See it and laugh. Then feel terrible for doing so.
This trope occurs when a character is killed in an allegorical
or lyrical manner; often this is due to their own actions. A favoured fate in tragedies
, or to kill off The Villain Of The Story. If they are killed by their own hubris
then the hero doesn't have to get their hands dirty and instead has a chance to demonstrate their moral fibre by attempting to Save the Villain
or say Alas, Poor Villain
. If the cause of death is too trite or unlikely it will challenge the Willing Suspension of Disbelief
so be careful.
, Death by Looking Up
, Hoist by His Own Petard
, Karmic Death
, Vehicular Turnabout
, and the more lethal variations of Turned Against Their Masters
are all SubTropes
. When this trope is frequently invoked
by one person, it falls under Poetic Serial Killer
. Compare Russian Reversal
for a humorous play on this.
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
Examples that don't fit into any subtropes
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, each of the Homunculi dies in a manner thematically appropriate to the associated Deadly Sin:
- Lust is brutally incinerated by a man “well known as a serial dater” whose probable love interest she was about to kill.
- Greed Mk.I is boiled down for his most valuable part. However, he came back later.
- Greed Mk.II performs a Heroic Sacrifice after admitting that all he wanted were friends, and that he doesn't need anything else.
- Envy commits suicide out of self-loathing because he envies his enemies.
- Even more, someone who prides himself on being a Master Manipulator, his suicide was the result Ed sympathizing with him.
- Gluttony is eaten by another homunculus.
- Sloth is worn out by a long fight.
- Wrath's Death By Irony wasn't necessarily appropriate for his Deadly Sin, but it was for his character. After saying several times that there is no such thing as God, the solar eclipse, the symbol of God in alchemy, plays an instrumental role in his defeat.
- Well, when you think about it, what is that but the "wrath of God"?
- Other bits of irony appear in his death. Wrath's actions lead to Scar becoming a rage filled killer and it is Scar who finally defeats him. Wrath's final words suggest that he dies completely at peace with the world.
- And finally based of his very name, Wrath, his death was ironic. He died with peace of mind, completely content with his life.
- Wrath also fell at the hand of a person who earned Redemption Equals Life.
- Pride was stripped of most of his powers and lost to Ed after badly underestimating both him and what's left of Kimblee's soul. (Plenty of other irony relating to his previous actions, too)
- Pride tries to possess Edward's body. What does Ed do? Use a fraction of his soul to cut off the other souls in Pride's body. He essentially defeated Pride by possessing him.
- Pride had eaten Kimblee because he was no longer useful. Father abandoned Pride to die because he was no longer useful.
- Also, Kimblee came back to bite Pride too.
- In the final chapter, it is shown that Pride has lost his memories of being a homunculus, and is now being raised as a human child; ironic because of his hatred and scorn for humanity and the great pride he took in being a homunculus.
- Barry the Chopper, a bodiless soul bound to armor by a blood-seal, tracks down and supposedly kills his original body (now a mindless creature). Shortly after that Lust destroys the armor, leaving the piece of armor with the seal on it as the only part of him still alive. His real body then crawls over, picks the piece up, and scratches the seal off (which destroys his soul).
- The gold-toothed doctor, who had apparently participated in all kinds of hideous alchemical human experimentation and had just gone to some pretty despicable lengths to force Roy to open the Gate, gets transmuted into a hideous blob of Body Horror by Pride, in the process of forcing Roy to open the Gate.
- Macross Frontier. You just had to poke the fourth wall, didn't you, Michel?
- In Dragon Ball Z, in the regular timeline, Krillin marries Android 18. In the alternate timeline where Goku dies of a heart virus, he is killed by Android 17, Android 18's brother, in assistance with Android 18.
- Fisher Tiger from One Piece hated humans for enslaving him and treating Mermen badly in general. Despite this, he fought to free all slaves, Mermen and human alike, and tried to avert the Vicious Cycle by not killing his pursuers. Then he was seriously injured in an ambush and his blood-type was unique among Mermen — none of his crew had the right type of blood to save him. The only blood that could save him was from the very humans Fisher Tiger despised. Which he refused because — to his own shame — he could not let go of his hatred.
- In Pokémon Special, the Big Bad of the GSC arc AKA Pryce tries to control time itself. He ends up being forever trapped in the time stream, albeit with no regrets, as he accomplished his goal of reuniting his baby Lapras with its lost parents.
- Also, in the Pokemon anime, Big Bad Cyrus gets close to undoing the world and creating his own, Palkia and Dialga open a dimension to start but cease when the heroes break Cyrus' mind control. Cyrus refuses to believe his plans have failed and jumps into the pocket dimension just as it closes, and while it's possible he's creating his own universe separate from the main one, it's far more likely the dimensional gate destroyed him when it shut.
- In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, a group of socialist assassinates millionaires with a custom shrapnel gun loaded with rolls of coins.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni's "Eye Opening Arc" ends with local Yandere Shion Sonozaki falling from her apartment building to her death. The irony? She had spent the majority of the arc masquerading as her twin sister Mion so she could frame her for her infamous murder rampage, and she had just finished her grand plan by sneaking out and stabbing Keiichi. While she scales her apartment building to sneak back in, the fall is caused by the holster she is wearing (which is part of her disguise) snagging on the wall. Note this does not happen in "Cotton Drifting", or in the original Visual Novel or Manga adaptation of "Eye Opening".
- In the first season finale of Attack on Titan the priest of the Wall Church that has been harassing the heroes the whole season is preaching to his congregation that the Walls will protect them from the Titans, when the Female Titan crashes down through the temple roof and crushes all of them but the preacher.
- A Star Wars Tales comic is told entirely from the perspective of a career storm trooper who's about to board the Tantive IV. As he thinks back on his life in the military and the things he's done, his ruminations are interspersed with the present as the Star Destroyer pulls the ship into its docking bay and they prepare to board. The man dreads being chosen to be sent in first, because the guy sent in first always dies—he's seen it dozens of times. Naturally, the sergeant chooses him. They set the charge on the door, and the storm trooper dryly remarks on its functionality, designed to blow the door inward and hopefully make the enemy flinch. And for once... it works. The rebels flinch, buying the man time to get into the hallway and start shooting. And right behind him, the sergeant that ordered him in first is shot in the face.
- In DC Comics, this is the fate of Darkseid's mother, Queen Heggra. She didn't appreciate how her son was falling in love with a beautiful and understanding scientist, Suli, so she had the court poisoner, Desaad, poison her potential daughter-in-law. Darkseid returned the sentiment by having Desaad poison her, too. This parley would eventually come back to bite Desaad in the ass, too. When Darkseid accidentally freed his father, Yuga Khan from the Source Wall, Desaad grovelled before him, telling him how his service to Darkseid "was a lie." Yuga Khan then reminded Desaad how he murdered his beloved wife, then promptly disintegrated the sniveling toad. He came back with help from Darkseid after Yuga Khan, ironically, got himself re-stuck in the Source Wall.
