Insane Forgiveness

There are many Revenge Tropes. "An eye for an eye" is one of the oldest laws there is. To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; to every wrong, there'll always be an equal (or not) and opposite revenge. Right?

Maybe not...

Sometimes, you'll meet characters who offer complete forgiveness — maybe not immediately, but when it is given, it's wholehearted. There is no trick or "gotcha" moment. No matter how serious the wrong was (whether a betrayal of their values, a betrayal of their loved ones, rape, even murder), nothing is beyond the scope of the forgiver's mercy. In extreme cases, a character granting Insane Forgiveness will grant it to someone who already crossed the Moral Event Horizon.

It's the principle of "forgive and forget" taken to extremes. Most viewers will be left scratching their head, wondering, "How can they just let that go?" Sometimes, other characters In-Universe also have this reaction.

This may be a trait of the Victorious Loser, Wide-Eyed Idealist, Nice Guy, or an All-Loving Hero. Stupid Good characters do this as well; when they do, things tend to go wrong.

You may see this when Defeat Means Friendship.

Compare Easily Forgiven, which occurs when a specific character receives this from every good guy that matters. Polar opposite of Disproportionate Retribution, where a small or even imaginary slight is punished terribly.


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  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Touma Kamijou is often like this. Sure, he won't let it stand when someone does something evil, but once he's punched their lights out for said evil, he'll turn right around and offer his help to them to solve their problems. Basically, Touma helps anyone who is in danger, regardless of anything they've done in the past. It's even said that this is what makes Touma a true hero: he saves the villain as well as the victim. The biggest example would probably be Othinus, who quite literally destroyed the world, and tortured Touma both physically and mentally for an unknown but extreme length of time before she eventually gave up, apologized, and restored the world to how it was before. At that point, there wasn't a single person on Earth who was willing to let Othinus walk away with her life... but Touma still stood up for her and refused to let anyone harm her.
    • Orsola Aquinas is also incredibly forgiving, apparently due to her faith in the Christian religion, which does, after all, preach forgiveness for one's enemies.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has Fate who, shortly after her own atonement and Precia's defeat, offers to save Precia from dying because Precia raised her like a daughter. After repeatedly abusing Fate, attacking the familiar Fate worked so hard to create, and nearly causing the deaths of countless numbers of people, most objective observers would say that Precia wasn't worthy of Fate's consideration.
  • In Little House with an Orange Roof, protagonist Shoutarou tends to stress forgiveness way too often, such as when an adult man strikes his 5-year-old-step-daughter-to-be hard enough to knock her over.
  • Goku from Dragonball Z has a long list of people who've tried to kill him. Most of these people become his True Companions later and after that happens, he never brings up their previous transgressions. On other occasions, however, his extreme sense of mercy has come back to bite him, hard. The best example is probably when he lets Raditz, his brother who just kidnapped Gohan and told him he'll have to kill a hundred Earthlings to have it back, go by releasing his tails which leads to Goku's first death.
  • Naruto toward Sasuke, after the latter has done everything but stab a puppy onscreen. He also tries to do this with Tobi/ Obito Uchiha, the man who has led an active campaign to wipe out all life on the planet and has ruined or killed countless people. His reasoning for this? Basically because he wanted to be Hokage at one point and there is still some good in him. And because he's still pining after his Posthumous Character love interest. Naruto does, however, say that Tobi's actions are inexcusable, that despite having once had the same goal, Tobi's actions go against all of Naruto's principles (Tobi declares a desire to take a "shortcut", so to speak, while Naruto thinks there are no shortcuts), and Naruto believes Tobi should accept punishment for his crimes.
  • One Piece has Luffy who has on several occasions forgiven old enemies upon meeting them again, and has recruited one of them to his crew when she asked. However, he does have limits, and when the transgression is too great such as tearing up a friend's beloved country and forcing her into an emotional breakdown, he won't trust the person until he's proven himself enough. note 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Yugi has a tendency to forgive anyone and see the best in them, no matter how heinous their actions. He forgave Yami Yugi for his early Penalty Games, Kaiba for trying to kill him, his grandpa, and his friends, Marik for trying to kill him and his friends, and Yami Bakura for also trying to kill him and his friends. That last one is exploited by Bakura to use Yugi.
  • Ranma ˝: Ranma Saotome has forgiven and really helped out many people who've tried to kill him, have kidnapped a loved one, or both. Does this guy never hold a grudge?
  • Code Geass: Ohgi still forgives Villetta, then a Britannian spy, for trying to kill him while she still hasn't given up trying to do so.
  • Enju Aihara from Black Bullet. Despite her severe trust issues and Dark and Troubled Past, she holds no hatred or grudge against anyone and forgives people easily. In fact, she not only forgives her former enemies easily, she also befriend them. This is evident when she forgives and befriended Tina Sprout despite the fact that Tina attempted to kill Seitenshi and even brutally injured Enju at one point.
  • In InuYasha, Kouga and his tribe slaughter a whole village of innocent people shortly before meeting Inuyasha and his crew. While Kouga is a rival for Kagome's affection, the cold blooded murders he committed are never so much as mentioned for the entire remainder of the series.
  • At the end of the anime version of Death Note, it appears that L forgives Light for killing him. Assuming you don't think Light is merely hallucinating, that is. It would seem that this holds up in the Light Novel version of L: change the WorLd as well.
  • In Endride, Demetrio and Eljuia are willing to forgive not only The Mole Louise but also Guidoro who has the death of other Ignauts on his hands. This is because they are both idealists, and Demetrio particularly believes that revenge doesn't solve problems, working with others for a joint cause does. The other team members are less forgiving.

