"I cannot self-terminate. You must lower me into the steel."
Perhaps the Body Horror
has almost completely taken over a person and with their last ounce of humanity, they beg to be killed. Perhaps they've just been wounded in a vital area and know they are going to die slowly and in agony, and just want to die with dignity/end the pain quickly. Perhaps they're losing the battle with an Enemy Within
and they need the hero or sidekick to throw the airlock switch
/fire the Forgotten Superweapon
at them/lower them into the steel. Perhaps they are prisoners and being tortured
, and the hero cannot break them free but could shoot them. In any case, while they're ready or even eager to die, they cannot do it on their own. This can also count as a Heroic Sacrifice
If the character is robotic, this may occur due to influence from Asimov's Laws
. Specifically, a robot may not harm itself, or through inaction allow itself to be harmed, unless it is in direct opposition with the first two laws. Even when not following the hierarchical laws of robotics, it could still occur if a robot is simply programmed for self-preservation.
In a series set in Jidai Geki
, this trope may appear when a Samurai
character commits seppuku
— ritual suicide — to redeem himself. Traditionally, a person committing seppuku, after disemboweling himself, was allowed to have a "second" (kaishakunin) behead him before the pain would destroy his composure. Sometimes, the "second" will volunteer for the job, as a token of respect for a friend or Worthy Opponent
Instant Death Bullet
is likely. Then, usually the killer has no difficulty getting to a position and attacking in a manner that would cause quick death. When the character is Fighting from the Inside
, but not very effectively, the death can be long and gruesome.
The victim may plead
for death even when it is possible for them to be saved, owing to the pain. The hero is likely to override
that, often saying No One Gets Left Behind
Compare to Mercy Kill
, when the target cannot even request death; Death Seeker
, where the target can't even find anyone willing (or capable, if the Death Seeker
still wants to fight to the best of their ability); and Driven to Suicide
, when they can
self-terminate. Also compare Trial by Friendly Fire
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime and Manga
- The Original Reinforce in the second season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has Nanoha and Fate
kill seal her program because if they didn't, her Self-Defense Program that killed would regenerate itself.
- The half-demon warriors in Claymore eventually reach a state where they can no longer contain their demonic side. At this point they send a "black card" bearing their personal symbol to another Claymore as a personal plea for that particular warrior to kill them while they still have their humanity.
- Ellis in El Cazador de la Bruja asks Nadie to shoot her so she she can avoid being enslaved by the Big Bad. Nadie does so and dies herself shortly thereafter of undisclosed reasons. Luckily, both characters are resurrected a few minutes later.
- At the very heart of Magic Knight Rayearth, in which which the Pillar of Cephiro, who supports the stability and peace of her entire world, is no longer able to bear the burden of her responsibility. She must summon the Magic Knights from another world, for nobody in all Cephiro can kill the Pillar. After learning of the true situation, the Knights reluctantly accept what must be done, setting the stage for a truly heart-breaking climax as well as for the second season, where the Knights must defend Cephiro from the foreigners who want to take over and become Pillars.
- In Ga-Rei -Zero- Yomi tries to do this to herself after realizing that she's been killing her friends out of hatred. The banestone in her prevents her from getting her own sword anywhere near herself to cause injury.
- Yomi also repeatedly tells Noriyuki to kill her to prevent her from killing Kazuki. At first it seems like she might just be taunting him, until she starts crying while she screams this.
- In Yami No Matsuei, Tsubaki Kakyouin begs Hisoka to kill her after Muraki injures her fatally, since she (or better said, her alter-ego Eileen, created by another girl's anger at how she was murdered to give her heart to Tsubaki) is to blame for the murders that had just taken place, and she wants to die in peace. Hisoka tearfully complies to her wish and shoots her to death, then cries in Tsuzuki's arms.
- In Tekkaman Blade, the main character has a strict 30-minute timer on his battle form before he loses his mind and becomes a savage destruction machine. Early in the series, he asks another member of the team (his Lancer in the group, Noel) to shoot him if he goes over.
- Very cruel example from Saint Seiya: An Ansgard warrior named Volker abused his adoptive son Mime for years and once taunted him with the fact that he had killed Mime's biological parents, which sent Mime in an Unstoppable Rage and made him his father. What seemed to be a case of revenge is actually one where Volker, haunted for years for accidentally killing Mime's parents during a civil war, wanted Mime to punish him. (Mime's dad was The Rival and refused to be spared because of his family, and when Volker attacked him in self-defense, he hit both him and his wife who was trying to stop them). Volker couldn't be easily killed by anyone in Ansgard since he was the top Retired Badass there, so he played a Thanatos Gambit to have his wish to die honorably at the hands of someone who'd take his place in the top ten of Ansgard's military force, while also atoning for a double kill that he never truly intended to commit.
- In Dragon Ball, this is the reason Kami trains Goku to kill Piccolo Jr. Since he and Piccolo are two halves of one being, if Piccolo dies, Kami will as well. Kami feels that he deserves to pay for bringing Piccolo into the world in the first place, but as a God, he can't kill himself.
