cure to be this way. Her first two appearances explicitly show her just singing, never raising her fists to strike an opponent.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Princess Villian refuses to learn how to fight and how to use magic because magic can potentially be used as a weapon. Because of this, she is very often a Distressed Damsel.

    Comics 

  • Doctor Leslie Thompkins in Batman.
  • Juggernaut in Age of Apocalypse is a monk named Cain. When Damask and Dead Man Wade launch an attack on Avalon he refuses to fight. Eventually the internal struggle of whether or not to help people by inflicting physical damage to others causes him to have an aneurysm.
  • Amusingly used in the French comic Captain Biceps: the hero Pacific Man is incapable of doing any harm to another person/animal/object (including the bad guys, yogurt and his own tooth cavities), but when he goes into his wimpy Secret Identity, he is held up by the Terminator, starts giving him the nonviolent speech, then realizes what he's saying and suddenly punches out the goddamn Terminator in a single blow before running away. Then he says "Whew! I barely escaped being recognized there!"
  • Orient Men, in the beginning of his appearances, was the kind of superhero who attempted to combat crooks by waxing poetic to them about the error of their ways. Later on, when the superhero status became The Artifact, many his adventures involved helping people solve their conflicts peacefully.
  • Reese from Knights of the Dinner Table. In real life she is an ER nurse and so refuses to take part in any act of violence, even in game. She plays a cleric of a pacifist god.

     Fan Works 
  • The four in With Strings Attached, probably making this the only heroic fantasy with Actual Pacifists as protagonists. They never initiate fights—in fact, they avoid conflict when possible—and while three of them do deal some minor damage to people in revenge for having been badly abused (the polar opposite of Disproportionate Retribution), none of them would dream of seriously hurting any living thing. (When Paul comes close to doing so, he suffers a Heroic BSOD.)
    • Though they do make exceptions to protect one another. And John has more of a temper than the others and does open a can of nonlethal whoop-ass on a few people, always while protecting one or more of the others.
  • In The Immortal Game Twilight Sparkle becomes one after being freed from the Sliver of Darkness (or to be more accurate, her dominant personality, Sparkle, does), to the point that she can't even fight Puppets, even thought they're not even sentient or really alive. This lasts until her personalities fuse back together, and she starts kicking ass.
  • Firefly in A Kingdom Divided has shades of this.

    Film 

  • Brother Gilbert of Dragonheart displayed this trait early on, but when war with Einon became inevitable he unwilling agreed to use his previously undiscovered (but historically justified) archery skills. Even then, he kept all but one of his shots non-fatal and was reciting biblical lines as he did so.
    • (Shoots an enemy in the ass-cheek) "Turn the other cheek now, brother."
    • Worth noting is that even when he was set up as an archer he couldn't bring himself to actually fire his bow until he realized that NOT shooting it would cause immediate pain and death to good people.
    • Same applies for Annabel Drake (Alice Greczyn) in Exit Speed. She is a "New Age" archer who refuses to shoot at the baddies until she realises her friend will otherwise die.
  • In The Angel and the Badman (1947) Quirt Evans (John Wayne) falls in love with Quaker Prudence Worth (Gail Russel) and foreswears his violent ways and quest to avenge the murder of his adoptive father. He almost backslides, but in the final confrontation with the man responsible, Laredo Stevens, Prudence convinces Quirt to lay down his gun. Stevens then attempts to shoot Evans, who would have been killed if not for the timely intervention of the sheriff (Harry Carey, Sr.). Some critics say that here Prudence Worth succeeded where her coreligionist Amy Kane (Grace Kelly) would fail in High Noon. The pacifist theme this Western is a bit unexpected given John Wayne's popular image, but he not only played the lead, but also produced it.
  • The Friendly Persuasion (1956), based on the book by Jessamyn West, shows how the absolute pacifist creed of a Quaker family in south Indiana in the 1860s is put to the test when their home community comes under attack by a Confederate raid.
  • The White Queen from Alice in Wonderland. The fact that her arms are always uptight don't let her injure things, too.
  • In High Noon (1952), the marshall (Gary Cooper) has just retired and married a pacifist Quaker (Grace Kelly) — which is sort of a problem 'cause a gang of indignant baddies has just come back to town and they want revenge. This makes for extra drama when his Quaker bride, after protesting his heroics and leaving him because of his choice to stay and fight, comes back just in time and kills a man to save her man.
  • Terrence Mann in Field of Dreams. When he's reminded so by Ray, he stops short of "beat[ing Ray] with a crowbar until you go away" and drops the crowbar.
  • Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi, obviously.
    Gandhi: In this cause, I too am prepared to die. There's no cause for which I'm prepared to kill.
  • The title aliens in the 60s film The Monitors They are driven from Earth when they realize that the only way to pacify humanity would be to use violence themselves.