- Another DC Comics example, this time concerning a possible future demise for noted immortal villain Vandal Savage. In DC One Million, after having lived up to the 853rd century, Savage goes back in time to the 20th-century and arrives in Montevideo, Uruguay just in time to get caught in a nuclear blast that devastates the city...an attack that is ordered by 20th-century Savage.
- In the older Iron Man comics, Iron Man traveled back in time to Ancient Egypt where he fought an Evil Sorcerer called the Mad Pharaoh. The latter tripped and fell to his death on the blade of one of his swords, something that is described by Iron Man as "ironic".
- Reverend Craig of various X-Men media got this in X-Force; he lures his illegitimate mutant daughter, Rahne Sinclair, aka Wolfsbane, into the clutches of his current allies, the Purifiers, so she can be Mind Raped into becoming an assassin. During the fighting, her conditioning gets tripped by accident on his part and she attacks, kills and eats him. Making things more poignant is that he has tried to kill her repeatedly since her mutant powers first manifested.
- Raven in "The Tainted Grimoire" killed Sir Loin by burning him. Raven's own death came about by burning him.
- Ludlow in "Rise of the Galeforces". In Chapter 25 he reveals himself to be an Omnicidal Maniac who intends to destroy all non-human life. 10 chapters later, he is himself destroyed by non-human life.
- In "The North Remembers", the Late Lord Walder Frey is notorious throughout the Seven Kingdoms for being extremely untrustworthy, particularly when he betrays his liege lord Edmure Tully for personal gain at the Red Wedding. He is then betrayed by House Lannister, the house that had promised him power, when they take away his daughter Roslin, who is married to said liege lord, and execute her because Edmure had allowed Robb Stark's widow to escape with Ser Brynden Tully. He then promptly dies after hearing the news.
- "Fallout: Equestria" has Killing Joke, a plant which specializes in this. Either it kills them directly in some ironic way, such as a zebra who said at one point she felt like her stripes were great wounds in her skin, having her stripes becomes massive open wounds when touched by a vine. Or simply setting things up for a third party to cause it, such as turning a Hellhound who was about to kill some ponies, into a pony. Said ponified Hellhound was then killed by the other Hellhounds who thought he was simply one of the ponies they were hunting.
- Ra's Al Ghul in A Spark of Genius claims that Xander is a more fitting heir than Batman as unlike Batman, he's willing to kill those who stand against him. He later pushes Xander too far by trying to take his fiances and minions hostage, causing Xander to kill him then vaporize the body to insure he doesn't come back.
- In Alien vs. Predator 2, a guard walks off to take a quick smoke. His partner warns him - smoking will kill him. Seconds later Predator rips out a hatch to enter the facility that these guards are guarding. Said hatch lands on poor mook, crushing him to death. Sign on said hatch says: No Smoking.
- In The Final, the The Vietnam War Vietnam veteran]] winds up getting taken out by a punji stake trap — exactly the kind once used by the Viet Cong.
- Full Metal Jacket: Gunny Hartman. More emphasis on this in the book than in the movie. In the book, when he gets shot, before he dies, he says "Private Pyle, I'm so proud." He's glad that was finally able to make him a killer which he had been struggling to do all through boot camp.
- Used to surprisingly good effect in The Asylum's version of Sherlock Holmes. The factory owner who put bars on the inside of his windows to keep his illegal workers in? Can't get out when the monster comes to eat him.
- The film Land of the Dead does this with the electric fence. Zombies are shown in one scene getting fried on the electric fence that borders the city of Pittsburgh, while humans on the other side of the fence laugh at them. Later on, that same electric fence ends up becoming a deathtrap as a large group of refugees trying to escape end up trapped between it and the zombies.
- In Snakes on a Plane, one character throws a small dog to a snake to try and escape. However when the others gasp at his brutality, he stops to chastise them saying "Oh what, you'd have done it too!" But this is just long enough for the snake to eat him alive... and in the end, his corpse gets sucked out of a window into the engine. The moral of this story: if you kill a puppy, God kills you.
- Most of the victims in Theatre of Blood, most notably George Maxwell, a pompous egotist who is killed in the manner of Gaius Julius Caesar (and who wouldn't have even been present at the murder scene if he hadn't allowed his vanity to override his common sense); Oliver Larding, The Alcoholic, who is drowned in a barrel of wine in the style of Clarence in Richard III; and Chloe Moon, a vain woman who ends up electrocuted at her hair salon.
- In Collateral, Vincent will talk at length about the need to change, adapt, and roll with whatever life throws at you, yet he shoots entirely by rote. He always uses the Mozambique Drill: two shots to the chest and one to the head. In the climactic shootout at the end of the film, which takes place in a blackout and aboard a subway train, this ensures that not a single one of his shots hits Max, as they all plunk dead-center into a set of sliding metal doors. Max, meanwhile, fires randomly and kills Vincent with a lucky shot.
- At the climax of the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the last thing Judge Claude Frollo says before his Disney Villain Death is, "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!" The gargoyle he is standing on then breaks, and he falls to the pit of copper below and to his doom, letting loose with a Big "NO!" all the way.
- In a similar vein to above, the last thing The Joker says in Batman before his Disney Villain Death is, "Sometimes I just kill myself!!" This likewise results in Batman anchoring Joker to a gargoyle with his harpoon gun, and then eventually being forced to plunge to his death due to the heaviness of the gargoyle statue that broke him.
- The Cabin in the Woods. After spending the entire film wishing he could see a merman, Hadley is finally done in when a merman enters the control room and chews his face off. Hadley is pretty aware of the irony, too; his last words are "Oh, come on!"
- In Miss Nobody, Sarah Jane started her malicious, serial killing ways by accidentally killing the executive she worked as a secretary for. She dies when her own secretary accidentally serves her the drug-tainted water she had prepared for Ormsby.
- In the theatrical production of The Little Mermaid, Ursula devises her plan solely to get the Trident and become ruler of the sea, only for her to die when a whirlpool she creates with it to destroy Ariel gets out of her control and sucks her in.
- In The Seventh Seal, Death chops the tree an actor is hanging on. "But I have a play tomorrow!" "The play will be cancelled due to the main actor's death".
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Judge Doom, who plans to obliterate Toontown and all Toons with the Dip, is revealed to actually be a Toon himself. Guess what Eddie Valiant ultimately uses against Doom to vanquish him for good?
- Constantine. Two characters are killed by the The Dragon in an ironic way.
- Beeman is obsessed with insects. He's killed by being infested with flies.