- In the end of Code Geass, to keep the world form discovering that he is Zero and the Emperor, Lelouch asks his Dragon Suzaku to dress up as Zero and kill him in public. Suzaku tearfully does so, and after Emperor Lelouch is out of the picture in a very dramatic way, he becomes Zero and aids Lelouch's little sister and successor, Empress Nunnally. However... the last scene hints that Lelouch may be still alive and Walking the Earth with C.C.
- The writer has stated that he's dead, and is listed among the dead in the Death List for R2.
- And let's not forget that this trope is the particular compulsion that Lelouch puts on Suzaku, sealing his Fate Worse Than Death as well.
- Poor Suzaku, who wants to die so badly… in Suzaku of the counterattack, at one time the easiest way to save the universe is him absorbing immortality power!
- C.C., being immortal, fit this trope until near the end of the series. In fact, the "contract" she makes turns out to be "evolve your geass fully so you can kill me and take my code", the same as the witch before her did to her.
- In the Tournament arc of YuYu Hakusho, Yuusuke faces three Brainwashed and Crazy fighters who have beaten up Kuwabara brutally. Upset at Kuwabara being injured for trying to de-brainwash them, he angrily asks them if they're heartless or what... and he sees them crying Tears of Blood, stopping their attacks and begging him to kill them so they're free of their conditioning. Luckily, Genkai manages to bring them fully back to their senses without killing them.
- Well, to be fair, they weren't actually Brainwashed and Crazy so much as just People Puppets, although given that their bodies only followed orders rather than being controlled directly, that definition is not true either. The end result was that they were almost entirely locked inside their own mind, with their bodies outside of their control, rather than simply being conditioned. Genkai just managed to destroy the control devices implanted on them without killing them.
- Early on in Bleach, Orihime's Hollow-fied older brother Sora has a flash of Heroic Willpower, removes his Hollow mask and asks Rukia to perform konsou on him before he hurts anyone else. (Mild subversion, since technically he's already dead, but the afterlife concept in Bleach is weird as hell anyway.)
- And later, we learn that this is not the first time Rukia has done that. The guy she had to kill back then was actually her Big Brother Mentor and first love, Kaien Shiba, whose body had been taken over by the same Hollow that had just killed his wife Miyako aka Ruki'as Cool Big Sis. Poor Rukia was so badly traumatised that she saw her upcoming execution in Soul Society as a way to get a Suicide by Cop and atone for her actions.
- Gun Grave: In the anime Harry McDowell begs Brandon/Grave to kill him that because he can't live in disgrace.
- In Gash Bell the demon-bookkeeper pairs cannot burn their own books; therefore there were many cases of demons(or their bookkeepers) asking others to burn their book for them. It could be either because any more damage to the demon could actually kill the demon(their bookkeepers would rather have the demons sent back to the demon world than having them die) or because they do not feel like participating in the battle anymore. Examples include Koruru, Rein, Wonlei, Leira, Bari, and Umagon.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, doctor Marcoh is being held prisoner by the homunculi and made to work for them under threat that if he doesn't cooperate or dares to run away or kill himself they will obliterate the village where he spent the last years in hiding. When Scar sneaks into his cell, he begs him to kill him, thinking the homunculi wouldn't take revenge on the village if he was killed by another, apparently against his will.
- Kaworu Nagisa of Neon Genesis Evangelion is a blatant example of this.
- In Baccano!, this is the ostensible reason immortals were given the ability to "devour" others. It took at least a few
minutes seconds before they realized they could use it to murder each other, though at least two immortals (Maiza and Sylvie) have considered asking Firo to end their lives this way.
- In Pokemon Diamond And Pearl Adventure, when Jupiter is about to blow up the Galactic base and tells Mitsumi to get out with everyone else, Mitsumi says she can no longer live with the memory of what she did as a Team Galactic agent and asks Jupiter to blow her up too. Jupiter is taken aback but is ultimately convinced to do so. Of course, this being Pokemon at heart, it's revealed in the next chapter that Jun saved her.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Done in a weird way in the series finale. Atem, in order to finally Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, MUST be defeated in a duel by Yugi. He cannot just forfeit the duel; he must be defeated honorably by the person who he shares a body with. What results is the most epic duel in the show's history.
- Blood+: Early on during the war against Diva, Saya makes Haji promise her that he will kill her after she finally kills Diva so as to end the threat the Chiropteran race poses. Ultimately subverted when Saya finally succeeds and is about to do the deed herself, and defied when Haki and Kai convince her to live on.
- Zeref from Fairy Tail seems to be counting on Natsu to come and kill him.
- A Certain Magical Index:
- Aiwass has no intention of dying, but comments that it can't commit suicide because of automatic defenses programmed into its body.
- Fraulein Kreutune attempts suicide upon developing Horror Hunger, but fails because she is immortal. She gets her will to live back when Touma cures her hunger instead of killing her.
- At the end of one timeline in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura and Madoka face Walpurgisnacht and lose miserably. Just when all hope seems lost, Madoka reveals that she has one last Grief Seed, using it on Homura's Soul Gem in order to purify it and allow her to continue living. However, Madoka's nearly-corrupted Soul Gem is liable to become a Grief Seed at any moment. Her final request to Homura: Use her time powers to go back and Set Right What Once Went Wrong... but first, destroy her Soul Gem before she undergoes the horrific transformation into a Witch. Homura's agonized wail as she does so is heart-rending.
