"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."When it comes to forgiving one another, it can be difficult at times. Some of your good-hearted people like the Nice Guy, All-Loving Hero, and the Wide-Eyed Idealist would be always willing to let bygones be bygones, but as for the Anti-Hero, Knight Templar, and the Jerkass, not so much. Then, there are some people who actually can (or will) forgive and can still give others the cold shoulder, which is this trope. In short, this is more of a cynical cousin of Easily Forgiven. Instead of following the adage "forgive and forget", these type of characters take the "forgive" part only. No matter how forgiving the character is, he still feels genuinely hurt by the transgressor's actions or words, which explains the harsh attitude. Maybe the character is still distrustful towards him and believes that the transgressor might do the same thing all over again; then again, this reason may be justified. Perhaps the person has a bit of a short temper and takes the little things too seriously (like having his foot being accidentally stepped on), which makes it impossible to forgive the other completely. When it comes to this trope, just because people forgive doesn't necessarily mean they will move on. Usually, other variants would show that one character will come to sincerely apologize to the other and they will still call them out of their wrongs with responses such as "you've hurt my feelings" or "you should be sorry". They may hear that they are trying to change their ways, but is still not good enough to make them completely happy again. These kind of forgivers would always focus on the bad qualities of others, and if they already forgiven them, they may give out warnings of threats or other ultimatums to them should the action be repeated. As far as forgiving others and not forgetting their act goes, this is seen as a character still finding it difficult to truly move on, just a character having bad trust issues, or just a character being an insufferable jerk. It's worth noting that this trope isn't always found on the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. To put this trope positively, forgiving others doesn't mean tolerating what the other has done. One, It can be a process to heal all negative emotions that the victimizer has caused, and that the victimizer will take responsibility of never repeating his mistakes. Even so, just because the person has forgiven the other doesn't mean they have to be friends with them; he would still be satisfied to see him receive his Laser-Guided Karma for good measure. The Atoner may not care if the forgiver is still not going easy on him, since the only thing that matters to him is that he is pardoned for his wrongs. If he does care for his approval again, though, then he will work hard to make that person happy with him again, or at least improve himself morally. If the forgiver does indeed become happy, it can be heartwarming moment. If not, then this can make a rather complicated story, and it may lead to the implication that the character has never really forgiven them at all. Pretty much Truth in Television, but examples are unnecessary. Compare Flippant Forgiveness (the sarcastic variant), My Fist Forgives You, and Restrained Revenge (both tropes are about getting even with the wrongdoer while forgiving him, usually physically). Contrast Rejected Apology, Reformed, but Rejected, and Heel–Face Door-Slam which demonstrate that the character is NOT forgiven at all no matter how sincere he is in his apology and turning his life around.
— Thomas Szasz
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In A Certain Magical Index, most people who know of Accelerator's past, and especially his involvement in the Level 6 Shift project, acknowledge that he's trying to be a better person, but certainly are not about to let him forget what he's done. Accelerator doesn't expect them to; indeed, he can't forgive himself. The only person who seems to have wholeheartedly forgiven him is Last Order.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar was given this sort of advice from his master in regards to avoid dwelling himself in revenge too often or he will turn into a beast:
"Enduring and forgiving are two different things. You must not forget the unjustness of society. As a human being, you must hold the event in contempt. Yet, you must endure. You must put an end to the chain of hatred!"
- In Kotoura-san, Hiyori was uneasily forgiven for bullying Haruka and nearly getting Manabe killed and as a side effect broke Haruka in the process, although this is because Haruka can read her mind and see that she's genuinely sorry for what she's done. Also, Manabe knows Hiyori was the one responsible for the attack, and was actually shocked and suspicious when she starts hanging out with them. Haruka's grandfather also implied quite clearly he knew what Hiyori had done and, while not mistreating her, did make it clear she wasn't off the hook with him. (He made a "Haruka-land" theme park for his granddaughter, with her and friends as mascot characters. Hiyori's was locked in a burning cage.)
- Inverted in Yureka, where Muria refuses to forgive the main trio for their past misdeed towards her, despite none of them remembering what, exactly, this actually misdeed is.
- In Naruto, this is Naruto's attitude towards Nagato after all the harm that he's caused. After hearing of all the hardship Nagato went through which led him to being the person he was, Naruto realizes that even if he can't stop himself from hating him for what he's done, he will still forgive him, as not doing so would only perpetuate the cycle of hatred and revenge that was plaguing the world of shinobi.
