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Despair Speech
You only need two words.note 

"Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more."
Macbeth, Macbeth

One of the best ways to show that a character has crossed the Despair Event Horizon is to give him/her the occasion to perform a Despair Speech to show that his/her hopes are lost and that there's nothing else left to do. Expect Creepy Monotone if the character is portrayed as scary.

A Despair Speech would be done by a character to show that they have crossed the Despair Event Horizon. The character is winding up his/her own lack of chances, desperation and, sometimes, remorse for something he/she could have done or said before. If said character is a criminal, his/her confession can become a Despair Speech. Be careful when writing this: done too much or badly, and it becomes Wangst.

Contrast Badass Boast.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • As one might expect, this is Played for Laughs in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. "I'm in despair! [Insert topic here] has left me in despair!" is the catchphrase of the main character.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji is prone to doing this, particularly at the End.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass near the end of Turn 20: "My name is Lelouch vi Britannia, I am the eldest son of Empress Marianne, the prince who was abandoned by his empire. If anyone wishes to stop me, let them try, if there is anyone who can go beyond my despair."
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
    • Sayaka delivers one just before turning into a witch.
    • Homura delivers one of these when she finally gives up and nearly becomes a Witch herself. A timely Cooldown Hug from Madoka just about averts the transformation.
  • Pictured is Luffy from One Piece having an epic breakdown after losing all his friends and watching his brother die protecting him, when he was supposed to be the one saving him.
  • In Popotan, Mai's phone call to the younger Mai about how it's her fault that Konami died without getting to see her again, and that she's made all her friends suffer the same fate amounts to this.
  • Mekakucity Actors:
    • During Episode 10, Azami delivers one to her daughter about how foolish she was to believe that a marriage between a human and a monster like her could ever work out. She then disappears into her never ending world forever.
    • Near the end of Episode 12, Marry delivers one of these after the Wide-Open Eyes Snake possesses Konoha and nearly kills Kido, Kano and Seto, and she resolves to reset time to prevent their deaths. She doesn't go through with it.

Comic Books
  • Played for Laughs with Dirk Anger in Nextwave.
    I've reinvented suicide as a group activity. Go me.
  • Batman, of all people, gets a borderline one in Going Sane as he tries to tell his girlfriend that he's finally realized that the world doesn't actually need Batman and he can let that part of his life go (without actually admitting he was Batman). Subverted when she not only reveals she knew he was Batman, but the world absolutely needs him so he better get his ass in gear and go back to Gotham.
  • Hal Jordan got a few of these back during his Parallax days.

Film
  • Casablanca: Not a speech per se, but Rick's dialogue in his famous "All the Gin Joints" scene once Elsa shows up smacks of this.
  • In the Steve Martin movie remake of Sgt. Bilko.
    Bilko: Well, of course I have a plan! [spelling out PALN on the chalkboard behind him] a P-L-A-N plan!... but maybe, a plan is not what I really need [gets down on his knees], what I really need is just a little puppy. A little puppy with big brown eyes, who would just come to me and lick my face, and just love me so much no matter what kind of person I am.
  • Adam Sandler's character in The Wedding Singer has a Despair Song that's pretty great.
  • Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
  • Walter from Sterne. Leningrad has that effect on people.
  • Cabin Fever: When everything goes to hell, sultry college coed Marcy tells her friend Paul that she's all but given up hope of surviving, and just wants to go out with a bang. He obliges.
  • In The World's End, the main character Gary King gives one of these when he reaches the final pub of his pub crawl. It details all his lost hopes and explains that he is so obsessed with finishing the crawl as it's the only time he was truly happy and he has tried to commit suicide out of disillusionment of how his life wasn't as awesome as he was hoping it to be.

Literature
  • Denethor gives several of these in The Lord of the Rings; the most notable is the one he gives when he burns himself to death on his pyre.
    • Eomer gets a subverted one during the Battle of Pelanor Fields. "These staves he spoke, but he laughed as he said them..."
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Horace Slughorn gives one of these when he agrees to give Harry his memory about the time he told Tom Riddle about the Horcruxes.
  • The Book of Job is full of these, mainly delivered by Job himself, making this trope Older Than Dirt.

