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Deathseeker

The Courier: How do you know your punishment isn't over?
Craig Boone: Because I'm still alive.

At some point in the past, a character had a traumatic experience, or found themselves dishonoured, or committed a crime they could not repay or lost everything worth living for. For whatever reason, instead of just committing suicide, they went off seeking battles to fight, hoping to find an enemy who would kill them, and achieve an honourable, heroic or otherwise acceptable death, sometimes going as far as outright surrendering and offering their life to their enemies. Martyrdom Cultures may regard such a character as a role model, even if upon closer examination he might seem like a Martyr Without a Cause.

Compare Heaven Seeker, when a heroic death is viewed as a means to being rewarded in the afterlife. Contrast Immortality Seeker, for those utterly dedicated to avoiding death. Compare and contrast Not Afraid to Die, where someone is definitely unafraid of death, but isn't actively seeking it out.

Likely to cause a Threat Backfire to any death threat, for obvious reasons. Also see Miles to Go Before I Sleep.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Most M&M's do everything they can to avoid being eaten. M&M's Minis, on the other hand, actively seek those who will eat them, in a bizarre example of the trope.
    M&M's Minis! Tons of chocolate candies searching for a mouth!

    Anime and Manga 
  • Kanbei in Samurai 7, who is actually disappointed that he has managed to survive yet again even while most of his subordinates have once again died.
  • Girge from Break Blade is one rare example. You can clearly see that his purpose for jumping here and there in the battlefield isn't to decapitate some enemies' heads, but to find someone strong enough to kill him. The problem is, his reason remains mystery, even after he died in the Big Bad's hand. It's also clear that he seek neither forgiveness, nor salvation. New trope, anyone?
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, after the Big Bad is defeated, the Pharaoh's spirit within the Millennium Puzzle can go to the afterlife... but only once he's been defeated in a duel.
    • An interesting variation with Kaiser Ryo/Zane in Season Three of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He's developed a fatal heart condition, so he's not actively looking to die as it's going to happen regardless. Instead he's trying to hold on long enough to find an opponent to give him a true challenge so he can go out fighting.
    • Kiryu/Kalin in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds in the Crash Town arc, overlaps with The Atoner as he wishes to die to be punished for his actions as a Dark Signer. Edited into a "Because Destiny Says So" attitude in the dub (Never Say "Die" is in effect too)—he still wants to be punished for what he did, but the focus in more on him accepting his fate to be punished when it happens rather than seeking it out.
  • In YuYu Hakusho:
    • This is Younger Toguro's entire reason for getting Yusuke involved in the Dark Tournament.
    • This was what the Dr. Ichigaki's team really wants in contrast to their seemingly Blood Knight ways:
    "Kill..." "Kill..." "Kill...us...".
    • And Sensui's entire reason for opening the tunnel to Makai, through a big old Batman Gambit.
    • There's also Raizen, Bui, Hiei, and possibly Mukuro.
  • Ovan in .hack//G.U. sees in Haseo the potential to defeat him and effectively manipulates into doing so. This way, they cause the Internet to "reset" and all people whom Ovan involuntarily sent into coma (including his own sister) awaken, though Ovan falls into coma himself.
  • Suzaku Kururugi's exceptional piloting skills and willingness to put himself in mortal danger in Code Geass are revealed to be because he is a Death Seeker of the Redemption Equals Death variety: after he murdered his father, ex-Prime Minister Genbu Kururugi, and doomed Japan to Britannian tyranny because of that, he seeks to be punished for the crime he was never blamed for. This gets a whole lot trickier when Lelouch places a Geass on him instructing him to "Live!" with no duration or parameters. Thus, whenever he tries to do something suicidal, or even just accepts that death will be the result of his current situation, the Geass command forces him to take any action he possibly can to avoid dying. Given the nature of ''Code Geass'', this has predictably tragic results. It doesn't stop him from trying, though, which leads to Suzaku destroying pretty much the entire Tokyo settlement when he tried to let Kallen kill him while carrying a nuke. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero on both sides. However, he does use the Geass to his advantage at one point. When he fights an enemy with a Geass that allows him to see into the future, Suzaku uses the "Live!" effect to enhance his performance and move too fast for his opponent to keep up. Lampshaded by Lelouch, who comments on how powerful his mental discipline is. The Geass even provides him with knowledge he shouldn't even be able to have; his reflexes tell him when to throw a spear that will disable a FLEJA nuke.
    • C.C. is eventually revealed to be suicidal, but she's been trapped in an immortal body since the middle ages. She can survive getting shot in the head, being burned at the stake, and even being crushed by the intense water pressure at the bottom of the ocean. The entire reason she's gone around granting Geass powers to people like Mao and Lelouch is because she needs someone to become powerful enough to kill her. Somewhat subverted in this case, Lelouch mentions her "true wish" afterwards and she stays with him, even though he couldn't bring himself to kill her and she ditched Mao for that very reason
    • Lelouch becomes this after the apparent demise of Nunnally and the betrayal of the Black Knights at Schneizel's hands. Unlike the other two, he actually pulls it off in the end.
  • Slight variant with Hohenheim from Fullmetal Alchemist. He wants to die, and really really sucks at it. He does know that he has some plot-like things to do first, but death is a definite goal for him, and he is likely trying to track down the Big Bad in order to find out how he can die, as well as to defeat the bad guys. He likely is a character who would not mind dying to escape his horrifying and very long past.
    • Seems like a case of him simply wanting to be with his wife. His original goal was deliberately to find a way to become mortal so he can die with Trisha Elric, since no sane person wants to outlive his wife and sons.
  • May have been Reccoa's true motivation for turning traitor in Zeta Gundam, as having been a guerrilla fighter for nine years had worn her resolve against tyranny down to nearly nothing.
  • Depending on how you see him, Alucard from Hellsing is waiting for the time when he will be killed by an opponent he deems worthy.
    • The Major is another possible example, as Schrodinger infers that the Major's desire to create as much warfare as possible is an elaborate suicide plan (with the rest of Millennium being drawn along with him by his charisma). Given that he dies with a smile on his face when Integra kills him, it seems likely. When Seras and Integra are storming the Major's airship, they notice that the Nazis they're killing actually seem pleased by their deaths, and the Major confirms that they want to die. Seras angrily asks why they don't just commit suicide, causing the Major to reply that it isn't enough to die; they have to die doing something meaningful to them.
  • In an episode of Princess Tutu, a "Ghost Knight" roams the town, escaped from a story where he killed his lover (who was an enemy spy) and remained honorable to his country until the end of the war, after which he found no meaning to his life. Fakir believed that the reason he was having dreams about him was because he was the one the Knight had chosen to kill him in battle...but it turns out he was carrying the heart shard of Pride, and the real reason Fakir was having dreams about him was because he was a descendant of Drosselmeyer.
  • In Bleach, 5th Espada Nnoitra. More specifically, he's constantly fighting against strong opponents so that he can experience that rush sensation in the final moments just before dying. Which he does indeed get to experience, courtesy of Kenpachi.
    "Cause I wanna die. I want to die in the heat of battle. That's why I wanna get stronger. The stronger I get, the more battle will surround me. I want to be able to live and breathe the heat of battle."
    "I wanna be cut so that my breath is gone before my body hits the ground. That's the kind of death I wanna have."
  • Itachi Uchiha from Naruto is a more deliberate version than most: he goads his younger brother into killing him, which he believes will make Sasuke strong. It takes almost a decade, by which time he's already dying from an unknown disease; and Sasuke does get stronger, true, but he also goes quite mad.
  • In Ga-Rei -Zero-, Yomi, fighting the emotion intensifying effects of the Sesshouseki, attempts to get Noriyuki to kill her since she has become a "taint of evil," as she puts it. However, he repeatedly refuses to, even as she becomes increasingly more sadistic in her attempts to provoke him to do so.
  • In part 6 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Weather Report, after recovering his memories. He dies shortly afterward in a not quite successful suicide attack on the Big Bad.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has Rei. Explicitly says she "Is a thing that wishes to die"? Check. Deliberately takes suicide missions? Check. Gets herself killed twice? Check. Fails hard at staying dead? Hoo boy. In fact, Rei explicitly stated in ep24 that she hates Gendo for not letting her die until she had fulfilled the purpose he had set.
    • The angel Tabris is bound by his nature to seek out and merge with Adam; he cannot resist it. He envies mankind their free will, and sees his death as the ultimate freedom from his instincts. As such he happily embraces death and thanks Shinji for killing him.
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic!. Somewhere along the line, he somehow latches onto the idea that he wants Sousuke to kill him (and if that doesn't work, killing Sousuke and raping his body works just fine as well). His suicidal and extreme sadomasochistic tendencies are somewhat explained in the novels, where it's revealed that he had lethal cancer that would kill him sooner or later. The only irony is, it seems the more he throws himself into danger and suicidal situations, the longer he lives.
  • The clone of Zest in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers was a "Doomed to die an ignoble death" version, and provoked Signum for a battle to the death after she made an assurance that his charge was safe with her squad and that the villains had been caught. While Agito hated her for it, she thanked her for giving him his last honor as a fellow knight.
  • Balalaika of Black Lagoon, as seen in the quote above. Roberta also has elements of this in the latest arc of the manga.
  • Deneve from Claymore was one of these until Helen knocked some sense into her. Later on there's Cynthia, who is feeling horribly guilty about not being able to save her commander Flora in the Northern Campaign, and begs Yuma to kill her. Yuma isn't having any of it.
  • In the latter half of Toward the Terra, Matsuka worries that Keith seems to be "looking for a place to die." These worries are well-founded.
  • Manji from Blade of the Immortal seems like a mix of death seeker and The Atoner. He needs atonement to finally die. He has to do it by killing 1000 bad guys.
  • The Big Bad Black Mage Zeref in Fairy Tail. He feels rejected by the world because of his uncontrollable power that drains the life from everything around him. Realizing that he will always be alone because of this, he wants to die. For some reason he believes that Natsu is the only one who has a chance of killing him. When they meet in 209 and Natsu punches him, his only reaction (after being completely unharmed) is to feel regret.
    Zeref: I see...still. Still. He still...Natsu...still can't break me.
    • Loke was one of these too, though rather than actively trying to die, he was simply waiting for his life force to drain so that he could be free from the guilt of accidentally causing the death of Karen Lilica. Lucy manages to break him out of this.
  • Immortal Rain: Rain and Yuca BOTH, especially since Yuca made Rain practically have /him/ kill him.
  • Rau Le Creuset in Gundam SEED combines this with Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds and Omnicidal Maniac for a truly dangerous combination.
  • Downplayed with Guts from Berserk. While he isn't actively wishing for death, he throws himself into suicidal battles against creatures that greatly exceed the power of man with reckless abandon. It can be argued that he doesn't expect to actually beat the Apostles and Godhand, but is merely killing them off due to his unquenchable hatred until one of them finally manages to best him.
  • In Corsair, Canale is a former assassin who made a promise not to kill himself, but wishes to die because he thinks he brings misery and destruction wherever he goes. Early on he begs Ayace to do so, but Ayace refuses. Later Ayace makes a promise that if Canale brings destruction on Preveza he will kill him, so until then he should try living normally, which reassures Canale greatly.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka does not react well to finding out that her soul had been moved into her Soul Gem. Unfortunately, she does not die; she becomes a witch. Kyoko probably has some of this trope as well (stemming from her ultra-tragic backstory), given how she reacts to Sayaka's downfall.
  • Jimbei from One Piece makes it clear several times throughout the Marineford battle that he expected to die. He survives, and remains an important character two in-universe years later. He appears to be fine with this outcome, though.
  • Johan Liebert in Monster near the end.
  • Grell when we first meet her.
  • Under the cheerful exterior, Mickey Simon from the Area 88 manga and OVA is certainly this. He convinced himself that he could not live in normal society after his traumatic experiences in the Vietnam War. He makes his living as a mercenary, fully expecting to die in battle with no thoughts for the future.
  • Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi has two. The first is Julie, who claims to seek revenge against the immortal Hampnie (and Julie knows he's immortal) for "killing" his undead wife, although his true goal is to die at Hampnie's hands. The second is Hampnie himself, who wants to die a happy death surrounded by those he loves, as he fears his Resurrective Immortality will someday leave him the last living human being in the world.
  • In Trigun, it's heavily implied that Legato Bluesummers is this.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Accelerator turned into one during his quest to atone for killing Mikoto's sisters, planning to protect everybody until he is eventually killed. He drops this attitude when Shizuri Mugino finds out and says he's just taking the coward's way out, and that true atonement can only come from fighting to protect everybody for as long as possible.
    • Bersei aka Kagun Kihara turned into one out of guilt for killing a mind-controlled person in self-defense. He eventually got his wish and was killed in battle, only to be brought back as a zombie.