- Hennessy drinks a lot to drown out the voices he hears due to his psychic ability. He's killed by being made to drink himself to death.
- In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, there is one part of the Final Battle where the heroine, his daughter, stabs the infamous killer in the gut with the clawed glove that is his iconic weapon. This is not what truly kills him (she does that by stuffing a bomb down his throat), but it's still ironic.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 ends with Lord Shen crushed to death by his own cannon.
- In Heathers, J.D. is responsible for killing several other teenagers throughout the film, and sets the murders up to look like suicides. After failing to blow up the school, he commits suicide by blowing himself up with his own bomb.
- Mulholland Falls culminates with the bad guy being tossed off the plane, the same way he murdered his victim.
- Count Dracula is always known for biting his victims' necks and then either kill them or turn them in to vampires. Guess how he finally dies in Dracula III: Legacy.
- In The Hunger Games, Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane revokes the both-can-win rule, meaning that only Katniss or Peeta can survive. But instead they almost commit suicide with poisonous berries, until they are declared the winners to prevent this. As punishment for this unprecedented screw-up, he is locked in a room with... the same kind of poison berries.
- Similar to the beaver in the picture, an Iguanodon dies in the 1912 novel The Lost World when it brings the tree where it was trying to feed on over itself.
- In the Codex Alera, Chronic Backstabbing Disorder-afflicted bitch Invidia Aquitaine dies by... being stabbed in the back by an invisible opponent.
- Invoked by one of the villains in The Dresden Files. In Dead Beat, Harry kills the Corpsetaker by shooting her in the back of the head. She returns as a ghost in Ghost Story, and gleefully points out the irony when she tries to kill Harry by shooting him in the back of the head. Since Harry himself was a ghost at the time, it didn't actually kill him, but it did destroy his spirit's physical manifestation, and at that point he was too weak to materialize himself again.
- In Eternity in Death, the killer, who thinks he's a vampire, attacks Dallas. In the struggle, he's stabbed by a wooden stake.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Viserys Targaeryn is obsessed with reclaiming his (golden) crown. Khal Drogo obliges by pouring molten gold onto his head.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy relates the story of a civilization whose world was doomed and decided to send everyone to safety in Arks... only that's a big fat lie they told to the "useless" members of society like the beauticians, telephone washers, etc. to get rid of them. Then the rest of the civilization dies when a disease spreads via dirty telephone receivers. As for the exiled Ark, it crash-lands on Earth; those useless people may or may not be, in fact, humanity's ancestors, which would explain an awful lot.
- In Malevil, rogue army commander Vilmain is killed by Maurice, one of his unwilling, "join or die" recruits, who puts the discipline and training Vilmain inflicted on him to good use.
- In Suite Française, Charlie Langelet, a collector of fine porcelain, while making his way along roads full of refugees fleeing the fear of German bombing, reaches safety in his automobile by stealing gas from a pair of young lovers. Safely returned to Paris, he orders his cleaning woman to clean his entire apartment. When she protests that she can't do it in a single day, he replies that she'll just have to work faster. Before leaving the apartment, he puts his very favorite porcelain, a figurine of Venus, on display. He has arranged to have dinner with the beautiful dancer Arlette Corail; she said she'd meet him in her car. How did she get the gas? Well, a woman has ways. Charlie hesitates before crossing the pitch-dark, blacked-out street, but thinks that there won't be any cars on the road anyhow. And then he's struck, his head smashed, by a car traveling too fast with blacked-out headlights: it's Arlette Corail. Back in his apartment, the cleaning woman has been working long into the night, getting more and more exasperated. Just as she finishes, she knocks over the figurine of Venus, smashing its head. Imagining trying to explain this to her employer, she exclaims, "I don't care what he says. He can drop dead!"
- One of the nobles in A Tale of Two Cities proclaims that the starving peasants can just eat grass. The rebels make sure to stuff grass in his mouth as they drag him to his death.
- In James Herbert's post-nuclear holocaust novel Domain, a particularly obnoxious character chortles with glee at having had the foresight to build himself a nuclear bunker. He takes great delight in denying his neighbours entry and when he discovers a cat has accidentally joined him ends up killing it. However, when he gets sickened by the stench of dead cat and tries to leave he discovers that the exit hatch has been blocked shut by the remains of his house landing on it.
- In The Pale King, a soybean farmer was decapitated by a Think Farm Safety billboard during a tornado in 1987.
- In The Color Purple, Celie's abusive step-father dies while having sex with his latest wife - definitely ironic, since he raped Celie and had at least three wives, the last two being in their teens.
- Tad Williams's Otherland applies a liberal dose of irony to the deaths of all of the members of the Grail Brotherhood conspiracy. Many die by committing suicide, believing that they are uploading themselves into virtual bodies, not knowing that the procedure has been sabotaged by Dread. (For further irony, the process does work, and the Other ends up using it on two of the heroes.) Shortly afterward, Daniel Yacoubian, a powerful general, is killed by getting stabbed in the chest by a teenage boy. After Dread's apocalypse, the remaining members die in similarly ironic ways: Jiun Biao, the powerful financier, is killed by a giant bug in Kunohara's simulation. David Wells, software mogul, is killed by Dread in a You Have Failed Me. And Jongleur himself dies at the hands of his own creation.
- In Tim Dorsey's first novel, Florida Roadkill, an assassin who is a member of a Satanic cult is preparing to sacrifice Serge and Coleman (By kneeling in the middle of the highway and praying in black clothing in the middle of the night) when he is run over by a bus full of devout Christians.
- The backstory of the Vorkosigan Saga includes the tale of Lord Vorloupulous, who tried to get around the law forbidding private armies by hiring 2000 "cooks", arming them with butcher knives, and sending them to carve up his enemies. The Emperor was not amused, and sentenced Lord Vorloupulous to death by starvation.
- The Twits are offed by gluing them upside-down to the floor after they have tortured Muggle-Wump and his family by making them stand upside-down on top of one another.
Live Action TV
- In "Supergirl", an anti-vigilante crown almost got crushed by the anti-vigilante billboard. For added irony, they were saved by the titular character.
- In the Grand Finale, Clark came very, very close to one. Over three years ago, Zor-El tricked him into wearing a blue kryptonite ring that removes his powers temporarily. Chloe stops him from trying to saw it off, and tell him to refrain from wearing any rings till his wedding day (which in itself is a reference to the times when he wore a red kryptonite ring, over three years ago). Oliver, possessed by Darkseid, presented him with a gold kryptonite ring at the altar which would permanently remove his powers. And it is Chloe, as bridesmaid, who spotted the switch and stopped it from being worn Just in Time.
