"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."One character has done wrong, which upsets or enrages another character. But the offending character sincerely apologizes to the wronged party and asks for their forgiveness and start all over again. Much to his displeasure, the wronged party rejects his apology and vows to never forgive him for what he's done. And along came this trope. As a result for the character's unforgiving approach and his tendency to hold a grudge, he is receiving criticism and antagonism from other characters for not being forgiving to the wrongdoer. They knew that the person's apology was very sincere and it was the appropriate for the victim to forgive. They may know that the more the character holds a grudge, he will be just as bad as the one who wronged him. The grudgeholder may realize that the remorseful character is emotionally distraught or will become furious of his lack of forgiveness, which is a bit hypocritical considering that if he really realised that what he did was that bad, he wouldn't feel entitled to be forgiven. This can be taken to ridiculous levels if the wrongdoer never apologizes for his actions or at least his apology isn't sincere enough, yet the victim gets flak for not forgiving him, which brings to the Family-Unfriendly Aesop: forgive one another even if they still continue to torture you. When it's bad enough, the grudgeholder may well let go of their grudge and sincerely apologize to the people around, but then people will still hold him in a bad position, creating a chain of grudgeholders. One reason why this provokes such anger is that if you refuse to accept reparations, you may end up making your destruction a tactical necessity for someone who (no longer) has nothing against you; a form of Don't Make Me Destroy You. Many revenge plots will involve a character successfully carrying out their revenge on their tormentor, but as a result, their loved ones become ashamed of him, telling him that he's crossed the Moral Event Horizon which may or may not be true at all. It's possible for the character to feel remorseful for carrying out their revenge, and may undo the damage that revenge has caused. Or maybe not. Expect this trope to be enforced in a work focusing on a character to learn how to forgive. The opposite of Punished for Sympathy where a character receives contempt from others for showing pity, kindness, and mercy to the offender. This can be one of the ways where character is Made Out to Be a Jerkass. A subtrope of The Complainer Is Always Wrong. If the character has deeply injured a third party, the Ordered Apology may be demanded for forgiveness. Can be due to the belief that If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him or If You Taunt Him, You Will Be Just Like Him.
— Matthew 6:15, The Bible
open/close all folders
Anime And Manga
- In Love Stage!!, Izumi is known for holding grudges, 3 weeks being his record, so when he and Ryouma have an argument on set, Rei just tells him to get over it and make up with Ryouma so they can continue filming the show.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Yukishiro Enishi causes much of the strife and violence, both indirectly (by way of selling a warship and other armaments to Shishio Makoto for his attempted rebellion against the Meiji Dynasty) and directly, that occurs in the series. He is angry at Kenshin Himura for having unwittingly killed his sister Tomoe in an accident that occurred during the Meiji Revolution. Even after Kenshin's repeated genuine apologies for that tragedy, Enishi still wishes to make the lives of him and his friends and family a living hell. Thus, Kenshin calls him out on these unjustified acts that have cost numerous people their lives because Enishi wanted revenge rather than forgiving Kenshin as he should have in the first place.
- In the sequel to Project Sunflower, after months of silent treatment, Meadowlark walks in on Erin having dinner with Marigold at Ditzy and Dinky's house, in violation of Meadowlark's demand for Erin to stay away from her daughter. It leads to a confrontation between Ditzy and Meadowlark the next day, and when the latter threatens to break up Marigold and Dinky's friendship if Erin doesn't move house, Erin snaps and tells her that she's given them more than enough time. "If you want our friendship to be over, that's fine! Just tell me so I stop hanging on and hoping you'll forgive me one day. But I won't let you blame me for your decisions!"
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
- In Act II, a blood transfusion from Kokoa turns Tsukune into a ghoul, and the first thing the ghoul does is murder Apoch and Astreal in cold blood. When the two are resurrected in Act III, Astreal, after discovering that Kokoa was the one who did so, albeit accidentally, tries to shoot Kokoa dead on more than one occasion, and is called out on it by the others every single time; even Apoch, who also blames Kokoa for their deaths, disapproves of Astreal trying to shoot Kokoa.
- In Act VI, Talon Ryashen is out to kill everyone who was ever a part of Fairy Tale for any reason because they kidnapped him off the streets and turned him into a Half-Human Hybrid. It's not enough that the ones who were truly responsible for his transformation are already dead; Talon blames everyone in Fairy Tale for his condition, regardless if they were simply receptionists or Unwitting Pawns, and strives to kill them all. For this reason, even Tsukune's group (sans Kyouko) deem him a violent psychopath who needs to be stopped.
- In Ambience A Fleet Symphony, the shipgirls who can't let go of their hatred of America because of their wartime experiences are usually depicted more negatively than those who have learned to move on.