    Comic Books 
  • Deadshot, an assassin in The DCU. His deathwish stems from an incident in his childhood; his wealthy parents hated each other, and mom tried to hire her sons to kill their father. The younger brother, Floyd, tried to prevent his older brother from doing so, but his brother kicked him out of the house. Floyd got his hands on a gun and stood on a tree branch, hoping to simply wound his brother, but the branch snapped and he missed. So he killed the brother he loved to save a father he hated. Eventually, Floyd became an assassin for hire, assuming the Deadshot identity. After multiple stints on the aptly named Suicide Squad and a few fights against other badass assassins, he's still alive.
  • Mr. Immortal of the Great Lakes Avengers. He discovered his powers after his girlfriend Terri killed herself and he tried to follow suit. After dozens of suicide attempts he finally realizes that he has superpowers (little slow on the uptake) and decides to fight crime. However, he is still prone to depression (especially after his new Love Interest Dinah Soar was killed), and occasionally goes on multiple suicide sprees. Since he now knows about his powers, it's unclear if he is actually looking for a loophole, or if it's just his way of blowing off steam. Specifically, Mr. Immortal's power is that shortly after death, he is resurrected.
  • This describes Painkiller Jane to a T.
  • Yorick of Y: The Last Man is like this for the first few volumes, thanks to Survivor Guilt after The End of the World as We Know It. It turns out that this is also Alter Tse'elon's motivation for everything she does in the series - she's trying to die in honorable combat with a man.
  • Morpheus from The Sandman. If he indeed was (his methodology makes it somewhat uncertain how much was planned and how much was not), he certainly went about doing it in an extremely roundabout way. Further backed by Word of God. Gaiman once summarized Sandman in the sentence "The King of Dreams learns that all things must change or die and makes his choice."
    • Another "Endless" story concerned a superheroine whose body automatically protected itself from any attack. Now she is weary of life; naturally, the story features Death.
    • The anthology "Endless Nights" had a soldier whose life was empty, until he encountered Death and actually helped her on a job by breaking down a magic gate so she could enter a castle and claim the inhabitants. Now, he enters battle with renewed vigor, in the hopes he will meet her again.
  • Daredevil (not Matt Murdock) of Earth X is unkillable due to his regenerative powers. It's not clear how he became suicidal, but he becomes the center of a circus act in which the audience is invited to kill him if they can. Later he tries to get several Big Bads to kill him, culminating in his multiplying into many versions of himself when he is ripped apart. Late in the series he apparently finally gets his wish, but only after all of humanity has joined him in painful immortality (due to the death of Death).
  • Batgirl III's guilt over reducing a living, thinking creature to a large mass of inert meat with her bare hand at eight years old drove her to seek her own demise protecting others. It can be summed up when Lady Shiva demanded a duel to the death in a years time as payment for helping her regain the body-reading skills she lost when a telepath enabled her to speak:
    Cassandra: <thinking> I will never take another life, not even hers... so I will pretend to go all out, and then I'll die. I don't have to do this, I can still use Batman's method, I can still be... mediocre for a lifetime... or perfect... for a year.
    Shiva: "Well?"
    • Batman himself subconsciously slid into Death Seeker territory after the death of Jason Todd/Robin II, to the great worry of Alfred and Dick, and prompting Tim into becoming Robin, under the belief that 'Batman needs a Robin.'
    • Similarly in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, while it's not explicitly stated Batman is constantly reflecting on the life-and-death situations he finds himself in and musing that "this would be a good way to die," the clear implication being that he's actively looking to go out in a suitable blaze of glory. Ultimately subverted; although Batman appears to go out in a blaze of glory fighting Superman, it's revealed that he faked his own death, having discovered a new purpose to live over the course of the story.
  • Word of God says Rorschach from Watchmen is a Death Seeker. He finds it.
  • Hank Henshaw, aka the Cyborg superman has become one of these recently, tired of the tragedy in his life and his near invulnerability. It got to the point where he joined the Sinestro Corps just because they agreed to kill him once their work was done. He eventually did die, much to his delight. Unfortunately for him, his minions resurrected him at the first opportunity.
    • So much so that when he was revived, the first thing he did was shed a tear over being alive.
    Cyborg Superman (attacking Green Lanterns): Lethal force has been authorized, Green Lanterns. Please, use it.
  • Eilif the Lost was the last survivor of a Viking Lost Colony in Antarctica. Old and growing infirm, he tried to goad Thor into killing him. "I would have fought a god, my lord. What Viking could have asked for a more glorious death?"
  • Zbeng! has a character named Stav - an extremely depressed, pessimistic Goth girl, who constantly tries to commit suicide. She does seem good driving others to it, but herself, she is lucky enough to constantly win the lottery despite never buying tickets (she doesn't tend to collect the winnings).
  • Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse from Scalped has an unconscious death wish. He constantly throws himself in dangerous gunfights with psychopaths and always alone. It's hinted that he suffers from ptsd (child abuse, fighting in Kosovo and witnessing a massacre), suicidal behaviour (flashback to a young Dashiell cry and put a gun to his temple, second time he does the same thing when he could've prevented the murder of a young boy) and from deep seated anger (his fists are bruised most of the time and we see him slamming his fists against his own truck). When Dash is confronted by his father, the conversation between them pretty much confirms all of this and more importantly his death wish.
  • Tony Stark, to a horribly painful degree. And, no, it didn't start during/after Civil War, either, though that certainly made it worse. It started when he was struck with survivor's guilt over the death of Yin Sen — that's right, it started with his origin story — and just kind of went downhill at breakneck speed from there.
  • Kaine, the imperfect clone of Spider-Man. He's not the typical death seeker as he sometimes changes his mind or even runs from a fatal fight. In the grim hunt back stories it's revealed he's too much of a coward to commit suicide yet when he has a pre-cog vision about his own death at the hands of Kraven the Hunter he still challenges him.He finally got what he wanted by duping the Kravinoff hunters into thinking he was Spider-Man. They sacrificed him to revive Kraven the hunter. Afterwards Kaine is resurrected with tarantula features, and is ultimately reborn possessing Spider-Man's enhanced powers from Avengers Disassembled.
  • Dara Brighton in The Sword insists that she is already dead after the murder of her family. She just wants to hunt down and kill the demigods responsible for said murders before she actually dies. She does and she does.
  • Thanos is a Deathseeker but not for the typical reasons. He wants to die because he is in love with the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death.
  • Lady Shiva of The DCU is a Death Seeker like Cassandra Cain her own daughter mentioned earlier. Shiva has always regretted that her sister was killed for the sake of her own potential as a martial artist and confessed to Cassandra that she misses her every day. As a result, Shiva is a mix of a Blood Knight and a Death Seeker. She continues to challenge and train gifted martial artists out of a need to validate her sister's death by proving that she is the strongest, but at the same time she secretly hopes to die at the hands of someone better due to her guilt.
  • In one Star Wars story arc, the crooked ex-Senate Guard Venco Autem learns that he has a terminal illness, and so takes on suicidal jobs like assassinating corrupt Senators because he has nothing to live for. At the end of the comic, he places himself in a situation that he has little hope of escaping from in order to kill the Senator, and is indeed shot dead by his brother.
  • Deadpool wants to die. Death is in love with him and vice versa, so jealous Thanos cursed him with eternal life. In the Age of Stryfe, an alternate future timeline Deadpool is still alive because of the curse and not his healing factor. The voices in Deadpool confirm his deathwish among other things :the only reason he desperately wants to be accepted is so his friends will care and put him out of his misery. If that doesn't work out he antagonizes them so they can extract their revenge on him. The later "Dead" storyline finally gives this to him via Spider-Man villain Tombstone. However, it doesn't stick - he comes back, but he loses his healing factor, but his body is totally healed and he's regained his true face. More importantly, he doesn't want to die anymore.
  • Kraven the Hunter's main reason for hunting was to escape the harshness of life:"in the midst of pursuit..or a kill...I do not exist..all the petty pain of living falls away..all unrealized desires...until only the hunt is left". In the end he killed himself with a rifle in his mouth but he was resurrected years later against his wishes by the remaining kravinoff members. The ceremony of resurrection was corrupted so Kraven cannot die. Only the antithesis of a hunter (the spider) can kill him, so he hunts down spiders. Looking for a way to die with honor he went after Spider-man but he refused to kill him.
  • X-23 is pretty much this. Unfortunately for her.
  • In Action Comics, Doomsday the monster that nearly killed Superman becomes this millions of years in the future. Filled with self-loathing, he has gone back in time to remove every last trace of himself from the past, present, and future. Since people on Earth know how to clone him, he figures he needs to get rid of Earth as well.
  • In The Goon comics the immortally weary Buzzard agrees to go kill a monster terrorizing the countryside, hoping it will be able to kill him. When he arrives he learns that the ancient creature was doing this with the hope that they would fight back and kill it. They agree to fight it out and let fate decide which on of them...wins.
  • God in the Fallen Angel series. The Alpha is ready for the Omega, complete oblivion. He's being denied the ultimate rest because people keep praying to him. Enraged he punishes mankind with all kind of disasters so they will finally realise that their god does not care and so he can finally sink into the sweet surrender of nothingness. He refrains from destroying the human race entirely because he doesn't want to admit that his creation was an utter failure. If the worship eventually doesn't stop, he is not above omnicide so he can finally get some peace and quiet.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws: Arsenal fights Killer Croc for the sole purpose of dying looking like a hero, after hitting rock bottom. The Talon implies that Red Hood may be one, at some degree (especially considering how the fight was handled as a Not So Different situation).
    The Talon: I want to end this "life" on my terms. Sure you can understand that.
  • In Runaways, after losing his girlfriend, Chase Stein tried to kill himself by offering his life to the Gibborim in exchange for Gert's resurrection. They weren't interested, because his soul wasn't pure, but they used him to draw in the other Runaways so that they could try and take Nico. Thankfully, their plan failed, and Chase decided not to kill himself after all.
  • In The Spirit story "Wild Rice", Rice Wilder ran from her wedding into the arms of a bank robber after years of rebelling against the Gilded Cage of her family's wealth. At the end, when the Spirit offered to take her home, she broke away and made a run for it, only to be shot by the bank robber who thought she had betrayed him to the cops. She died with a smile on her face, her last words being, "I'm finally free..."
  • Jack Russell a.k.a. Werewolf by Night comes to suffer from his curse so badly that he reaches the point he no longer cares whether he lives or dies. He signs up for what will very likely be a suicide mission, which results in a fight with best friend Morbius whom he tells to do him a favor for once and just kill him.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • In a rather dark twist for a Pixar film, it's implied in Up that this trope was what motivated Carl to finally go to Paradise Falls. At first, anyway. With Ellie dead and no family left to speak of, what better way to go out than to do the one thing that he could still pull off? Despite knowing that it'd be a one-way trip with a good chance of going horribly wrong.
  • From Beauty and the Beast, the Beast becomes this after Belle leaves. When the castle is under attack, he outright says "Let them come." and it's only when he sees that Belle has returned that he fights back against Gaston.
  • Queen Elsa becomes this in Frozen when Hans lies to her that her sister Anna is dead because of her. She collapses to the ground, and Hans takes the opportunity to kill her. She doesn't bother to to get away or use her powers to protect herself. Fortunately, Anna shows up and saves her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Forrest Gump has Lt. Dan, who has ancestors who have fought, and died, in every major American war. He winds up making it out of The Vietnam War alive and becomes one of these, feeling like he's a failure for not continuing the "family tradition", so to speak. He gets over it after surviving Hurricane Carmen.
    • In the book's sequel Gump and Co., he gets killed by friendly fire during Operation Desert Storm.
  • James Bond movie Skyfall. Oh yes, Bond killed the villain, but it's made fairly clear that Raoul Silva would've killed himself after completing his revenge on M.
    Silva: So, I had only one thing left. My cyanide capsule in my back left molar. You remember, right? So, I broke the tooth and bit into the capsule. It...burned all my insides, but I didn't die. Life clung to me like a disease. And then I understood why I had survived. I needed to look in your eyes one last time.
  • Sgt. McCron in The Thin Red Line, after his entire squad dies. (In the novel, he merely has a nervous breakdown.)
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The Baron doesn't mind death. In fact, he recommends it.
    Baron: And that was only one of the many occasions on which I met my death, an experience which I don't hesitate strongly to recommend!
  • In the various The Prophecy movies, fallen angel Gabriel's unwillingly-revived henchpeople fall into this category: when one them gets (re-)fatally shot by a protagonist, his last comment is a sincere "Thanks pal, you're a sport!"
  • Doc Holliday in Tombstone. "Whelp... got the consumption.... might as well shoot at people."
  • Also Bodhi in Point Break, to an extent.
  • John Ryder from The Hitcher. As the plot uncovers, he repeatedly asks Jim Halsey to kill him in cold blood (after their first encounter when Jim picked up Ryder as an unsuspecting hitchhiker). When Jim fails to do so, John proceeds to go on a path of carnage.
  • Stargate: Following his son accidentally shooting himself with Jack's gun, Jack O'Neil undertakes what he figures is probably a suicide mission.
  • Riggs in Lethal Weapon films start out this way, but his pertnership with Murtaugh changes him for the better.
  • Louis, in the film version of Interview with the Vampire, becomes this when his young wife dies in childbirth and the baby doesn't survive either. His willingness to die leaves him open to Lestat's machinations. Note that this is a complete change from the original novel, in which Louis was unmarried.
  • Plot of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is set in motion when Larry Talbot (the Wolf Man) is accidentally resurrected and sets out to find the way to keep himself dead permanently.
  • Miles Tuck in Tuck Everlasting, due to losing his wife and children. He's fought in pretty much every war he can find and regularly picks fights, trying (unsuccessfully) to die.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Of the commanding officer's Survivor Guilt/Shell-Shocked Veteran variety, we have James Norrington in the beginning of Dead Man's Chest. He'd deliberately steered his ship into a hurricane while chasing Jack Sparrow, resulting in the loss of the ship and most of the crew, and his having to resign his commission. The next time we saw him, he was a grimy drunk who seemed to be pretty zealous about his bar fights.
  • The WWI pilot in The Mummy 1999 wants to go out in a blaze of glory like the rest of his deceased war buddies. Seeing as he dies fighting a giant face made of sand while successfully escorting Rick and Johnathan to Hamunaptra, it's probably safe to say that he succeeded. His last words?
    "Here I come, laddies!" and a huge laugh.
  • Much like one of its main inspirations, The Dark Knight Rises puts Batman firmly in this territory. His world, his future and his entire life has been shattered, so despite being in bad physical shape, he puts the cowl back on and throws himself into a fight with a much tougher opponent rather than find a way to live as Bruce Wayne. He finds his "fear of death" again and by the end of the film, he's able to give up being Batman and find a life for himself.
  • Sir Lancelot in Excalibur. He's more of a defeat seeker than a death seeker though, having traveled around looking for a King who was good enough to beat him and thereby win his fealty. He claims he was Cursed with Awesome.
  • J.B. Books in The Shootist. The death that was coming for him, though, was far worse than the death he sought.
  • In Man of Steel, Zod admits straight up he has nothing more to live for and goads Superman several times during their fight that he will have to kill him or be killed. Even his final moments trying to fry innocents with Heat Vision while in a choke hold is basically pleading for him to end it.
  • Subtly hinted at with Riddick in Pitch Black. That trait is (mostly) ditched in later incarnations.
  • In The Grey Zone, most of the Sonderkommando can't live with what they've been forced to do — assisting the Nazis in disposing of the bodies from the gas chambers by cremating the bodies of other Jews, or they'll be killed as well. Simon discusses this quite extensively with Dr. Nyizli, and chooses to die in the explosion which destroys the crematoria.
  • The Nature Of The Beast has this trait as a reveal in the final act. The main characters are a serial killer and a white-collar embezzler who know each other's secret. It seems like the meek wage-slave is the embezzler and the brash vagabond is the killer. However, it turns out that the vagabond is the embezzler, and he's been tormenting the serial killer wage-slave because he wants to be killed by him.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier ominously implies this about, of all people, Captain America. His 70-year sleep has robbed him of his entire world; he's a 20-something WWII vet stuck in an era where the girl he loves is 90 years old, long married, and is bedridden and suffering from Alzheimer's and later he finds he may have "died" for nothing — Hydra is alive and inside SHIELD — and his childhood friend has been turned into a mindless weapon. When Sam Wilson asks him what makes him happy, Steve candidly tells him he doesn't know. Throughout the film he takes one deadly risk after another, and during the climax he gives Maria Hill the order to have the carriers fire on each other — despite him still being on one of them — and seems to resign himself to going down with the ship. He only springs back into action when he sees Bucky trapped under one of the girders, and when Bucky tries to kill him, he refuses to fight back.