- In the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Your Witness," an Amoral Attorney gets a hit-and-run driver acquitted by introducing misleading medical reports indicating that the sole eyewitness is legally blind and therefore incompetent as a witness. When the attorney is later run down in the courthouse parking lot by his long-suffering wife, the only witness is the same man he had earlier discredited, who gleefully tells the cops, "It's a legal fact that I am incompetent as a witness!"
- In LOST, a character whose name is a reference to Bram Stoker is killed by a piece of wood through the heart by a supernatural monster.
- Also, a character is killed in a dynamite explosion while giving a lecture on the dangers of dynamite.
- And then there's the guy who complained about how the survivors couldn't even make a fire. Cue flaming arrow hitting him in the chest.
- And Locke is murdered by Ben, who had just talked him out of suicide.
- Daniel goes back in time to 1977 only to get killed by his own mother, who had just conceived him.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show sees Chuckles the Clown die from a rogue elephant attack... while wearing a peanut costume.
- On QI, Rob Brydon suggests killing a bee by drowning it in honey.
- There's a certain ironic beauty to how crazy vampire hunter Gordon Walker on Supernatural is turned into a vampire himself, and subsequently killed by Sam... the same Sam that Gordon had been ruthlessly hunting for like a season.
- Half the Title Sequence Victims of the Week on Supernatural get killed in some ghoulishly ironic way, the camera inevitably lingering for a few gruesome seconds on the instrument of their demise before showing the title card.
- Power Rangers Samurai: Serrator wanted to split open the world. Instead, he was split open. He lampshades the irony with his last words.
- Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger: Every Monster of the Week so far has been defeated in a way that is either Laser-Guided Karma or in a way that reflects how they torment people to gather darkness.
- In The Closer, a cheating wife teamed up with her boyfriend to hire a man to kill her husband. The boyfriend got money to pay the hitman so that the wife won't be connect. Unfortunately, the wife gave the hitman the wrong date and the hitman accidentally killed the boyfriend.
- On Reno911, the Reno PD responds to calls about Klansmen performing a cross burning in a neighborhood. At the conclusion of the incident, one of the Klansman's robes catches fire, and he screams around while on fire. It provides both the image and accompanying quote on Karmic Death.
- In Gavin and Stacey, Ness mentions a former lover who died while faking his own death.
- The vocaloid songs series The Seven Deadly Sins by mothy has plenty of this:
- In "Conchita", the titular character eats herself.
- In "Venomania", the duke is killed by a man dressed like a woman.
- In "Judgement", Marlon is sent to Hell with the exact same words he gave criminals.
- In "Princess Sleep-Bringer", Margarita commits suicide by drinking the poison she had given to everyone.
Religion And Mythology
- The Bible describes one of the rebellious sons of King David, Absalom, as a very handsome man with a magnificent mane of hair. His death is therefore rather ironic. To clarify: Absalom instigated a revolution, and overthrew his father, King David. Eventually, David would regroup, and waged more battles in order to drive out Absalom. At the Battle of Ephraim Wood, Absalom got his magnificent mane caught in the low-hanging branches of an oak tree as his steed rode beneath, leaving him hanging there for days until Joab, David's chief minion, found and killed him.
- Greek Mythology is so rife with this trope, one could even say the Greeks lived in the "Irony Age." Case in point: Procrustes was an evil innkeeper who made all of his vict–, er, "guests" sleep in an iron bed. If the guest was too short, he would stretch them to fit, too tall, and he lopped off whatever overlapped. When he took in the hero, Theseus, as his guest, Theseus killed him by forcing him to lie in the bed he made. No one knows if he was too short or too tall, though, one version simply had Theseus chopping the jerk to bits.
- Another one of Theseus's villainous victims was an elderly bandit, Sciron, who lived on a cliff-side path. Sciron demanded, because of his apparent age, that everyone who passed by must give him his due respect by washing his feet. Of course, when the schmuck bent over to do so, Sciron pushed them off the cliff, where the corpse would be eaten by his partner in crime, a monstrous sea turtle. Guess what happened when he tried to pull this schtick with Theseus.
- King Diomedes was given a quartet of fire-breathing, man-eating mares by his father, Ares. Hercules stole these mares, and tamed them by forcing them to eat their former owner.
- A form of posthumous irony occurred with the Nemean Lion, which had an impenetrable pelt. After Hercules strangled it to death, he skinned the beast with its own claws.
- Hercules, himself, fell victim to this trope. He was fatally poisoned by the Hydra's blood when his wife, Deianira, mistakenly used the blood of the centaur, Nessus, whom Hercules slew with his poisoned arrows, as a love potion.
- To clarify (as much as one can, given the various interpretations of Greek myths), the centaur attempted to kidnap Deianira, and Hercules came to the rescue and slew the centaur with an arrow coated in hydra-blood poison. As he lay dying, Nessus told Deianira to take some of his [the centaur's] blood, and if she ever feared that she was losing Hercules to another woman, use the blood as a love potion to keep Hercules faithful forever. Eventually, Dieanira became concerned that Hercules was straying in his devotion (whether or not he was depends on which writer you choose to believe) and spread the blood on his famous lion-skin cloak. Although Hercules was to strong for the potion/poison to kill outright, the pain did drive him to suicide (effectively), so this story actually contains heavy irony on multiple levels.
- To add insult to mortal injury, the primordial sea monster-goddess, Ceto, was slain when Perseus petrified her with the decapitated head of her own daughter, Medusa.
- Speaking of Perseus, the king, Polydectes, wooed his mother, Danae, hoping to marry, then ravish her. In order to get rid of Perseus, who knew of his foul intentions, Polydectes invited Perseus to a lavish banquet where all the guests had to bring a horse, as a gift. As Perseus had no horse to give, he, instead, was tasked with bringing back the head of Medusa, the only mortal Gorgon. Of course, Polydectes assumed that Perseus would either die trying, or live in exile as a failure. He did not anticipate that Perseus would receive divine assistance from Athena, and as a result, paid for it very dearly.
- In Arcanum, Kerghan's goal is to create a technological portal that will exploit the fragile balance between magic and technology and free him from the void. The game encourages you to destroy him with the Vendigroth Device, a technological weapon which utilises the same principle to turn his own magic against him.
- If the player chooses to kill Sander Cohen in BioShock1, then they can add as many delicious layers of irony as they want. After an entire level has been devoted to you running about Fort Frolic, murdering Cohen's ex-students and using the photographs of their dead bodies to complete his self-proclaimed "Masterpiece", the player can kill Cohen and take a picture of his corpse to net the appropriately-named "Irony" achievement. But wait, there's more! For some sweet poetic justice, why not kill him with the crossbow he gave to you? Better still, load it up with Incendiary Bolts — because nothing says irony like burning to death in an underwater city.