     Comic Books  

  • The first Silk Spectre of Watchmen forgives her attempted rapist, the Comedian, and even later sleeps with him consensually. Whether this counts as "true" forgiveness or just Stockholm Syndrome is very much a matter for interpretation, although Doctor Manhattan considers it "a miracle" which is sufficiently noteworthy as to make it worth the trouble to return to Earth and attempt to save humanity from nuclear war.
    • The narration implies that she has severe issues. She acted all her life in a sexually provoking manner but then said that victims often provoke their rapists, very much Victim Blaming. It seems that for all her promiscuity deep down she was an insecure mess who instead of putting limits to her behaviour decided that she deserved punishment for it afterwards.
  • One of the reasons fans didn't like Spider-Man: Quality of Life was Spidey's rather indifferent reaction to Yith, an assassin trying to murder Curt Connors. In the finally, Yith has a change of heart and turns on her employer - the actual antagonist - and kills him in cold blood with Spidey watching. (And no, nothing at all would have prevented him from apprehending her, no barriers impeding him, no innocents in danger, no other villain trying to kill him, nothing.) He makes no attempt whatsoever to catch her even as she casually walks away. Most fans could not believe he'd be so willing to let a murderer simply walk, even if the guy did deserve it.

     Comic Strips  

  • In FoxTrot, Paige frequently babysits Ms. O'Mally's preschool daughter Katie, despite the fact that Paige is a horrible babysitter that no sane parent would trust with a child. The earliest example was when Paige gave Katie a huge piece of chocolate cake, making her too hyperactive to control. Another time, Paige watched Jerzy Spaniel in front of Katie, teaching Katie foul language. The worst example was the time Paige fell asleep while watching her; Katie started playing with scissors as she dozed. (Fortunately, Paige woke up before a disaster occurred.) Still, for some reason, the worst punishment Paige has yet to receive is having to pay for Katie's dress that was ruined in that last incident, and Ms. O'Mally continues to hire her for some reason, as recently as November 2013, when Paige narrowly averted another disaster, giving her what she thought were Peter's old preschool video games. (They were actually his violent M-rated games that he had put in innocent-looking casings to keep them hidden from their mother; of course, you can probably blame that one on Peter, and the last panel does suggest Paige managed to call them before Katie played any.)