    Literature 
  • At the first book of the Eragon series, it is early revealed that Galbatorix, the kingdom's turant king, was a Dragon Rider at first. When his Dragon dies in a battle, though, he got mad with grief, and seeked death the best he could as he "chased after every breathing being". So recklessly he threw himself in everything that could get him killed -but failed to do so-, that monsters started to fear of him, and even run away from him once they soptted him.
  • Szeth from The Stormlight Archive is bound to serve whoever happens to be his master at any given time, even though he hates killing, which most of his masters make him do. He is not allowed to deliberately kill himself, but he is allowed to use unnecessarily dangerous tactics on assignments in the hope of being killed.
  • Felix, from the 1984 science fiction novel Armor by John Steakley, following the death of his wife. In his case, he's explicitly nigh-unkillable (not a good thing, in the circumstances) as a result of his personal background; at the end of the novel, a former acquaintance who's come to find him, on being informed that he was last seen clinging to the outside of a badly damaged spacecraft with insufficient fuel to reach the next planet, merely nods and says that they'll keep looking until they find somebody who actually saw him die.
  • The title character of Rudyard Kipling's "Love-o'-Women" (one of the army tales); he has both a tragic past and a disease that will kill him in slow and humiliating fashion, and yet, though he repeatedly throws himself into combat, he's left lamenting that "not a bullet would touch him".
  • One of the characters in Peter David's black comedy fantasy novel Sir Apropos of Nothing was a Death Seeker whose reckless deeds resulted in him becoming the most highly respected knight in all the land. At that point he realised that he actually quite liked being alive, hung up his sword and retired behind a mantle of obfuscating senility.
  • Colbey, the main character of The Last of the Renshai novels, is a follower of the Norse gods, and must die in battle to reach Valhalla. (Dying while refusing to fight all-out doesn't count, and would get him damned to Hel.) He's in his eighties by the end of book 1, the oldest person his tribe has ever had, and the best swordsman in history. He's even given the title "Deathseeker" by some. Eventually, it's discovered that he became "semi-mortal" in his sixties (meaning he can't grow any older) and eventually becomes a god. He still rejoices in a challenging fight centuries later, mind you...
  • Himei starts out as this in Sailor Nothing, before The Power of Friendship gives her something to live for. The premier example, however, is Dark General Argon. Because of his nature as The Heartless he's unable to kill himself directly, so he instead ensures that the protagonist will unleash her Unstoppable Rage on him — in some of the worst ways possible.
  • Broxigar of the Warcraft: War Of The Ancients trilogy fits this trope perfectly, after being the sole survivor of his squad. He actually gets his wish in the end by performing a Heroic Sacrifice
  • By the end of KJ Taylor's The Dark Griffin trilogy, Arenadd has definitely become one of these. The only slight problem is that he is the undead avatar of the Night God, who likes him right where he is and is perfectly willing to bring him Back from the Dead again... and again... and again... if he stuffs up her plans.
  • Éowyn in The Lord of the Rings, whose courageous ride to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields has also been described as a lovesick suicide attempt. According to Aragorn, the very object of her unrequited love, her disappointment was just the final straw - personal frustrations and grief having already robbed her of much hope. And then of course there's the apparent hopelessness of the global situation - Sauron cannot be defeated by force, no matter how many battles are won. To paraphrase Gandalf and Aragorn, she had to look after Théoden as he succumbed to Grí­ma's lies and part-truths, all the while listening to them herself, and it seemed like she would never do anything else but watch as the House of Éorl sunk deeper into dishonor. Even after Aragorn heals her, she wants to go out and die.
  • Max Pesaro in the The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, thanks to :dead little sister (and father). He continues to fight against vampires, even when he shouldn't.
  • Lieutenant Dan in the book (and movie) Forrest Gump was a Death Seeker because it was a family tradition to die in battle. Presumably, he (and the ancestors who were killed in action) had plenty of brothers.
  • A'lan Mandragoran (Lan) from The Wheel of Time series. Fortunately or unfortunately for him, depending on your perspective, getting married changes his outlook.
    • Rand al'Thor. He intends to stay alive juuuust long enough to get to the Final Battle, then die while winning it.
    • Also, any male among the Aiel that discovers they can channel, since men who channel eventually go insane, they go into the Blight and die fighting the minions of the Dark One
    • In the last book Moridin is revealed to be this- one of the primary motivations for his well-established nihilism is that he can't bear the thought of being him any longer and doesn't feel that a world capable of producing him deserves to exist. He's a Death Seeker for himself and the whole universe. His prolonged life isn't a sign of favor from The Dark One. It's a punishment.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts book this happens to some of the soldiers, particularly Gol Kolea.
  • Part of the initial premise of Timothy Findley's novel Pilgrim is that the main character is unable to die, no matter how many ostensibly successful suicide attempts he goes through.
  • In Phyllis Ann Karr's Arthurian novel The Idylls of the Queen, Mordred fits the role pretty well—he spends the majority of the novel expecting (and hoping) the narrator Kay will kill him (His theory of the murder he and Kay are attempting to solve is that it was an attempt on his life by Kay and Guinevere) and pisses a couple people off hoping they'll murder him because of the prophecy that he'll bring Arthur's kingdom down. A better example in his backstory, right after a hermit gives him the prophecy and tells him who his father is, he rides on into the tourney he was headed to and nearly succeeds. Most people think those injuries addled his brains.
  • The Tharks in Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars series: "the cause of the Thark's great and sudden love of life I could not fathom, for it is oftener that they seek death than life—these strange, cruel, loveless, unhappy people." It's pretty effective, since 98 percent of them die in various violent ways.
  • Albus Dumbledore of the Harry Potter series shows this trope at some point in between Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince, when he becomes cursed to die by the ring containing the resurrection stone. To end the misery of dying slowly and to spare Draco Malfoy, who he learned had been tasked by Voldemort to kill him, Dumbledore asks Snape to kill him in a overly elaborate plot to also get Snape closer to Voldemort and to continue protecting Harry. In fact, Snape himself became this after Lily Evans's death until Dumbledore snapped him out of it.
  • Francis Crawford of Lymond throughout Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. He veers between attempts at Heroic Sacrifice and plain old Driven to Suicide.
  • There is a story by Robert Sheckley about a planet with humanoid aliens who believe that only violent death leads to heaven. Some deaths are dispensed by the priests, but many people (despite a strict taboo) arrange some accidents (like sawing a thorny tree so that it will fall upon you). They die smiling.
  • In And Another Thing... Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged reveals that this is the motivation behind his constant insulting of others.
  • In Ursula Vernon's Black Dogs, the elven Sinai blames herself for the capture, rape and death of her cousin, at the hands of the evil sorceror Vade. She accepts increasingly dangerous and suicidal missions from the elven nation, and her behavior is so well known that in the elves' native tongue she is known as The Dead Wolf.
  • In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Terminal, it is mentioned at the end that this was the first time Burke was not praying in some way for death.
  • Charles, the vampire villain of Elaine Bergstrom's Shattered Glass. Since her vampires, who belong to a naturally evolved nonhuman species, have such a strong self-preservation drive that they literally cannot commit suicide, Charles commits an escalating series of gory murders to induce his brother, Stephen, the "good" vampire of the novel, to kill him in a vampire version of Suicide by Cop.
  • William Butler Yeats's poem "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" is about a Death Seeker World War I aviator.
  • Umberto Eco's novel Baudolino features a group of warriors who all want to die in battle, because they believe that then they'll go to heaven. The main characters think that this will make them good fighters in an impending war, since they won't be afraid. They are wrong, because they don't even fight, just ask the enemy to kill them.
  • In The Great Gatsby the main character mentions having this attitude during World War I, probably from having to leave the woman he loved behind. His death wish was mistaken for courage and he was decorated.
  • Jool Noret became this after he accidentally killed his father.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: CIA director Calvin Span is revealed to be this in Home Free. He died of a heart attack as a result of him shovelling his driveway. He knew better than to do that, considering that he had heart surgery a few years ago. His co-conspirator Owen Orzell thinks that Calvin had a death wish. Considering that Calvin was in bed with Big Bad Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, had a gambling addiction that was going out-of-control, had to turn against Jellicoe to save his own hide when Jellicoe's bad guy status was revealed, had the deaths of CIA agents on his conscience because Jellicoe wanted Revenge for Calvin turning against him, and the president forced him to resign for failing to capture Jellicoe in one month, it's not much of a stretch for this guy to become a Death Seeker.
  • Prince Elfangor, from Animorphs seems to be a good example of this after he gets pulled off Earth by the Ellimist. His first action was ramming the Blade Ship with his little fighter in what should have been a suicide run only to survive, turn the tide of battle, and become a war hero whose example was held up as a golden standard. And at the end of his life, he really wasn't out of options - he could have morphed, or even used his ship's shredder to cut through the concrete surrounding the Time Matrix. Another example from Animorphs is David by the end of his last book. Abandoned by Crayak, betrayed by his henchmen and still condemned to live out the rest of his days as a rat, he tearfully begs Rachel to end his misery.
  • In Inheritance Cycle, Galbatorix became one after the death of his first dragon, but then stopped after he got the idea that he might be able to convince the elders to give him another dragon. And once that didn't work, well...
  • Yakhag of The Redemption of Althalus. Robbed of all his emotions by Big Bad Daeva, Yakhag's only remaining wish is a faint desire to die. It's not strong enough to spur him to suicide, but when he finally does die, he Goes Out With A Smile
  • Trapped on Draconica: Jenna is a Proud Warrior Race Girl and so belongs to the 'glorious death in battle' variety. On the verge of death she doubts the 'glorious' aspect. "Is this the glorious death we sought? It feels so cold..."
  • Saak-Fas from the Destroyermen series. After surviving Grik imprisonment, he sets forward with only two goals; to kill as many Grik as possible, and to die. He gets his chance when Mahan RAMS Amagi and Saak-Fas personally detonates over a dozen depth charges
  • By A Dance with Dragons, Theon Greyjoy's only wish is to be able to die as himself, and dreams of dying with a sword in his hand.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Jace is explicitly described as being this. Isabelle flat-out says that Jace is "in love with the idea of dying" and she and her brother Alec put considerable effort into saving him from his own recklessness. Luke was also one for a time, after Valentine set him up to be bitten by a werewolf.
  • The first story in Mr. Midshipman Hornblower has Hornblower becoming vaguely suicidal not long after he joins the Navy, being viciously bullied by Mr. Simpson and the general misery of life at sea. He challenges Simpson to a duel where one pistol will be loaded, chosen at random—Hornblower figures that if he picks the empty one and dies, he'll still win, because he would rather be dead than go on. (Needless to say he lives. The captain rigs the duel and transfers Hornblower to a ship where he'll be less miserable.)
  • In works by Lois McMaster Bujold:
    • Dag in The Sharing Knife, which is part of why he manages to kill so many malices. The other is that he is very very good at what he does.
    • Inverted in Paldin of Souls. Arhys is dead, but his soul is still stuck in his animated body.
    "Fey is a man who looks forward to death. I look back upon mine. I am beyond fey, I think."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffyverse:
    • The Groosalugg was so "hideous" that he sought monsters to destroy him. He failed to die so incredibly he got made his kingdom's champion.
    • Faith is a Death Seeker when she appears in late first season, kidnapping Wesley and torturing him all to get Angel angry enough to kill her. Back in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she had done a similar thing with Buffy, though then her motive was that, by killing her, Buffy would become like her, which would be a sort of "post-death revenge" on Buffy by Faith. Originally, Faith was to have hung herself after killing the deputy mayor.
    • Angel himself has some Death Seeker tendencies, though more back on Buffy: He seems to be trying to get Buffy to kill him in "Angel", tries to get Spike to kill him in "What's My Line, Part 2", and is insistent on sacrificing his life in "The Zeppo". On Angel, he was pretty much unfazed by hearing he was going to die in "To Shanshu In LA". (He also made a suicide attempt in "Amends", but that's not this trope.)
