->''"Certainty of death? ''Small'' chance of success? ...What are we waiting for?"''
-->-- '''Gimli,''' ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings''

A character who genuinely believes FailureIsTheOnlyOption, yet [[{{Determinator}} presses on anyway]]. Sometimes, it's all too tempting for them to turn their back on their dreams, or let themselves plummet over the DespairEventHorizon. Don't think they actually will though. If they ever do give up, [[TenMinuteRetirement you can bet it won't be for long]]. Often they feel their situation's so hopeless, they've got nothing to lose. After all, if there is [[CrapsackWorld nothing in the world but darkness]], then all that matters is WhatYouAreInTheDark.

SuperTrope of SourSupporter, when the defeatist is recruited to TheTeam by TheHero (and is usually a secondary character.)

Could be considered a SisterTrope to KnightInSourArmor. The difference between the KnightInSourArmor and this trope is that the latter isn't necessarily a snarky AntiHero who lives in a CrapsackWorld; they're more likely to be TheEeyore or TheWoobie. They might [[HeroicSelfDeprecation lack self-esteem]], or be [[BreakTheCutie going through a rough patch]]. But in both cases, you can be sure their dogged perseverance will get them through despite their pessimistic outlook. Neither ShaggyDogStory nor ShootTheShaggyDog bother them because they were expecting it.

A fair number of them, if they discover that defeat is not the only option, will also discover that HopeIsScary.

Also compare CowardlyLion and TheAntiNihilist. May overlap with IronWoobie, as they keep going no matter how many times they get hurt or discouraged. If they refuse to let an innocent die even when there's a low chance of success, they are almost certainly a SmallStepsHero. When it's time to [[RousingSpeech motivate the troops]], the best they can come up with might be "TryNotToDie". Contrast DoomedDefeatist, who gives up all hope and does not survive in this kind of situation.


[[AC: {{Anime}} & {{Manga}}]]
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'''s Shinji Ikari. For someone with such abysmal self-esteem, he can be surprisingly determined.
* Miranda Lotto from ''Manga/DGrayMan''. Gloomy and insecure as she is, she always puts 100% and then some into trying to be helpful.
* Before her rematch against [[DarkMagicalGirl Einhart]] in ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' a mere week after [[CurbStompBattle their one-sided first match]], Vivio realizes that Einhart will beat her once again but decides to put up a hell of a fight, nonetheless, if only to earn her respect. Corona also had this attitude when she faced Einhart in the Inter-Middle Championship, though Einhart's attitude as she was training for the match made it clear that she had already earned her respect as a teammate.
* Touma from ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' has terminal bad luck and a negative outlook, but will fight until the end for anyone he cares about(which might be someone he befriended minutes ago).
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[spoiler: Akemi Homura]] seems to be this. She knows that [[spoiler: whenever she resets time to prevent Madoka's death, it always results in things getting worse; Madoka either dies again or becomes an increasingly powerful witch. Kyubey even points out that all she's doing is making Madoka into a stronger witch. Yet despite everything, she never stops trying.]] She also knows there's no hope for [[spoiler: Sayaka, who is fated to die in every timeline where she makes a contract, but she still saves her life (for the moment) by retrieving her Soul Gem after it's thrown onto a truck.]]
* In ''Manga/HajimeNoIppo'', in the second match between Ippo and Sendou, Sendou is hit by a full [[SpamAttack Dempsey Roll]] by Ippo, seemingly ending the match. [[{{Determinator}} But he gets on his feet again.]] He already ''knows'' he has lost, and he ''still'' refuses to drop to the ground or go unconcious, just so he can watch the face of the man who defeated him.
* Fujimaru from Manga/SnowWhiteAndSevenDwarfs, due to being a male BrokenBird who sincerely believes that the heroes can't win--but has too much of a conscience to just let them die when he can help.
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': [[TheHero Kouji]] kept fighting even when he thought -or knew- that he couldn't win. He fought [[FlyingFirepower Jinray S1]] despite of having almost no chances to defeat a flying, ultra-fast {{Robeast}} that used hit-and-run tactics. And he deployed Mazinger-Z to fight a squad of ''[[Anime/GreatMazinger Mykene War Beasts]]'' even knowing that he'd not win that battle.
** When Kouji was wounded and in hospital bed, Boss was more than willing to throw ''Boss Borot'' into the fray against the very mechanical beast that had almost destroyed Mazinger. His ItHasBeenAnHonor [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness farewell]] to Kouji showed his mindset was exactly this trope.
* Mumen Rider of ''Webcomic/OnePunchMan'' is this; little more than a bike cop, he rides around doing minor good deeds and trying to stop petty criminals, like purse-snatchers and such. Then there's the time he chooses to go up against the Sea King, a Dragon-level threat who had already completely demolished several A-rank heroes and a couple of S-rankers. He's fully aware of his weakness and acknowledges it, but is determined to fight to the last anyway even though he knows he won't even slow the beast down. Best exemplified by his speech in the anime version:
-->'''Mumen Rider:''' Nobody expects much from me. They think a C-class hero won't be much help. I know that better than anyone! I ''know'' I'm not good enough for B-class...I'm weak, I know that much. No one has to tell me I have no chance of beating you. I already know that! And yet, ''I must try''."

