"Help me into some house, Benvolio, Or I shall faint. A plague a' both your houses! They have made worms' meat of me. I have it, And soundly too. Your houses!"
With his dying breath, a character wishes ill fortune upon his killers, or some other personal enemy. It may be an actual invocation of supernatural power
that is believed to (or, in settings where such powers exist, actually does) have the power to harm the target, or it may simply be a prediction of a well-deserved bad end
of Famous Last Words
. Sometimes the last step in being Defiant to the End
. With a little pre-planning, it can be a Thanatos Gambit
or My Death Is Just the Beginning
Compare Dying Declaration Of Hate
, which is a venting of anger without any (expected or actual) supernatural consequences.
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In the Batman story "The Four Fates" (aka "The Curse of the Four Fates"), a dying Indian mystic predicts the deaths of the four criminals who kill him in a robbery attempt. Each comes true in an unexpected fashion. For example, the one who is told "water will be your downfall" heads to the desert, several kilometers from any body of water — and dies of dehydration.
- In The Sandman, The Corinthian is very careful not to kill Loki because of this trope, instead just choosing to mutilate him, noting that "the death curse of a god is an evil thing".
- In Smallville, Rogue, Sam Phlean tells Lex to "Go to hell" as his last words as the latter demands to know Clark's secret.
- In the Babylon 5 episode "The Coming of Shadows", the Centauri Emperor's efforts at reconciliation with the Narn are ruined by the machinations of Londo Mollari and Lord Refa. Just before the Emperor dies, he says a few last words to Londo. Londo falsely tells everyone else that the Emperor had endorsed the launching of a war against the Narns... but privately admits to Refa that the Emperor really said that Londo and Refa were both damned. About a year later, Refa is beaten to death by a mob of Narns... and, compared to Londo's eventual fate, he got off lightly.
- In the Friends episode "The One With The Screamer", a guest star utters the phrase. He's the director of a play that got bad reviews, where his girlfriend and Joey starred.
- In Rome, after the death of her son and the extinction of her political cause (partly due to Atia's machinations), Servilia goes to Atia's house with a knife and waits until Atia comes out. Then, with the full attention of everybody around, she curses Atia to have nothing but "bitterness and despair" for the rest of her life. To seal the deal, she then stabs herself. While Atia achieves the goal she's been aiming for the entire series, she finds it's Lonely at the Top.
- In the LOST episode "Outlaws", Sawyer hunts down and kills the man he thinks was responsible for causing his father's suicide and murder of his mother. He's wrong, and the guy's last words are, "It'll come round again."
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Stolen Earth", Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister foreshadows the destruction of the Daleks at the hands of two human-Time Lord hybrids this way.
Harriet Jones: Harriet Jones, former prime minister.
Harriet Jones: Oh, you know nothing of any human. And that will be your downfall.
- In Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined), Gina, the female Cylon spy whom Admiral Cain had ordered tortured and raped for months, comes after Cain following her escape to get revenge. Gina echoes the same words Cain used against her, and Cain tells her to go frack herself. Gina responds "You're Not My Type" and shoots her.
- In Alestorm's song "Captain Morgan's Revenge," the title captain pronounces one of these upon the mutinous crew who has made him Walk the Plank: "As sure as Hell's my final fate, you'll all soon die or worse!"
- In Rigoletto, Count Monterone curses Rigoletto with his final words.
- After he accidentally gets into the middle of the ongoing Montague-Capulet feud and is fatally wounded by Tybalt, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet curses both families up and down. He also makes an Incredibly Lame Pun or two in the process.
- They must have liked this trope in the English Renaissance. Barabas, the title character of Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, curses the "Damned Christian dogs and Turkish infidels!" who brought about his death - as he boils in oil.
- The whole plot of Ruddigore comes about because a burning witch cursed the whole line of the Baronets of Ruddigore. Heck, the subtitle is The Witch's Curse.
- A possible interpretation of Caesar's legendary last words, "Et tu, Brute?" (You too, Brutus?). Instead of a question, asking if even Brutus is betraying him, it is sometimes thought as a statement, basically meaning "Your turn next." Marc Antony made the curse come true.
- As she lays dying in Borderlands 2, Angel sums up her feelings towards Jack quite succinctly: "Dad, I have to tell you something... you're an asshole."
- Each of the Four Cardinal Vitrues in Bayonetta screams "May Jubileus, The Creator, grace you!" at Bayonetta as they die. This may sound benevolent, but Jubileus is a being they want to awaken in order to destroy the world, so their asking her to "grace" Bayonetta is their own way of telling the one who killed them to go to hell.