- In Aruosumente, Moeran hates Oracles because Oracle Kian, Legna's father, was somehow involved in the death of Moeran's precious teacher, and while Legna was sheltered from any consequences, Moeran was instead threatened with permanent imprisonment. Eventually, Moeran realizes that Legna has no idea what happened and seems ready to forgive him, though he's by far not ready to forget. Forgiving and forgetting Legna's ignorance is another matter.
- In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lady Quark does forgive Pariah for the destruction of her universe, which he never meant to do, but says that she will never forget.
- Inverted with Habia from The Lion King Adventures. He is forgiven for murdering Tama, but he himself never forgets it. Word of God states that he did eventually get over it as he grew up.
- In The Newest Challenger, Sasuke's Chidori through the chest on Naruto. It's brought up by Naruto when Sasuke is first introduced to his friends, and while Naruto still remembers it he recalls it with a mere shrug of the shoulders, compared to the reaction of many of his friends, one of whom tried to attack the past perpetrator on the spot.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act I: In chapters 10-13, Apoch and Astreal brainwash Dark and Rason in an attempt to get them to fight and kill their Bad Boss Ghaldin; unfortunately, their ineptitude with mind control spells allows Ghaldin to take control of all four of them when he catches up to them, with Ghaldin electing to test Dark and Rason's power by siccing them on the gang. After the situation is resolved by Inner Moka killing Ghaldin, Dark and Rason decide to forgive the two, but Dark warns Apoch that he will personally kill her if she ever tries anything like that again.
- Lampshaded, but at the same time subverted, in The Light that Banishes the Shadow for the Fairy Tail fandom. When a former mage of Fairy Tail points out that Yukino's excommunication from Sabertooth following her defeat in the Grand Magic Games arena brings to mind Laxus' failed takeover attempt seven years prior, Lucy defends Laxus by pointing out that half of her guildmates witnessed his role in aiding Fairy Tail in the Tenrou Island crisis, and that for the rest, the passage of time erased their resultant grudges. Lucy ends her speech by saying of Laxus' big screw-up, "although none of us have forgotten, we all have forgiven."
- It appears in I'm still alive which belongs to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jen Carter understands that Bucky can't be held responsible for Howard's assassination, but she can't look at him without thinking about it, which creates conflict with several people. He was her best friend, after all.
- In Worm fic Queen Of The Swarm, Taylor thinks she could forgive her former best friend for betraying her and bullying her since Emma's sincerely sorry, but she cannot forget what happened.
I doubted she could ever be my best friend again: no amount of mental gymnastics could remove the fact that it'd been her face sneering at me, taunting and abusing me. I might not be able to forget, but I could forgive, and so long as Emma could settle for being a basic friend (and control any other urges: I caught her eyeing me several times) I saw no reason why this arrangement couldn't work.
- From the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
Seto Kaiba: I can't believe the five of you tried to take over my company.
Mokuba: And don't forget how they kidnapped me!
Seto Kaiba: Yeah... that too.
Gansley: Mr. Kaiba, please let us explain. We were just pretending to work for Pegasus!
Seto Kaiba: I instantly forgive you. But I'm still pretty sore about that whole trying to kill me thing.
Films — Live-Action
- There is this conversation from Paddy and Brandon Conlon. The former was an alcoholic abusive father who favored the latter's brother, Tommy:
Brendan: You never had any interest in underdogs. But I was your son.
Paddy: You are my son, Brendan.
Brendan: Am I?
Paddy: Yeah, you are. I'm just asking you if can find... find a little bit of space in your heart to forgive me a little bit.
Brendan: Yeah? All right, I forgive you.
Brendan: But I do not trust you.
- Brandon and Tommy, however, have reconciled at the end of their fight.
- There is this conversation from Paddy and Brandon Conlon. The former was an alcoholic abusive father who favored the latter's brother, Tommy:
- Steven tries to avert this in the film The Wisdom Of Crocodiles:
Anna Labels: It's been a difficult day. I'm sorry. Problems at work. There's no excuse for taking it out on you. Is it alright for Saturday with Martin and Karen?
Steven Grlscz: Sorry? Oh yes.
Anna Labels: Good.
Steven Grlscz: Actually can we not do this? I can't do it this quickly. Accept apologies when I'm still angry. You can't say something like that and then say sorry. Do you see?