- The Abbot in the 6th Chapter of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow suffers this after losing the relic in his tower, which could have saved so many needlessly sacrificed lives in the village from the vampires. He curses Gabriel and Zobek to hell for taking it from him, only to find himself THE one going to hell! Also counts as a Karmic Death.
- What's even more ironic about his last words is that Gabriel and Zobek do in fact go to hell, and Zobek was actually one of the bad guys who orchestrated the starting events of the game.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, you can kill Caesar in a variety of different ways, some of them ironic:
Stab him with a knife, like how the real Caesar was killed. You even get an achievement for it!
Shoot him with 12 Gauge coin shot (shotgun shells loaded with legion denari, i.e., his own army's money).
Shoot him in the head with "A Light Shining In The Darkness", the same gun used by Joshua Graham, the guy he (tried to have
) executed for failing him.
Kill him as a female Courier, since his army is a sexist, raping, slavery organization who regard women as inherently inferior.
- If you let Benny go free the first time you encounter him, you find him at Caesar's Fort, tied up. If you bring a pistol, you can shoot him in the head while he's kneeling before you- exactly what he did to you at the start of the game. Extra points if you pick-pocketed him and shoot him with his own gun.
- You can get the Omerta bosses, who are planning on siding with Caesar's Legion to betray Vegas and slaughter civilians, to backstab and kill each other.
- The Brotherhood of Steel are a faction of heavily armed isolationists who openly think that anyone but them is inferior and stupid, and as a result constantly steal technology from the 'ignorant' wastelanders, including yourself. One of the ways you can take them down is using a high Science skill to hack the terminal that controls their turrets, and watch them slaughter the entire facility.
- In the Dead Money expansion, you can seal Elijah permanently in the vault he desperately wanted to get into.
- That one counts double, since the opportunity to do it is immediately preceded by Elijah going off on a Motive Rant in which he expresses a desire to kill everyone in the Mojave so he can be "alone" in a "quiet world."
- In the Fate route of Fate/stay night Shirou kills Kotomine Kirei with the same Azoth Dagger that the latter gave to Rin 10 years ago. Even more ironic that it also was the same dagger he killed Tokiomi Tohsaka (Rin's father and the one who gave it to him as a gift in the first place) with in Fate/Zero.
- Happens to both of the Combine Hunter-Choppers encountered in Half-Life 2. The first one stalks and hounds you through the Canals, tormenting you with a Heavy Pulse Gun mounted on it's underside. However, a group of Rebels have managed to scavenge the one of the very same Pulse Guns used by the Chopper, which is given to you to use against the Helicopter. The Pulse Gun tears the Helicopter apart, forcing it to retreat and leave you alone for a little while. Soon after you duel the Chopper 1 on 1, using the very same weapon it's been using against you the whole time. Then in Half-Life 2: Episode 2, another Hunter-Chopper again chases you to a Rebel Base, the chopper begins peppering the base with spherical mines, which are set to go off about 5 seconds after hitting the ground. You defeat the Helicopter by tossing these mines back at it until it's significantly damaged, loses control and spins out, then crashes into a hillside.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic IV, Mardor, captain of the town guard of Vitross, attempts to burn necromancer Gauldoth to death when the latter is wrongfully accused of being a child murderer. Gauldoth flees the town, and returns several months later with an army which he uses to besiege and capture the town. One of his first acts as lord of Vitross is to have Mardor burned at the stake.
- In Mass Effect 2, you take Morinth the serial sex-murderer back to her apartment as a trap; shortly before you (can choose to) kill her, and she thinks she'll get what she wants, she remarks about chess:
Morinth: I love any game where your opponent can believe he's about to win—just before you kill him.
- Of course, this can apply to the player, too. If you go in thinking you can out-Paragon/Renegade her without 100% in the appropriate track, things go... poorly.
- And if Morinth is allowed to live through ME2, then, in Mass Effect 3, she winds up ditching you to resume her life of indulging in her appetites as an Ardat-Yakshi. The very genes she claims make her the "true destiny" of the Asari then draw the Reapers right to her and they turn her into a Banshee, resulting in the PC blowing her brains out in the final mission.
- The DLC mission pack "Lair of the Shadow Broker" reveals that this is a favored trope for Garrus (during his Archangel days, at least). Examples:
Har Urek (saboteur)
Suffocation (environmental suit malfunction)
Gus Williams (weapons smuggler)
Headshot (smuggled weapon)
Thralog Mirki'it (red sand dealer)
Chemical overdose (red sand, direct contact with all four eyes)
Zel'Aenik nar Helash (viral specialist, serial killer)
- Garrus also says he would have harvested the organs of Dr. Saleon (a Mad Scientist who grew organs inside volunteers and later sold them, with horrific consequences for the failed subjects), but says that he'll have to settle for just shooting him.
- Also from ME2: A Batarian bartender on Omega hates humans, and poisons any drink he serves a human. Shepard orders a drink, but due to his/her Cerberus cybernetic implants, s/he survives, and goes back to confront the bartender, who, not recognizing Shepard, pours him/her a free (obviously poisoned) drink. The renegade option? Make the bartender drink it, threatening to blind him one eye at a time if he refuses. No, good is definitely not nice.
- This can happen to Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3, depending on your choices in the series. During the attempted Cerberus coup on the Citadel, Kai Leng kills Thanenote by stabbing him in the chest with his sword. Then, at the end of the assault on the Cerberus base, Shepard kills Kai Leng by stabbing him in the chest with his/her omni-blade. For bonus points, only two of the six player classes use the standard omni-blade in gameplay. So the other four classes use the omni-blade once in the entire game just to invoke this trope.
- Volgin, the Psycho Electro of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, gets killed by lightning. Naked Snake lampshades the irony of the situation.
- Interestingly, Scorpion now has the original Sub-Zero's Spine Rip fatality as his own in Mortal Kombat Deception. For a real twist of irony, pull this classic fatality off on Sub-Zero and Noob Saibot. Maybe that'll teach them for pulling that stunt on him in Mortal Kombat 1 and Mortal Kombat 4.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Myrkul, the former god of death, is noted as being a huge fan of ironic deaths. Fittingly, you can utterly annihilate him using the powers his curse gave you. He even lampshades it, taking a perverse pleasure in the fact.
- At the end of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, villain Dr. Nefarious ends up stranded on an asteroid drifting through space. When he captures the heroes in the later game Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, he has them tied to an asteroid and shot into space. (They do not die, however.)
- In Team Fortress 2, one of the Medic's new weapons is the bust of Hippocrates, so now players can be beaten to death by the father of medical ethics. What makes this even more ironic is that if you zoom in on the bust of Hippocrates, there's a little brass plaque underneath that says "DO NO HARM", the time-honored motto of the health profession. And even better. What does "Hippocrates" sound like?