- Mass Effect 2's Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC has rogue Spectre Tela Vasir's final moments, in which she tries to justify working for the Shadow Broker and expresses her disgust at Commander Shepard for working with the pro-human terrorist organization Cerberus before succumbing to her wounds mid-sentence.
- Zaros from Runescape had one of these, and it was rather powerful, turning all humans involved with his assassination into barely-perceptible spirits. Of course, Zaros is probably Not Quite Dead.
- In Quest for Glory IV, the first major plot event sees the townspeople capture a gypsy on the (false) accusation of murder. If you fail to either clear his name or break him out of jail within a couple of days, the gypsy is burned at the stake. With his dying breath, he curses the town to share his fate, and you get a Have a Nice Death screen saying that his curse came true.
- When you fail to save a prison guard trapped in an active gas chamber in The Suffering (and you will), he'll die shouting, "Fuck you! Those are my last words, you urrrgghhhh...."
- The plot of Castlevania: Curse of Darkness centers around a curse like this uttered by Dracula when he met his end from Trevor Belmont, in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.
- From The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: "CURSE YOU, SAGES! CURSE YOU, ZELDA!! CURSE YOU... LINK!!"
- And before his transformation into Ganon and the aforementioned quote, the human Ganondorf uses his "last breath" to bring the house down on Link... literally.
- Ganondorf's very existence is due to one of these by Demise, the demon king.
- Warcraft: "I hope there's a special place in hell waiting for you, Arthas." - last words of Uther the Lightbringer.
- Shiro Tagachi's death wail in Guild Wars Factions might as well have been one...I mean, it bloody petrified an entire forest, and turned an entire sea to Jade.
- In Beyond Good & Evil, the dying General Kheck uses his final breath to deliver a final insult, right in Jade's face — she's doomed to fail, she will be consumed by the Eldritch Abomination who has been looking for her soul for centuries, and even if she does succeed, it will be meaningless because everyone she ever loved is already dead. She stares him down fearlessly, though — not only because she's a Plucky Girl, but because she still has the two most steadfast members of her True Companions with her, and for the rest, well, now death is a minor technicality.
- In the Diablo series, Lachdanan and his knights are cursed to eternal damnation by King Leoric, who they were forced to slay to put an end to his madness.
King Leoric: Traitors! Even in death, the armies of Khanduras will still obey their king! Even if you will not...
- Since Generation III of Pokémon, the move Grudge could count. When a Pokémon uses it and then feints from a direct enemy attack, Grudge drops the PP of the attacking move to zero.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, if you decide to kill Mr. House, he might have this as his last words.
"May there be... A hell for you! A Tartarus! Bleak... Unending..."
- The Great Will's last words in both the Neutral and Chaos Paths of Shin Megami Tensei II are both a Dying Declaration Of Hate (Aleph, his killer, was supposed to be the Messiah) and an extremely cruel example of this trope. It's implied in Nocturne said curse leashed the guy to a horrifying "Groundhog Day" Loop for eternity until he finished recording the entirety of the war between Law and Chaos by being reborn over and over in each world, having no way to ever change any of their destinies as they fell one by one to their doom.
- The Dying Declaration is a recognized hearsay exception, allowing someone's last words to be used against their killer in court in some instances.
- The original source of the trope was a commonly-held belief in various cultures that dying and/or dead people were extremely close to the supernatural and, thus, their words were extremely powerful. This is evident in the mythologies and legends of numerous ancient civilizations (the ancient Greeks come to mind) and a dying foe was considered extremely dangerous (in some ways moreso than a healthy one) for his ability to call down curses on those who had killed him, particularly if the death was a result of foul play.
- When Shaka of the Zulu was assassinated by his half brother Dingaan he told Dingaan that the white people, not he, would rule.
- Dingaan did rule for twelve years though, and was overthrown by another half-brother (who admittedly had British backing) not directly conquered. That happened later.
- The Master of Knight Templars Jacques de Molay cursed the engineers of his chapter's demise — King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V — from his pyre. Before long both died and then a long streak of lethal calamities haunted Philip's descendants.
- Sarah Good was one of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials. Before she was hanged, Minister Nicholas Noyes gave her one last chance to confess. She replied "You are a liar. I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink." Years later, Noyes suffered from an internal hemorrhage and choked to death on his own blood.