    Literature 

  • Animorphs: The Pemalites were examples of this trope until they met the Howlers, Crayak's shock troopers. Their android creations, the Chee, have pacifism hardwired into them - given how powerful they are, this grates on the main characters from time to time. The one time Erek (the main Chee character) was able to override his pacifism, he effortlessly wiped out a Yeerk force that would have slaughtered the team, but couldn't cope with the idea of doing that all the time and willingly returned to normal. Not even Marco could really blame him.
    • The Hork-Bajir originally had no concept of violence. When the Yeerks - parasitic slugs that infest the brain and thereafter control the body - started conquering them, it didn't occur to most of them to fight back. Dak Hamee, the Hork-Bajir equivalent of Einstein, wasted several minutes in his first-ever fight trying to figure out how it had been possible for the other Hork-Bajir to cut him.
    • Actually, in one of the books, an Andalite (probably Ax, but possibly Elfangor in Andalite Chronicles) says that the Hork-Bajir used to have a biological clock that "set them all warring every 63 years." So they did have violence in their history. Possibly justified, however, by their relatively short lifespan...though one would think that if the Andalites knew about the Hork-Bajir wars and they were still landing on the planet to study the natives, said natives would know about the wars.
  • Wanderer in The Host, who won't even harm the guy who repeatedly tries to kill her.
    • Even going so far as to try to save him, instead of letting him die of his own stupidity.
  • The Tinkers in The Wheel of Time series. Broken Tinkers tend to be... rabid.
  • In the New Jedi Order, Jacen Solo at one point becomes one of these. While all the other Jedi and the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant are fighting the Yuuzhan Vong. ...It was rather annoying. When he comes out of pacifism, he goes quickly into Messiah Mode, and later becomes evil.
    • Also in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, there's one sect of Force-Sensitives that is so incredibly anti-violence that they won't defend themselves or anyone else, consider anyone who does fight at all to be dangerous and deluded at the least, and act like wariness is a moral outrage on par with assault. The Black Fleet Trilogy deals with someone of this sect telling Luke Skywalker that his mother was another member of the sect and repeatedly chewing him out and telling him that he's as bad as Vader or the Emperor. And Luke standing around, taking it, because he half-believed her and wanted to hear about his mother.
      • Considering this was after his turn to the Dark Side and during the period Luke was still very much "Must use Force for everything, no matter how trivial or invasive!"(like wiping memories from innocents...)? Well, let's face it. She was on to something, as Mara pointed out to him years later.
      • Of course, they apparently have no problem with lying to Luke about his mother.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novels, Dorden, The Medic, has only fired a gun once despite serving in the Imperial Guard for years. That time, he shot a man about to kill Gaunt.
  • Jessamyn West's novel Friendly Persuasion is about Quakers in Southern Indiana during the American Civil War.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space The goal of Arm was to turn all of humanity into such, as it was the only way we'd survive. It was working pretty well using mandatory drugging and population controls to breed out much of the violent tendencies. Some violent folks are kept inside ARM to react to situations as they come up, but can't leave the building until medicated. Then we meet the Kzinti and pacifism is a trait that becomes a luxury...
  • In Tim Powers' Expiration Date, Sullivan is forced to become this when the hands of Harry Houdini's ghost become permanently bonded to his own hands. The ghostly hands refuse to wield weapons or even play violent video games.
  • Brutha in Pratchett's novel Small Gods. The totality of his violence is one punch near the end of the book to a man who almost started a war.
    • Likewise, Moist von Lipwig is a con man and oftentimes Magnificent Bastard who is nonetheless much more comfortable with being threatened by violence than the other way 'round. He never physically attacks anyone, and becomes extremely nervous when put into the position to freely do so.
      • He is so against violence that he's profoundly disturbed when his parole officer, the logical golem Mr. Pump, calculates his white-collar crimes have indirectly killed 2.338 people.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Halkans insist there is no violence of any kind in their hearts. As a result of this, anyone capable of violence cannot be truly Halkan. In Star Trek: The Lost Era, Halkan character Lojur is even exiled from the planet for using violence in defense of his village. It was under attack by murderous raiders, but even then the majority of his people found fighting inconceivable.
    • The Caeliar from Star Trek: Destiny. They would rather die in the millions than harm another being, or even allow harm to come to another if they can prevent it. When the human characters they're holding captive rebel, they're convinced to co-operate when a human shoots his own colleague.
  • In the main setting of Labyrinths of Echo, the World of Rod, people with "the calling" of a healer are driven to help others. At least some also feel when people suffer. Not only do they study medicine, if at all possible: they can't sleep if someone in need of help can't get to them, so traditionally healers' homes had no locks. For them, harming someone is unthinkable and if it accidentally happens, breakdown ensues. However, they can — and if necessary will — fight opponents not triggering these reactions, such as walking dead or materialized hallucinations. And they tend to be talented mages with constant practice, so there's a good chance the healer wins.
  • Anne Shirley's middle son Walter is absolutely opposed to fighting, and hates the idea of violence. All well and good, until the beginning of World War One.
  • Matteo in Someone Else's War. Granted, as a forced child soldier, he has killed before, but once he realizes how much he hates violence, he dedicates the rest of the novel to freeing his fellow child captives without any violence.
  • Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite has Oelita the Gentle Heretic. She is totally opposed to cannibalism and culling, and preaches of non-violence and peace. Though she did make a point of attending her father's funeral feast, and still carries dried strips of his flesh. She believes that eating small amounts gives her superhuman strength.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Subverted by Yusef. While his every line is about the horror of fighting and how horrible it is to lead people to their deaths, etc, his solution to the war with Evil Overlord Gothon is to betray his people, kill off a great number of them and scare the rest into surrendering.
  • Doctor Mahfouz in The Drowned Cities tells Mahlia not to use violence under any circumstances, and refuses to use it himself.
  • Most Ithorians in the Star Wars Expanded Universe tend towards this, holding to a Rule of Life that even applies to plants - if a plant is killed for food, two seeds of its species must be planted. Momaw Nadon, forced into killing a human, creates two clones of him and raises them as his sons.
    • In Galaxy of Fear it's found that an Ithorian created Spore. It took a hundred years and Jedi Knights intervening to contain it, but they put it into a Tailor-Made Prison instead of killing it.

