Buzz Lightyear: I just want you to know, even though you tried to terminate me, revenge is not an idea we promote on my planet.
Woody: Oh, well, that's good.
Buzz Lightyear: [leans in, lowers to a whisper] But we're not on my planet... [grabs Woody's collar] Are we?
Woody: No...Vengeance. You don't get much of it in real life, and the little you do get is cold, late, and adds up otherwise as having been a really bad idea. So you look for it in fiction. Where you find out that, seven times in ten, revenge was a really bad idea for your surrogate, too. The other three times ... well, hey, somebody had to get some, sooner or later. That, and the girl. And a pony. With a jetpack. Revenge, in some instances, can be a form of Paying Evil Unto Evil. Someone has done something seriously bad to another person or someone that person loves, and for some reason, there's no justice to be had for the crime, so the character sets out to exact their own kind of justice upon the person or people responsible. Although, some characters may not care for justice or "getting even", but want the satisfaction that comes only from Disproportionate Retribution. This can be compounded when the harm is slight, like not getting invited to a party. Avenging a death may be regarded as Due to the Dead — and the ghost may agree. An avenger has several options when pursuing his or her vendetta. He or she can devise a Machiavellian plan, maneuvering things (and occasionally people) in place until the time of final vengeance is at hand, which is the route taken by many classical revenge tales. Often the avenger takes steps to ruin the other guy's life in some manner before the final act, which may or may not end with the other guy's death. Another option, often chosen by action heroes or the more bloodthirsty avengers, is the Roaring Rampage of Revenge, where the avenger dispenses with this and goes straight for the bloodshed, hunting down everyone who had anything to do with the crime in question and eliminating them one by one, often in a Gotta Kill Them All fashion, until they reach the Big Bad behind it all and take their final vengeance. Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand, Forgiveness, and Defeat Means Friendship may stop this vendetta. Finding the person and discovering they've become The Atoner can snatch it away from you. On the other hand, if they try to buy you off, they may still be fair game. May also invoke The Only One Allowed to Defeat You; if your enemy is defeated by someone else, how can you avenge yourself? Sometimes, the person seeking revenge is doing out of a subconscious sense of guilt and responsibility, or to cover up some other emotion like Survivor's Guilt (which often explains any Death Seeker behavior). Sometimes they've placed Revenge Before Reason. Bringing this out into the open can produce an interesting effect. The character often finds that completing the revenge will leave his life feeling flat and empty. Revenge wasn't satisfying, or now that it's over, he doesn't know what to do with himself. Sometimes, during the course of the pursuit of revenge, the avenger becomes just as bad as, if not worse than, the one who committed the initial awful deed to begin with. And sometimes, revenge doesn't end with the person who committed the crime — other people connected to the original villain may well decide to pursue vengeance against the original avenger, which may very well lead to a Cycle of Revenge. Since revenge is one of the darker character motivations, villains, being a rather unforgiving lot, will often choose to take vengeance on those who have, in their eyes, wronged them, even if the "wrong" in question was something legitimately justified, such as stopping a villain's original evil plan and putting him behind bars or stopping an associate of his, which resulted in the associate's death. Villains in general are more likely to engage in Disproportionate Retribution than many heroes, and don't usually care about what happens to innocents that get swept up in the mess — some such villains deliberately target innocents who are connected to the person they want revenge on, just to make the person suffer all the more. Others target anyone who has anything to do with a certain organization responsible for what led them on this rampage, regardless of whether or not those people were actually involved in the crime in question, or take it out on the descendants of those who wronged them to start with. Others will broaden their vendetta to cover more and more people until the vendetta essentially covers all of humanity. This can be tempered, or even overridden, if the character keeps it up; killing the man who killed your father can be noble if he continues to slaughter people wherever he goes, and your revenge can be viewed as the icing on the cake. Villains can often be seen drawing on The Power of Hate in order to get their revenge as well. On the other hand, revenge can also appear lighter in shade. If the provocation was extreme, and still more if the character is reacting quickly to circumstance, without time to think — as in The Dog Bites Back — the effect can be mostly sympathetic. It can also be softened by the character's being partly motivated by the knowledge that the villain will go on committing such crime, and by taking care to ensure that only the guilty suffer, and suffer no more than they deserve. For the 2011 American television series, see Revenge.
