troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Nothing Left to Do but Die
I have done all that can be done. There is nothing left. No quests to be undertaken. No villains to be slain. No challenges to face.
The Ebony Warrior, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

One of the reasons that immortality or pseudo-immortality sometimes sucks is boredom. Eventually you've seen everything, done everything, eaten everything, had sex with everything in every possible way, and you haven't read, seen, heard or played anything for a thousand years that seemed truly new or original. So, it's time to end it all.

This is when a pseudo-immortal (can die in some particular way but doesn't die of old age) character decides to kill themselves simply because they're bored.

Can occasionally happen with a character with human lifespan, if they're very old or if their life has been very eventful.

See Seen-It-All Suicide for when a disposable character is shown to do this as a gag to hammer home how weird some event they've just seen is. Contrast Living Is More Than Surviving and Worth Living For.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Shiba from Zombie Loan kills himself just because he was bored with life, but wound up being the undead Big Bad of a Story Arc.
  • This is Maiza's reasoning for approaching Firo and asking the kid to kill him (more specifically, he's both Seen It All and finally received closure over his dead younger brother) at the end of the first arc of Baccano!. Firo's response is to nod, smile...and then give a number of entirely bullshit reasons for why he can't do that, Dave, before admitting that he really just doesn't want to lose his mentor.

    Comicbooks 
  • DC Comics: this was the origin story of the first Mr. Terrific, who was seriously considering suicide because he was just too damn good at everything to find anything interesting anymore. Then he discovered crime-fighting. Problem solved.
  • After shooting and burying his nemesis Spider-Man, Kraven had no further goals and committed suicide.
  • One of the possible motivations for Morpheus's probable suicide in The Sandman.
    • But not Morpheus's long-time friend Hob Gadling. Despite being nearly a thousand years old, having held innumerable jobs and done and seen as much as a human can, and after losing countless friends and wives and lovers, and generally holding a cynical view of his fellow human beings, he's finally offered a chance to die by none other than Death herself. After thinking about it for a minute, he tells her, "I can't die yet. There's still too much to do."
  • At the end of Superman: Red Son it's the far future, humanity has become quasi-immortal and the Earth is about to be swallowed by the Sun which has grown into a red giant. Lex Luthor's distant descendant Jor-El tried to come up with a plan to stop it but was ignored, theorizing that the trope is applying to the species as a whole. He then decides to send his son Kal-El to the past so that humanity doesn't become "this cold complacent lot"...

    Commercials 
  • Inverted in an advertisement for high-end bathroom fixtures, when a bedridden grandmother reassures her gathered relatives that she's already experienced everything good in life, so is content to pass on. Then she glances out a window and notices the fancy new tub in a neighbor's bathroom, and uses her last breath to curse that she missed her chance to try it.

    Film 
  • Phil fails to do this in Groundhog Day. Or, rather, he succeeds multiple times...Crowning Moment of Funny too.
  • In Hook, Captain Hook remarks, "There is no adventure here," and puts a flintlock to his head, but Smee stops him from killing himself. Subverted in that Hook has no intention of actually killing himself, and has to order the dumbfounded Smee to stop him from doing so. It's implied that he does this a lot.