- In Final Fantasy VIII, if Guardian Force Odin appears during the player's last fight with Seifer, just as he rushes in to deliver his signature blow, when the screen flashes and shows Odin having passed him by, he reveals to have been OKDO'd himself by Seifer.
- In one quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim you meet a Dunmer trapped in a spider web. After killing the Giant Spider involved, he asks you to cut him loose in exchange for a MacGuffin. After you do, he shouts "You Fool!" and runs deeper into the dungeon. Should the player choose not to pursue and kill him, he wakes up draugr that kill him, or failing that, steps on a pressure plate and gets splattered by a booby trap.
- Genre Savvy players who know that he's going to betray them can also keep swinging after he's loose, often killing him before he even has the chance to run. He did say "cut me down," after all.
- Ulfric Stormcloak supposedly started the Civil War by killing the High King with the Thu'um. If you join the Imperial Legion, at the end of the questline, when Ulfric lies at your mercy, you can execute him and end the war with your own Thu'um.
- In The World Ends with You, you end up killing Game Master Konishi with the same pin she used in order to manipulate you and your partner. In fact, due to the way the boss fight works, it's impossible to not kill her like that.
- And a few minutes later, you find Sho Minamimoto "crunched" and added to one of his own trash heaps.
- This is how Deathwing meets his end in World of Warcraft. The artifact he forged long ago to help him conquer the world, the Dragon Soul, is used by the heroes to kill him in the finale of Cataclysm.
- In The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, Ignitus, the Guardian of Fire, dies in the wall of fire left in the wake of the Destroyer, whilst escorting Spyro and Cynder through it.
- The Big Bad of Electronic Super Joy stole your butt. You kill him by butt-stomping him.
- Near the end of Knights of the Old Republic II, the Jedi Masters you spent the game reassembling at Dantooine decide that everything that's happened is your fault and therefore you must be cut off from the Force entirely. Kreia promptly steps in and drains them of the Force to save you - and, them being old men who have depended on the Force for their entire lives, the shock of losing their connection to it immediately kills them.
- In Danganronpa, the execution scenes are tailored so they all invoke this trope. Examples include a baseball player being executed by repeated shots from a pitching cannon, and a leader of a biker gang being centrifuged by being forced to ride a very fast motorcycle in a spherical cage.
- In Saints Row The Third, Killbane does a Neck Snap on Kiki DeWynter and dishes out a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on his own gang. So the Boss kills him by giving him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that ends in a Neck Snap.
- In The Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness, Right-Eye the rash, impulsive brother of analytical and carefully planning Redcloak is killed when he finally thinks something through carefully and formulates a well-thought out scheme... Only to have it ruined during the execution stage when his brother does something rash and impulsive. Redcloak lampshades it.
- More recently, Tsukiko is killed by her own wights after Redcloak takes control of them.
- Earlier in the strip Durkon is relieved that since he'll return home posthumously, he won't be eaten by some monster. How does he die? his blood is drained by a vampire.
- In Paranormal Mystery Squad's debut, the deer woman they are chasing is incapacitated when she runs in front of a car.
- In Homestuck, Equius, Kanaya, Eridan and Nepeta are killed in this way. Equius is garroted with his own bow - that is to say, the Heir of Void is left void of air. Additionally, he was shot through the leg with an arrow and strangled with a broken bow - after dedicating himself to being an archer, but always breaking his bows and never firing a shot successfully. Kanaya is shot through the stomach by the wand she made for Eridan; her sign is Virgo and she's left barren. Eridan himself is chainsawed in half by Kanaya after she was revived as a rainbow-drinker, or rather, the magician was sawed in half by his lovely assistant. Nepeta's fate was been left unknown for some time after being advanced upon by Gamzee - that is to say, the catgirl existed in a state of possible life or death until it could later be observed; additionally, Nepeta was the Rogue of Heart, and had the person she cared about most taken away from her just before her death.
- Then there was Vriska, whose murder of Tavros by impaling him on his own lance led to Terezi impaling her with a stabbing cane.
- Taken to extremes in Sire. The Binding being a force of the universe as strong as fate will use dramatic irony as a weapon to punish anyone who does not live up to their story. They call it a tragic ending.
- This is the most common way of choosing an execution method in Protectors of the Plot Continuum.
- Season 3 of Penny Arcade's D&D Podcast ends with Aeofel dying in the villain's mansion by getting caught in a acid pit. Later in the first PAX live game, the group ventures to hell so they can bring him back while getting their revenge on the Big Bad. When they finaly get to her, she ultimately falls into an acid pit and dies.
- In Splinter Cell: Extinction, Julian Hunter is ordered by director Ward to shoot Douglas Hyland (who didn't expect that) in episode 4. And then he's shot by Ward in episode 7. He didn't expect that.
- General W of the SCP Foundation locked two small children in a room with SCP-682 an immortal, extremely malevolent Eldritch Abomination claiming it was an attempt to kill the creature. They both got brutally murdered. Later, someone else locked him in a room with 682, claiming it was an attempt to kill the creature. He got brutally murdered.
- It's all but explicitly stated, however, that this was supposed to be karma.
: Fucking sadistic asshole. I've got no sympathy for that moron whatsoever. Introducing children to this fucking monster? What the hell…
- SCP-823 ran on this trope before it was abandoned. The following are just a few deaths that occurred there:
One (1) individual wearing a "Happy Hippo" mascot uniform, found dead of suffocation. Mouth, trachea, and lungs were discovered to be filled with a fibrous substance later determined to be identical to the stuffing in said mascot uniform. (dead)
Fifteen (15) individuals recovered from the "Thriller Chiller" roller coaster, all decapitated by blunt force
. Witnesses reported that the deaths did not occur simultaneously, but in groups of two, starting with the front row of seats and ending with the back. Forensic analysis indicates that each set of deaths corresponded to a loop or turn in the roller coaster's tracks. (dead)
One (1) individual recovered from under the "Thriller Chiller" roller coaster, dead of broken neck
and massive cranial trauma caused by a fifty-foot fall from an inverted position
. Individual was seated at the back of said roller coaster, and somehow managed to extricate self from the ride's safety harness halfway through the ride. (dead)
One (1) individual found dismembered
inside the "House of Mirrors" attraction. Left arm was found sixteen feet to the north from the torso. Left leg was found inverted and attached to the ceiling by sinews. Right leg was found in the possession of Subject 79, partially consumed
(forensic analysis indicates that teeth marks found on flesh and bone of said leg are human in origin). To date, no trace of right arm has been found. (alive
- Believe it or not, the situation depicted in the page image (beaver killed by tree it cut down falling on it) actually happens occasionally.
