For whatever reason, victims of poison always seem to have some big speech to give while the poison kicks in. The poor sucker will stumble around, lose his train of thought, start sweating heavily, sway a little—maybe take a few slugs from the (poisoned!) water bottle. The crowd, without fail, will suddenly become blurry and indistinct.
A common variant has the victim simply having a heart attack
, or falling ill without poison.
Compare to Killed Mid-Sentence
, Almost Dead Guy
and His Name Is...
Rule of Drama
- collapsing in public is a pretty spectacular way to go.
Anime and Manga
- In the Sailor Moon R TV series, Rei is attacked in the middle of her school concert. She transforms into Sailor Mars when everyone but the Senshi are knocked out, but since she had a good part of her Life Energy stolen by the Monster of the Week, she almost passes out in the middle of her In the Name of the Moon speech.
- In the Hetalia Bloodbath 2011, it happens to two characters. First, Seychelles experiences this as she's a nation-tan with a tropical climate and yet she's trouncing around in snow to join the others. Later, we find out that a pre-teen!Holy Roman Empire experienced this and Blood from the Mouth when he had a seizure during a Germanic states reunion, and his caretaker Hungary has to carry him in her arms.
- An entire mob of grown-ups pass out during a speech in the Spy Kids movie.
- Deliberately invoked at the end of Dave. Main character Dave is an Identical Stranger to the President and was hired to be the President's Body Double while the President goes out of town to carry on an affair. The President suffers a stroke while away and the phenomenally corrupt administration is terrified of the honest Vice President, who will probably throw them all in jail given the chance, so they have Dave continue pretending to be President, with the intent of making him a Puppet King. Dave refuses to continue going along with them, however, and near the end gives a big speech to Congress and the Senate, where he confesses to all the President's crimes and blows the lid off the corrupt conspirators by implicating them too. After hitting the important confession Dave suddenly starts stuttering, then stumbles and collapses, as if he's had a stroke. Afterwards the real President (who has been on life support the entire time) is switched back in, while Dave walks away.
- Alex in A Clockwork Orange falls face-first into his pasta after being slipped a mickey by the writer whose wife he and the Droogs gang-raped in the beginning of the film.
- This happens to Jefferson Smith at the climax of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, although in that case it's not so much that he doesn't get through his speech as that he keeps speaking until he collapses.
- The Bible: King Herod (the one who beheaded James the apostle) is said to have been struck down by God during a public appearance.
- In Ngaio Marsh's The Nursing Home Murder, an ailing and unpopular Prime Minister collapses while speaking in the House of Commons. He's sent to a private hospital for an emergency appendectomy, but doesn't survive the procedure.
- Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
- While Professor Bernardo de la Paz was on Earth he suffered greatly from the Earth's greater gravity, as it was six times what he was used to. On occasion, he did feign collapsing during negotiations when he wished to temporarily halt proceedings while he "recovered".
- After he returned to the Moon he seemed to get better. Near the end of the novel, after the Moon had won the war with the Federated Nations of Earth, he gave a speech to a crowd of Loonies.
He stopped for cheers, then went on, "But that lies in the future. Today— Oh, happy day! At last the world acknowledges Luna's sovereignty. Free! You have won your freedom—"
Prof stopped—looked surprised. Not afraid, but puzzled. Swayed slightly.
Then he did die.
- A variation in Starship Troopers has Rico protesting against his commander's decision to activate a post-hypnotic suggestion for him to sleepnote . The twist being that Rico doesn't immediately realize anything has happened, except for his commander's confused reaction to Rico picking up on their discussion mid-sentence, several hours later.
- A victim in the Alex Rider series goes out this way.
- Vizzini from The Princess Bride collapses after a short speech, in the middle of his Evil Laugh.
- The Mentalist: A chef collapses in the middle of his speech.
- Babylon 5 discusses and subverts this. Londo and Vir plan to assassinate the mad emperor. Londo worries that the Emperor will give a deathbed speech. The "almost" instantaneous poison is supposed to stop this. Vir jokes that maybe the Emperor will have just enough time to shout "Kill Londo!", a thought which does not amuse Londo. Vir ends up being the one who stabs the Emperor with the poison needle. The Emperor's last words are simply "I was to be a god." Vir, being a relative innocent in a very dirty world, soon turns to Drowning My Sorrows to deal with it.
- Gilmore Girls: Rory's grandfather has a heart attack and goes down in the middle of a lecture, but he makes it.
- Played with in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Mayor starts his Ascension in the middle of his speech to the graduating students, which causes him strong pains. However, he knew that it would happen and his collapse last few moments before he turns into a demonic snake. He only complains that he doesn't have time left to talk about civic pride.
- In Inherit the Wind, Matthew Harrison Brady is giving his closing speech, which his old and weary voice tries and fails to make sound passionate. After the microphone is taken away from him, he desperately tries to continue, but suddenly falls silent and collapses. As he is carried out of the courtroom in a semi-conscious state, he strangely starts speaking on being inaugurated as President. He dies offstage soon after.
- In the Visionaries episode "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon", this happens to Cryotek, Feryl and Galadria as they are struck down by the Magical Plague which is sweeping Prysmos.
- Mardi Gras Indian "chief of chiefs" and New Orleans cultural icon Allison "Tootie" Montana had a fatal heart attack in the middle of a speech he was giving to the New Orleans City Council to protest police brutality.