- In Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de aru the girls Fairy Companion's protect them from lethal injuries, whether it be suicide or battle damage. This is not a good thing as whenever they fight their Mankai get leveled up. Eventually they automatically use the Dangerous Forbidden Technique which causes them health consequences, anything from losing the ability to use your legs to not being able to taste anything. After several uses they end up severely crippled and it's basically a Fate Worse Than Death.
- In chapter 41 of We're Alive After Datu is bitten, he begs Michael to kill him before he turns. Michael tells him he'll leave a suicide syringe where Datu can reach it if he feels like he's going, but Datu declines because killing himself would be "unforgivable."
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Peri and the Piscon Paradox", the Fifth Doctor and Peri encounter an alien fish named Zarl, who believes that if he dies on Earth, he will be reincarnated as a human and reunited with his already-reincarnated wife. Since he has a limiter chip in his brain which prevents him from committing suicide, he commits various acts of villainy to encourage the Doctor to kill him. Subverted, however, as this story is made up: "Zarl" is actually the Sixth Doctor, who killed the real Zarl by accident, and now wants the Fifth Doctor to "defeat" him as he remembers and thus preserve the Web of Time.
- In part two of the classic Alan Moore "Imaginary Tale" ("...Aren't they all?") Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? which brought an extra-continuity close to the Silver Age Superman mythos, Lex Luthor's body is essentially possessed by the disembodied head of Brainiac, which he is forced to wear like a rather macabre helmet. When confronted by a temporarily superpowered Lana Lang (who, pre-Crisis, he had some history with), Luthor valiantly struggles against Brainiac's control long enough to beg her: "kill me!", rather than remain the living computer's meat-puppet. Lana complies and snaps Luthor's neck... but (unfortunately for Jimmy Olsen) even the death of his host body wasn't enough to keep Brainiac down, as he manages to continue stimulating the corpse's nerves and muscles for a while longer, Luthor's head grotesquely lolling to one side on its broken spine. Eventually the rigor mortis catches up with him, forcing the malignant robot head to dismount and crawl, Krang-like after Superman with futile murderous intent before finally expiring. Best villain death EVER.
- In The Sandman, retired DCU hero Rainie Blackwell (AKA Element Girl), who feels alienated from humanity due to her transmutation powers, longs to kill herself but can't because regardless of the method she chose her body would automatically transmute itself into another substance. Death of the Endless, having failed to talk Rainie out of dying before her time, suggests she ask the Egyptian god Ra, the source of her superpower, to handle it. Ra silently tells her to look directly at him, whereupon she disintegrates.
- At the end of the series' take of the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice, Orpheus is set upon by the maenads and reduced to an Oracular Head. He requests that his father Morpheus kill him, because as a divine being he can't die naturally or be killed by a mortal. Morpheus denies him and leaves him alive as a severed head. The two eventually reconcile some two-and-a-half thousand years later and Morpheus fulfils his request, in the process setting in motion the events of the comic's final arc.
- In an old Batman comic, Batman is possessed by Manuel, a dead Satanic-worshipping pirate, who's trying to bring himself and those stuck in purgatory back to the real world. Batman pleas with The Flash to kill him before that happens. Luckily, the Flash chooses to Take a Third Option.
- A similar example to the above occurs in Lucifer. Due to a promise she broke as a temple maiden, a Babylonian woman is punished with immortality; as a particular condition of the immortality, every day for the last four thousand years has featured her miscarrying her fetus. She ends up seeking out a bargaining chip for Lucifer, who revokes the immortality and watches as she blows away to dust.
- In X-Men, Professor X had been mostly transformed into an alien Brood (the Brood life cycle: an implanted embryo takes over the host's mind and eventually transforms their body) but when the X-Men managed to take him down he had enough control to beg Cyclops to kill him. Cyclops' response was essentially "Screw that, I'm Taking A Third Option."
- 2000 AD's Rogue Trooper encounters a subverted version of this trope. Having thought that he was the last remaining super-soldier, he is amazed to find a much older prototype living as a hermit on the poison-choked planet Rogue roams. The old man says he is waiting to die and that he feels like nature is going to take its course very soon. When enemy troops approach, Rogue's friends - personality-chips of fallen comrades embedded in his helmet and gun — vote to leave the old man to his fate. Rogue declines — the old man wants to die with dignity — and his already impressive abilities are ramped up to eleven in order to massacre the enemy patrol and give the old man something Rogue hopes to have himself one day.
- A story arc of Fantastic Four has the Thing, being possessed by Dr. Doom, put the Torch in a death hold. Doom is laughing that the only way to stop him is to kill him—that is to say, kill Ben. Ben manages to wrest just enough control to tearfully tell Reed to do it. For once, Reed gets stuck in a situation where he can't Take a Third Option.
- In Uncanny X-Men Annual #6, Rachel Van Helsing (from The Tomb of Dracula) is turned into a vampire by Dracula. Throwing off Dracula's mind control long enough to (temporarily) kill him with a spear, she then asks Wolverine to kill her with a wooden stake. He does so.
- In X-23 #11, X-23 asks Jubilee to kill her if she succumbs to the "trigger scent" to prevent her from killing innocent people. Predictably, Jubilee doesn't follow through and it leads to an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight.