    • Last but not least, Wesley. Triggered by the prophecy that Angel would kill Connor and partly because Fred chose Gunn over him, he apparently wishes to die, as the Loa points out. Interestingly, by the end of Season 5, after much more suffering, he nonetheless claims he intends to live through the final battle. His half-assed plan suggests otherwise, though, and he does in fact die.
    Loa: You risk your life, human, calling on the loa. Perhaps what you really seek is death. The pain in your heart begs for it.
    • Spike has a theory that all Slayers develop suicidal tendencies, as they isolate themselves from family and friends until they have nothing to live for, and then die in battle. That's how he killed two Slayers (he stepped in at just the right moment and is much tougher than the standard vampire), and why Buffy lived so longer than the average Slayer: she still had friends and family.
    • Deprived of anything to fight for or live for, Wishverse!Buffy is just an emotionless killing machine waiting for the moment when it all ends. This is more or less exactly what Spike said was normally the fatal-flaw of Slayers: the urge to find death after a lifetime of dealing it. It's main-universe-Buffy's friends that set her apart from virtually all other Slayers. This one doesn't live long enough to form such bonds.
    Wishverse Buffy: World is what it is. We fight, we die. Wishing doesn't change that.
  • Claire from Heroes—there's more than a little suicidal flavour to the way she repeatedly subjects herself to deadly force in order to gauge the extent of her powers. It still hurt, for starters.
    • In the online comics Adam Monroe is suggested to have been one at some point, before he got his "Vengeful God" master plan together. During the 1700s he spent a great amount of time fighting battles looking for a worthy opponent as he'd grown bored killing humans. Yeah, the guy's got issues.
  • When Mack "iMack" Hartford of Power Rangers Operation Overdrive realizes he's an android, he at first has a classic Heroic BSOD, but comes out of it rather quickly... only to put himself in the line of fire more and more in an attempt to engineer a Heroic Sacrifice. It starts with pushing a Humongous Mecha toward overload and goes from there.
  • Supernatural's Dean is this in a nutshell. Notice how whenever he gets the choice to die or keep living, the choice is always ambiguous. After his Dad dies for him, he's too tired of this life and as the Crossroad Demon says in "Crossroad Blues", his first thought in the morning is "I can't do this anymore." It finally comes to a head in the Season Two finale when Sam dies and Dean sells his soul to get him back, for a whole bunch of messed up reasons. For the first half of Season Three, he doesn't seem to mind if he goes downstairs ahead of schedule but finally, finally in "Dream a Little Dream of Me" he realizes the obvious fact that he doesn't deserve eternity in hell. Except his martyrdom comes back in full-force in "No Rest For The Wicked" and he still thinks he doesn't deserve to live in "Lazurus Rising" so you can't help but still think his sole goal for himself is death.
    • Dean's earliest brush with this is way back in the season one episode "Faith" when he learns that by seeking the help of a faith healer he has inadvertently caused the death of a young man. Later in the episode when a Reaper appears to kill him, he does not try to escape. Dean has managed to hit a new low as of mid-season seven, what with losing everybody, even having to give up his car, with his brother nearly dying of madness. Basically, Sam is the only thing keeping Dean from being Driven to Suicide, and that doesn't work so well when Dean can't trust his brother.
    • While Dean is the most extreme version of this, nearly every character in the show has desperately wanted death at some point; Bobby wanted it in "Dream a Little Dream Of Me" and while crippled, John probably wanted it most of Sam's life.
    • In late Season One, Sam wanted to kill the demon that slayed his fiancee so badly that he wanted to die killing it. In the middle section of Season Two, he was way too keen on committing suicide before his destiny could change him, and after Dean went to hell, Sam tried to sacrifice himself for Dean and then nearly got himself killed when he couldn't. He went into the season four finale with no intention of coming back out, then in season five, he was actively suicidal, but Lucifer and the other angels wouldn't let him stay dead. Sam rounded the season out by jumping into Hell and taking Lucifer with him. In season seven, he is finally over most of his self-hatred, but plagued by PTSD hallucinations of his time in hell. The hallucination of Lucifer tries to convince him to commit suicide, and when the hallucination's killing him, Sam gives up. Somebody get some therapy-cakes for these Winchesters.
    • In season 8, the Winchesters learn about the three trials, a series of rituals needed to permanently keep demons from earth. Aware that the person who completes the trials most likely die, they both argue over who will get to do it. Sam says he wants to do it because he wants to prove himself to Dean, and later reveals that he really wants to make up for letting Dean down in the past (season 5). Dean wants to do it because he knows that Sam can have a normal life, which is something that he can't have when Dean is around and Dean has never been able figure out how to do himself, so he figured he has less to lose. They both find it difficult to live without each other, especially Dean, who felt for much of his life that his only purpose was to protect Sam.
    • Season 8 also had Benny very willing to make a Heroic Sacrifice, not just because he cared about Dean, but because he had trouble adjusting to life outside of purgatory.
  • As pointed out by her therapist, Meredith of Grey's Anatomy may be a subconscious Death Seeker.
  • Michael of LOST falls into this category during Season 4, but is unable to die because the Island simply won't let him. He eventually succeeds in the Season Finale, when he manages to save the lives of the Oceanic 6.
  • Sinclair on Babylon 5 starts out this way. In each of the first five episodes, he deliberately claims the most dangerous tasks for himself. He starts to change this habit after Garibaldi calls him on it.
    • Marcus is explicitly described as a death seeker. He gets his wish.
    • With at least six attempts at heroic sacrifice or suicide and the mother of all unaddressed guilt complexes, Delenn is an implicit embodiment of this trope.
  • In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica episode 1.03 "Bastille Day", Lee Adama suggests that Tom Zarek is one of these.
    • The sanguine manner in which he meets his execution by firing squad seems to confirm this.
  • House. While not as actively suicidal as some of the other examples, his self-destructiveness is leading him towards an early death, his curiosity exceeds his regard for his own life, the issue of him not caring if he dies and not feeling like he deserves to live (or be happy) has come up several times and he even says he would rather be dead than deal with all the crap in his life anymore in the Season Four finale.
  • Robin Hood: Little John, whose motto is "Today is a good day to die", as a result of guilt and grief over abandoning and losing his family. In the season 2 finale, he finally declares that it is NOT a good day to die; it remains to be seen if this marks a turning point for his Deathseeking ways.
  • In an episode of Dollhouse, Echo is sent to protect a singer from a crazy stalker who's trying to kill her. It turns out that the singer and the stalker have been in contact, and she sees being murdered in the middle of a show as both freedom from life and a way to become "immortal" in people's minds.
  • Detective Inspector William "Jack" Frost in A Touch of Frost tried and failed to commit suicide by confronting an armed criminal. He got the George Cross for his troubles.
  • Godric, a 2,000-year-old vampire from True Blood, surrenders himself to a group of religious fanatics, hoping they will crucify and burn him, but he is saved by his vampire pals. After speechifying to the Fellowship of the Sun, he attracts a suicide bomber to his home that still fails to kill him. Later, he commits old fashioned vampire suicide by meeting the sun.
  • Opie becomes this in the second season of Sons of Anarchy after his wife Donna's death
  • Logan Echolls of Veronica Mars has something of a death wish, highlighted most obviously in 1x22 'Leave It To Beaver' and 3x20 'The Bitch Is Back.' But with his background, can you blame him?
  • There was an episode of M*A*S*H which included a Chinese-American soldier trying to get himself killed in battle because he identified both as a Chinese person and an American and thus hated himself for "being" the enemy one way or another.
    Sidney Freedman: He has to kill Chinese to be a good American, then he has to kill himself to be a good Chinese.
  • Star Trek has the Klingons, whose religion holds that to get into Sto-Vo-Kor (their equivalent of Heaven...or more accurately, Valhalla) one has to die in honorable combat. "Today is a good day to die" is basically the motto of the entire species. A Klingon warrior who lives to old age will tend to get more extreme about this. A specific example of this is shown late in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with Dahar Master Kor. During the Dominion War arc he desperately wants to be sent into combat so that he can have a chance to die honorably, but he's made so many enemies over the years that nobody is willing to let him join the war. Furthermore not helped by the fact that by the time of his last appearance, Kor was now something of a senile loon.
    • Like the Vikings below, there are loopholes. For example, when Jadzia dies, her Klingon husband, Worf, collects friends and goes into battle in her honor, which in Klingon religion can earn the deceased passage to Sto-Vo-Kor. note 
    • Also, Worf's brother Kurn. After Worf loses his family honor for the second time, Kurn loses his high council seat and finds his way to DS9. He joins Odo's security forces, but Worf quickly realizes he's just looking to die. In the end, Worf is forced to wipe Kurn's memory in order to keep his brother from dying. Just a tremendously sad story all around.
    • Even not-very-Klingon Klingons get in on this. In Voyager's "Extreme Risk", to punish herself for not being around when the Maquis were wiped out, B'Elanna starts engaging in higher- and higher-risk activities on the holodeck with the safeties off. It's pretty clear that if Chakotay hadn't stepped in, she would have kept going until she got herself killed.
  • Human Target: people from Christopher Chance's old life are constantly accusing him of being this, often using this exact phrase. Given his new line of work, they sort of have a point. His clients sometimes ask him the same question, too:
    Mrs. Pucci: Everyone's afraid to die, Mr. Chance... unless, of course, for some reason they think they deserve it.
  • The Sontarans of Doctor Who are similarly eager to die in honorable combat, a trait brought forward particularly in the new series. This trope is played with in the episode "A Good Man Goes To War" when a Sontaran slowly dying of a painful wound quips that the experience is not quite as glorious as he anticipated. Of course, he's a nurse. He's later resurrected off-screen to become Vastra and Jenny's assistant in crime-fighting, so...good deal.
    • The Doctor himself has been dancing around this throughout the revival. The Ninth said that he didn't survive the Time War by choice, and chose death over committing another double genocide to stop the Daleks. The Tenth zigzagged between screaming at Daleks to Get It Over With, and clinging fiercely to his current body when told his time was running out. Thanks to Turn Left, however, we know that he would have let himself die in The Runaway Bride if it weren't for Donna.
    • The minotaur implied that the Eleventh Doctor was still this. He came very close to accepting a prophesied death a few episodes later, only changing his mind at the absolute last minute.
    Doctor: (translating for minotaur) An ancient creature drenched in the blood of the innocent, drifting in space through an endless, shifting maze. For such a creature, death would be a gift.
    Doctor: Then accept it, and sleep well.
    Doctor: (translating for minotaur) ...I wasn't talking about myself.
    • It is implied that this is the reason for River Song's sacrifice in the Library in "Forest of the Dead." If the Doctor does not know her at all, she may as well not live.
  • Owen Harper from Torchwood. "Owen. So strong he gets in a cage with a weevil. Desperate to be mauled."
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has a guy ironically wearing a Red Shirt who is the criminal of the day. I don't remember the episode, but he thinks he killed his girlfriend, and wants to join her in death. The catch? Even in a gun store filled with armed people, all shooting at him and no one else, the man won't die. Even when he jumps off a building at the end, he's caught in a safety trampoline.
  • This becomes one of the main recurring aspects of Jack Bauer's character in 24. The first time he's like this is in the second season following his wife's death. He contemplates suicide but just can't do it, which sends him fighting to stop the threat of Day 2 with the hopes that he'll eventually die while stopping it. He eventually is able to get better from this and for the most part remains okay up until the 5th season rolls around and completely breaks him through a number of misfortunes by the end culminating in being held hostage and tortured in a Chinese prison for nearly two years, causing him to revert back to this state and not really recover again until after the 7th. And then season 8 comes and finally snaps him one more time with Renee Walker's murder, causing him to slip back into this mentality for good.
  • Horatio Hornblower, "Mutiny" and "Retribution": Crazy Captain Sawyer is all kinds of insane, paranoid and senile. Among other things, he wants to die and would love to go with all the glory of dying in battle as a legend of the Navy. Never mind taking all his men with him as well. At one point, he pleads Horatio, his third lieutenant, to shoot him, and later in the story gets his ship Renown aground and under heavy fire. They are helpless, and it was a freaking miracle that his lieutenants got the ship afloat and that they were not blown to pieces or burnt down by hot shots. His wish does come true eventually. He is surprisingly able to Face Death with Dignity when their Spanish prisoners escape and take them. His last command was taken from him, but the Admiralty take some pains to see that his reputation is not destroyed.