     Live Action TV 
  • All in the Family: The episode "Mike the Pacifist" sees Mike, who refuses to fight for any reason, hit another man who was harassing Gloria, knocking her tormenter out cold. Mike goes through Angst as he can't believe what he did.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Argolins from "The Leisure Hive" and the Dulcians from "The Dominators" wore this hat. The Thals from the first Dalek story, "The Daleks", as well, though they later dropped this stance rather than having the Daleks exterminate them all. All three races had previously survived a Nuclear War, making them all three, in effect, a species-level example of The Atoner.
    • Also, the Ood, who (prior to being neutered and enslaved by the Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire) are born with secondary brains that they hold in their hands. Therefore, they have no choice but to be peaceful and docile and hope other species return the favor, despite looking like Lovecraftian squid-monsters.
    • In the Made-for-TV Movie, the Eighth Doctor is definitely like this. However, he's a Kleptomaniac Hero, and steals whatever the hell he thinks he needs (and stealing Gorgeous Period Dress from someone's locker probably counts as just stealing whatever he wants). As he needs to get someplace in a hurry, he steals a motorcycle from a cop. It's possibly the most endearing armed robbery ever:
      "Now, would you stand aside before I shoot myself?"
  • ''M*A*S*H has Hawkeye, who flat out refuses to fire at the enemy even when they are shooting at him.
  • Frank Black of Millennium seems to have at least some elements of True Pacifism. Black shows a clear distaste for firearms, and never carries or uses them, with a few noticeable exceptions. He even takes this distaste to the extreme of potentially endangering himself, as in the Season 3 episode "TEOTWAWKI", when he leaves his weapon at home before going to investigate a dangerous end-of-the-world cult. It is remarked once by his wife that he could no longer harm a prisoner under his care than he could harm his own daughter. In only two cases is he pushed to outright violence and rage: At the end of Season 1, when he kills the man who kidnapped his wife (an act so shocking to his wife that it leads to their separation), and in the series finale, when he discovers that the Millennium group sent a man into his house to videotape his daughter sleeping, sending him to violently break into Watts' house with the intent of killing him.
  • Arguably, Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds. When the officer guarding her house is shot, Morgan puts her in a corner and gives her a gun. Her first reaction (when there's a killer breaking into her HOUSE) is, "I don't believe in guns." (Morgan replies, "Trust me, they are very real.")
    • She could be more of a Technical Pacifist; she's not opposed to the team kicking bad guy butt, but she doesn't like to do it herself.
      • She doen't really condone them hurting the bad guys, just catching them.
  • Several examples in Star Trek:
    • The Organians in the original series episode "Errand of Mercy".
    • The Halkans in the original series episode "Mirror, Mirror" are so pacifist that they won't trade with the Federation because they might use the dilithium to harm someone.
  • In Firefly, Simon Tam tries to be this, and most of the time is successful, but occasionally is pressed into Technical Pacifist ("Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?" "I told him to sit down...") and rarely into Reluctant Warrior, although usually to save another member of the crew. He typically never fights to protect himself.
    Simon: I've never shot anyone before.
    Shepherd Book: I was there son. I'm fair sure you haven't shot anyone yet.
  • For the first two seasons of Chuck, Chuck Bartowski was an Actual Pacifist, and pretty useless in a fight regardless. After downloading Intersect 2.0 at the end of Season 2 he graduates into becoming more of a Reluctant Warrior, but still insists on attempting to diffuse problems nonviolently first and prefers carrying tranquilizer guns in the field. The only time he actually fires a real gun at anyone, much less with intent to kill, is shooting Shaw when he tries to murder Sarah, though it didn't stick.
    • Devon balks at even handling a firearm, though like Chuck he can and will fight if he has no other choice.
  • In the television adaptation of Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Elena Michaels has abandoned the violent ways of the Pack. She changes after her surrogate brother Pete dies.
  • Angel: Lorne is such a peace-loving and non-violent character that his shooting Lindsey McDonald dead on Angel's orders during the TV series' Grand Finale is implied to have caused his cancer in IDW's "Music of the Spheres" comic storyline.