- Inverted in French comic Les Légendaires. The Big Bad points out that he's a god. In this verse, only gods can kill gods, and other gods have deserted this planet. So, he states that the only hope for the heroes is that he would suicide. The loophole was to kill him with a sword forged with his own blood (actually the blood of the guy he possess the body).
- Early in the Marvel run of The Transformers, the Space Bridge does this, as the bridge itself is the horribly twisted body of its designer, Spanner. He begs Blaster to kill him, considering life as an immobile transporter for the Decepticons A Fate Worse Than Death.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 Dracula pleads with Buffy to kill him before he fully transforms into the Old One Maloker again.
- Kyon Big Damn Hero has Ryouko Asakura asking Kyon to kill her, mentioning the trope name word by word, because she can't stand feeling guilty due to putting Kyon's sister in peril.
- This occurs twice in Stray. Adamska does it at Shadow Moses for his older alternate-future self, who had spent three years after his supposed "death" being used in the Patriots' Cyborg Ninja project. Esau later requests this of Otacon after he's gravely wounded.
- In the Jak and Daxter fanfic Whispers from the depths by Weiila, Jak repeatedly begs to be killed during his transformation into a Metal Head. First because of the massive amounts of pain it comes with, later because The Corruption is taking over his mind.
- In the alternate ending to The Killer Rarityverse, "the Word is Fear", Blossom traps Shining Armor with her magic, and proceeds to play a game of spin the bottle with him, in which she spins a knife, and cuts whoever it lands on. Whoever doesn't bleed out first will then be free to get the healing potion She has placed just out of reach. When Shining asks her why she is doing this, she tells him that she doesn't want to live anymore, but still fears dying, and this way, she won't know she is dying until it is too late. This fails, as Shining succumbs first, leaving Blossom to face Celestia's wrath.
- Peace Forged in Fire has a variant. Merik tr'Kiell tries to provoke D'trel to kill him because the final volleys from the Kholhr and Eyhon Ehludet'eri knocked out his ship's computers and Self-Destruct Mechanism. Technically he could still shoot himself, but it wouldn't stop the heroes from getting large amounts of usable intelligence from his ship.
- Drakigo: Yori, here protrayed as one of Shego's vampire brides, hates being a vampire and after fending off the other brides from claiming Kim alongside Demens, asks that she be staked to end her immortal existence.
- In The Lord of Opium, Cienfuegos and other "high-functioning" eejits cannot kill themselves, as their chips prevent them from doing so.
- In Callahans Crosstime Saloon, Michael Finn was sent by an alien force to determine whether Earth is so dangerous that it needs to be destroyed; however, he's decided (after an evening at Callahan's) that he likes us Puny Earthlings. Should he fail to report in, they will assume we destroyed him and stay well clear of us — but it's impossible for him to intentionally fail to report, as long as he's properly functioning. When he gives his name as Michael Finn, Callahan the bartender takes the hint and slips him a "mickey", which renders him unconscious during the assigned reporting period. (Also of note here is that Michael himself refers to his mission as a "geas.")
- At the end of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel The Fifth Elephant, Angua's (a werewolf) brother (the main villain of the novel) goes batshit insane after his plans are foiled and goes on a rampage. When he is dead she makes Captain Carrot promise to kill her if she ended up in a similar state.
- Also, in another Discworld novel A Hat Full of Sky, The Hiver cannot die because it literally does not know how. However, it does know that it wants it, and Tiffany helps it find the gate to Death and the next world.
- One of the creepier parts of Guards! Guards! is a brief passage from the perspective of the Master of Assassins. He reflects on how Wonse mouthed "Help me" to him, and that as far as he can see, there's only one kind of "help" he's qualified to give...
- During the climatic battle at the end of Mort (winner becomes Death, loser gets death), Ysabell believes her father wants to lose, but will nonetheless be fighting to win.
- In the short story I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, the survivors of the apocalypse caused by Master Computer AM eventually realize that while they cannot kill themselves, they can kill each other. Unfortunately, this leaves one of them alive to suffer a Fate Worse Than Death at the hands of AM by being turned into a 'soft jelly thing' that can't harm itself.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, Soric is handed over to the Black Ships. Several books later, he communicates with Hark, who finds him, cries (which all the deaths in all the books have not drawn from him), and at his request, kills him. (He makes it look like an execution at Soric's request, to save himself.)
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, when Fingon tries to rescue Maedhros from Morgoth after Cold-Blooded Torture, and it looks like he won't succeed. (However, in the end, Fingon frees him by cutting his hand off.)
- Self-preservation is Isaac Asimov's third law of robotics, making it the third-most-important moral imperative for a robot. Unfortunately for the robot, it's overridden by the first two laws, so a robot can (and indeed must) kill itself if ordered to do so or if there is no other way to protect a human.
- In Asimov's short story "All the Troubles of the World," the computer Multivac, which manages all of humanity (and thus must deal with all their problems), tries to use a Thanatos Gambit to arrange for itself to be destroyed.
- In the Asimov short story "The Last Answer", an atheist physicist dies and finds himself in what appears to be an afterlife. He eventually determines he and many other beings are being held by a Voice. But, the Voice wants to die, and does not know how. Nor does it remember its creation. So, the Voice has a slew of beings thinking of nothing but how to kill it, for it wants to be released from life.