[[AC: FanWorks]]
* Brit from ''Fanfic/NewReality'' can't see herself past the Tower of Salvation event but thinks nothing worse can happens, except death. It eventually backfires when she realizes she actually doesn't want to die, so much, that she practically [[StressVomit pukes her guts out]] and make the group worries of her on the last night before said event.
* This is how Adam Taurus is in ''Fanfic/RyuugisTheGamesWePlay''. He considers even having made it to 10 to be a miracle and believes every moment past that has been him living on borrowed time. That doesn't mean he's about to lay down and let his enemies have their way with him.
* Rei in ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji''. One of the core tenets of her ''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Nurglette faith]]'' is: "Death is inevitable, but you must resist it and endure as long as possible anyway".
* In ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' fanfic ''Fanfic/ABoyAGirlAndADogTheLeithianScript'':
** Neither Beren nor Luthien believed that retrieving a Silmaril from [[GodOfEvil Morgoth]] was possible. They were sure that they'd die trying it.
--->No. We thought that was it, that we were never getting out alive. We had no illusions that what we were trying to do was rational or possible, whatever Huan said to cheer us up.
** Beren displayed this mindset when they met gigantic wolf Carcharoth:
--->And Beren says, "What the hell's that?! We're doomed--" And then he gives himself a little shake and says, in this weird almost-cheerful way, "But, hey, -- we knew that already."
* ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'': When Gendo tells his son that he is to pilot [[HumongousMecha Unit-01]], Shinji thinks that he can't do it... but he decides to try anyway.
* Shinji in ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}''. When [[spoiler:Asuka ran away,]] Shinji thought that he'd never find her; or he'd find her but she wouldn't listen to him. Nonetheless, [[spoiler:he looked for her, he found her, and he talked her into getting back together.]]
* ''Fanfic/GhostsOfEvangelion'': Shinji doesn't believe he can be a decent father, but he promised Asuka he'd make his best.
* In ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'', [[PeggySue Shinji and Asuka]] sometimes lose hope and think that they have no chance to change the future. Nonetheless, they keep trying.
* In ''Fanfic/NeonGenesisEvangelionGenocide'', Shinji doesn't really believe that he is capable of helping Asuka, but he decides that he'll try to look after her anyway.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': When Shinji rallies his friends to move in on NERV, Kaji firmly believes that operation is doomed to failure. He joins them anyway.
* In ''Fanfic/OnceMoreWithFeeling'', Shinji often wonders if he has some chance to outthink people who have spent a long time plotting the extinction of mankind. Hes determined to try to stop them, anyway.