     Tabletop Games  

  • GURPS has two levels of this: Self Defense Only and Total Nonviolence. With Total Nonviolence you can only even defend yourself against things that aren't sentient.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has the "Vow of Non-Violence" And "Vow of Peace", the first makes you into a Technical Pacifist, the latter into an * actual* one.
    • Eldath, a goddess from the Forgotten Realms Campaign setting also forbids her clerics from violence.
    • Not to forget the Prestige Class also from the Book of Exalted Deeds, the Apostle of Peace, which requires characters to take both the vows above as well as the Vow of Poverty (foregoing material wealth and possessions save for plain clothing, a day's worth of food, and a simple weapon). The class gives you abilities such as turning undead (who are exempt from the Vow of Peace as non-living), the power to instantly pacify anger with a touch, and the power to tell fiends to go back to hell (and have them listen). The class also includes a spell list comprised of non-offensive spells that might help you wage peace. It is noted that Player Character Apostles of Peace would be difficult, but not impossible given the right kind of party. Otherwise, they make good spiritual advisor NPCs.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has the priests (usually priestesses, actually)) of Shallya, whose precepts bar them from wearing armour and using any weapons apart from quarter staffs. They are also banned from killing, even in self defense, and will lose their place in the priesthood if they violated this rule. The only exceptions to this rule are Daemons, The Undead, and followers of Nurgle, and even then the two former only in self-defence. In the 2nd edition, Shallyans even had a unique spell designed purely to kill Nurgle-followers and daemons.
  • The Brazilian setting called Tormenta has two goddess (one of life and other of peace) that impose just that restriction, the life goddess however does allow you to "heal" the dead.
  • Karn, the Silver Golem, from the Weatherlight Saga in Magic: The Gathering. Karn adopted his pacifism when he tried to help his crewmates and accidentally killed an innocent bystander. He essentially poses as a statue when an altercation occurs. This is later used against him by Volrath who tortures Karn by placing him in a constantly shifting room with many disposable mooks. The room causes Karn to constantly fall on the mooks crushing and killing them. Later he recanted his vow of pacifism during a war, when he realized that his inaction led to innocent people dying.
    • There are also spells that can force creatures to become this, the most obvious being Pacifism. Although the right creature, such as the Prodigal Pyromancer can still hurt people, they just don't do so through combat. A more complete method would be Faith's Fetters, as it stops creatures from attacking, blocking, or using abilities that do anything except add mana to your mana pool. Even then, there's always a way.
  • At least in the Warcraft RPG Shadows & Light manual, it's stated that Elune, the goddess of the night elves, is a pacifist. In fact, according to her stats, she has no attack bonus, only a grapple bonus. She has abilities like a song that will make everyone that hears it drop its weapons and cease to fight.
    • Which is odd considering Elune' priestesses in Warcraft 3 are elite archers, with her high priestess leading the entire Night Elf military.
      • Then again it was written by White Wolf, whose Warcraft RPG books were full of errors like this.