- In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Ragnar's Claw, when they go through the plague-stricken city, they walk through the dead, and the half-dead, many of whom plead for death. Gul kills one, but looks at the number of them and goes on with the rest.
- In Wolfblade, when they find a mortally wounded but not yet dead Eldar, she asks them to kill her, and they do.
- A nice spin on this in Gerald Morris' The Squire's Tales. After Sir Gawain accidentally kills a man's wife, the man falls to his knees and begs Gawain to kill him. Gawain doesn't, instead forcing him to go to Arthur's court.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Nightbringer, when Uriel finds a victim of torture still alive, he is capable of mouthing Kill me. . . .
- In Dead Sky Black Sun, Uriel breaks into the Evil Tower of Ominousness and finds that at least one of the daemonculaba is still aware. He assures her that he will end her sufferings, and though she is incapable of speech, she indicates that she is grateful.
- In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, on the shadow planet, they find crops that have human faces and beg for release. What is worse, the Space Wolves can not burn them, though they wish to. The Inquisitor explains that they stem from the sacrifices used to make this duplicate planet.
- In Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion novel The Hallowed Hunt, Wencel kin Horseriver is perfectly capable of killing his current body — too bad his soul and consciousness will simply jump to the body of his next living heir, devouring that individual's mind in the process. Actually dying requires two other people and a lot of magical oomph. His plan to arrange just that is, it turns out, his primary goal.
- In New Moon, second in the Twilight series, Edward wants to kill himself because he thinks Bella is dead, but because he's nearly impossible to kill, he has to go to the Volturi to ask them to kill him.
- Specifically, he was going to reveal his Bishie Sparkles to the city, somehow revealing the existence of vampires and forcing the Volturi to kill him.
- Which is a bit confusing, since the vampires of that series are described as basically stone statues with lighter fluid for all bodily fluids and immolation as the only surefire way to kill one of them. He should have been able to just set himself on fire to kill himself.
- Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? ends with Gloria asking Robert to shoot her because she can't bring herself to commit suicide. He complies, and later when the cops ask him why he did it as they're taking him away, he offers the title phrase in reply. (The film adaptation ends the same way.)
- An interesting example occurs in the young adult novel The Crossroads where Billy O' Claire is possessed by an evil spirit who is trying to force him to murder his own son. This leads to a half-tragic, half-comical three-way exchange between Billy, the spirit inside of him, and the cop trying to stop them both.
Hargrove: Mr. O'Claire, put down the knife.
Billy: Shoot me! Please? Stop me!
Hargrove: Drop the knife and no one needs to shoot anybody.
Billy: You don't understand. It's the only way.
Clint: (through Billy) Don't listen to this coward!
Billy: I can't take this anymore!
Clint: Shut up!
Billy: Shoot me! Shut up, shut up, shut up!
- Doran the Dragonlover can't die since he's the Guardian of a Sister, the very thing he goes out to destroy many years ago, therefore asked to be killed to end his suffering. Fortunately, he dies with great relief once he saw that the Diamond Dragon's egg hatch, therefore will continue to live in its mother's place.
- Early in the Animorphs series, Visser Three's host is briefly freed from the And I Must Scream state of Controllerhood and asks Aximilli to kill him before he can be recaptured. Ax refuses.
- In one of the special additions, an Andalite gets trapped in Taxxon morph and asks a comrade to take his life. When the aforementioned comrade refuses, the trapped individual tries to trick him into killing him, without success.
- In the climactic scene of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, when the Big Bad Storm King is in the process of being summoned back into the world, King Elias (who has been an unrepentant Jerk Ass to this point), has an Oh, Crap moment when he realizes that his promised Immortality will come about thanks to Demonic Possession, condemning him to an eternity of And I Must Scream. In his very last moments of sanity prior to being taken over completely, his daughter Miriamele shoots him with the White Arrow, killing him. Later, Miriamele laments to Simon that she saw in his eyes that he wanted her to do it.
- In Neil Gaiman's short story "Feeders and Eaters", a man crushes a literally half-eaten cat with his boots; he says "It may have been a cat, but I knew what it wanted. It was in its eyes." And then later on this character seems to imply that he's in the same position.
- In Larry Niven's novel The Ringworld Engineers, Teela Brown has become a Protector whose descendant-protecting instincts are paradoxically making her try to stop the main characters from saving the Ringworld. She is, however, just rational enough to provoke the main characters into killing her so they can get on with the job. It helps slightly that Louis is literally the only creature on Ringworld who is technically the same species as she is, so her protective instincts are slightly stronger towards him then they are towards the humanoid-but-not-quite-human Ringworld natives. She doesn't feel any instinctive compunctions to keep Chmeee alive, though. Luckily he's a half-ton of obligate carnivore from a Proud Warrior Race, and therefore no slouch himself.
- In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, the Bloodtide tells the Raven Guard and White Scar scouts that it can not kill itself, but they can Kill It with Fire.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Devil in Iron" Octavia beg to escape an unspecified Fate Worse Than Death.
"He told me what he was going to do to me!" she panted. "Kill me! Kill me with your sword before he bursts the door!"