- The Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang, was obsessed with obtaining immortality through alchemical elixirs. In Chinese Alchemy, mercury was considered a potent ingredient, so one of his solutions was to always have a daily dose of mercury everyday. In the end he died of mercury poisoning when he tried a new formula of mercury pill. The irony of it was in his quest for immortality, he instead found a way to die faster.
- Even worse, his greatest friend and most trusted adviser told him that he shouldn't be taking the potion and that the apothecaries were killing him with it. A special on The History Channel showed him dying from the potion right after his adviser told him to stop. Though this may not be ironic and be more Too Dumb to Live.
- Legend says that the Chinese inventor of gunpowder came with the formula while also trying to fabricate an elixir of immortality... and promptly got a severe case of explosion to the face.
- Another legend states that a Chinese philosopher once ascended to heaven by strapping a bunch of gunpowder rockets to a chair. Mythbusters attempted to replicate this, and after witnessing an impressive pyrotechnic display, they acknowledged that the rockets might have indeed helped him get to heaven, but he still most likely got there the usual way.
- During Emperor Qin Shi Huang's reign, Sinister Prime Minister Li Si devised the Five Pains, a lethal form of torture. After the Emperor's own Ironic Death, Li Si became anxious that the Emperor's successor Fusu would order him to forfeit his position as Prime Minister to Fusu's friend Meng Tian, so he underwent a Face-Heel Turn and forged a letter from Qin Shi Huang saying that both Fusu and Meng Tian must kill themselves, which was successful. He was found out, and he was then sent to his doom through the aforementioned form of torture that he himself had devised, the Five Pains.
- According to legend, pirate Bartholomew Roberts's famous sobriety was a direct cause of his death. When the British Navy finally caught up to him, most of his crew was so hungover they couldn't stand up. As one of the few guys in any condition to move around and tend to the ship, Roberts presented a perfect target for the British guns...
- Throughout much of his adult life, Malcolm X preached about how the white man was the devil and how they were out to get black people. But in 1965, when Malcolm made the Hajj to Mecca and then had a change of heart about his earlier beliefs, it was people of his own race (and the same group he was such a prominent part of) who ended up assassinating him.
- Sam Kinison, who had spent all eight years of his career either advocating drug use or sarcastically telling people not to, drinking heavily, and other such things, died in a drunk driving accident. The irony is that the accident was a totally sober Kinison getting hit by a drunk driver while in a crosswalk.
- Grizzly Man: Timothy Treadwell, self-professed activist and friend of bears. Eaten by a bear.
- Chrysippus was a Greek philosopher who belonged to the school of thought known as Stoicism. He died of laughter.
- René Goscinny died from cardiac arrest during a cardiac stress test.
- Basil Brown, an English health food advocate, died of liver damage caused by hypervitaminosis after drinking ten gallons of carrot juice.
- Michael Anderson Godwin, sentenced to death by the electric chair but commuted to life in prison, was electrocuted while fixing a television while sitting on a metal toilet seat.
- WC Fields died on the day he despised the most: Christmas Day.
- Joseph Stalin terrorized Russia for decades. One morning when he couldn't breathe and was in desperate need for medical help, nobody dared to enter the room without his explicit permission...
- During the American Civil War, General John Sedgwick was very dismissive of the Confederates' shooting skills. At one point during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (1864), he said: "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance". He was shot seconds later, which is why we have a trope named after him.
- Terry Kath from the rock group Chicago was toying with a gun when he said: "Don't worry, guys. It isn't even loaded. See?", before he accidentally shot himself.
- Stunt man Bobby Leach, who had crossed great heights during his career, died in 1911 when he slipped on a banana peel and broke his leg. The injury became gangrenous.
- 19th century lawyer Clement Laird Vallandigham died during a court case. He tried to defend someone who was accused of murder by showing that the victim might have accidentally shot himself. Vallangdigham showed this by using a real gun and accidentally shot himself dead with it! The silver lining: Vallandigham's client was acquitted because the jury was convinced by his defense.
- Comedian Tommy Cooper died on stage during a live TV broadcast. While he suffered a heart attack, the audience thought it was all part of the act and laughed as he drew his final breath. Even more ironically, he was known for performing stage acts where a large chunk of the comedy was that everything went wrong!
- Beloved British comedian Eric Morecambe also had a heart attack during a stage performance in 1984, and died the following day. In that stage show, ironically enough, he joked about the death of Tommy Cooper (whose death recounted above happened a month prior) and how he'd "hate to die like that".
- Actor Redd Foxx had a similar exit. Foxx is best remembered for his catchphrase in Sanford and Son in which the cantankerous Fred Sanford would clutch his chest and yell, "It's the big one!" While filming a different series in an episode ironically titled "Chest Pains", The Big One was real, but the cast and crew laughed at what they thought was a joke until Foxx fell to the ground and stopped breathing.
- On 17 February 1673, French playwright and actor Molière collapsed on stage playing the title role, the hypochondriac Argan, in his play Le malade imaginaire ("The Imaginary Invalid"). He incorporated his agony into his performance and died a few hours after the play ended.
- Playwright J. I. Rodale died while he was a guest on the Dick Cavett show. During the recordings Rodale ironically claimed he felt great and said: "I'm in such good health that I fell down a long flight of stairs yesterday and I laughed all the way", "I've decided to live to be a hundred", and "I never felt better in my life!" He had also previously bragged, "I'm going to live to be 100, unless I'm run down by some sugar-crazed taxi driver." A few minutes later, he suffered a heart attack and passed away. The show was never broadcast.
- Singer Felix Powell, best known for the song "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag (And Smile, Smile, Smile)", later committed suicide.
- Motorcyclist Philip Contos was riding without a helmet in protest of helmet laws. He lost control of his bike, hit his head, and died. Troopers say he would have survived if he were wearing a helmet.
- Maximilien Robespierre ruled a reign of terror and ordered many people to be guillotined for plotting against the Republic. Eventually, he was beheaded for the same reason.
- It is often believed that Joseph Ignace Guillotin, inventor of the guillotine, died on the very execution device that he invented himself. This is an urban legend because he simply died of old age.
- John Lennon: As a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, the Beatle who once sang "shoot me" in the chorus of "Come Together" was eventually shot dead.
- Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, Sicily, contracted the "Brazen Bull" in which a victim was put into a bronze replica of a bull and the bull was slowly heated. When Tellemachus overthrew Phalaris, Phalaris himself became a victim of the "Bull".
- According to some accounts, the first victim of the Bull was the actual designer of the device. Phalaris himself was big on Irony, apparently.
- Over the course of his life, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer murdered 17 men, his first victim being Stephen Hicks, who, in 1978, had been bludgeoned by Dahmer with an exercise weight. In 1994, while in prison for his crimes, Dahmer was killed by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver, who bludgeoned him to death with an exercise weight.