    Theatre 
  • The title character of Johnny Johnson, who serves in World War I without killing a single German.

     Video Games  

  • In Planescape: Torment, you can meet a warrior-monk of the Erith-Agge; an order that has foresworn the use of violence until the day of the last battle when they will help decide the fate of the universe. Thus, despite being an extremely accomplished warrior, you need to help him recover a necklace he lost in a mugging — he has no problems with you mopping the floor with them.
  • Star Wars: Galaxies Pre-NGE featured Crafting, Medical, and Entertainer professions that actually made for a variety of non-combat roles you could mix and match. Post-NGE enforced this on Traders and Entertainers at first, then later gave them combat levels.
  • Patinias, the Arcana of Love from Arcana Heart, was this in life, criticizing violence and spreading compassion in the middle ages when Europe was covered in war. She got burned as a witch for it. Now she spreads love in the form of pink Energy Balls and pink beams of destruction.
  • William McCall, the youngest of the McCall brothers in Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a pacifistic and religious individual who is generally against his brothers' violent ways, constantly trying to get them to repent. He ends up Taking the Bullet for Thomas as he and Ray have a shootout and his death leads Ray to become the Badass Preacher Reverend Ray of the first game as well as Thomas and Marisa naming their child after him.
  • Ricky Johnson of Backyard Sports. He is only violent when committed to the rules of the games (such as tackling in football).
  • In the Halo series, Huragok - better known to humanity as the Engineers - a Covenant member species that views killing of even pests as wrong. Ironically enough one of them, called "Lighter Than Some" was the first Covenant species to kill a human; Said human was trying to kill its best friend Dadab, a grunt, after the party had assaulted his ship in search of Forerunner artifacts. It was of course horrified of what it done. Huragok are a member species of the Covenant only by circumstances as they enjoy repairing and inspecting Forerunner technology, but are indifferent to nearly everything else and in fact have helped humans on numerous occasions by repairing their technology, including Master Chief's MJOLNIR -armors' shield system.
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories has as its hero Harry Mason, whose most violent action a player can do in the game is a shove or elbow to a monster's head that is grabbing him.
  • Ciel in Mega Man Zero is also an Actual Pacifist, forming a Resistance to house the Reploids scrapped by Neo Arcadia but being intensely unwilling to fight anyone and slaving herself away day in and day out to find an alternative energy source that eliminates the energy shortage, which is what created the conflict in the first place. This would have ended badly were it not for Zero, though, because the Neo Arcadian ruler was more than willing to order annihilation strikes on the Resistance himself.
  • Professor Layton fits the description since, although the games show him to be an excellent fencer and in overall remarkably good shape for an academic, he firmly espouses the mindset that "a gentleman does not seek violence." He's only willing to get into a fight if he doesn't have much of a choice, either to defend his own well-being or that of someone else, and on those occasions when he does fight he does so as non-lethally as possible. In the swordfight from the second game, he only crosses blades to defend himself, and stops as soon as his opponent shows signs of failing strength. In the third game, his response to being shot at is to rig together a machine gun made out of a slot machine, and use it to shoot his antagonists with coins!
  • Cream The Rabbit does not physically engage in combat in Sonic Battle; all of her moves are done via her partner/pet Cheese. This pacifism comes to a particular head in her story mode: Neither Cream nor Cheese will fight their captors, leaving all of the combat duties to Emerl.
  • The Liir from Sword of the Stars are nearly an entire race of actual pacifists. They consider being willing to harm another creature a form of dangerous — if sadly sometimes necessary — insanity. The few Liir willing to take the step to hurt and kill to protect other Liir, meanwhile, take things to the opposite end. They've already broken the greatest taboo by harming another, so at that point any question of 'scale' and 'methodology' becomes a purely symbolic distinction.
  • It is possible to play an actual pacifist in both Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 by maxing out all of your social traits. You can even talk the final boss to death.
    • And you can also be a technical pacifist. It's their fault for building their base on top of a nuke, right?
  • In The Way, the Paradans are a faction in The Way that advocates against any sort of violence, from killing animals to pave the way for other wanderers to public executions.
  • Virtue's Last Reward has Luna. She was designed to be Three-Laws Compliant, after all.
  • Susie, one of your scouts in Valkyria Chronicles, wants to be this, but had the misfortune of being drafted during the early days of the war. She hates harming people, even soldiers of The Empire, so much that she quickly starts losing the rest of her turn after firing. Her relief if you cycle her away from your active squad is palpable.
  • Emmeryn, the Exalt of the Halidom of Ylisse from Fire Emblem Awakening, is such a pacifist that she doesn't even have a proper army. The closest thing to an army she has are the Shepherds, led by her younger brother Chrom, which are a group dedicated to protecting Ylisse from bandits and Plegian barbarians, not invading other lands.
  • The Chozo of Metroid were once warlike and had very powerful and advanced weapons but eventually embraced peace. So much so that they could no longer use their own weapons even when they really needed them. That's why the Chozo aren't around anymore.
  • William Thorndop in Arcanum is a hermit who took a vow of non-violence after abandoning his old life as a bandit; he's so committed to his ideals that he cut off his own trigger fingers to make sure he could never hold a gun again. Unfortunately he's also the only character in the game who can provide Master-level Firearms training, which will cause him a severe moral quandary if your character is looking to learn more about guns from him, since he sees aiding another in committing violence as a violation of his vows.
  • Iji's eponymous heroine starts out somewhere between this and Reluctant Warrior, to the point of apologizing to the enemies she kills. Depending on the player, she may develop into a Technical Pacifist (even on higher difficulty levels, it's possible, though difficult, to complete the game with ZERO kills — although the boss fights are unavoidable, most end with another character dealing the final blow, and the other is against a machine), Blood Knight, or anything in between.
  • Hanabusa, the main character of Tsukumogami, seems to be this, even though she never says it out loud. She has no problem using her spectacular sword-skills to defeat the titular evil spirits, but refuses to even raise a hand against a living human being. Anytime she's forced into conflict with humans, she simply runs away and hides. Even in an extreme case, like when her best friend is dying from an infectious disease, and the nobles have hoarded all the medicine, she refuses to fight the noble's guards when breaking into his mansion in order to recover a dose of the medicine.
    • Even Tsukumogami who take on a human form (referred to as 'demons' by the game, since it requires a high degree of spiritual power to do so) seems to trigger her aversion to violence, and she'll often go out of her way to avoid destroying them.