- The fate of Mishra, brother of the planeswalker Urza, for irritating Yawgmoth. Mishra, along with dozens of other beings who have earned that ire, lie strapped to tables in one layer of Phyrexia with dozens of whirring circular blades suspended above them. Every few seconds, the blades descend and slice up the skin of the victims, but never kill them. When Urza is brought to his brother, Mishra pleads for him to end his life. Instead, Urza turns his back on him and walks away, succeeding in his test of devotion to Yawgmoth.
- Played for extreme horror in the novella With Folded Hands... when the reader realizes that not only have human lives been reduced to complete irrelevance by their robotic "servants", but there's no way to end the despair because they are always right there with you. And the robot guardians have become very good at preventing humans from taking their own lives....
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The People of the Black Circle", the king demands this of his sister before his soul is trapped.
Ali! I feel their pull upon me now! Your cry and the grip of your fingers brought me back, but I am going fast. My soul clings to my body, but its hold weakens. Quick—kill me, before they can trap my soul for ever!
- In the Gone series, Hunter, who is being slowly eaten by parasitic wasps, begs Sam to kill him.
- Brittney begging Sam to kill her (and Drake) in Lies and Plague.
- In Plague after Dekka gets hit by a greenie, meaning the parasitic wasps will grow inside her.
Dekka: "Don't let it happen. Swear to me Sam. Swear it to me by God or by your own soul or whatever you believe, swear to me, Sam."
Sam: "I won't let it happen, Dekka. I swear it."
- In Dragon Bones, Oreg reveals that, although thought of as a ghost and immortal, he can feel pain. He is a slave, bound by magic to the heir of a title, and ... let's just say, he flinches away whenever he thinks he may have insulted his new "owner",Ward.
- Denna in Wizard's First Rule states that she tortured the protagonist worse than she did anyone else, suspecting he's the one a prophecy says will kill her, and thus trying to push him to do so. In the end, he kills her out of love.
- Also applies to the victims of a Mord-Sith. They're held so that they magically cannot kill themselves, even though the Mord-Sith let them keep their weapons.
- In a possible future shown at the beginning of the Belisarius Series, Belisarius and Justinian want to die to avoid being captured by the Malwa soldiers who are overwhelming the city but don't want to commit the mortal sin of suicide. A Hindu slave, whose religion doesn't have the same prohibition, is given the task of pushing them into a pit of molten metal before killing himself.
- Somewhat subverted in that the slave notes he barely touched Belisarius and knew that he actually jumped.
- In The Dresden Files, Lloyd Slate to Harry once Mab begins torturing the former. Harry eventually does, but refuses to think of it this way because that would be the easy way out and he did it for ultimately selfish reasons.
- At the end of Under The Yoke, the heroine is trapped in a nuclear bunker with her ally and a member of the Domination's secret police. As a member of La Résistance, her duty is to detonate the bomb she is carrying, thus destroying the experimental nuclear device and setting the Domination's nuclear arms race back several years. Regrettably, that will kill everyone in the bunker, and as a devout Catholic nun she cannot commit the mortal sin of suicide, nor can she allow her ally to commit it for her. The secret policeman solves the problem for her by remarking that there's no way he's getting out of there alive, and though he has contempt for her religion he respects her faith in it... so he kills her, thus detonating the explosive and in so doing, saving both her and her ally from the sin of suicide.
- In The Pact, Emily is suicidal and plans to kill herself, but can't make herself finally pull the trigger. When her boyfriend Chris tries to stop her, she instead puts his hand on the gun and pulls the trigger using his finger. She dies, but he is arrested for murder, since his prints are on the gun.
- In Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, the New Race of Dr. Frankenstein/Helios's creation can't commit suicide, or do anything that would force Helios to kill them. This isn't because he values their lives, but because he's a control freak that wants total control of them from life to death. Several of his creations ask to die at a couple of points, and others want to, but can't, driving them into greater fits of rage and making them rather psychologically messed up, as it just reinforces the fact that they have absolutely no control of their lives.
- In Julie Kagawa's The Iron Daughter, Ash under Virus's control, pleads this.
- In The Book of Lost Things Jonathan Tulvey, who wants to die but can only grow progressively older.
- Asha is immortal, enduring excruciating pain, and cannot grant her own wishes in The Wishing Maiden.
- In The Maze Runner Trilogy, Newt asks Thomas to kill him after he gets the Flare.
- Ice Age's "Dead But Wide Awake" very clearly describes this.
- The Megas' interpretation of Crash Man is a heroic robot who wants to help Mega Man, but cannot break his programming. In the end, just before he can destroy Mega Man, he manages to break the program for a split second, which he uses to commit suicide.
- In Roman mythology, a famous Sybil (please note, that's the title of a seer/oracle, and is not yet used as a name in Rome) from the nearby city of Cumae was turned into a cicada by Apollo when she refused to sleep with him. Cicada!Sybil was ostensibly kept in a cage in the temple of Apollo at Cumae, where people would continue to ask her questions; one day a young child asked what she wanted, and she replied that she wanted to die.
- Norse Mythology: In "Sorli's Tale" Hedin, one of the two kings cursed to fight an everlasting battle, asks the Christian warrior Ivar Gleam to kill him and his warriors, because only when a Christian kills them they will they be dead for good and no longer forced to fight, die and come to live again every day.