- The owner of Segway Inc, Jimi Heselden, was killed in a Segway accident. Specifically, he was killed when he apparently rode a Segway off a cliff.
- A member of the Jolley Gang (a notorious group of British party crashers) choked to death on a canape at a funeral he had not been invited to.
- Marie Curie, famous for discovering radium, died from overexposure to radioactivity. That isn't exactly ironic though, just a consequence of her spending her entire career studying radioactivity. Thanks in part to fates like hers, people in that line of work nowadays know how to protect themselves.
- In February 1978, Dutch comedian, singer, poet, journalist and songwriter Clinge Doorenbos was surprised to read his own obituary in the local papers. The next day, in that same newspaper, he published a humoristic poem about his own premature death. Only three months later of that same year, he passed away for real!
- King Mithridates VI of Pontus always lived in fear of being poisoned to death, just like his predecessor did. So he took small doses of poison throughout his life to gain Acquired Poison Immunity. Eventually his empire was conquered by the Roman general Pompejus and Mithridates VI deciced to commit suicide by swallowing poison... only to discover that he had indeed become immune to it! He eventually died by sword.
- Genghis Khan. Is it any more fitting that a brutal warlord who carved a massive empire from warriors who lived and died on the backs of horses, died after falling off his horse?
- Poor President William Henry Harrison. Accused of being old, frail, and unintelligent, he set out prove his critics wrong. By delivering a two hour inauguration speech. In the freezing rain. With no coat. He was dead 30 days later.
- Frederick Treves, a surgeon who performed the first appendectomy in England, died from peritonitis, a disease commonly resulted from a ruptured appendix.
- Fighting the Romans with the phalanx (an infantry formation designed to trample the enemy under weight of men in thigh formation) or war elephants tended to end in this trope: the phalanx would end broken up by flanking attacks or loads and loads of javelins and then trampled upon by Roman infantry in thigh formation, and the Romans were masters in scaring the elephants into turning around and charging at their own army.
- A man in Australia named Tommy Johns set the world record for being arrested the most times. He was arrested roughly 2,000 times for public drunkenness. He eventually died... from a brain tumor and not an alcohol related illness.
- It's rumored that the executioner whom carried out Ted Bundy's death sentence was a woman with her hair parted in the middle. Women with their hair parted in the middle were the women serial killer Ted Bundy mostly targeted.
- 1980s Miami drug Queenpin Griselda Blanco used motorcycle drive-by shootings as a favorite method of killing her enemies. In 2012, she was killed by a motorcycle drive-by shooting after she left a butcher shop in Columbia.
- During the Metropolitan Opera's premiere of Leos Janacek's "The Makropulos Affair", tenor Richard Versalle suffered a heart attack and fell from a fifteen-foot ladder on-stage, moments after singing the line, "Too bad you can only live so long."
- Actor Antony Wheeler accidentally hanged himself while performing Judas' climactic suicide scene in Jesus Christ Superstar.
- Actor James Dean, who had a famous scene where he's speed chasing towards a cliff in the film Rebel Without a Cause and who once made a commercial to warn the youth about safe driving, died while speeding too fast in his car on the road, causing an accident that killed him.
- In 1987, comedian Dick Shawn was playing a politician reciting cliches. One of them was "If elected, I will not lie down on the job." He then fell down and didn't get up. The audience thought it was part of his act. When he didn't get up, there were actually catcalls from people who thought he was dragging it out too long. Finally someone went on stage, examined him and said "Is There a Doctor in the House?" Another audience member performed CPR on him, but it was to no avail. The audience didn't know if the people coming on stage to examine him were part of the act or not. They weren't: he died of a massive heart attack on stage. There is sad irony in the fact that he had played Lorenzo St. Du Bois (the actor playing Hitler) in the scene in The Producers described above.
- Devon Clifford, drummer for the Canadian indie rock band You Say Party! We Say Die!, collapsed on stage during a gig in Vancouver in 2010 and died two days later in a hospital. After his death, the band changed their name to You Say Party, then split up the next year (they've since reunited with a new drummer).
- Operatic baritone Leonard Warren died from a cerebral hemorrhage during a performance of Verdi's La forza del destino. His final aria started with the words "Morir, tremenda cosa (to die, a momentous thing)". More trouble with Verdi: Conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli suffered a fatal heart attack while conducting a performance of Aida in 2001.
- French virtuoso organist and composer Louis Vierne gave the performance of his life one evening at Notre Dame de Paris - then collapsed and died of a massive stroke while preparing stops for his encore. He purportedly told his assistant before beginning the concert: "I think that I'll die tonight."
- Orson Welles died alone in his house just like he did while playing Charles Foster Kane in his most famous movie Citizen Kane.
- Most people know that Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray spine while filming a documentary. The name of the episode? "Ocean's Deadliest".
- After years of interacting with some of the planet's deadliest creatures, he was killed by a relatively harmless one.
- Stuntman Tip Tipping was killed when his parachute failed to open while he was filming an episode of the British series 999, which was - ironically enough - a show with the premise of reenacting dangerous accidents.
- Artist Patrick Nagel (the guy who did the cover for Duran Duran's Rio album) died of a heart attack shortly after participating in an "Aerobathon" for The American Heart Association.
- The USS Utah, an American Dreadnought battleship built in 1910, had her guns removed and was converted to a target ship, as part of the 1930 London Naval Treaty, which limited the number of battleships each signatory nation could have. During the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, the aforementioned target ship found herself the target of several Japanese bombers, and capsized with 65 officers and crew dying with her (465 of her crew survived).
- Paul Walker, one of the stars of The Fast and the Furious series (except for Tokyo Drift, where his character Brian O'Conner did not appear), died in a car crash on November 30, 2013. Police investigation is currently factoring in whether street racing played a part in the accident.
- Adult antlions (which resemble dragonflies) occasionally fall into the sand traps of the larvae and are eaten.
- Margaret Thatcher, a British prime minister known for her countless privatizations and a vocal champion of the free market, received an official state funeral, paid with taxpayers' money. Critics like Ken Loach and George Galloway immediately noticed this ironic contradiction.
- A magazine known as Continuum (which ran from 1992 to 2001) was published by its eponymous owner group that claimed that AIDS and HIV were a conspiracy of homophobia and did not exist (it also claimed to be a scientific journal in spite the loads of pseudo-science in its pages and no peer review in sight). Of its three editors, the first two died sequentially of conditions now known as iconic secondary complications of AIDS and HIV infection. The final editor took up the reigns as the last request of the second editor, but in lieu of continuing the magazine (and perhaps seeking to avoid the Rule of Three), he published a single final issue and closed the magazine, meaning that Continuum's end also came about because of AIDS.