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Anime and Manga
- The fulcrum around which GUN×SWORD turns is Van's hunt to avenge the death of his bride by killing the Claw. Over the series, the other protagonists obtain reasons to want the same thing. Unusually for anime, the desire to obtain revenge is portrayed in a largely positive light.
- Mikagami Tokiya in Flame of Recca at first starts out as an avatar of vengeance whose purpose in life is to take revenge in the name of his dead big sister. Over time, however, he starts learning that walking the path of revenge will lead to his doom, so he eventually wises up and lets go of his vengeful life, fighting less suicidally and somehow became stronger.
- Hiei from YuYu Hakusho. He was cast out of his birthplace by his own people, simply for being male, while they held his mother back as she pleaded for his life. While Hiei's feelings on his mother are unclear, his primary motivation early in life was to kill every ice maiden in the Glacial Village and burn the place right out of the sky and into the ground.
- Makina in Corpse Princess claims that she doesn't care about Heaven, and is only staying undead so she can find the person who killed her family.
- Revenge and how it turns on itself is a major theme in Naruto, where it is presented as a crippling obsession. It starts with Sasuke, but ultimately turns out to be a stupidly deep family connection all the way back to the clan's founder, Madara Uchiha, and is the driving force of the plot as a whole, responsible even for the Kyuubi attack in the prologue.
- Sasuke has taken revenge to new and terrifying heights. And if the target of his revenge is removed; fear not! He'll just find something new to point his vengeance at.
- Unfortunately, the message gets muddled a bit when Shikamaru takes out Hidan for Asuma's death, and it's portrayed in a positive, "getting some closure" manner.
- Then again, Hidan was a dangerous, Axe Crazy psychopath and wanted criminal, so really Shikamaru was just doing his job while having personal reasons for wanting to see it done.
- Also a major plot of Berserk, as Guts seeks revenge on his former commander Griffith and the Apostles for the events of the Eclipse that led to the deaths of the Band of the Hawk and robbed his lover Casca of her sanity.
- This explains the entirety of Kaname Tousen's actions - from joining Soul Society to his defection with Aizen.
- In Code Geass, revenge against Britannia - and in particular his father, the Emperor - is one of Lelouch's main motivations.
- In the 7th OVA of Hellsing a wounded Seras exacts VIOLENT revenge against Zorin Blitz for killing Pip Bernadotte.
- The basic point of Weiß Kreuz - to destroy villain with brutally demonic retribution. Fujimiya Ran especially desires revenge against Takatori Reiji for the murder of his family in the first 15 episodes of Kapital.
- This is the main motive of Thief King Bakura (and by extent, Yami Bakura) of Yu-Gi-Oh!, who desires revenge for the massacer of Kul Elna.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam, Char's motive for moving up the ranks of the Zeon military is to put himself in a position to kill off the Zabi family, who were responsible for his father's death. He personally succeeds in killing two of the five (the others die from familial/political infighting or in combat). After achieving this, he instead switches his focus to following his father's ideals... and takes them a bit too far.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny protagonist Shinn Asuka lives for revenge. First he wants revenge on the Earth Alliance for attacking Orb and killing his family, and also on Orb (more specifically the Athha family) for getting into a fight with them in the first place. Then he wants revenge on Kira after Stella's death...
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Setsuna F. Seiei and Neil Dylandy (the first Lockon Stratos) both desire revenge against Ali Al-Saachez for the death of their families.
- Louise Halevy actually achieves her revenge against the woman who murdered her family... but after initially laughing and being happy about it, her laughter slowly breaks down into tears of pain and despair because nothing's really changed: her family is still dead.
- Ironically, the woman whom Louise murdered, Nena Trinity also lived solely for revenge against Ali al-Saachez for the murder of her brothers. Unfortunately for her, she fell victim to So Last Season.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, both Grodek Ainoa and Flit Asuno desire revenge against the Unknown Enemies, who are responsible for killing their families.
- The reason both Scar and Mustang are in the story of Fullmetal Alchemist. Scar is killing State Alchemists as revenge for the loss of his family, his home and his country during the Ishval Massacre; Mustang, while he starts out merely as a Supporting Leader to the Elric brothers and still acts in that capacity for most of the plot, has finding the murderer of his closest friend, Maes Hughes as one of his highest agendas before foiling Father's plot takes center stage. When he does find the murderer - the homunculus, Envy - a Curb-Stomp Battle so epically one-sided occurred that it took all the other cast had in them, Scar included, to stop him from going off the deep end.