[[AC: {{Literature}}]]
* Aberforth Dumbledore in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'' is convinced that Voldemort is going to win and advises the heroes to give up and flee the country. Naturally, he still shows up to fight when push comes to shove.
%%* Puddleglum in ''Literature/TheSilverChair''.
* Strongly reflecting something written years earlier by Creator/CSLewis - one of the lines of the epynomous devil from ''Literature/TheScrewtapeLetters:''
--> ''[Hell's] cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.''
* Rincewind in the later ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels, in particular ''Discworld/TheLastHero''.
* Crowley in ''Literature/GoodOmens''. At one point, when Aziraphale has gone missing, the Apocalypse is beginning, and it looks as if there's no hope, Crowley thinks he might as well drink himself into a stupor while he waits for the world to end. Instead, he drives at top speed to Tadfield to avert the Apocalypse, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome holding his burning car together through sheer force of will]].
* Most of the main characters (especially Frodo) in the later parts of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''. Several people get speeches to the effect of "We're pretty much finished at this point, but we're going to carry on because what else can we do?"
* Usually he's anything but this trope, but in ''Literature/LukeSkywalkerAndTheShadowsOfMindor'', the titular character experiences a severe AndIMustScream, after which he is deeply shaken and nihilistic. It comes up several times that he no longer sees the point; even if his side wins the book's conflict, ultimately it won't even matter. And yet he keeps going and continues to be compassionate, because someone has to.
* In ''Literature/PeterPaysTribute'', Peter is convinced that he will never finish the tasks his god demands of him, but he refuses to flee. This is partly out of cowardice, but partly out of a sense of duty, even if his task is impossible.
* The narrator of William Ernest Henley's "Invictus."
* [[Literature/ToKillAMockingbird Atticus Finch]] knows full well that the [[CommonNonsenseJury racist jury]] will never acquit Tom Robinson, a black man, even if all evidence points to his innocence. He gives his all in defending him anyway, because no one else will, and it's the right thing to do.
* The [[ProudWarriorRace Aiel]] of ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' series have this trope ingrained in their culture due to prophecy about "He Who Comes with the Dawn," a DestructiveSavior foretold to unite and lead the Aiel people, but also destroy them.
-->[[JustBeforeTheEnd Till shade is gone, till water is gone,]]
-->[[DoNotGoGentle Into the Shadow with teeth bared,]]
-->[[DoNotGoGentle Screaming defiance with the last breath,]]
-->To spit in [[{{Satan}} Sightblinder's]] eye on the [[FinalBattle Last Day.]]
* In ''Literature/ThoseThatWake'', Mike is this. He thinks the world sucks, he's worthless, and he probably can't do anything to change it, but he'll fight anyway.
* ''[[Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy Hero of Ages]]'': Elend gives a [[RousingSpeech speech to his men]], asking them to fight even though they will die if they do. He says that every second they're able to keep going is a second longer the people they're protecting will stay alive. Of course, it turns out that they only survive as long as they do because they're all [[spoiler: burning atium]]. And because [[spoiler: Atium is actually Ruin's body, their deaths mean that Ruin can't get his full power, making it possible for the Hero of Ages to win.]]

[[AC: Film]]
* In ''Film/SixteenBlocks'' Jack Mosely fully expects to be killed along the way but he is determined to get the witness to the courthouse to testify. Even if he succeeds the witness's testimony will incriminate Jack as a DirtyCop and send him to jail. His only real chance to walk away from the whole mess is to let the witness be killed but that is the one thing Jack is determined will not happen.
* ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' has the title character realizing that he will fail the fight against Apollo, but decides that he will go the distance so he would not be seen as a bum. Also helps that he's just a flat out {{Determinator}}.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Though there is the occasional reprieve, at heart, Angel suspects that he will never stop paying for his crimes. He and Spike share a grumpy exchange about how they're both going to Hell, and thus will never be rid of each other.
* Spike in the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "The Gift".
-->'''Giles''': ''We few, we happy few...''
-->'''Spike''': ''...We band of buggered!''
* Ryotaro Nogami, the protagonist of ''Series/KamenRiderDenO'', willingly admits that he's not very strong or smart, and that he has insanely bad luck. That doesn't stop him from doing his job and protecting the timestream, which results in his eventually TakingALevelInBadass.
* In ''{{Series/Lexx}}'', a number of the Brunnen-G decide to stand and fight against [[BigBad His Divine Shadow]], fully aware that they have no chance of success. An in-show musical touches on this a bit more, and even inspires the protagonists to take on a similar attitude.
--> It matters not if the cause is lost and we cannot stop the tide. We will fight to the end, and then fight again. It will be a good way to die.
* ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'': Al Bundy. Best exemplified by his WorldOfCardboardSpeech.
-->'''Al:''' So you think I'm a loser? Just because I have a stinking job that I hate, a family that doesn't respect me? A whole city that curses the day I was born? Well that may mean loser to you, but let me tell you somethin'. Every morning when I wake up, I know it's not going to get any better until I go back to sleep again. So I get up, have my watered-down Tang and still-frozen Pop-Tart, get in my car with no upholstery, no gas, and six more payments to fight traffic just for the privilege of putting cheap shoes on the cloven hooves of people like you. I'll never play football like I thought I would. I'll never know the touch of a beautiful woman. And I'll never again know the joy of driving without a ''bag'' on my head! But I'm not a loser. Because despite it all, me and every other guy who will never be what he wanted to be are still out there, being what we ''don't'' want to be 40 hours a week for life. And the fact that I haven't put a gun in my mouth, you ''pudding'' of a woman, makes me a ''winner''!
* [[Series/DoctorWho The Twelfth Doctor]] has this attitude in his more pessimistic moments.