Live-Action TV
  • A very short one from Blackadder II (which is A Shout-Out to Shakespeare's Richard II):
    Percy: Then you are doomed. Alas. For God's sake, let us sit upon the carpet and tell sad stories.
  • In Criminal Minds, some UnSubs do this while confessing.
    • Hotch also gets one to no one in particular in the form of narration at the end of "To Hell... And Back". His soliloquy about how much everything sucks is interrupted by the Reaper breaking into his apartment and trying to kill him. Yeah.
  • The "Life is like a box of chocolates..." monologue delivered by the Cigarette-Smoking Man in an episode of The X-Files is very cynical and nihilistic, even for him.
  • Dean from Supernatural delivers one of these every three weeks. The most notable one is when he admits that he wishes he'd never been brought back to life, and concludes "I should've stayed dead." Sam just mopes.
    • Castiel gives lots of despair speeches, but he usually combines them with threats or acts of violence, so they end up being badass or funny rather than wangsty. Except in season six, where he gives a drawn out despair speech to God. Lucifer was also especially fond of the Despair Speech, although he seemed to use it more as a tool to gain sympathy, manipulate unwitting humans, and justify his callous behaviour than as a genuine expression of despair. Luci's continual despair speeches are part of the reason that most of the other characters think of him as a bratty child.

Music

Theater
  • After the queen's death, Macbeth pronounces his famous monologue.
    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.
  • Shakespeare's Richard II
    For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
    And tell sad stories of the death of Kings.
    How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
    Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
    Some poison'd by their wives, some sleeping kill'd,...
  • Every other speech in Hamlet.

Video Games
  • Hope at the beginning of Chapter 11 of Final Fantasy XIII. In fact, most of the l'Cie just before their Eidolon battles.
  • Dragon Age II: If you side with the Mages in the endgame, Orsino delivers one after seeing so many of his fellow mages dead.
    Orsino: Look at it all. Why don't they just drown us as infants? Why give us the illusion of hope?
  • Solid Snake gets one in the original Metal Gear Solid if you fail to save Meryl. "I'm not the hero you thought I was! I'm nothing!"
  • In King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow, Alexander comes up with a Despair Speech while acting like a Drama Prince in front of Shamir Shamazel and the Pawn Shop Owner. Your Mileage May Vary on this, but it is the finisher in the speech, "I am... no... more..." after downing the whole "Drink Me" potion bottle that could tug at our heartstrings a bit... if we didn't know it was Faux Death.
  • Most of the people still alive in Bastion's Keep at the beginning of Act IV of Diablo III have these to give following Leah's death and the unleashing of Diablo as the Prime Evil upon the High Heavens, but the most poignant of all is Haedrig's.
    Haedrig: I thought I could make my wife's death mean something. It doesn't matter now, does it?
    Player: It does matter. You are here now, and we might still turn the tide of this battle.
    Haedrig: Right. I'm sure that's a comfort for Leah now that she's gone too. I've been a fool. You don't get to make things right. This world isn't made for redemption.
  • Oersted gets a great one near the end of the Medieval Chapter in Live A Live.
  • Happens a few times in Dawn of War, mostly in Retribution.
  • In Dishonored, Daud gives this when you defeat him in a duel, stating that after assassinating the Empress, he felt that "something broke" inside of him and how he is filled with intense self-hatred at how rather than making something with his life he's simply chosen to use his powers as an assassin, a life he's grown tired of. At the end, he leaves his fate to Corvo's hands, seemingly not caring whether or not he lives or dies (despite his pleading for his life).
  • In Red Dead Redemption, Dutch Van Der Linde gives one when confronted by John Marston, about how everything he's been fighting for in his life has been for nothing, lamenting the changes coming, while also being unable to stop fighting as it is in his nature. This followed by him dropping himself off a cliff.
    Dutch: When I'm gone, they'll just find another monster. They have to, because they have to justify their wages. Our time has passed, John.

Web Original
  • Ganondorf gets a pretty epic one near the end of There Will Be Brawl.
  • The Nostalgia Critic has a good one in his first commercials special, made even sadder by some really aching violin music playing over it.
    • He got another one in the Scooby-Doo review, wishing that just once he had friends to hang out with.

Western Animation
  • The Earl of Lemongrab gets a very sad one in the Adventure Time episode "You Made Me!".
    Lemongrab: No one... No one understands. I am alone! And you made me like this! *falls from window* YOU MADE ME! *runs away, ripping off his clothes* YOOOU MAAADE MEEE!!! YOU'RE... MY... GLOB! YOU'RE MY GLOB!
  • In the Moral Orel episode "Sacrifice", Clay gives one of these combined with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech; he rants and raves at his friends about their failures in love and life, but he is quite blatantly talking about himself too.


Despair GambitDespair TropesDesperation Attack
Critical Psychoanalysis FailureSpeeches and MonologuesDisorganized Outline Speech
Despair Event HorizonSadness TropesDeus Angst Machina
Despair Event HorizonCynicism TropesDestructive Romance
Cuteness Equals ForgivenessImageSource/Anime & MangaEasily-Distracted Referee

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