- In Batman Begins, Rachel is offended that Bruce is still dwelling on the murder of his parents, or at least that he was planning to murder Joe Chill over it, and she slaps him. She doesn't seem to feel compassion or understanding towards him and his trauma.
Rachel Dawes: You're just another coward with a gun. Your father would be ashamed of you.
- In Home Alone, Buzz humiliates Kevin during the Christmas concert, and between Buzz's prank and Kevin's retaliation, the concert is ruined. Later, in front of the family, Buzz (insincerely) apologizes to Kevin for what he did, then covertly taunts Kevin about it. Kevin refuses to accept the apology or apologize for his own actions. The result is that Buzz receives no punishment while Kevin is banished to the attic for the night. Have we mentioned that Kevin's family is far from embodiments of the Christmas spirit?
- Discworld: In The Truth, Mr. Tulip tells Mr. Pin that as long as you have a potato and are sorry, it's all right, you'll get another chance. So Mr. Pin steals Mr. Tulip's potato, murders him, and when he dies, assures Death that he's sorry. Death proceeds to Exact Words him.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry has no sympathy for Snape whatsoever, and for good reason, unusually for this trope. Snape takes a lot of time to belittle and insult James, who saved Snape's life from a fully transformed Lupin, and Snape says that if there had been justice James would have been expelled for his actions. Of course, Snape then outs Lupin as a werewolf, which forces the latter to resign at the end of the school year. It doesn't help that he badmouths James to Harry, his own son, without giving him any legit arguments about his grudge and merely insulting him the same way that he insults and mistreats Harry without any reason. Only when Harry sees what James did to Snape does he reconsider Snape's feelings towards the matter, but his tendency to still antagonise Harry and act like a villain, carries this case away from this trope and straight into Revenge by Proxy and a few other tropes.
- In Louisa May Alcott's Little Men, Jack leaves a letter saying that neither Nat nor Dan had stolen the money and runs away. His father sends him back. Professor Bhaer informs that he will have to apologize to the boy he stole from, and the boys he let suffer under the suspicion, and Jack is sulky because he had said he was sorry in the letter. The professor tells him he will have to work to regain trust.
- Pavel Young does this to Honor Harrington. His grudge for a beating she gave him at the Academy (which she did because he tried to rape her) led him to spend years pulling strings trying unsuccessfully to sabotage her career....all while thinking she was hounding him, taking his constant stream of crap assignments and missed promotions as evidence she was plotting against him with an army of partisans. In reality, his obsessive grudge-holding had gotten him onto the black books of a lot of senior officers, especially those who actually had met Honor and been impressed.
- In Percy Jackson and the Olympians Nico holds a book-long grudge against Percy for Bianca's death, even if it wasn't his fault and Percy apologizes profusely. Bianca herself tells him to knock it off, and that holding grudges is the Fatal Flaw for children of Hades. In the sequel series, Nico splits the difference: he's mostly forgiven Percy (having a crush on him helped), but he's still got a lot of negative feelings towards the Hunters of Artemis, which Bianca joined. He was willing to contact their leader, Thalia Grace, for help, but is absolutely furious when they kidnap his friend Reyna and leave him a note that they'll bring her back and warning him to stay put. On the other hand, he admits that he just can't resent his romantic rival Annabeth, because she's always been kind to him.
- In George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire most of the problems in the feudal society happens because everybody holds on to grudges and refuses to learn how to forgive. Stannis Baratheon and Tyrion Lannister are both perpetually angry that they are not respected. Caitlyn Stark towards the Lannisters and later the undead who returns to perpetuate her cycle of revenge. Likewise Daenerys Targaryen refuses to see the enemies of her psychotic father as anything other than "usurper's dogs".
- In-Universe, House Frey are seen this way. They hate their fellow nobles who look at them as Nouveau Riche and upstarts, while their fellow nobles resent House Frey because they are petty in settling their grudges and refuse to render leal service to their Liege Lords without asking for the tiniest advantage and leg-up. This leads to a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and even if, the Freys had genuine grievances towards Robb Stark, their cruel massacre at the Red Wedding is so much a Moral Event Horizon that anybody who doesn't want the Freys explicitly dead is still unwilling to trust them and disgusted by having to work with them.
- In A Week in the Woods, the protagonist Mark (whose family is constantly moving) behaves rudely to his new teacher Mr. Maxwell but regrets his actions soon after. He gives him an apology letter, but Mr. Maxwell refuses to forgive him and his grudge lets him pin the blame on Mark when the kid appears to have brought a knife to their field trip. When he and another teacher discover the knife isn't Mark's, Mr. Maxwell is rebuked but not for very long as he too has realized the idiocy of holding in hate against the kid.