- The main reason everybody in InuYasha teams up, at first. Inuyasha wants revenge on Naraku for killing Kikyo. Shippo wants revenge on The Thunder Brothers for killing his father, so he joins Inuyasha. Miroku wants revenge (and also to break his curse) on Naraku for killing his father indirectly/ giving him a Wind Tunnel in the first place, so he teams up with Inuyasha. Sango wants revenge on Naraku for killing her father, her people, her, and her little brother Kohaku and then using Kohaku as a puppet, so she joins Inuyasha. And Kagome... is just kind of there.
- Gankutsuou, being The Count of Monte Cristo IN SPACE!, is naturally about this trope.
- In Attack on Titan, this is the only thing that keeps Eren Jaeger going. Were it not for his sheer unyielding hatred of the Titans, he probably would have succumbed to despair long ago.
- One Piece: Revenge is one of the main driving forces of the Pirate Alliance Saga. Trafalgar Law's love and devotion for Donquixote Rocinante, the man who ultimately saved his life and the dearest person in his heart, is the only reason he survived to this very day — to get revenge on Rocinante's murderer, his older brother Donquixote Doflamingo. In turn, Doflamingo is driven by his hatred of the World Nobles, who rejected his plea to return to Mariejois as one of them after their father gave up their family's status as Celestial Dragons. So angered by this decision that he wishes to destroy the very world they lord over in retaliation and so driven that he is even willing to sacrifice those he deems close to him, and will only forgive betrayal with the embrace of death. This adds another layer dichotomy to their relationship as each other's Arch-Enemy. Whereas Law is driven by revenge for the sake of another, Doflamingo is driven by revenge for the sake of himself, highlighting that while they are Not So Different, they are Not So Similar either.
- In Dragon Ball this is the primary motive for Goku in the King Piccolo Saga and near the end of the Frieza Saga. He wanted to kill King Piccolo because he murdered his dear friend, Krillin, and his teacher, Master Roshi. With Frieza, he became a Super Saiyan after he murdered Krillin and threatened his son. Although he didn't kill Frieza. Instead, he chose to subject him to Cruel Mercy.
- Kill la Kill: Ryuko Matoi is fighting Satsuki Kiryuin's pawns because Satsuki knows who killed Ryuko's father, and Ryuko wants revenge. Satsuki is dismissive, calling such motivations base and worthless. Actually, Satsuki has the exact same motivation — even more so than she thinks. Her father and baby sister were murdered by her mother Ragyo (and Ragyo has taken to molesting her in the meantime, making things even more personal for her), and she's spent her entire life building up an empire to fight back. The truth is, her father rescued her sister, then faked his death and took on a new identity to raise her. That identity? Isshin Matoi. Ryuko is Satsuki's baby sister, and Satsuki has been trying to avenge her for over a decade.
Satsuki: Ragyo Kiryuin! You shall pay for taking the lives of my father Soichiro, and my little sister who was never even given a name!
- Hunter × Hunter: Kurapika's primary motivation in becoming a hunter is taking vengeance upon the Phantom Troupe for the destruction of his clan.
- Revenge is more or less the driving force of Xadhoom's life in the Disney series Paperinik New Adventures. As the Last Of Her Kind after an alien race destroyed her home planet, she's dedicated her life to wiping out every last one of them. Said aliens are now threatening Earth, so she becomes an ally to the main character - Donald Duck's superhero alter ego - but her obsession is implied to be rather unhealthy.
- The reason for Doctor Doom's supervillainy is the fact that he blames Reed Richards for every single thing that has ever happened to him, starting with his disfigurement, and wants nothing more than to cause him as much pain as possible in revenge. This actually makes them quite different from many other pairs of Arch Enemies: for example, Lex Luthor and The Joker are the nemeses of the respective heroes because they start out as being a certain way and, due to their differences with the hero, grow to hate them and eventually focus on them. Doom, on the other hand, is a supervillain who branches out to become an enemy of every single Marvel superhero out there, but every single thing he does can be eventually traced back to his hatred of Reed Richards.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) Queen Chrysalis is out for some against Twilight, as she was the one who proved instrumental in derailing the Changelings' plan to conquer Canterlot.