     Fan Fiction  

  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • Tsukune is well-known amongst his friends as the forgiving type, but in Act IV, this is the others' reaction when he decides to forgive Akua and Kahlua for their actions, despite the fact that the two were working for Fairy Tale and were helping Kiria in an Evil Plan that would have destroyed the world. While even Moka and Kokoa, the two's sisters, are firmly convinced that Kahlua and Akua are beyond saving, Tsukune insists that they deserve a second chance because they did what they did in the belief that it would help their father and because they were nothing but Kiria's Unwitting Pawns all along.
    • Falla's case in Act IV is the most ridiculous example; she rigged the entire girls' dormitory with Death Traps in order to kill Moka so she could have Tsukune, and did this of her own volition, before she looked into Lilith's Mirror and briefly turned evil again. Kurumu even points out how ridiculous that is... only for the others to repeatedly dismiss her.
  • Consequences Of Unoriginality: Eremis's trauma over his existence as Gary has caused this, and he feels that if he doesn't forgive others it would invalidate any right for him to receive forgiveness (for something entirely out of his control).
  • Albus Dumbledore is frequently portrayed this way in fanfiction. Such as in The Bloody Ashikabi when he threatens to fire James and Lily Potter if they report the student who tried to rape their daughter to the DMLE, claiming that they shouldn't ruin a boy's life just because he made a mistake. Dumbledore later tries to make Harry call off a duel with said attempted rapist after he tries to enslave Harry's wife.

     Film - Animation  

  • Not as extreme as the other examples, but quite flagrant by Disney standards: In The Emperor's New Groove, Emperor Kuzco spends most of the movie treating Pacha terribly, including planning to destroy his village for his own benefit, breaking his promise to Pacha, and being a Royal Brat in general - culminating in outright abandoning Pacha when he thinks he's found a quicker way home. Yet once Kuzco's realized his mistakes, Pacha has no problem forgiving him at once, leaving the past behind, and helping Kuzco move forward. Maybe being a father has something to do with it.


  • In The Silmarillion, Manwë forgiving Melkor is a borderline example—even most of the other Valar thought it was a bad idea. It was a Good Cannot Comprehend Evil situation. When Melkor rose up again, waged war in Middle-Earth for centuries and then asked for forgiveness a second time, the Valar just chucked him into the void outside of the universe.

     Live Action TV  

  • In Smallville, Chloe Sullivan forgives Lionel off-screen for trying to kill her. Twice. In Fracture, she dies saving Lex Luthor. Luckily, she has Resurrective Immortality.
    • In Chloe's defense for the second case, it's less that she's forgiven Lex and more that Clark is mentally connected to him and if Lex dies he might take Clark with him.
  • Tori Vega of Victorious always seems to be able to let Jade West's behavior slide, no matter how awful that behavior might seem to the viewer. One episode even features a truly bizarre example of What the Hell, Hero? where the person being forgiven is the same person calling Tori out for it.
  • The Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who does this selectively. Unfortunately, the probability of his granting forgiveness is directly related to the horrors the person he's forgiving has committed, and it's often granted without there being a Heel–Face Turn from the other party.
  • On True Blood, Sookie's Love Makes You Dumb is arguably bordering on this when it comes to Bill's various dodgy deeds.
  • Chuck: It seemed like this trope applied to Agent Shaw and Sarah until The Reveal that he had been faking his forgiveness so he could get a chance to kill her: "You killed my wife. Did you really think I'd be okay with that?"
  • Sam Winchester from Supernatural could be the poster boy for this trope. No matter what people do to him, he'll forgive them. Dean blatantly disregarding his wishes multiple times, not trusting him, blaming and guilting him for everything, letting an angel possess him, killing one of his friends? He forgave that. Cas breaking the wall in his head and forcing him to remember all the trauma of Lucifer's cage and resulting in him hallucinating his torturer? Meg possessing him and using his body to kill people? He forgave them too.