    Webcomics 

     Web Original  

  • Doc from Red vs. Blue abhors violence in every way, even having joined the army as a conscientious objector. For this reason, he is a medic... and his extreme pacifism has earned him the undying hatred of both teams. For maximum hilarity, the Omnicidal Hyper-Aggressive AI O'Malley hijacks his body and attempts to use him in his ultimate goal of taking over the universe, and "crushing every living soul into dust!"
    • This pacifism is so extreme that when the Blues and Reds are in the middle of another fight, Church resorts to shooting Caboose in the foot to get him to cross to the other side, as even pretending to help the Blues against the Reds seemed too "aggressive" to Doc.
  • Folder, of the Whateley Universe. He accidentally destroyed the arm of his best friend when his powers first manifested, and he was so traumatized that he still refuses to fight. Even to defend himself from bullies. Even to defend himself from a superpowered bully who keeps putting him in the hospital.
  • Mario from Melee's End decides that he's tired of spending all his time fighting (this despite being a character in a fighting game) and refuses to use violence, even when Ganondorf is in the middle of kicking his and his team's ass.
  • Raven, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a mystic martial artist with minor darkness powers. She absolutely refuses to cause harm to another person, even in self-defense. However, she's a master of aikido, fast on her feet, and perfectly willing to let her opponents injure *themselves*. For instance, by punching walls when she ducks out of the way. She has perfected the art of "fighting" defensively.
  • The main character in the short interactive fiction "The Life of a Pacifist" is one of these. Unfortunately, they're a video game developer, and they're currently working on a third person shooter and find the scenes within it horrifying. In the end, they either quit, continue working despite themselves, or decide that nothing is wrong with it at all.
  • MSF High Forum:Both Alexis and Arella. (Or anyone else who has the pacifist disadvantage.)
  • SCP Foundation has the Manna Charitable Foundation, whose goals entail using anomalous objects to help people around the world. They have expressed strong pacifist beliefs, and are shown to never intentionally harm anyone, not even members of the SCP Foundation, the latter of whom is trying to contain the objects they use. Of course, objects they've used such as SCP-1176 ended up killing people, but that's because the MCF is so fervent in its charity projects that they typically don't take the time to research these objects extensively before giving the public access to them.
  • The monks in The Wanderers Library story Pollution. It ends poorly