- Few of Spider-Man's enemies are obsessed with revenge against people who wronged him like one of his oldest, Adrian Toomes, the Vulture. The whole reason he became the Vulture was to seek revenge against Gregory Bestman, his embezzling business partner who had robbed him blind. Since then his schemes have revolved around revenge against people who have cheated or wronged him in some way, including Spider-Man himself, the Vegas crime boss Morris "the Snake" Diamond (who stole his blueprints for a special plastic compound), another mobster named Mr. Morgan (who hired the Hitman to kill Spidey before Toomes could do so), and especially crooks who copy his blueprints to try to duplicate his equipment. This has included "Blackie" Drago and the Vulturions. Not coincidentally, Toomes is currently the only man to call himself the Vulture.
- Aquila: Queen Boudicca's motive for her war against the Romans is to avenge her daughters being raped by Roman soldiers and her own person flogged in the square on the orders of Britain's governor.
- In Firing Range, the motivation of the inventor is revenge against the ones who gave his son a posthumous medal after leading him to his death. He gets it, by causing the tank to kill them.
See: Revenge Fic
- The Calvin and Hobbes: The Series story "Have You Seen This Tiger?" has Calvin getting revenge on Socrates. It doesn't turn out well.
- The Ponies Of Olympus series:
- The only reason Chrysalis agrees to Erebus' plan to infiltrate the Atlas Strongest Tournament is a chance at revenge on Twilight Sparkle for her defeat at the wedding.
- And it turns out that Ran Biao's grudge against Rarity is payback for letting Razorwing rape her, something that Rarity wasn't aware that she had done.
- Peva's motivation in Yognapped. He used to be part of the Yogscast, until they exiled him for unspecified misconducts. For this, he waits for several years, takes control of the scattered remnants of Sben's army, enslaves the Yogscast, forces them to aid in his release of a murderous god, and promptly suffers a Villainous Breakdown when it doesn't go as planned.
- In the Fan Verse Haunted Mansion and the Hatbox Ghost, the main antagonists of the story Mystery of the Vanishing Hatbox are ghosts that in-universe Disney directors forbid to get inside the Haunted Mansion and plot to take revenge on the ghosts who did make it to inside the ride.
- While she isn't after it, Rancor from Pony POV Series is the Draconequus representing Revenge.
- Professor Moriarty's desire for revenge against Sherlock Holmes fuels the plot of the first finale of Children of Time. Notably, he gets his revenge three times over throughout the course of the three episodes. First in subjugating the detective, then breaking him when Moriarty did his job a little too well, then hurting Beth.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, this comes up quite a bit.
- Roll wants revenge on Wily for killing Doc.
- Tiesel Bonne wants revenge on Mega Man for dissolving the Mega Crew and perceived humiliation.
- Mr. Black wants revenge on Wily for killing his wife and leaving him paralyzed.
- As of episode 11, Wily wants revenge on Dr. Light for perceived involvement in ProtoMan leaving Wily and turning good.
Films - Animated
- In Tangled, Gothel draws the Stabbington brothers into her plans by a promise of revenge on Flynn.
- The driving main theme of Big Hero 6. How a corruptive motivation is: Professor Callaghan became Yokai to avenge Abigail's apparent death, becoming He Who Fights Monsters in the process; this almost happens to Hiro himself too when he decides to avenge Tadashi on Callaghan!
- In Ice Age, Soto wants to take revenge on the humans for killing half of his pack.
- In Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, Captain Gutt wants to take revenge on Manny for destroying and later stealing his ship.
Films - Live-Action
- I Spit on Your Grave is the epitome of this. New York writer Jennifer Hills is brutally raped by three men and takes revenge on all of them...in particularly brutal manners.
- Thor: Although this is not explicitly stated, it's quite obvious that part of the reason why Loki wanted to kill Laufey is to get back at his biological father for leaving him to die as an infant.
- Thor: The Dark World: After their mother Frigga is murdered, Loki becomes motivated to team up with his brother Thor to defeat Malekith.