     Mythology and Religion  

  • In most of the Abrahamic traditions and in other religions, this is God's response to humanity's transgressions, though it would be divine forgiveness rather than insane. Everything, no matter how terrible, may be forgiven. According to the New Testament, Jesus, and by extension God, will forgive anything, provided the sinner is genuinely contrite, asks for forgiveness and accepts salvation. Furthermore, Jesus instructed his followers to extend this same forgiveness to others, to forgive wrongs even up to "seventy-times seven" (an idiom for an unimaginably huge number), and saying that judgment and punishment should be left to God; humans should love one another. In broad strokes, current theology in these religions agree the processes is an active process which must be done with sincere repentance and in good faith. Simply "going through the motions" won't cut it. Belief that a loving God stands ready to forgive and redeem any human who seeks out forgiveness is a very important feature in most strains of Protestantism, Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, the LDS, and other faiths. The details of each religion are discussed under Useful Notes and should be subject to the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.


  • In Mozart's Don Giovanni, Donna Elvira is willing to forgive everything if Giovanni just loves her. Also, surprisingly, despite all his scariness, the commander. What do you do if someone tries to rape your daughter, kills you and mocks your grave and you know this man has just a few more hours to live? Gloat lavishly, then sit back and watch the "Giovanni's soul dragged to hell" show? Of course not, you come back from the grave in a desperate attempt to save his soul from damnation...


  • The musical of Les Misérables gives us this quote, from Valjean to Inspector Javert:
    "You are free, and there are no conditions, no bargains, no petitions. There's nothing that I blame you for... you've done your duty. Nothing more."
    • Keep in mind, when Valjean says "nothing that I blame you for," he's including twenty years' time in jail for stealing a loaf of bread (not directly Javert's fault, but he was one of Valjean's jailers); after Valjean left prison and broke parole, Javert pursued Valjean for almost twenty more years, twice wrecking the peaceful life he'd tried to build. At this moment, Valjean, when he has Javert at his mercy, lets him go. Later, Valjean will actually give Javert his home address, because he knows arresting him will be the only way Javert will ever find peace.

     Video Games  

  • Marona from Phantom Brave virtually holds not grudges against anyone and forgives everyone unconditionally despite the world she's living in.
  • Knuckles the Echidna from Sonic the Hedgehog who believes that there is good in everyone, always forgives Dr. Eggman. Though Knuckles always find out that Dr. Eggman lies in the end.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, with SpotPass, three former major antagonists can potentially join Chrom and his party. We find through them and other events that Chrom and the rest of the Shepherds can easily forgive Aversa (a vamp who was in cahoots with Validar, although in her Paralogue, it's cheaply found out that her memories were manipulated by him) and Walhart (a Tin Tyrant and antagonist for the middle of the game) for what they've done. It's averted when Chrom recruits Gangrel, however, although it certainly helps that Gangrel antagonized Ylisse for a long time and was the one responsible for Emmeryn's death.
  • The Trope Namer for Go-Karting with Bowser is a result of this. No matter how many times Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, he still gets invitations from her and Mario to play tennis and golf, among other things. Fans have speculated that she likes it, and it is even speculated in some actual games (like Super Mario Sunshine) that he's simply keeping the conflict alive for fun too by now. Word of God is that like the Looney Tunes it's just part of a show and stories change their relationship.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  

  • In Noob, Sparadrap is quite prone to this. This is best seen when his reaction to his Manipulative Bastard guildmate setting up a Face Heel Revolving Door boils down to : "Happy you're back, I was starting to miss you". Perhaps justified in that this happened on a MMORPG, but in reality Sparadrap is one of the few characters not considering the game to be Serious Business.

     Western Animation