    Music 
  • The song "Across the Rainbow Bridge" by Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth is written from the perspective of an aging Norse warrior setting out to find an honourable death and so enter Valhalla.
  • The Megas: Crashman.
    My end has come and I welcome glory!

    Tabletop Games 
  • The name comes from Death Seekers of the Lion Clan in Legend of the Five Rings. These are Lion samurai who failed the clan in some grave fashion, but not to the point that only immediate seppuku would exonerate their kin. Rather, they throw themselves into self-chosen Uriah Gambits, figuring that one of them will kill them off soon. In the meantime, the immediate wreckage they inflict on the Lions' enemies (they want to die, so the only time they'll hold back is if it will let them do even more damage within the next twenty minutes...and maybe not even then) will compensate for most of their crime—the actual honorable death in combat will compensate for the last few bits.
    • The Damned of the Crab Clan are the 'diseased' variation. They are victims of the corruption they fight, and seek to do more damage to their enemy than they would do to Rokugan if they gave in to the Taint outright.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy, Count Mordred the Damned is a Chaos Champion who is cursed to forever constantly mutate within his armour and will always be brought Back from the Dead by the Chaos Gods if he should fall in battle. As such, he doesn't have much of a chance of ever finding real rest in death, but it's what he hopes for against all hope.
    • The rigidity of Dwarfs' honour codes results in Troll Slayers, unfortunate Dwarfs who have failed at some task or are unable to fulfill an oath, for which death is their only solace. However, it's dishonorable for a Dwarf to just off himself, so they dye their hair, cut it into an intimidating shape, and go into battle unarmored against the biggest, meanest opponent they can find. If they can't find a troll nasty enough to kill them, they graduate to become Giant Slayers, then Dragon Slayers, then Daemon Slayers. In some army lists, the Dwarf player gets almost as many victory points from getting his troops killed by monsters than his opponent does for killing them.
    • The Gotrek & Felix novels, in particular, tell the story of Felix Jaeger, a young poet who finds himself honor bound to accompany a Slayer and record his heroic doom. Unfortunately for Felix, Gotrek Grunnisson just happens to be the worst Slayer in history, on account of him being the most Bad Ass Dwarf, if not being, on the planet. He has killed everything from incarnations of rage and blood to dragons the length of football fields. Even if anything could kill Gotrek, Felix has no illusions about the fact that it would kill him soon after.
    • Troll Slayers are a player career path in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, though after advancing through the Giant and Daemon Slayer stages their only exit career is "Glorious Death," so a note advises players to "think it over carefully" before picking the class. The class evades Game Breaker status because anyone playing a slayer is expected to act like one; you are supposed to pick fights even when the odds aren't good, sleep deprivation, mental instability and rampant alcoholism is the best way to spend your downtime, and armour is for people without a death wish (i.e. people who are not you). Your impressive combat prowess is there to make the party want to hang out with you anyway. Their only non-combat abilities are limited to "resistance to getting drunk" and "scaring people," so the only thing a Slayer is good for outside of a fight is starting one.
    • Flagellants are citizens of the Empire who've become unhinged by the game's apocalyptic atmosphere, gathering into warbands and tagging along with the army in hopes of saving the world by dying in the most painful way possible.
  • The Blood Angels chapter of Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 have the Genetic Memory of their Primarch's death built into their blood, a curse they call the Black Rage. This manifests in occasional outbreaks of Unstoppable Rage, but in its worst form the Space Marine goes almost completely berserk, hallucinating the last moments of their Primarch and forgetting their own identities. Such unfortunates are grouped into the Death Company and thrown into near-hopeless battles in search of death, and any who survive are given the Emperor's Peace afterward.
    • From the Adepta Sororitas, Sisters Repentia are disgraced Sisters of Battle who have taken an oath of redemption, forsaking their armour and normal weapons for rags and a really huge chainsword. Any who survive a battle are allowed to rejoin their normal squads.
    • Lone Wolves from the Space Wolves army list are trying to find an honorable death in battle to rejoin their fallen packmates in the afterlife, so much so that their "A Glorious Death" rule penalizes the player if they survive the game. That said, if they manage to fling themselves at a terrible foe and survive the experience, they usually are welcomed into the Wolf Guard as one of the chapter's greatest badasses.
    • The non-canon Chapter the Fighting Tigers of Veda have a similar system with the Grey Tigers, complete with a short story about the redemption of Sudra Patel.
    • The more zealous devotees of Khorne the Blood God have been known to decapitate themselves if they're crippled and unable to fight the enemy, as a way to stay in their god's favor. For Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, so long as it flows...
    • Chaos Dreadnoughts fall deep into this category. Dreadnoughts are a combination Mini-Mecha and life support device, allowing Space Marines with untreatable wounds to continue to serve the Chapter, both as support units on the battlefield and as wise councilors in the monastery—Dreadnoughts are essentially immortal, as one in canon personally fought with the Emperor, making him over 10000 years old. Chaos Dreadnoughts, on the other hand, feel imprisoned inside their shells, constantly searching for a way out of them, with death being the fastest way out. Most Chaos Dreadnoughts are uncontrollably insane, even by Chaos standards. This is to the point that Abaddon the Despoiler created the Defiler Tank to fulfill the combat role formerly occupied by Dreadnoughts, because Chaos Dreadnoughts could not be trusted even to keep their weapons on enemies.
    • Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising does a particularly good job of representing this. Chaos Dreadnoughts repeatedly beg the player to let them die (when their dialogue is even intelligible). When a Chaos Dreadnought dies, the announcer informs the player, "One of your Dreadnoughts has escaped in death."
    • Played with the Dark Eldar. The Haemonculi have mastered the art of resurrection to explain how they keep up usable numbers with the all backstabbing going on. Some Dark Eldar actually have become addicted to dying, constantly trying to find new and interesting ways to kick the bucket.
    • There's also the Death Korps of Krieg, Imperial Guard regiments from the world of the same name whose world rebelled against the Imperium and only was brought back after hundreds of years of nuclear and trench warfare. They specialize in defensive battles, sieges, and wars of attrition, and have no regard for casualties because they see their deaths as a way of atonement for their world committing treason against the Imperium.
  • One of the example villains in the old edition of GURPS Supers was a disgraced sumo wrestler who couldn't commit seppuku due to his Nigh-Invulnerability. Thus, he sought out other supers to goad them into killing him. His sympathetic backstory, and his history of tracking down and defeating violent supers, make him more of an Anti-Villain. There's also a disadvantage called 'On The Edge', that basically allows you to play your character as a Death Seeker. It makes you passively suicidal. You won't off yourself, but if you're, say, facing down an entire biker gang while armed with a toothbrush...
  • Chrononauts: Lost Identities features Isaac, a playable character who prevents various tragedies, including his own death at Columbine. One of his win conditions includes allowing the massacre to happen, so Isaac can let himself die.
  • The life goal of Clan warriors in BattleTech is to die gloriously amidst a sea of fallen enemies. This proves that their genes are fit for the next generation. In fact living past thirty is considered somewhat shameful.