- Loki later usurps Odin's throne as payback for being disowned and for almost receiving the death sentence.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze:
Shredder: Choose the best man from those that remain to follow the reporter. She's the key to finding the creatures that did this to me.Tatsu: Yes, master! Next, master, we rebuild the Foot?Shredder: No. There is only one thing next...revenge!
- The thousand-year plan of the Sith in Star Wars, which Sidious finally brings to fruition.
Darth Maul: At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.
- Although it's been obscured by time and the numerous other tropes it's spawned, the revelation that Darth Vader was Luke's father in The Empire Strikes Back had originally played as a subversion of Revenge. Critics of Star Wars: A New Hope were so convinced that the sequels would conform to a simple Luke-avenges-his-dad story, they dissed Lucas for being trite, never suspecting how The Reveal would overturn those expectations.
- The EU materials taking place around the time of The Phantom Menace imply that Viceroy Gunray's main motivation for having the Trade Federation blockade Naboo was out of revenge against Senator Palpatine because it was thanks to him and his bill that several members of the Trade Federation's leading races were assassinated (the only reason why the Nemoidians survived is because Sidious sabotaged the ship to prevent them from taking off for the summit). In the film itself, it was believed to be out of Greed.
- Essentially the entire plot of Falling Down. One man's revenge (albeit a bit excessive) against all the little annoyances in the world, be it arriving five minutes too late to get breakfast at a fast food restaurant, which is met with drawing a machine gun and accidentally firing it in to the ceiling, needless construction, which is met with a rocket launcher, or price gouging, which is met with vandalism and price slashing via bat.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is about a barber who seeks revenge against the corrupt judge who sent him away for fifteen years on a false charge and then raped his wife Lucy. Though his primary target is Judge Turpin and the Beadle because of their role in what happened to her, he ends up killing a lot more people along the way.
- A popular plot in action movies in general, though most tend toward the Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Also popular with Spaghetti Westerns, such as For A Few Dollars More, the second of the Dollars trilogy, which has Lee Van Cleef in the avenger role as Colonel Mortimer, who is out to kill El Indio for raping his sister after gunning down her lover.
- Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy is three unconnected stories about vengeance. It includes Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy (2003) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.
- This is Mélanie's goal throughout the film The Page Turner, after a piano audition is disrupted by one of the judges (a famous pianist), she stops playing the piano and seeks her revenge which adds up to making said pianist fall in love with her, destroying her marriage and causing a serious hand problem in her young son (who also aspires to be a pianist).
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:
The Fallen: Revenge... is MINE!!
- James Bond
- Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye wanted revenge against the British government for the betrayal of the Lienz Cossacks, which included his family, who believed that they were under British protection near the end of WWII, only to be sent back to Stalin who promptly had them all shot. The fact that he was also doing so to make himself a pile of money off the destruction of London using a nuclear satellite that used an electromagnetic pulse weapon was just the icing on the cake.
- The R in SPECTRE, the villainous organization in previous films, stands for revenge. Blofeld mentions it specifically as what will happen if his demands are not met in Never Say Never Again.
- Will Plunkett in Plunkett & Macleane swears revenge on General Chance for the death of his partner.
- In The Bone Collector, the villain's murders turn out to be an elaborate scheme to get revenge on one of the two cop protagonists, whose mistakes caused the villain to be wrongly imprisoned.
- "Mistake" is debatable, since he was jailed for planting false evidence on criminals he was insistent were guilty. How correct he was never explained into, though in his point of view and his theories were "flawless" and he had been jailed for working for a greater good, his duration in there being traumatic (which ironically mirrored the people he framed, one even committing suicide).
- The Joshuu Sasori series of films centre on the (anti)heroine's struggle for revenge and the trouble it causes.
- The Princess Bride: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
- Taxi Driver has a long shot in which the camera pans back over all the corpses Travis Bickle left in the wake of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The reason for this: how satisfying would a story about revenge be if we didn't get to linger over the results a bit?
- The Amateur (1981). The fiancee of a cryptographer is murdered by terrorists, so he blackmails the CIA into letting him go into Czechoslovakia to kill those responsible. Just as he crosses the border, the CIA discover where he's hidden the files, so he's hunted by both sides.