     Western Animation  

  • In The Transformers, Beachcomber took it to the level of allowing Decepticons to take a powerful MacGuffin in a pretty area of forest rather than mention it to the Autobots and allow a fight to take place. In a later episode, First Aid allowed Swindle to get away with a component necessary for Metroplex to transform rather than shoot back.
    • In the episode "The Rebirth", Cerebros, has grown weary of fighting (after a few millennia of war who could blame him?). He eventually promises to fight just one last time, becoming a part of one of the most powerful Transformers ever created, on the condition that afterwards he is switched off... permanently.
  • In The Boondocks episode "Return of the King", in an Alternate History universe Martin Luther King wasn't killed by an assassin, but put into a coma for 32 years, waking up significantly aged in a hospital bed on October 27, 2000. After the 9/11 attacks, King appears on TV, stating that his Christian faith teaches him to "turn the other cheek", even with respect to enemies such as Al-Qaeda. His commentary receives severe scorn from the White House Press Secretary, CNN and Time magazine, and causes his popularity to plummet.
  • The Duchess Satine of Madalore in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In the episode "Voyage of Temptation" she even hesitates to shoot someone threatening to blow up her ship.
    • This is later deconstructed in Season 5, as not only does she have disposition of being a pacifist in a galaxy at war and leading a people who are historically a proud warrior race, the Death Watch (who've been trying to overthrow her regime and bring Mandalore back to its warrior race roots) teams up with Darth Maul, stages an invasion of the planet by an army of criminals to reinforce how pacifism has made Mandalore vulnerable to those willing to prey on those who refuse to fight back and then Death Watch comes along to "quell" the criminals. In the end, the people of Mandalore see the Death Watch as heroes, Satine is removed from power, Mandalore goes into another civil war not long after Maul takes the throne and she is coldly murdered by Maul for the sake of emotionally tormenting Obi-Wan.
  • Dove, the character in Justice League Unlimited (and associated comic books) - the only superhero to take an entirely non-violent standpoint and get through his entire starring episode without throwing a punch. It keeps up in later appearances, and even when he does fight, it's with things like judo throws and holds rather than punches or kicks.
  • The Monks of Teshuva in Futurama episode "Godfellas". When challenged they first appear to be Martial Pacifists, but quickly back down when their bluff is called.
    Leela: "Your order may be famous for its marital arts, but I've never met a holy man I couldn't clobber."
    Monk #1: "Actually, we only practice martial arts as a form of meditation. We are a strictly non-violent sect."
    Leela: "Oh. Then get in the laundry room or I'll kick your butts!"
  • Lifeline from G.I. Joe refused to employ violence. On one occasion, he wouldn't even touch a rifle, even though it was being held out for him to grab and pull him out of a trap.
    • Which is a nod to the comic continuity, in which Doc Greer was an actual pacifist, who was killed trying to protect his injured colleagues in the field.
    • Lifeline even gets mad at other people for using him to help them be violent, like when Roadblock told him to talk to a cobra agent. While he was talking, Roadblock snuck behind the agent and knocked him out.
    Lifeline: Hey! You used me for violence!
    • In an issue of G.I. Joe: Special Missions, Lifeline is among a group of Joes ambushed by river pirates during a skirmish with the Oktober Guard, and is forced into a duel to the death with Horrorshow; winner gets to leave with the black box from a Cobra Firebat that the Joes had captured. Lifeline uses aikido to redirect Horrorshow's attacks and he wins the fight, but refuses to kill Horrorshow, instead asking for the lives of both teams and letting the pirates keep the black box. The pirate leader decides to throw away the box and let them all go, having been impressed that Lifeline had the courage of his convictions.
  • Zeta from The Zeta Project would only use force to save human life, and only when it was the only option available. He refused to use guns to any degree and even though it's implied he was strong enough to kill people, he never did much more than knock them out, if that. A common fan theory is that this approach is why the network didn't like him and the show became the black sheep of the DCAU.