- In The House of Night, Rephaim murders Dragon's wife. He later switches sides, and Zoey is shocked- shocked- that Dragon doesn't forgive Rephaim.
- Hilariously played in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "The Script Formerly Known As...". Will and Hilary beg for Philip's forgiveness for bringing a dismissed juror of his trial to Hilary's talk show. As Philip watches the apology, an old woman comes up to him and yells outs "You should be ashamed of yourself!" and hits him with her purse.
- One sub-arc on Bones was about Cam getting her identity stolen. She wound up living on a minimal income and faced the possibility that she'd never repair her credit. When they found the woman who'd done it, she turned out to be an old "friend" of Cam's who was jealous of her life and never shows the slightest hint of remorse. Cam is given the option of adding years to the woman's sentence by proving that the harm was done maliciously (targeting her, rather than just taking a convenient identity). Arastoo (who is dating her at this point) acts as if this would somehow make her the bigger monster and send her down a road of hatred and bitterness. She ultimately decides not to pursue the additional charges.
- The three-part Series 9 finale of Doctor Who has the Doctor as the grudgeholder against Ashildr/Me and Rassilon and the High Council for being responsible for his capture and torture, a plot that also inadvertently killed Clara Oswald. AND the latter party was also partially responsible for the Last Great Time War. Despite these parties' complete unwillingness to apologize or atone for their actions, the Doctor is constantly called out for wanting to see these parties get what's coming to them. When he manages to get back at the latter in "Hell Bent" and if anything is merciful in exiling them to wherever they can find a home, he still gets chewed out for it even when he points out that HE is the one who was tortured ( for four-and-a-half billion years, though admittedly it was ultimately a Self-Inflicted Hell).
- At the 1995 Royal Rumble, Bam Bam Bigelow shoved Lawrence Taylor, who was sitting at ringside. Bigelow was ordered to apologize to Taylor, but refused and instead challenged him to a match, setting up their facing each other at WrestleMania 11.
- The ECW feud between Raven and Tommy Dreamer centered around the fact Dreamer was a bully when they were children and Raven never got over it. Beulah McGillicutty, another of Dreamer's childhood bully targets, initially sided with Raven but eventually forgave Dreamer, undergoing a Heel–Face Turn in the process.
- Played straight in Ring of Honor when Tammy Lynn Sytch gave her endorsement to The Lovely Lacey and Daizee Haze only for Lacey to dress her down for making it harder for women to become wrestlers in the past.
- Sting's Face–Heel Turn in TNA was based off of the fact he still begrudged Hulk Hogan for everything he did in WCW, the nWo not the least of which. It didn't really take as a ten minute baseball bat beating of Rob Van Dam couldn't stop fans from cheering Sting for long, so in the end he was proven correct with Hogan trying to do the same thing to TNA with Immortal, leading to an automatic Heel–Face Turn.
- Delirious's failure to turn face after being freed from The Eye Of Tyr in Chikara stemmed from the fact remembered everything he was forced to do under it's control and refused to forgive the resident Super Villain UltraMantis Black for using it on him, even after Black freed him from its control.
- Averted in when Kyle O'Reilly remained a face in ROH despite going Accuser of the Brethren on Austin Aries for deserting ROH and all it's associated promotions for TNA, even though fans were happy to see Aries back.
- The Bible:
- Matthew 6:15, Jesus states to his disciples that if a person doesn't forgive the transgressor, then neither will God forgive the person who doesn't forgive, which implicates that holding a grudge will land you in hell. This pretty much makes sense considering that Jesus wants humanity to forgive one another because God has done the same to them.
- In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:21-35, the servant is sent to jail by his master because he throws one of his colleagues to jail for failing to repay a debt. The point of the parable is that if the servant cannot show mercy to others, he doesn't deserve any mercy himself. Which suggests that forgiveness is an option for someone who did something comparable to what was done and wishes to be forgiven.
- One of the reasons the Dwarves of Warhammer don't get along with other races is because their grudges are treasured from generation to generation (no matter how minor or long ago), even kept in a Big Book of War that they take to battle. It goes without saying that their attempts to resolve one results in more dead dwarves, meaning more grudges to be settled later on. Humans, who have a much shorter memory, don't understand why they won't drop it (for example, a noble who'd commissioned a castle from them paid three boatloads of gold, and his name went in the book when it was discovered the sum was three pieces short).
- In the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Squid's Defense", after learning how to defend himself through karate, Squidward goes to beat up a thug that tries to steal his groceries earlier, but finds out that they were going to return them to him. An ashamed SpongeBob and Sandy scold Squidward for using karate for vengeance and not self-defense and took off his karate belt, followed by Squidward being arrested.