- Revenge is often a theme in Star Trek movies, most notably Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek Into Darkness. In the former movie, Khan tries to inflict his wrath on everyone (but especially Kirk), and in the latter, well... Khan tries to inflict his wrath on everyone. For different reasons though, because this is an alternate timeline. Furthermore, in Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard has to cope with his lust for revenge against the Borg.
- In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mystique is motivated by her desire for vengeance after seeing what became of the mutants who Trask got a hold of.
- Highwaymen: A main theme of the film. Fargo's murder of Cray's wife started a long cycle of revenge between the two. Cray crippled Fargo in retaliation, but Fargo escaped the hospital to continue his murder spree elsewhere and constantly sends Cray photos of the victims to taunt him. He finally kidnaps Molly and returns to the motel where he originally killed Cray's wife to reenact the murder with Cray as a witness.
- Wild Tales consists of six short stories all revolving around the theme of revenge.
- Game of Thrones: Ser Loras Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth swear vengeance against Stannis Baratheon after their beloved King Renly is murdered, though to be fair to Stannis Renly was a usurper who was clearly intending to kill him.
- Murdoch Mysteries: Revenge is James Gillies' primary motivation for wanting to destroy Detective William Murdoch; Gillies hates it when someone manages to outsmart him. James gets back at Robert Perry (who betrayed Gillies to avoid the noose and receive a much lighter jail sentence) by cutting his former accomplice's head off with a fine-tooth saw while Robert was still alive.
- Revenge...obviously. Emily Thorne is a highly-trained revenge artist who quite literally devotes her life to avenging her framed and murdered father.
- Veronica Mars is a revenge addict. When she starts to run short on targets for personal revenge she looks for other people to get revenge for.
- A major theme on Lost. Sawyer's desire to avenge his parents carries through the first three seasons. In the fourth, we learn of Ben's desire to kill Penny in revenge for Alex's death. Charlie, Shannon, Sayid, and Sun have also sought revenge for loved ones at various times.
- Happens occasionally on 24, especially when a terrorist is about to get immunity while a victim wants revenge. In Season 3, Kim notes that the death of Nina Myers, who killed her mother, does not bring her closure in any way, even though she wanted her dead for a long time. In Season 7, Olivia Taylor becomes angry that Jonas Hodges, the man responsible for her brother's death, is going to be placed in witness protection, so she orders a hit on him, calling it off too late. During that season, Tony Almeida's desire for revenge for his wife and unborn son drives him to plan on tracking down and killing the head of the conspiracy.
- The final episode of The Shadow Line sees Gatehouse tracking down and killing his superiors in Counterpoint because they sent an assassin to kill him in his hospital bed.
- In the Doctor Who serial The Mutants, Varan decides to turn on the Overlords as soon as he realizes he's been played for a fool — forget his people!
- Angel: 250-ish years before series 3, Angelus and Darla had not only killed Holtz's wife and three children but turned his youngest daughter into a vampire just to leave him a message, forcing him to kill her himself. Holtz initially went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, taking out 378 vampires in 9 years as he relentlessly hunted the pair across the whole of Europe. At times, he'd actually catch Angelus but never Darla and engage in torture just to see what would be left if he beat the demon out of the man. Angelus always escaped and the hunt would continue. Eventually, a demon told Holtz that if he didn't agree to travel 200+ years into the future he'd lose his chance to destroy Angelus and Darla forever. Holtz agreed in return for the promise that he'd show no mercy. When Holtz realised Angel now had a soul and Darla had killed herself to save her son, his plans changed to do to Angel what Angelus had done to him - take away the family he loved. He stole Connor, raised him in a Hell dimension before sending him back to Angel full of hate and groomed to kill his own father, having set up his own death to make it look like Angel had killed him just to make sure Connor would kill Angel in a You Killed My Adopted Father fury. Holtz was supposed to be a good guy.
- Holtz was never a "good" guy (at least not as we saw him on screen, maybe before his family was killed). He's an Anti-Villain with heroic traits like courage and determination, who has descended past the point where he cared whether his goal was still noble, becoming consumed by revenge. He considers himself a monster (made by monsters) and lives only for revenge and hate. After raising Connor, he tells Angel that he has let that hatred go and learned to live on paternal love instead. But even this is a lie, he sacrifices his life and his adopted son's happiness (and mental stability) for a final chance at revenge on what's left of the demon that took his family (namely, Angel).