    Theatre 
  • Posthumous Leonatus of William Shakespeare's Cymbeline becomes one in his regret over having had Imogen killed. He first strips himself of his armor and fights against the heavily-armed Roman soldiers. He successfully fends them off and rescues the king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to get killed in battle, but is instead captured. He's scheduled for hanging, but the King spares him. Poor guy just can't catch a break...

    Video Games 
  • Elika in Prince of Persia (2008), for a very good reason - her death will entrap an evil God.
  • Several characters from Metal Gear Solid:
    Sniper Wolf: Now I realise I wasn't waiting to kill. I was waiting for someone to kill me.
    • Fortune: A battlecry of "Kill me now!" hints at it.
    • And of course, Grey Fox.
    • And Snake himself is one in the Alternate Continuity game, Metal Gear: Ghost Babel.
    • Snake was one towards the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, but he gets over it.
    • Raiden was one practically the whole game. He also got over it.
    • Vamp. Made evident when he asks Raiden, "Could you be the one to finally finish me?"
  • Depending on which version of Final Fantasy VI you're playing, Setzer may apply to this trope.
  • Meyvn Nooj from Final Fantasy X-2, until he changed his mind. Which makes him really bad at it, as he lives in a world with staggering numbers of vicious fiends who exist purely to kill people - not to mention Sin, up until two years prior to FFX-2. His base can't even be reached without battling numerous fiends, leaving one with the impression that he's just not trying hard enough. At one point, during a recording the player can view, it looks like he is about to actually pull it off, but is saved by the person who's recording him in combat to see if he's good enough to join an elite military unit.
  • Vanille from Final Fantasy XIII has a genuine death wish, believing that her actions served as the catalyst for the horrible events that dragged the rest of the party into the game. Not the only one, seeing as Orphan, Barthandelus, and every other fal'Cie in existence also want to die. Even if it means destroying the world and everyone else in it. Then it turns out that the Fal'Cie want to destroy Cocoon, because that many people dying at once would bring back the world's god: The Maker, who is also the Fal'Cie's 'parent' who orphaned them when she left the world. That many people dying at once would open the door to the Maker, and Orphan is vital to the upkeep of Cocoon, so it's death would mean the death of Cocoon, and all the humans living there.
  • Zasalamel from Soul Calibur III sought the evil blade Soul Edge to break his curse of immortality and finally die. In one ending he has a vision of the future (or rather, the present) and is so impressed with how far humanity has advanced that he decides to experience it for himself, while in another he finds peace by spending the rest of his life filling a library with his autobiography.
  • Bunji in Gun Grave Overdose asks for the player character to kill him, not without giving a really hard fight before, it's more subtle when you choose Grave or Jujy but he tells Billy something along the lines of: "I only need one thing from you, Strength. Quick finish me, rub me and my pathetic regrets off of this world"; he even thanks Billy for his "requiem" in a Tear Jerker sequence after the fight with a slow "You are not bad..... Thank.....you".
  • Gen in Street Fighter Alpha suffers from an incurable disease and is looking for a worthy opponent to die against. In Alpha 3 he eventually finds Akuma. They fight, but Akuma bails because fighting a sick man is against his code of honor. Gen shows up in Street Fighter IV, so I guess he found something worth living for.
    • Also Akuma. He and Ryu fought once, and he spared Ryu's life because he saw that he was a person who, with training, could plausibly defeat him, which is what he wants.
    • In the comics from UDON, Gen gets his wish and Akuma kills him. This happens shortly before the events of Street Fighter II.
    • Subverted in the case of Rose. She's very likely to die since her journey involves fighting Bison, the man that she's the "good half" of and she seems to aknowledge it, but Guy realizes this and attempts to stop her instead since he both thinks that she shouldn't just throw her life away and believes that deep down, she doesn't wish for death. He's actually right, but it's not until Super Street Fighter IV that Rose manages to pull through and eally live on.
  • Kratos from Tales of Symphonia is eventually revealed to be a Death Seeker and has singled out Lloyd as the one who'll finally kill him — which he'll have to do because Kratos' lifeforce keeps a seal on the Cosmic Keystone. Fails miserably, after Lloyd merely beats six shades of hell out of him during their final encounter, undoing the seal, and then proceeds to chew out his Not Quite Dead opponent over being so incredibly stupid in trying to throw his life away. Similarly, Zelos spends a good part of the game with a death wish, his Handsome Lech personality for the most part an act. Whether he succeeds or not is up to the player.
    • The sequel then gives us Emil. Once he realizes that he is The Summon Spirit Ratatosk, and responsible for the death of Aster he plans to atone by faking possession by his Superpowered Evil Side and having the rest of the party kill him so that he can become a core to seal the door to Niflheim.
  • Raven from Tales of Vesperia is revealed to be the villainous version, having been plucked from death by the local Smug Snake and forced to act as his personal Mole. The scene where he realizes that his death is not worth betraying his friends is a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
    • Estelle manages to pull one of these as well. Said Smug Snake has her under his control and forces her to attack the party, culminating in the line "Kill me." Yuri then fights her and tells her she's not to do it again.
  • Craig Boone from Fallout: New Vegas. After mercy killing his pregnant wife to spare her and the child the horrors of being enslaved by the Legion, his only wish is to hunt down as many Legionaries as possible and die in the process. This ends up to be one of the possible endings for him, would you choose to let the Legion take over Hoover Dam
  • Umbra in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, an orcish hero who has accomplished everything he can in life and waits for a worthy opponent to kill him and claim his Infinity+1 Sword.
    • This is actually Umbra's modus operandi. The sword eats away at the mind of it's wielder, driving them to go all Blood Knight so it can be fed a constant stream of souls. Eventually, the wielder becomes just an extension of the blade and eventually pick a fight with somebody stronger than them. This just serves to propagate the sword further, as when they finally die the sword is going to be picked up by their killer, an even stronger warrior who can continue the cycle. The worst part? It not only eats the souls of those it kills, but also eats the soul of its wielder if they die.
    • Similarly, in Oblivion, the Gray Prince, half-orc Grand Champion of the Arena, sends you on a quest to determine his heritage. When faced with the news that his father was a vampire and he is illegitimate, (more the first than the second, in fact he only seems to care about the first) he becomes a Death Seeker. If you challenge him to the title of Grand Champion, he will accept, then sit still and allow you to kill him, even offering verbal encouragement.
    • Another example from Morrowind is the vampire Marara from the "The Weary Vampire" quest, who seeks death by the hands of a fellow vampire.
    • In the Bloodmoon expansion of Morrowind, there is a Nord who has spent 500 years searching for Sovngarde, an homage to the real life Valhalla of Viking lore. The player can give him a book detailing how Nords may reach Sovngarde: by dying honorably in combat. Delighted, the man asks the player to kill him, but only in real combat (and he's remarkably dangerous for a 500-year old man).
    • Also prevalent in Skyrim. Most notable is the Old Orc, an Orc who is too old to become chief or take a wife but is still strong enough to fight. He would rather die a glorious death than become too old to hold his own in battle. Nords in general also fit this, as they believe that Sovngarde (the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Valhalla) awaits all Nord warriors who die in battle, or at the hands of an enemy in general; being executed by a weapon counts, which appears to be why the preferred from of execution is beheading by axe. In the Dragonborn DLC, the Ebony Warrior will visit the player character if he/she is at least level 80 (a hint that he's not going to be a pushover) and asks you to meet him at Last Vigil. He feels like he has seen and done it all and now he only wants to die fighting so he can go to Sovngarde. Sending him there is easier said than done, thanks to his enchanted ebony equipment, high stats, and his Unrelenting Force Shout.
  • The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment... Well, he's not exactly a straight example, mainly because he has no idea why he simply won't stay dead or what he was doing prior to Waking Up at the Morgue, but his plot to find out these things do eventually lead to the end of his mortality.
    • For the Dustmen, the first joinable faction encountered, seeking death isn't enough. They're aware of the limitless potential afterlives because their city exists in the middle of all of them. A Final Death without afterlife requires the complete annihilation of the soul. Their approach is more somber than combative because they know the destruction of the body alone isn't going to do the job.
  • Originally, Atton in Knights of the Old Republic II had a chance at Redemption Equals Death by the end of the game, but that sequence got axed. Hanharr from the same game also qualifies. He has lived such a horrific life that he just wants it to end. Unfortunately, his life debt to Mira prevents him from killing himself unless he kills her.
    • Juhani from the first game takes a brief spin around this Trope. You can talk her out of it, and she joins the crew (Light Side) or give her her wish and have one less opponent to deal with when you and Bastila decide to run off together (Dark Side).
    • Visas Marr definitely qualifies. Excessively. Your introduction to her is a cutscene of her begging Nihilus to kill her.
  • The masked man and woman (AKA Shura and Serion, Adell's blood parents) in Disgaea 2. Being almost entirely incapable of controlling their actions yet entirely aware of the atrocities Zenon forces them to commit, the two henchmen literally beg Adell to kill them — all while they do their very best to do the same to him.
  • Urick from Drakengard 2 got his butt royally kicked by Caim, but was so terrified of dying that he made a pact with a Reaper, rendering him all but unkillable. But he felt so bad about failing in his duties and letting his General get killed that finding a way to break his pact, and therefore die, is pretty much his sole reason for living. And despite the incredible Wangst potential of all this, he's actually a pretty Nice Guy. He eventually gets his wish when he runs into Caim again. Caim beats the pact out of him.
  • The Shadowlord in Nier becomes this after his Yonah commits suicide, claiming that she had no right to inhabit the body of Replicant Yonah, who she said was constantly crying out for her father/brother. The final portion of the boss fight consists of the Shadowlord spamming ranged attacks while mourning for his daughter.
  • Albedo from Xenosaga. Since his unique genetic makeup makes it literally impossible to die (as in, his head can be ripped off with no ill effects whatsoever), he gets very upset when he finds out that his two brothers don't have the same ability. This becomes the main driving force behind his actions throughout the first two games—he wants to unseal the monster because it's the only thing capable of killing him and ensuring that he and his brothers can be together forever.
  • Tsugumi of Ever17 leaps into a dangerous situation to save the hero's life, not because she cares about his wellbeing, but because she's hoping it will kill her. Unfortunately for her, her Healing Factor makes her more or less immortal.
  • Lehran from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn was like this, but when he couldn't find any way to die, he resorted to trying to bring a goddess's judgment on the entire continent, wiping out himself and everyone else. His last words are "I'm dying....at last."
    • In Path of Radiance both Haar and Tauroneo, thoroughly dissapointed by the turns their lives have taken are like this before you recruit them. And then there's General Bertram, one of Daien's Four Riders. Drugged up on Psycho Serum and barely coherent, Bertram spends most of rasping about how the other players are going going to "Perisssshhh," and "Me...kill..." Right up until you face him with Ike, that is, when his refrain becomes "Kill...me... ...KILL...M-ME..." Ike does his best to oblige.
    • Harken from Blazing Sword is a Broken Ace who became this after seeing his liege lord and his comrades get killed by the Black Fang. He throws himself at your party in order to get killed, though some characters can talk him out of it and he can eventually got better.
    • In New Mystery of the Emblem Wolf never gets over the death of his lord, Hardin and 'as if searching for death, he threw himself recklessly into battle, one after the next.'
  • Asakim Dowin in Super Robot Wars Z is apparently someone who has committed a heavy crime and is doomed with immortality as a punishment, thus he has wandered a lot of dimensions to get himself killed. This is his Freudian Excuse behind tormenting Setsuko, if the Sphere inside her awakens (through torment) and he destroys it, he's one step closer to death (the gathering of all Spheres will grant the power to kill him).
  • The Mimics in Homeworld: Cataclysm - they wake from deep freeze to find out that all their loved ones have perished. With nothing to live for, they gladly fly kamikaze ships into the enemy complete with choked oaths.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, it is heavily implied that Casavir is this. (He gets over it. Mostly.) The same can be said of Bishop as well; he states that he felt "all these chains come off me" when he was dying, and was extremely unhappy when Duncan saved him before he could actually could.
  • The Bonus Boss from Cave Story, Ballos. He's suffering from a seriously nasty case of Power Incontinence that destroys entire civilizations.
  • The boss introduction speech of Spiral Pegasus has him asking Mega Man X and Zero for a worthy fight since he is infected by the Maverick Virus.