    Literature 
  • The plot of Cory Doctorow's novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is driven by a character's desire to commit suicide after succeeding in his life's mission to convince every human being on earth to join the Bitchun Society, since they cured death a long time ago. Because he put it off too long for it to count as going out with a bang, he couldn't go through with it, and so the protagonist spends the rest of the book helping him try to top it.
  • Larry Niven wrote a short story set in the Draco Tavern called The Schumann Computer where the title AI does this. The builders/investors are then told that this eventually happens to every AI.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long thinks he really has seen it all (in over two thousand years) and decides to die. He only agrees to continue living if someone can find something he hasn't yet experienced. His millions of descendants, who practically worship him, succeed twice over. They manage to develop a pair of female clones of him, and a time machine.
  • In Harry Potter, Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel okay the destruction of the Philosopher's Stone because they've had enough of life and are ready to move on. Of course, this choice is less remarkable than most because they've both been alive since the fourteenth century.
    • He's also nearing his 666'th birthday (depending on when the book Hermione was reading from was published).
  • Paulo Coelho's Veronica Decides To Die. The titular character decides that she's seen all that there is to be seen in life (at age 24), and that once she gets old, everything will only go downhill from there.
  • Subverted in Robots and Empire. Gladia describes to a Settler how the long-lived Spacers someday reach a point when life becomes boring, and they feel they have seen it all. However, when he asks her how common suicide is on her planet, the answer is "Zero. We are surrounded by Three-Laws Compliant robots who cannot allow suicide."
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • Referenced in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. The planet Ursa Minor Beta is so beautiful that when a travel guide announced, "When you are tired of Ursa Minor Beta you are tired of life", the suicide rate there quadrupled overnight.
    • In Mostly Harmless and And Another Thing..., we have Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged. In an accident that has never been successfully repeated, he made himself immortal. In the former volume, he is using his immortality along with time travel to insult every single being in the galaxy. To their faces. One at a time. In the latter, he's given up on that and spends the entire book trying to find a way to die. He eventually finds a reason to live when he falls in love with Trillian, but he still goes through with it. Fortunately, the chosen method doesn't kill him immediately but restores his mortality so he can grow old with her.
  • Strata by Terry Pratchett has really good life-extension treatment that effectively leads to immortality. People still tend to die after three hundred years or so, though. Generally it's not technically suicide, it's just that they get bored enough that only increasingly risky stunts hold any interest for them, and eventually the risk doesn't pan out.
  • In Grendel, by Larry Niven, Larchmont Bellamy dies in an extremely risky stunt that he was doing to liven up a life made incredibly dull by its length allowing him to have done so much.
  • H. Beam Piper wrote a story titled "Last Enemy," about a culture that had accepted reincarnation as a scientifically proven fact. As a result, they'd developed a rather different attitude toward death — it was, at worst, a (temporary) inconvenience; often enough, it was a social event. "Evidently when the Akor-Neb people get tired of their current reincarnation they invite in their friends, throw a big party, and then do themselves in in an atmosphere of general conviviality."
  • Isaac Asimov's The Last Answer (not to be confused with the more widely known The Last Question) deals with a superior entity which turns out to have created the universe and everything in it, but isn't in fact any sort of god as imagined by humankind. It has grown to know everything, with the exception of anything concerning its own origin and ending. Thus it collects countless intellects from the universe, and gives them just one thing to do: think. The intellects soon find out that they can do nothing else as they are disembodied, and even suicide is easily reversed by the entity; left with no alternatives, all the intellects eventually resolve to find a way to destroy the entity so they themselves can cease existing. The entity is satisfied, for that is exactly why it has created the intellects in the first place.
    "For what could any Entity, conscious of eternal existence, want but an end?"
  • Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought series, beginning with A Fire Upon The Deep, includes a region beyond the rim of the galaxy, the Transcend, where technologies impossible everywhere else are commonplace. Civilizations that move from the Beyond (where Faster-than-Light travel is possible) to the Transcend routinely go through The Singularity into incomprehensible digital forms (Powers) whose interaction with the Beyond rarely lasts more than ten years; it is unknown whether they die of boredom, burn out or wind down, or merely lose interest in the limited people of the Beyond and move further out. However, a Transcendent Power can in one month evolve more than humans in ten thousand years, so that comes out to something like a million years subjective time, if such a comparison has any meaning. Yes, they get very bored, judging by the actions of a Power called The Old One because it is more than ten years old at the time of the story, playing with one of the characters as a meat puppet just before it gets eaten alive by a hostile power known as The Blight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Shows up in Star Trek: Voyager, where one member of the Q continuum, bored from reliving eternity from start to finish, begs sanctuary on Voyager so as to be able to commit suicide. Which he eventually manages, with the help of the Q who had originally argued against him. A quite literal case of committing suicide after having seen everything. Multiple times. From every possible point of view.
    Q: "We've all been the scarecrow."
  • In True Blood, Godric, a bored 2000-year-old vampire, decides to stay in the sun.
    • "Bored" may be the wrong word. Godric has seen human death and suffering in all variations, and his attempts to end vampire-human conflict goes poorly. He may just be tired of the futile cycles vampires and humans go through.
  • Subverted in ''Scrubs, when JD listens to an old patient saying she's lived a long life, he believes it's code for being ready to die. Dr. Cox soon sets him straight.

    Music 
  • Fall Out Boy's song "Thriller" (no, not a cover of the Michael Jackson song) contains the lines "The only thing I haven't done yet is die/and it's me and my plus-one at the afterlife."
  • REM's song "Try Not To Breathe" appears to be written from the point of view of someone with this attitude.

    Poetry 
  • In The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the eponymous Lady is kept in isolation by a magical curse which will kill her if she looks upon the world through any means other than her magic mirror. When she sees the image of her love interest, she is driven to go and find him, knowing that it will mean her death.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Happened in Exalted- in the First Age, some Celestial Exalted died because they were just bored and wanted to start over.
  • Not quite suicide, but similar: in the Classic D&D game, characters who attain supreme Immortal status, but get bored with playing super-godlings, can forfeit their Immortality to be reborn as a mortal again. Characters who do this once, then work their way up to supreme Immortal status again, Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and are permanently removed from play.
  • In Scion, there's a character named Niobe. Ever hear the story from Greek Mythology about how the gods created a cloud that looked like Hera to test Ixion's intentions? She was that cloud. She's lived for thousands of years, taken hundreds of husbands and borne thousands of children, and she can't die. Even if someone kills her, she comes back a few minutes later. Players can get on her good side by either rejuvenating her will to live or coming up with a way to end her life for good. (A major reason to do so: she always knows where the Golden Fleece is.)

    Videogames 
  • If successful at the button input at the end of Zasalamel's story in Soul Calibur 3, he sits down and writes book after book (eventually enough to fill a city library), all based on his past lives. With the last book done and his quill dry, he just sits back and waits for his long-welcomed end.
  • The reason the Bonus Boss of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Ebony Warrior, seeks out the Dovahkiin for a fight to the death. And given the power needed to attract his attention, let alone defeat him, at this point this could be true for the Dovahkiin as well.
    I have done all that can be done. There is nothing left. No quests to be undertaken. No villains to be slain. No challenges to face.

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 
  • This site suggests the possibility that humanity could all one day evolve into a super intelligent singularity, learn everything there is to learn, get bored and decide to end their own existence.
  • After Linkara poked a MASSIVE hole in Missingno's plan to absorb all of existence, he followed that up by suggesting that it kill itself. And it works.
  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, The Shield is a superhero whose sole power is utter and complete indestructibility. He literally cannot be hurt by anything. What he hasn't told his teammates is that he's actually over 20,000 years old, his immunity to harm includes being immune to time, and that he started superheroics because he desperately hopes he'll eventually find someone who can nullify his indestructibility. His entire career as a superhero is a slow form of Suicide by Supervillain.


Never SuicideChoosing DeathPlease Kill Me If It Satisfies You
The Nothing After DeathDeath TropesObi-Wan Moment

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
32723
27