- Revenge features this.
- The Mentalist centers around Patrick Jane, formerly a fake psychic who uses his skills at manipulation and knowledge of human behavior to help law enforcement, all in the larger goal of tracking down Red John, the serial killer who murdered his wife and child (because Jane, while still pretending to be a psychic, mocked him on national television.) While most assume his intention is to bring Red John to justice to achieve a sort of personal redemption, he eventually reveals that his intent all along was to kill Red John. Notably after he made this revelation, the next two episodes directly dealt with revenge killings; a mother who killed to avenge the neglectful if accidental killing of her teenage daughter, and a young man who killed to avenge the deliberate murder of his best friend and father figure. After their confessions, Jane asked them both the same question: was it worth it? The woman broke down in tears, saying that in the end it didn't change anything. The man, on the other hand, said that it was completely worth it, and that it was a "cleansing" experience. Neither of these answers comfort Jane, and he eventually goes through with his revenge, though the man he killed turned out to be an impostor sent by the real killer in his place. Later on in the series, though, he unmasked the real Red John and killed him.
- Once Upon a Time all began because the Evil Queen/Regina wanted to get back at Snow White for unintentionally telling Regina's manipulative and abusive mother Cora about her affair with the stable boy — resulting in Cora killing the stable boy and forcing Regina into a loveless marriage, which would lead to her Start of Darkness. And poor Snow is still unaware that she did anything wrong.
- SCTV had a sort-of game show called "Revenge" where the contestants got revenge for their petty annoyances - but one contestant paid the price for their recipient getting their revenge. Then, another recipient shows up on the set wired up with explosives and gets his revenge.
- Detective Charlie Crews from Life is something of a Cloud Cuckoolander thanks to his 12-years of wrongful imprisonment after being framed for several murders and discovering Zen Buddhism as a way to stay sane in prison. He's a great example of Beware the Nice Ones, with a dark and dangerous streak running below his outwardly calm and friendly demeanor, but he's a firm believer in letting go of his anger instead of acting on it. But as he draws closer to finding the real killer, the man who murdered Charlie's best friend and his family, and the culprits of the frame-job that sent him to jail, Charlie is torn between the beliefs and ideals which saved his life and kept him sane in prison and the overwhelming desire for revenge. In the first season finale, he settles for justice instead (though he lets the killer ''think'' he's decided on revenge to coax a confession out of him).
- Castle: When Kate Beckett finally got to personally arrest her untouchable nemesis senator Bracken.
- On CSI: Cyber, "URL, Interrupted" is about a girl who's been cyberbullied searching for revenge.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ferengi Daimon Bok was consumed with vengeance against Captain Picard for killing his son. He tried twice to gain his revenge, failing both times, and both times after being restrained by his Ferengi crew, as revenge wasn't profitable.
- SeriesTyrant: Barry and Molly are consumed with the desire for this after Emma is murdered by the Caliphate, forgetting any previous idealistic desire for democracy in Abuddin or concern toward its people.
- Ween's song Buenos Tardes Amigo is a revenge song being sung to the man who killed the narrator's brother. The twist is that the narrator was actually the killer himself, probably due to jealousy, and is framing the listener to keep anyone else from knowing the truth.
- Revenge is one of Doctor Steel's prime motivations.
- The point of Coheed and Cambria's No World For Tomorrow album. In particular: Gravemakers and Gunslingers, Justice in Murder, and The End Complete.
"Cause God knows I ain't now stoppin' 'til you breathe none!"
- Avenged Sevenfold has the song "Strength of the World". It reads as the story of someone who's family was killed by outlaws.
"I want it. I need it! Revenge is dripping from my teeth!"
- Kate Bush's "The Wedding List"; a pregnant bride kills the murderer of her husband and commits suicide.
- Leslie Fish's "Furies".
- Sound Horizon's Märchen album revolves around the spirits of seven women (all but one from the Fairy Tales of The Brothers Grimm) being granted a chance at revenge against the people who wronged them by a strange ghost who goes by the name Märchen. The seventh woman, Elisabeth, rejects this offer, content that her first and only love März has finally fulfilled his promise to return to her, even if only in death. It is this that leads Märchen to remember the man he used to be: März himself.