  • The Civilization IV mod Fall from Heaven II has a suicidal Lilith Captain Ersatz named Os-Gabella. Since she's immortal, she's founded an apocalyptic death cult in hopes that destroying the entire world will take her out, too.
  • Kai from Phantasy Star Zero is a likely example of this trope. On two different occasions, he throws himself into seriously unnecessary situations to get himself killed for the young hunters of the party. This is a result of the deep sense of guilt he feels for his failed expedition as a young hunter, killing countless young people as a result of his hubris. Once with the basilisk creatures before players reach the moon, and when he tries to convince the player to leave him after defeating Dark Force (or Dark "Falz"), despite how easily the party can save him.
  • A bunch of examples in the Dragon Age series:
    • Series-wide examples include:
      • All Grey Wardens close enough to their Calling become this. They prefer go down to the Deep Roads and die fighting darkspawn. Considering that the alternative is either die from the taint or become a ghoul that's understandable.
      • The Legion of the Dead, itself, is for the most part composed of people who, for whatever reason, are considered to have lives that are dishonorable to continue with. (The one exception known is a noble who, while not disgraced, was considered a trouble-maker, and joined for no known reason.) The Legionnaires are inducted into the Legion in an expensive funeral, they have gear specifically designed to poetically reflect that they are expected to die gloriously in battle (examples include boots that do not leave tracks that hint at direction, and shields designed to give hard to make out reflections of the wielder,) and all of them actively seek to die.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins:
      • The Warden of Human or Dwarf Noble origin, can be played this way, particularly if they make the ultimate sacrifice in the end.
      • When the Warden first offers to release him from his prison in Lothering, Sten says that death will be his atonement for the murder of an entire farmhold of people. He later agrees to join the Warden after the latter convinces him of the importance of his/her mission. However, Sten doesn't actually believe the Warden will succeed in defeating the Blight; he just prefers to die in battle than starve to death in a cage. This changes after you get his approval high enough and return his sword. He starts to believe that you have a real shot at defeating the Blight, and he mentions that he would be able to offer a better answer to his superiors' questions about the Blight if he helped you end it first.
      • Zevran Aranai of attacks the PC (despite his extensive training as an assassin and impressive stealth skills) because he hopes to get himself killed.
      • Riordan, the Orlesian Grey Warden you meet late in the game, is also a Death Seeker, in large part because he is a forty-something Grey Warden who is close to his Calling. He attempts to kill the Archdemon and sacrifice his life in the process, but ends up being too much of a daredevil to finish the task, though he does wound it badly while attempting a Blade Brake as he's falling to his death.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening:
      • Sigrun is a lot more cheerful about it than Zevran or Sten, but still makes it quite clear that as a member of the aforementioned Legion of the Dead she owes a Heroic Sacrifice and that she'll be leaving for her Calling as soon as the current crisis is over. If she survives to the ending her epilogue either has her follow through on that, or mentions that either the Warden becomes really good at finding new crises to persuade her to stick around just a little longer or she tries to leave but always ends up coming back to the Warden since she's one of his/her True Companions.
      • The Big Bad of the expansion also turns out to be a Death Seeker. She cannot tolerate existence being cut off from the Old Gods' Call after being "freed" by the Architect. She hopes to end the silence and find the song again in death.
    • In Dragon Age II, if Anders is convinced to join Templars in carrying out the Right Of Annulment, it's implied he will commit suicide after the Final Battle. At this point he sees himself as a monster, responsible for death of many innocents and knows he will never be free from Vengeance. No matter which ending you choose, he clearly welcomes death. This is also brought up in a banter with Isabela earlier in Act III where he replies to her question about what would happen if he got a lot of people killed - he answers that he would want to die, because they would deserve justice. Isabela then asks where it would end. Of course, if he helps out with the Mages, it's clear that he wishes to be a martyr for his cause.
  • From Mass Effect 2, Thane Krios, another BioWare assassin, went into his last job not particularly caring what his target's guards would do to him afterwards; he was already terminally ill, estranged from his only child and could think of nothing else to do with himself. Then Shepard showed up and asked for his help on a Suicide Mission.
    • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can accuse James Vega of this after a reckless bit of Flying Car Fu in the first mission. As the game progresses, Shepard can start to show signs of this.
    • Shows up to a lesser degree in the Destroy Ending, where despite the Catalyst insinuating that this option's effect would likely kill them, Shepard not only walks to the power conduit and opens fire, hellbent on taking the Reapers down with them, but keeps advancing towards the exploding machinery as though unwilling to see if the Catalyst might have been wrong.
  • The Red Baron, Sir Lemon from Shining Force is an immortal vampire who wants to die (at one point jumping off a cliff and simply leaving a hole in the ground). He joins you near the end of the game in the hope that he will get killed in battle. It doesn't work - if he falls, he automatically revives after the battle.
  • In StarCraft II, when you fight the Zerg-infested colonists, the very first one you meet asks you to kill him just before suicide rushing your base.
  • The (fake) Final Boss in BioShock 2 eats and breathes this, and runs entirely on horror from his big reveal to his dying words.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: "I'm asking you, as a friend... Just put an end to me." Made even worse by the fact that it's the cute little boy saying it.
  • Reckless Cop Dangerama in Zettai Hero Project fights entirely using Dangerous Forbidden Techniques and taunts the Final Boss into hitting him with his most powerful attack. Lampshaded by the game, saying that his tv shows often get cancelled because "He's a bad influence on the kids." It's revealed the reason he's looking for a place to die, and tries to get hurt as much as possible is because he was unable to save the woman he loved, ending up sacrificing her in order to save a great number of people.
  • The new player character of Prototype 2, Sgt. James Heller, hoped to die fighting the infection in Manhattan after losing his family while he was fighting overseas. After being infected with the Blacklight Virus which, if the trailer is anything to go by, will eventually turn him into a Nigh Invulnerable immortal monster that can never die, his new goal is to kill the one he blames for denying him the death he craves: Alex Mercer.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny has the Unbreakable Darkness, an Eldritch Abomination Walking Wasteland who hates the fact that she can't stop herself from destroying everything and seeks death because of this. Unfortunately, in addition to the power to destroy several worlds in an instant, she's also too Nigh Invulnerable to receive the death she wants.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising implies this with Medusa helping take out Hades at the end of the game. She get killed for her efforts, but her dialog suggests she knew Hades was going to lose the fight and was so sick of being forcefully resurrected as his servant that she just wanted to be dead and resting in peace when it happened.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Ben, being the direct cause of several deaths in the group and being the only surviving member of your family and original group will make you like that. He gets his wish, either in Crawford in Episode 4, or in an alleyway in Episode 5.
    • Nick in Season 2. Clementine can even acknowledge this, having the option to tell Luke "He wanted to die" when he asks you what happened when the two of you were hiding from walkers in a shed at the beginning of Episode 2.
  • Warhammer Online lets you play as the Dwarf Slayer. Of course, since "success" means you wouldn't make it past the first couple of character levels, you play more like The Berserker, and your "armor" consists of a big fancy belt, raggedy pants and body paint. No, you cannot make a topless female Slayer. One of the standard statements when you enter battle is "FREE ME!", and death sounds usually have some sort of peaceful/relieved sentiment. Then you resurrect and nobody mentions the fact that this would be the gravest insult to a Slayer and a literal Fate Worse than Death.
  • Max Payne is another embodiment of this Trope. After his wife and kid were killed several years ago, he no longer cares that much about living but just doesn't have the stones to eat his own gun barrel, so he spends his nights shoving a hail of bullets as far down the throat of the criminal underworld as any human being can be expected to manage with that amount of alcohol and painkillers coursing through his system. In the third instalment of the series, it gets to the stage where he seems downright disappointed when he survives several high impact falls onto concrete, landing on his back, any of which would have killed or paralysed a lesser man, proving once again that it's Not the Fall That Kills You.
  • The Men of Valhalla, and to a lesser extent the Men of Wotan, from the Medieval II Total War conversion mod Thera believe that only a man who dies a worthy death in battle may go to their heaven and join the gods.
  • Oichi in Sengoku Basara 3. She can be heard whispering "Kill me!" when she blocks attacks.
    • Mitsunari sways erratically between psychotically enraged and suicidally depressed throughout the whole game.
    • In Sengoku Basara 4 Katsuie decides he has nothing else to live for because he Did Not Get the Girl (having killed her in a fit of rage). Said girl was the aforementioned Oichi.
  • In Team Fortress 2's Meet the Medic video, the BLU Spy makes a cameo appearance...as a living severed head in a refrigerator, a vestige of an earlier version of Meet the Medic. His only line is "Kill me," repeated at varying levels of terror and resignation between the early draft and the final video, trying to get the Medic to finally end his existence. He obviously can't do it himself, he's just a head in a fridge after all. If the draft video is to be believed, the Spy's head is now Immune to Bullets, and therefore can't be killed either.
  • As revealed in Might and Magic X, this is how Ashan's incarnation of Crag Hack ended up, though he specifically wants an heroic, fame-inspiring death (because of the reason why he wants to die — he's been hit with a curse that will gradually erase him from existence, removing him from people's memories and in the end removing Crag Hack almost as if he'd never been. The same quest that reveals this also reveals that there is only one sure way to remove the curse — dying from something else than the curse. Crag Hack decides that if he has to die anyway, it'd better be in a way that really flies in the face of the intention of the nethermancer that cursed him). He succeeds, and part of the outro is the Governor of the region eulogizing Crag Hack, Barbarian, Pirate King, Father and Hero.
  • A rare dark humor-based example of this trope (crashing right into Suicide as Comedy) is Face Mcshooty of Borderlands 2. He is a Psycho in Thousand Cuts runs around screaming at people and begging to be shot in the face, doing nothing else in terms of aggression or even provocation. His only calling in life is to get a bullet in the face. There's no given reason why he doesn't simply acquire any of the numerous discarded Vendor Trash guns laying around and do it himself, but he simply asks that one of the Vault Hunters give him what he wants. He actually thanks you after you shoot him in the face, and somehow gives you money before he perishes. Definitely one of the game's weirder side quests.
  • Izebel in Tears To Tiara 2. She is ordered by Hasdrubal, the man she loves, to betray him, take his position, and then fight his son Hamil whom she had been guardian to when he grows up. She dreams of dying by Hamil's blades, but does not tell anyone until Hamil delivers the fatal blow.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Lexx is suicidal in Alien Dice, but can't commit suicide because of the nanites in his blood, keeping him alive. He's too scared to try more extreme methods of suicide, so instead hopes he'll be killed in a battle. this changes later in the series, when Lexx decides to live and spend the rest of his life with his family and Chel.
  • Ellen from El Goonish Shive shortly after her creation:
    Nanase: How can you be afraid of them after leaping into and subsequently destroying a slime monster?
    Ellen: That was win-win. Either the goo would be destroyed or I would die a noble death.
    • A more apt example from the same webcomic would be Abraham, who created the diamond that made Ellen by separating Elliot from the V5 transformation, and is sworn to kill any creation of it.
  • Doc Scratch of Homestuck has accomplished his life's purpose, and as such, wants his life to end. He's a First Guardian. You can see why he's having trouble dying.
    • There's also Scratch's adopted daughter, the Handmaid, aka Aradia Megido's ancestor. In her case, she's immortal thanks to a curse Lord English put on her, and can only die once she's completed her tenure. Thanks to Scratch's conditioning, she desperately wants to die.
  • After being exiled in human lands, Durkon of The Order of the Stick was like this when Roy first met him. While no longer explicitly seeking death, he is currently looking forward to it, since the Oracle informed him that he would go home "posthumously." At that point he expected that he would die in human lands and never be returned to his family's ancestral tomb, so he sees this as better than nothing. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the other prophecy made about his homecoming. It's also become clear that what the Oracle meant by "posthumously" was "after you turn into a vampire."
  • Jin of Wapsi Square has reached the point where she will even resort to suicide just so that she can die. The problem is that she is an indestructible clay golem and therefore can't die. It's not pretty.