[[AC: {{Music}}]]
* A few Music/WithinTemptation songs have this feel. In "Deceiver Of Fools", the subject knows just how bleak the situation is, yet manages to keep that hint of hope. Then there's "Pale" and "Stand My Ground".
* "Survive" by Music/LacunaCoil.
--> I'll survive in this nothing, leading nowhere
--> I'll survive feeling strong for how much longer?
* Versaemerge's "Fixed At Zero".
* The Beatles' folk hero Rocky Raccoon, after he is shot by Dan, the guy who stole Lil, the girl of his fancy"
-->(''The doctor'') said "Rocky, you've met your match,"
-->Rocky said "Doc, it's only a scratch,
-->And I'll better, I'll better, Doc, just as soon as I am able."
* "Until The End" by Music/BreakingBenjamin.

[[AC: {{Mythology}}]]
* Prominent concept in Myth/NorseMythology:
--> Kine dies, kin dies, you yourself will die.
--> One thing I know that never dies, the story of dead men's deeds.

[[AC:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/JimCornette was a SourSupporter in Global Force Wrestling, both the original incarnation and the Anthem owned version, publicly stating Wrestling/JeffJarrett was crazy for starting another pro wrestling promotion but that he was going to pull for it anyway. In fact, this is has been Cornette's attitude ever since Wrestling/SmokeyMountainWrestling failed to get a television deal, believing there simply weren't enough people in the know to save pro wrestling, which was destined to fall to the level roller derby had, and that he himself wasn't the kind of booker who would be necessary to turn it around. Nonetheless, he won't give up the fight, which is what lead him to Wrestling/{{TNA}} and Wrestling/RingOfHonor in the first place, as well as publicly endorsing Lucha Libre USA, saying it was much better than Wrestling/{{WCW}} but wouldn't be as successful due to a lack of network penetration.

[[AC: TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': The [[OurElvesAreBetter Craftworld Eldar]] take this to the point where it's their [[PlanetOfHats racial hat]], that and being {{Magnificent Bastard}}s. Their species is [[DyingRace staring extinction right in the face]], and yet they continue to fight tooth and nail in a galaxy where they are hopelessly outnumbered by [[HumansAreBastards dogmatic and xenophobic humans]], [[AxCrazy murderously psychotic Orks]] and [[BugWar planet-eating Tyranids]], while also being hunted relentlessly by a GodOfEvil who is out for their souls.
** Speaking of humans. Beset on all sides by xenos and galactic horrors while also being attacked from within by traitors and heretics, their GodEmperor is tied to a millennia-old life support machine that is in serious need of a good fix, all the technology and grandeur of the by-gone golden age is slowly being forgotten to be replaced by superstition, FantasticRacism and blind zeal, the Imperium of Man loses worlds everyday despite it's overwhelming might. Yet we PunyEarthlings don't cry or despair, we stoically take these losses and try to hold the line as best we can, or failing that, [[TakingYouWithMe drag our enemies down with us]]. For the Emperor!