- Underground ends with Marko awkwardly seeking to reconcile with Blacky. Taking a shot of vodka, Blacky states brusquely that he has forgiven but not forgotten. Marko doesn't seem to process the measured nature of Blacky's position as he dances away with joy. After a moment, Blacky shakes his head and smiles. It helps that they're all in heaven at this point.
- The story of "The Man and the Serpent" from Aesop's Fables starts with a serpent biting a farmer's son to death, which angered the farmer, who cuts off the serpent's tail off with an axe. The serpent seeks revenge against him, stinging all of the cattle of his farm, causing a huge loss. The farmer then seeks for reconciliation with the serpent, but the serpent relents, saying that the farmer will never forget the death of his son and he won't forget the loss of his tail. The story ends with the statement "Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten."
- Lucky from Survivor Dogs had been betrayed by his sister Bella because she did not speak up for him when he was banished from the pack. When he comes back, he ignores her trying to talk to him before finally forgiving her...but he never truly forgives her for what she did.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire Stannis Baratheon quotes the trope title verbatim in regards to his stormlands bannermen, who initially declared for Renly (his little brother who was after Stannis both as their legal lord and in line to the throne) only to turn around and come back to him once Renly died. He compares them to Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon's men, who at least stand loyally by who they believe is their rightful king.
- In the Discworld short story "The Sea and Little Fishes", Granny Weatherwax punctuates the day's Paranoia Gambit by finishing off with a nice grandmotherly speech about forgiving trespass (in the context of having been slapped by one of the other witches who'd turned hysterical by her uncharacteristic niceness) before returning to her regular self, effortlessly winning the Witch Trial with a magnificent display of fire magic, and adding "...I never said nothin' about forgettin'".
- In Land of the Rising Yen George Mikes says that the correct thing to do is to forgive but not forget, and what the Allies had done following World War II was forgotten but not forgiven.
- Tris in Divergent takes a while to forgive Christina and Will for not protecting her when Peter, Drew and Al kidnapped her, molested her, and tried to throw her down a chasm. By the time she does, she realizes that she can't trust anyone in the Divergent army except for Four.
- In The Echo Vitka does forgive the narrator for failing to stand up to bullies, but she doesn't trust him anymore and thus their deep relationship is gone.
- Backstage: Helsweel announces the candidates to join the primas, Sasha among them.
- From the Burn Notice episode "The Hunter", Sam and Madeline had a conversation about Sam blowing up her living room in "Lesser Evil":
Sam: Maddy, I thought we've forgotten about that.
Madeline: Forgiveness is a process...
- From The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "The Script Formerly Known As...", Philip was rather reluctant when Vivian told him to accept both Will and Hilary's apology for bringing a dismissed juror of Philip's trial to Hilary's talk show.
- ICarly: The episode "iStillPsycho" shows Nora, who was released from prison, coming to apologize to Carly and the gang for what happened in "iPyscho". Even though they rebuked her for her psychotic behavior, they immediately become in good terms with Nora. For now...
- In the Grand Finale of M*A*S*H, Margaret reopens old wounds about Charles supposedly touching his nose while in surgery; even before Margaret finishes her sentence, Charles states, "Oh, no you don't! We settled that a long time ago!"
- Discussed and played with a little in the pilot of Stargate SG-1. Jack O'Neil(l)'s son Charlie died after accidentally shooting himself with Jack's sidearm before the movie, and Jack has this to say about it:
Jack: I think, in her heart, [my ex-wife] forgave me for what happened to our kid. She just...couldn't forget.
Daniel: And what about you?
Jack: I'm the opposite. I'll never forgive myself. But sometimes I can forget. Sometimes.
- John Watson in Sherlock communicates this to his wife, Mary, after it's revealed in the worst possible way that she used to in fact be a professional assassin, since she shot Sherlock, and had lied to Watson about her entire past through all their relationship, but he has nevertheless decided to forgive her. It's understandable, since Sherlock is John's best friend.
Watson: [during a tearful hug with Mary] All this does not mean that I'm not still basically pissed off with you. I am very pissed off, and it will come out now and then.
- In Season 5 of Supernatural Dean forgives Sam for his role in starting the Apocalypse and, after a few episodes apart, is willing to work with him again. But it takes him most of the season to fully regain his trust in him.