    Web Original 
  • Vesa Turunen of Survival of the Fittest version two, while not starting out like this, eventually turned into one near the end of the game.
  • Hank J. Wimbleton of Madness Combat is suggested to be like this, in that he once tries to reject an attempt to revive him.
  • The Saga of Biorn is about a decrepit old viking seeking a worthy death in honourable battle.
  • It's been implied that The Nostalgia Critic is this. Leaving the room that the bad movie is in vs. shooting yourself in the head... what would you pick?
    Film Brain: Critic, if you go in there, you may never return.
    Critic: Return was never an option.
  • While The Nostalgia Chick's never said that she wants to die, it's pretty easy to infer from her growing alcoholism that she wouldn't really mind it.
  • The Onion characterizes the entire zebra species as evolved to be eaten in its piece Zebras: Nature's Ultimate Prey - Horrifying Planet.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Samurai Jack featured a Norseman who was cursed with eternal life by the Big Bad. He set himself up behind an elaborate death course to weed out anyone who had no chance of ever defeating him, and waited for someone to bring him death. As in the Colbey example, he had to fight all-out to get the afterlife he desired... but Jack did manage to best him.
  • Macbeth (yes, that Macbeth) of Gargoyles, with a couple of twists: due to a Deal with the Devil (sort of), he and fellow antagonist Demona have been granted immortality and eternal youth until one kills the other, but once that happens, both will die. Since Macbeth is tired of life, and Demona wishes to continue living, they often come into conflict with each other, forcing the usually-homicidal Demona into an awkward fighting position. He gets over it in "City of Stone", when the Weird Sisters' Armor-Piercing Question makes him realize that death has never solved any of his problems. Macbeth still doesn't know what he wants out of life, but he knows death isn't the answer.
  • According to Word of God, Eddie Brock's reckless heroics in The Spectacular Spider-man (before he became Venom) were a sign of this subconsciously.
  • In the Young Justice, episode "Salvage", there's an alien golem created from the husks of four aliens that is forced to commit criminal acts. When it breaks free of its mind control, it tries to demolish a nuclear plant. Blue Beetle tries to communicate with it and the golem explains that it feels like it's an abomination and wishes to end the pain by death; thinking that a nuclear explosion will be enough to end its life. Superboy's response to its death plea is "I can relate". It's ambiguous as to whether he's referring to a past death wish or feeling like an abomination, but neither have been confirmed. The golem finally gets its death wish when an unseen enemy destroys it before Blue Beetle tries to talk it out of death.
  • Dinobot in Beast Wars, as confirmed by Word of God. Wish granted.
  • While they weren't exactly looking to die, in the Popeye short "Hospitaliky", Popeye and Bluto compete with one another to get injured and have Olive Oyl nurse them to health, who in this short works at a hospital. Any one of the stunts they try to pull could easily have killed them, such as purposely crashing a motorcycle, laying down in the middle of a busy intersection, and laying down on train tracks, however they keep miraculously surviving unscathed, to their own annoyance.
    • A later short played on the same gag, this time with Olive seeking someone suitably beaten up as a model for a sculpture. So the two start trying to get themselves beat up. Eventually, Popeye makes Bluto eat his Spinach, making him go into an involuntary fit of beating up Popeye; Bluto wins the fight but loses the chance to pose for Olive.
  • Played for Laughs with Grandpa Marsh on South Park
    Cartman: You piece of crap, I'll kill you!!!
    Grandpa: That's the spirit, tubby!
    • Played straight in the Coon and Friends Trilogy, when Mysterion (aka Kenny) confronts Cthulhu both to save his friends and in the apparent hope of finally being Killed Off for Real.

    Real Life 
  • As stated a couple of times above, this was the faith of the Vikings of old - the only way into the Warriors' Heaven of Valhalla was to fall in battle - to die the 'straw-death' (dying in bed) was the worst thing that could happen to a viking, ensuring him a one-way trip to Hel (while not hellish in the Christian sense, it was a cold land where fish was the only thing on the menu and the lady in charge looked like Harvey Dent on a bad day.)
    • In theory. In practice, even those Norsemen who actually saw a battle at some point in their lives weren't at especially high risk of dying heroically in it, so loopholes to the requirement were developed/discovered, like giving those on their deathbeds spear wounds. Death-Seekerdom doesn't actually work that well as the basis for a real-world religion (thank goodness).
  • In her memoir The Past is Myself, Christabel Bielenberg recounts a chilling encounter with an SS officer who, in despair at the atrocities in which he had participated, was determined to die in battle as the war neared its end: "...He told me of how he had tried to be killed, but his comrades had fallen around him and each time, by some miracle, he had lived. The ones with the photographs in their wallets, the frightened ones, and the ones with dreams of the future, they were the ones who got killed, he said. Only those who didn't care, got the Iron Crosses. Now he was going to the front, to his unit if he could reach it, otherwise anywhere, anywhere, did I hear, where he would be allowed to die."
  • Siegfried Sassoon, the poet, during the First World War. Along the way he picked up an MC, and the title of "best war poet to survive the war". Detailed in The Regeneration Trilogy. He had to choose between guilt over leaving his men on the battlefield and guilt over not continuing to protest against the war, and ended up going on patrol without a helmet after going back to the front. But he lived.
  • Tlahuicole was the chief of the Tlaxcalan tribe when the Aztecs decided to conquer them. He fought bravely by Dual Wielding a set of hatchets that were supposedly too large for ordinary men to even lift, but the rest of his tribe didn't make it and he ended up being captured and brought before Montezuma. The Aztec leader offered him mercy after hearing how much of a facewrecker he was (the Aztecs kind of valued that sort of thing), but Tlahuicole believed that since he had disgraced himself by letting himself get captured, he should be sacrificed as punishment for his dishonor. Montezuma basically told him to chill out and had him serve as a war-chief in an ongoing struggle against another tribe. He completely slaughtered them, so Montezuma wanted to make him a full member of Aztec nobility. Tlahuicole felt that doing so would be a betrayal of his people, so he refused. Montezuma ordered him bound to the Stone of Combat, where he would basically act out the end of The One by getting swarmed by Aztec warriors until he died (ordinarily the ritual was designed to let captured soldiers gain their freedom, but he didn't want to take that route). He killed seven of Montezuma's best Jaguar warriors and wounded over twenty more before finally falling, and an Aztec priest finally sacrificed him right as he was about to die anyway.
  • Jeffrey Dahmer frequently expressed his wish to die for his crimes while in prison. When he was attacked by another prisoner who attempted to slit his throat, he refused to press charges and requested to be returned to the general prison population. Only a few months later, he was beaten to death by another prisoner. Perhaps the only thing that kept him from committing suicide outright was that he was a born-again Christian.
  • John Henry "Doc" Holliday, dentist turned infamous gunfighter and gambler of the old west, is a perfect real life example of this trope. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in his early twenties Doc Holliday went out west, hoping the drier climate would ease his ailment. However, his hot temper and belief that death by gun or knife was far better than by tuberculosis, led him to a life of adventure, taking part in many shoot outs including the famed OK corral and Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride. Despite this lifestyle, his extreme skill, and more-so his reputation of extreme speed, with a revolver kept him alive, he eventually died of his illness at age 36 in the bed of a sanitarium. His supposed famous last words, upon looking at his bare feet in bed, were "Now, that's funny."
  • According to contemporary records, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary was strongly implied to have become this towards the later years of his life, going so far as to practically mention this trope by name. Then again, after having to deal with the deaths of all those around him, including his brother (Maximilian; killed by firing squad in Mexico), wife (Elisabeth/Sissi; killed by an Italian anarchist), eldest daughter (Sophie; illness), son/heir (Rudolf; the Meyerling Incident) and nephew/successor (Franz Ferdinand; assassinated in Sarajevo with his wife Sophie, sparking World War I) and watching his Empire slowly fall apart from war, one has to wonder.
  • Professional wrestler Fritz Von Erich. After his oldest son, Jack, died of electrocution at the young age of five, Fritz took on a much more aggressive fighting style in the ring, hoping that he would piss off the wrong person and get killed in the ring. This more aggressive ring style helped turn him into one of the most hated men in wrestling in the 1960's. It should be noted that back in that time, professional wrestling was not 'pure entertainment' the way it is now. The outcomes were still predetermined, but the guys would often really hit each other in the name of "keeping it real" and the wrestlers were more often than not legitimate tough guys.
  • Aristodemus was one of only two Spartan survivors of the 300 Spartans' famous defensive battle at Thermopylae. He had been temporarily blinded by a disease and was sent home by Leonidas (another spartan, Pantites, had been sent on an embassy and failed to return in time for the battle). Back home in Sparta, both men found themselves disgraced. Pantites hanged himself, but Aristodemus endured being called a coward and humiliated at every turn and bided his time. Next year, the Spartans faced the Persians again at Plataea, and Aristodemus was in the front line. As the armies approached each other, Aristodemus broke ranks and charged the Persians by himself. He fough furiously and killed several Persians before being cut down. Afterwards, he was cleared of all accusations of cowardice (but he was not awarded any honors since he had left the phalanx to fight on his own, which was considered dishonorable and unfitting for a Spartan soldier).
  • The Knights of St. Lazarus. It was a military order for knights who had caught leprosy. Since leprosy is a fatal disease and knights were professional soldiers and it was a monastic order... you do the math.


Honor Before ReasonSliding Scale of Leadership ResponsibilityGoing Down with the Ship
Complete MonsterThis Index Means TroubleThe Fundamentalist
Deadpan SnarkerStock CharactersDeceptive Disciple
Cute and PsychoMadness TropesHeroism Addict
Death Is the Only OptionChoosing DeathDriven to Suicide
Psycho for HireIn Harm's Way    
GungraveImageSource/Video GamesHalf-Life

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