- The Dalek in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio Jubilee had had its self-destruct system disabled and, more than just ordering it to self-destruct, the Dalek demanded that Evelyn actually shoot it with its own gun.
- Young Erasmus van Richten of Ravenloft invoked this trope, begging his father Rudolph to drive a stake through his heart before vampirism could extinguish his compassion and make him a killer. Justified in that, while Erasmus could theoretically have committed suicide by sunlight, he was only a kid and probably couldn't have endured the 10 rounds of agony then required under D&D rules.
- Dwarfs in Warhammer are an interesting example, in that their culture allows for death to atone for a terrible shame or failure, but is strictly opposed to killing oneself- according to some sources, dwarfs are mentally incapable of suicide. Instead, a suicidal Dwarf becomes a Troll Slayer, which mostly entails dyeing their hair and beard, cutting it into a mohawk, and going out to find something really nasty to kill them in battle. And since Dwarfs are similarly opposed to throwing a fight, the more successful (or unsuccessful, depending on how you look at it) Slayers are fearsome warriors indeed.
- Amusingly enough, the normally-branching "career paths" detailed in the Warhammer RPG handbooks break down slightly for Trollslayers. A Trollslayer's only "exit career" is "Giantslayer," and a Giantslayer's only possible exit career is "Daemonslayer," each one describing a correspondingly higher level of Awesome. And under the listing for "exit careers" for Daemonslayers...? "A glorious death."
- The Sisters Repentia from Warhammer 40,000 are similar to the Trollslayers. They are made up of Sororitas who have somehow shamed themselves and seek redemption through death in battle. They are essentially naked women toting gigantic chainsaw swords whose only purpose is to charge the nearest enemy and cut it to pieces.
- Then there's "the Emperor's Peace," which is simply a mercy killing, used In-game by Space Marine medics on other members of their squad; the rest of the squad just forgets about them.
- In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Brutus asks for one of men to hold his sword so he can run himself on it, as his Stoic philosophy forbids him from directly committing suicide. Cassius, meanwhile, has one of the men stab him himself, whereas Brutus technically did self-terminate because he ran on the sword.
- Could be Science Marches On however, since Stoic philosophy actually prescribes suicide as an honorable death (second only to death in battle) and that allowing someone to commit suicide rather than execute him was oft reserved for the Worthy Opponent as a way of letting him go out on his own terms. The offer was more often taken than rejected.
- Brutus does a similar thing after the Battle of Philippi in the series Rome. He dismisses his guards, takes off his armor and marches straight at the advancing enemy soldiers, sword in hand. At first the soldiers just block or dodge his attacks, but when he wounds one, they stab him to death.
- In Antony and Cleopatra Antony asks his loyal subordinate to kill him when it's clear he's lost and Cleopatra makes him think she's dead. The man in question kills himself rather than kill his general, and is posthumously commended for being "thrice-nobler" than Antony. Unfortunately, when Antony tries to follow his example, he botches it and dies in protracted agony, with other soldiers being as unwilling as the first to strike the final blow themselves.
- Fate/stay night has Saber Alter, corrupted and controlled by Dark Sakura, lose in a fight to Shirou. She calmly asks to be finished off, warning that she will likely heal in time to stop him should he not. If you choose to spare her, she does just that.
- Sakura herself realizes that she needs to be stopped, but will only allow Shirou to do it.
- Saya no Uta, with your former girlfriend whom Saya has... modified.
- The so-called Suicide Fairies from Gunnerkrigg Court. Upon meeting Antimony, they almost immediately ask her squish them flat with a rock. As it turns out, dying is a test they must pass to gain new bodies and enter the Court. Outright killing themselves (or each other, apparently) constitutes cheating.
- This series of Penny Arcade comics utilizes the trope in a very efficient fashion. The Cardboard Tube Samurai must kill one of his oldest friends when he becomes possessed by an evil sword.
- WebcomicVexxarr: ...and now they cannot.
- This is why Pices of the webcomic Zodiac joined the team of superheroes. Having been gene-spliced with an alien Eldritch Abomination, he wants to ensure that, should he lose control, there is a team of superheroes ready to take him down.
- Played with in Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
King Kai: "Wish these guys back to life before I kill myself."
Krillin: "Wait, can gods kill themselves?"
King Kai: "I'm about to try!"
- In Ruby Quest, Bella requests that Ruby detach her from the life support equipment which has kept her alive in an And I Must Scream situation for over a year, and refuses to allow Ruby to proceed any further until she complies.
- In Survival of the Fittest Version Three, this happens with Will Sigurbjornsson and Christian Rydell. Christian is severely wounded by Bobby Jacks, and pleads for death after the wound worsens when another creature rips it apart. Will kills him.
- Sad Larry, in this Cyanide and Happiness video, faces the problem of wanting to commit suicide, but being unable to do to a wide variety of contrived coincidences.
- The Murderhobos had to kill Urabrask, who's suffering from Phyresis, because he wanted to die as himself.
- In the episode "Trouble in Lumpy Space" of Adventure Time, there's a conversation where Finn thinks Jake (in the throes of the Lumps) is about to request this of Finn, should he go completely Lumpy. Yes. They actually got away with referencing this. It's never actually stated, and it turns out that Jake just wanted Finn to still be friends with a Lumpy Jake. "What did you think I was saying?"