- In The Walking Dead episode "The Grove", after Carol confesses to Tyreese for killing Karen and David and offers her gun to him, Tyreese forgives her but tells her he will never forget what she did.
- In the That '70s Show second season episode, "Halloween", Eric learned that his best friend Hyde tried to kiss Donna in the first season episode, "Ski Trip". In "Eric's Stash", a few episodes later, though inflamed by Laurie, it's revealed that Eric still resents Hyde for it to the point he blames Hyde for stealing some money from him. It was Eric's father, Red, who took the money to buy a new hot water heater.
- Papa Roach's "Blood" pretty much deals with this trope. This line in particular:
I will forgive, but I won't forget
And I hope you know you've lost my respect
- The Corrs' "Forgiven, Not Forgotten" is about a woman grieving over the loss of her lover who committed suicide. She's forgiven him for leaving her behind, but is still emotional over this.
- Inverted in Bring Me the Horizon's "True Friends", which is about the protagonist venting about an ex-friend who betrayed him.
I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you. 'Cos I'll forget but I'll never forgive you.
Don't you know, don't you know? True friends stab you in the front.
Myths & Religion
- The Bible: Exodus 34:7 gives the implication that God is good, kind, compassionate, and merciful, yet this doesn't mean that He will let the guilty go unpunished for their sins.
- The Undertaker said this to the Ministry of Darkness from their failed attempts of trying to kidnap Stephanie McMahon after they defeated The Brood at WWF Backlash 1999. Later that night, the Ministry tried to capture Stephanie, only for her limo to drive away. When Stephanie asked the driver to stop, it was revealed that the Undertaker was driving the limo.
- A couple of years prior, when Paul Bearer was begging the Undertaker to forgive him for his betrayal, Taker had stated that betrayal is something he would never forget, but he contemplated to forgive Bearer. It was all a ruse, and Undertaker knocked Bearer on his ass and was about to perform a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on him until Mankind saved Bearer by throwing a fireball to the Undertaker's face.
- At the start of Assassins Creed IV, Edward usurps the life and identity of a treacherous former Assassin named Duncan Walpole. By completing Walpole's assignment he compromises the Brotherhood, violating a major tenet of the Creed. Then he kills several Assassins in his brief time among the Templars. Caribbeean Brotherhood partially forgive Edward and only spare his life because Mary Read vouches for him and for his skill in battle, his possession of the Eagle Sense and his nature as a Wild Card, equally damaging to Templars as he is to their cause. It is only years later and much Trauma Conga Line before Edward becomes Older and Wiser and finds his place among the Brotherhood.
- In God of War, Kratos is told that his Accidental Murder of his wife and child will be forgiven if he slays Ares, who is busy laying waste to Athens. He takes this to mean he will be able to forget and lose the Bad Dreams he has had every night since. Unfortunately for him, Athena takes away this impression. As she herself says, they promised only to forgive him, as not even the gods could forget what he had done.
- Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem: Heroes of Light and Darkness: Katarina is confronted by Cecille, who is clearly still hurt by her betrayal at the end of the prologue in their support conversations. Katarina accepts it, and vows to work hard to earn back her trust and friendship.
- During the Golden Ending route of Aviary Attorney Jayjay can grudgingly forgive Inspector Volerti for nearly getting an innocent man killed in order to see if Jayjay is an infamous Serial Killer, but it's clear that his opinion of the Inspector has changed. In the other routes, where there's no 'nearly', he's less sanguine.
- In Umineko: When They Cry, Yasu/Beatrice forgives Natsuhi for throwing him/her off the cliff, saying s/he has tormented her long enough. S/he will never forget that Natsuhi is responsible for his/her miserable life, but as long as she regrets what she did to him/her, s/he won't hold any grudge against her.
- An aversion in Deathwatch: as your armor's history, you can get the option "To Forget is to Forgive. Never Forget." It grants an automatic Hatred against whichever enemy killed your armor's past owner. This being Warhammer 40,000, however, you're probably not doing it right until you have Hatred for everyone.
- Shadow of the Templar has Simon beating the shit out of Jeremy and then having a highly dub-con sex with him. Also, the team never passes on an opportunity to remind everyone of Simon throwing a mug at Johnny and giving him a concussion.
- This Is War brings you David and Robyn, who seem to have reached this after a string of encounters involving a shooting, a violent angel, and finally fighting together against a warehouse full of vampires.