[[AC: VideoGames]]
* VideoGame/MaxPayne goes through the entire first game knowing perfectly well that there are only two outcomes for him: either being killed during his RoaringRampageOfRevenge or being put away for life upon completing it. In fact, after he goes free thanks to TheMan pulling a few strings, he considers himself to be a KarmaHoudini.
* Javik in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' believes that Shepard's cycle is doomed for failure. However giving up is not an option for him, especially after his race and civilization sacrificed themselves just to get him to this point.
** Also [[PlayerCharacter Commander Shepard]], by the end of the series. Case in point is his/her reaction when the Reapers first invade and s/he's asked how to stop them.
-->[[TryNotToDie "Stop them? This isn't about strategy or tactics, this is about survival."]]
** Even Liara [[BreakTheCutie seems to adopt]] this philosophy over time. She even discusses the fact that as an asari, [[WhoWantsToLiveForever she could actually survive to see the cycle complete itself.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Hakuouki}}'', Hijikata is fully aware that the balance of power is shifting away from the shogunate and that the Shinsengumi are on the losing end of things, even before the Boshin War has officially kicked off. Nevertheless, he gives it every possible effort, sticking with the fighting from Kyoto all the way to Hokkaido and the war's bitter end even when all of his comrades have died or gone their separate ways.
* The Ancestor in ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'' flip flops on how much faith he has in you depending on how well you do during a battle, but he has a small hopeful streak as he assures you that despite the hardships, the monsters can be felled. They can be beaten.
* [[LaResistance The Vendrian Guard]] in ''VideoGame/{{Tyranny}}''. Serving as the game's [[StarterVillain Starter]] [[HeroAntagonist Antagonists]] to the VillainProtagonist Fatebinder, they have pretty much accepted the best they can hope for is an honorable death in battle, but fight fiercely even so. Even if they're incredibly fortunate [[spoiler:and the Fatebinder [[HeelFaceTurn joins them]], it takes until the third and final act for them to seriously consider the possibility that they can win, and only because they suddenly have the power of [[FantasticNuke Edicts]] on their side.]]
* Near the end of ''Videogame/StarcraftIIHeartOfTheSwarm'', Kerrigan outright states it's functionally impossible to stop Amon. She'll try anyway because "the only other option is to lay down and die."

* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'': Shirou knows that he doesn't stand a chance in battle against really any of the servants or masters in the war (except Shinji) yet he still fights them with IncompletelyTrained trace magic. Rin points out how unhealthy his obsession with saving others is. Finally, his fight against [[KnightInSourArmor Archer]] in Unlimited Blade Works is a back and forth of SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids and SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers; Archer doesn't just believe that Shirou's future will be bleak, he knows it as an absolute fact [[spoiler: because it is his past]].
* [[spoiler:Rika]] in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' has been trying for a [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld long]], ''[[GroundhogDayLoop long]]'' time, but she's been killed so many times that she's become a cynical [[TheFatalist fatalist]]. She keeps trying though, [[spoiler:and eventually [[EarnYourHappyEnding gets it right]].]]

[[AC: WebOriginal]]
* Himei from ''Literature/SailorNothing''. She's an utterly BrokenBird who knows that AsLongAsThereIsEvil, there'll be Yamiko. This doesn't stop her fighting as many of them as she can.
* One of the few good qualities WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic has is that despite all the hurt he goes through, he's strong-willed and keeps on going.
* ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'': In 'Store Story', Candle charges headfirst into battle when he sees Robber Eel stealing from his store...but is beaten instantly.

[[AC: WesternAnimation]]
* Ed Wuncler I from ''WesternAnimation/TheBoondocks'' (in the episode "The Red Ball"), during the kickball game to determine the fate of Woodcrest:
-->"We're Americans! We don't quit just because we're wrong. We just keep doing the wrong thing until it turns out right!''
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': Doofenshmirtz is well aware that Perry is a ComicallyInvincibleHero and therefore that FailureIsTheOnlyOption for his attempts to take over the ENTIRE! TRI-STATE AREA!, but he still keeps attempting it anyway.