- Gargoyles never directly brings up the issue of suicide, but the reason Macbeth keeps picking fights with Demona is because she's the only one who can cancel out his immortality. The thing is, she's fated to die too if she ever kills him, leading to an awkward situation whenever he forces her into a battle.
- In the Samurai Jack episode "Jack And The Lava Monster," the titular "monster" turns out to be a Norse warrior who was cursed by Aku; placed in a crystal prison. He eventually gained the power to control the earth around him, and created a Death Course for the purpose of finding the warrior who could defeat him in battle, allowing him to finally pass on to Valhalla with the rest of his comrades. Most telling is his anguished cry of "I must be defeated honorably! I cannot let up!" during his fight with Jack.
- In the South Park episode "Fantastic Easter Special," Jesus and Kyle have been imprisoned in the Vatican. Jesus realises that if he dies, he can resurrect himself outside the bars. He's unable to kill himself, as suicide is a sin, so he asks Kyle to do it. After initially refusing ("I'm a Jew. I have a few hang-ups about killing Jesus."), he reluctantly agrees, on the condition that "Eric Cartman can never know about this."
- "I understand. And Kyle? Happy Easter." "Happy Easter, Jesus."
- In The Venture Bros. episode "Midlife Chrysalis," when Rusty has been turned into a giant caterpillar due to an injection Dr. Girlfriend has given him, he tries to get Helper to shoot him. Helper refuses.
- Sergeant Hatred also begs Doctor Venture to kill him after his wife hints at wanting to leave him, and can't do it himself because he is "a warrior, and will die by the hand of [his] archenemy". He eventually pulls himself together and replaces Brock as the Ventures' bodyguard.
- While Seppuku is frowned upon now, there is still a large cultural mindset in Japan towards self-punishment for dishonor. Although it doesn't usually reach I Cannot Self-Terminate levels, it can result in an odd (for Westerners) predeliction towards redemption.
- The kaishakunin or "second" in a seppuku ritual has a role somewhere between this and Mercy Kill. He decapitates the person committing seppuku after the cut is made, to kill the seppuku performer before the pain becomes so great that he cannot help but dishonor himself by showing pain.
- There were quite a few Roman Catholic samurai during the Sengoku period. As a result, they cannot commit seppuku due to religious reasons even though it would be culturally appropriate to do so. The alternative is suicide by opponent soldier.
- The case of Sue Rodriguez, a landmark decision in the Canadian euthanasia debate. Rodriguez suffered from ALS and feared that by the time she reached the point of wishing to die, she would be unable to carry it out herself; she took her case to the Supreme Court twice but was struck down both times. (She eventually died in 1994 with the assistance of an anonymous physician.)
- The case of Ramón Sampedro in Spain. He became paralyzed from the neck down after breaking his neck in an accident as a young man. Unable to commit suicide on his own, he spent years fighting for the right to assisted suicide, and was repeatedly denied by the Spanish government. He eventually died in 1998 with the help of friends, each of whom performed a single act so minor that they could not be charged with a crime.
- In a weird way, this trope is why people get cancer. Normally, once a cell becomes cancerous (i.e. its DNA has mutated to the point where the cell cannot control its growth), the immune system will recognize that this happens and will essentially force the cancerous cell to self-destruct. The Warburg Hypothesis is based on the observation that most tumor cells have damaged mitochondria, which then disables the cell's ability to destroy itself. As a result, it can continue to grow unabated and cause problems while the body's defenses are unable to stop it.
- A real life example, one of the theories behind the Malaysian phenomenon of "running amok," was that it was a suicide attempt. Because of the taboo towards suicide, a man would retain his honor by attacking as many people as he could until someone who finally kill him, since he could not kill himself.
- Truth in Television example: The phenomenon of "police-assisted suicide," in which people who can't bring themselves to end their own lives commit a violent crime, such as taking a hostage, in order to provoke the police into shooting them. Only officially considered "suicide" if the person left a note to that effect.
- Historically, dueling probably served the same purpose.
- Serial killer James French was sentenced to life in prison. He wanted to die, but was afraid to commit suicide - so he murdered his cellmate, and subsequently, was executed. He also had some hilarious Famous Last Words:
- The purpose of the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.
- Botched suicide attempts in general. Enough said.
- The state of Oregon has the Death With Dignity act, which allows terminally ill people to end their lives by self-administering lethal medications provided by a doctor. The state of Washington has a similar law.
- Assisted suicide is still officially treated as homicide in Britain, but the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has issued a statement to the effect that if they are satisfied that the perpetrator acted with the informed consent of the deceased, they will not seek to press charges.
- Good practice in computer systems is a user who has the maximum privilege cannot delete their own account from that account, they must delete it from someone else's account that also has maximum privilege (basically so that an administrator doesn't accidentally delete the last or only account having maximum privilege and thus making it impossible to perform whatever action requires that privilege.)
- When a cell in the human body is infected by viruses, the cell will chop the virus up and stick the pieces out on its surface, couched inside proteins that basically say "Hey killer T cells, this thing is inside me, please kill me and record who did it".