- Froge from Froghand praises Good Old Games for not having any DRM, and thus making it easy to fileshare its games, yet brings up his (alleged) rejection of his (allegedly) popular game.
Good Old Games rejected my Good New Game for unspecified reasons despite universal praise from everybody who played it, as opposed to those two-dozen or so people who I sent copies to and didn't, those bastards. But I will admit that hosting files which make it super easy to spread is, on the whole, the thing the gaming industry needs most right now.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara seems to have this sort of attitude toward Zuko after she and the rest of Team Avatar accepted him into the team after grudgingly acknowledging his Heel–Face Turn. She only accepted Zuko on the basis that Aang needed a firebending teacher and that they didn't have a choice. She does fully forgive him at the end of the series, though.
- The animated adaptation of Franklin: In the episode "Franklin Forgives", Franklin was advised by Bear to forgive and forget in regards of forgiving Harriet for knocking over Goldie's, Franklin's goldfish's, bowl. Franklin response was that he doesn't want to forget Goldie.
- Justice League:
- Hawkgirl, definitely. In fact, some members of the League do not forgive her after it revealed she was The Mole, at least for a while, and even after she saves the day after her recuperation with Dr. Fate, she is heckled by an angry mob. Even much later, she still has hundreds of detractors among the public, as seen by the hate websites aimed at her, although her teammates all do eventually. Superman was the most willing to give her a second chance (especially since a similar thing had happened to him) while it took Wonder Woman the longest—and while Wonder Woman does reach a détente, she and Hawkgirl never fully became friends again. In fact, it was very hard for Hawkgirl to forgive herself for what she did too, going on a self-imposed exile to punish herself at first, and even discarding the identity of Hawkgirl, and considering it sham.
- Same thing goes with Superman after the events of "Legacy". The world does trust him again after about a few years since Darkseid brainwashed him, and while while they do accept that Superman was brainwashed, this event was never forgotten, as Lois pointed out in "Question Authority". Superman's speech about the aforementioned Hawkgirl regarding forgiveness and second chances speaks volumes about what he himself went through.
- Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has finally earned the trust of the Mane Six, but they still haven't forgotten about when he had caused them to go Brainwashed and Crazy and making the World Gone Mad. And even Fluttershy is having trouble forgiving him for betraying them all to Tirek.
- The Simpsons:
- In the episode "$pringfield, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling.":
Homer: You know, Marge, for the first time in our marriage, I can finally look down my nose at you. You have a gambling problem!
Marge: Hmmm, that's true. Will you forgive me?
Homer: Oh, sure! Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears?
Homer: Well, that's nothing, because you have a gambling problem! And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house 'cause he was dressed like Santa Claus?
Homer: Well you have a gambling problem!
Marge: Homer, when you forgive someone, you can't throw it back at them like that!
Homer: Aw, what a gyp.
Homer: Remember when I—
Homer: Oh yeah, I forgot already.
- Another episode involves a flashback to Homer and Marge meeting as kids, and Marge livid with Homer when realizing he is actually a boy who stood her up for a date. When he reveals the insane chain of events that had actually stopped Homer arriving in time, Marge calms, but is still sore about her experience, despite Homer constantly hounding her whether she's let it go afterwards.
- In the episode "$pringfield, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling.":
- The debut episode of The Hair Bear Bunch involved the bears thinking that keeper Peevly had a disease that affects zookeepers and he had to take a six-month vacation. This leads to misadventures and a chase with Botch and fill-in keeper Grunch, but after all is settled, Peevly is welcomed back by his animal charges.
Hair: So you're not angry about us fooling you about having "zoolirium"?
Peevly: [chuckles] A Peevly always forgives... [angrily] but he never forgets!!
- After the infamous love triangle in Daria, it takes Jane almost the entire summer, but she does learn to forgive Daria for kissing Tom behind her back, and even encourages her to give him another chance. note She does, however, tease Daria about it through the remainder of the series.
- In the episode "Let's Play Golf", Mr. Cat and Stumpy claim to have forgiven Kaeloo for cheating at a game of golf, but in Episode 57 they refer to the events of that episode when trying to provide evidence that she is a cheater.
- Said word-for-word by Kaeloo in Episode 105 after Quack Quack turns Planet Smileyland into a yogurt-themed planet, but after seeing everyone upset reverts it to normal.