     Real Life  

  • Many governments, even some of the most warlike in history, allow some people to avoid serving as a member of or contributing to violent military actions. Such people have proven themselves to be conscientious objectors, rather than merely opposed to the war in question. Many Conscientious Objectors will then volunteer for dangerous duties in wartime, such as combat medics. One group of Mormon conscientious objectors in World War II were used as some of the first Smokejumpers. As in "parachuting into forest fires".
  • St. Moses the Black, at least at the end of his life. Earlier on he was an undeniable Bad Ass.
  • Mohandas Gandhi: stopped the first Indo-Pakistan war by going on hunger-strike. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Philosophically, however, he leaned towards the Martial Pacifist, and considered violence preferable to passive acceptance. His ahimsa demanded that its followers actively work to counteract violence, and espoused the use of force in the immediate defense of others.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr, who took inspiration from Gandhi.
    • Then again, he is known to have owned a lot of firearms in order to defend his family with.
  • Under the Wiccan Rede, "harm none" is the law placed on all Wiccans. This means both physical harm and psychological harm... and is sometimes interpreted to include self-harm.
  • Buddhism has the reputation of being a pacifist religion, because a major theme amongst Buddhist teachings is not harming others in any way — be it physical (stealing, violence, selling booze or meat) or mental (gossip, insults, etc). As with any large group, however, there have been groups within it who let that ideal slide.
  • Christianity was originally innovative because, regardless of the reason violence is committed, it's thought of as an inherently bad thing for which one must atone. This was a radical concept a couple of millennia ago.
    • Some sects of Christianity, typically ascetic ones such as the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends), are absolute pacifists, at least in their rhetoric.
  • Taoism was all about living in harmony with everything and respecting the right of others to live the way they choose. The two most important Taoists (Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu) was a libertarian and an anarchist, respectively.
  • A impressive military actual pacifist was WWII veteran Desmond T. Doss, who refused to bear arms or drill on Saturday due to his Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs. Doss was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for single-handedly rescuing 75 of his fellow soldiers from an escarpment under fire from the Japanese on Okinawa. From his medal citation, "As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine gun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands." Truly a kick-behind pacifist.
  • Jains. Jainism includes the precept of "Ahiṃsā"; the absence of the desire to harm any life. How strictly this precept is adhered to varies, but all Jains observe it to some degree.
  • The now-extinct religion of Manichaeism took this to an extreme. While lay members were permitted to live their lives normally, members of the clergy were forbidden to harm any living being. Strict vegetarians, they were expressly forbidden to prepare their own food, as cooking and chopping vegetables was believed to harm the spirit particles residing within the food.
  • As the page quote implies, doctors are ideologically against harming others, but in modern medicine this is sometimes easier said than done. For example, chemotherapy (used to treat many cancers) is basically the use of poisons, chosen to kill cancer cells faster than they kill the rest of the patient. This is why cancer patients lose their hair (among other problems). So, doctors are sworn to do no harm, but in an effort to treat their patients' cancer, they must harm them with the chemo drugs. Applies with surgery and other practices as well obviously.
    • The idea of doctor-assisted suicide for terminal patients is one of the most controversial instances of this. Is helping someone die without pain under the definition of "do no harm?" Or is it still killing, and immoral?
  • The Moriori people of the Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand were complete pacifists, although unlike some of the groups listed here they were not vegetarians. All disputes were resolved by nonlethal ritual combat or conciliation. After their accidental discovery by European whalers, they were invaded by Maori iwi (tribes) from the Taranaki region, who were Proud Warrior Race Guys who interpreted the Moriori's pacifism as cowardice and so therefore slaughtered them. To add insult to injury, the New Zealand land court, which determined which iwi controlled which pieces of land, ruled that the invading Maori were now the rightful owners of the Chathams through right of conquest. Thanks to bans on marrying other Moriori and systematic oppression by the Maori invaders, all full-blooded Moriori died out, although there are still Moriori with either Maori or European ancestry.


What Measure Is an Index?Morality TropesAgree to Disagree
    Idealism TropesThe All-American Boy
Actor-Inspired ElementCharacterization TropesAdaptational Badass
    Peace TropesBadass Pacifist
White BunnyImageSource/OtherAngrish

alternative title(s): Actual Pacifism
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