- Garmarna's song "Vedergällingen" ("Vengeance"), based on Swedish folklore. Don't look up the translation of the lyrics.Don't.
- Florence + the Machine's "Seven Devils". It's later used in both Revenge and commercials of Game of Thrones to represent the concept.
- Within Temptation's concept album The Unforgiving has a few examples, most notably "In the Middle of the Night" and "Murder".
- A few songs from The Decemberists, such as The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!) and The Mariner's Revenge Song.
Myth and Religion
- Achilles' chief motivation for leaving the Greek army during the Trojan War, the initiating action of the plot of Homer's The Iliad, is vengeance against the Greek commander Agamemnon for taking his trophy wench. His withdrawal from the fighting (and the subsequent plea to Zeus to give victories to the Trojan cause in Achilles's absence made at his behest by his mother) leads to his cousin's demise.
- The Bible contains some examples:
- Levi and Shimon wipe out the town of Shechem in retribution for the prince of Shechem's rape of their sister Dinah.
- The Israelites swear vengeance against the Amalekites for their attack against Israelite women, children, and elderly as the Israelites were leaving Egypt.
- The Bible also contains notable aversions, being that Forgiveness is a key biblical virtue:
- Esau forgives and reconciles with Jacob, abandoning his plans for revenge.
- God marks Cain to shield him from any retribution for the murder of Abel his brother.
- God commands the Israelites that they are never to take revenge on the Egyptians at any time after the Exodus, because, regardless of the wrongs the Egyptians had inflicted on the Israelites, they had also been the Israelites' hosts at first; the implication is that the Egyptians had suffered enough from the Seven Plagues that the Almighty had visited upon them, a hard point to contest.
- God also instituted laws among the Israelites to suppress the practice of blood feuds which were common in the ancient world: most notably, the concept of the city of refuge for the manslaughterer.
- The Talmud: A man invited his friend Kamtza to a feast, but his servant accidentally invited Bar Kamtza, a mortal enemy. Bar Kamtza thought that the other man wanted to make peace, and so came to the party, where he was ordered away. Trying to save himself from humiliation, he offered to pay, first for his own portion, then for two, and eventually for the entire party, but the host refused to listen and kicked Bar Kamtza out. Bar Kamtza therefore hatched a plot which ended in the enemy king coming to Jerusalem, the Temple being destroyed, and the Jews being sent into exile.
- In The Epic of Gilgamesh, when King Gilgamesh rejects the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, she sends the Bull of Heaven to terrorize his whole city. Gilgamesh and his only friend, Enkidu, eventually slay the Bull and save the city of Uruk, but the gods retaliate by giving Enkidu a fatal illness.
- Bill Cosby's routine called, aptly, "Revenge", recalling his childhood where he plotted to get back at Junior Barnes for hitting him with a slushball. He crafts a perfect snowball and stores it in the freezer, intending to use it on him in July, where there's not a snowball in sight. When the time finally comes for Bill to take his revenge, he finds out that his mother had thrown the snowball away, and has to resort to spitting on him.
- Warhammer 40,000: The Invaders Space Marine chapter destroyed the Eldar Craftworld Idharae. The survivors of Idharae who joined Craftworld Alaitoc, returned the favor by destroying the Invaders fortress-monastery. The chapter is reduced to 300 marines, and lost many of their weapons.
- The enmity between the Space Marines and their Chaotic parallels may have originated in Horus's ambition and the schemes of the Chaos Gods, but it's been marinated in vengeance until both sides would gladly see every last one of the other faction dead in a ditch. The reason Calth is a world of subterranean cultures, scarred by a radioactive sun? The Word Bearers' revenge for Monarchia. The reason the Ultramarines have kept the clock on that engagement running for ten thousand years, seeking out the Word Bearers whenever they return from the Eye of Terror? Revenge for Calth (admittedly mingled with general responsibility - defending Imperial citizens from people like the Word Bearers is also their job). The reason Angron turned on the Emperor at the first opportunity? Revenge for his fellow gladiators, who the Emperor abandoned to their deaths. Chaos Marines are generally better at drawing strength from these ten thousand years of trading causes for loathing, since time flows weirdly in the Warp, meaning many of them remember wounds inflicted thousands of years ago and losses in battles dating back to the Heresy.
- In Warhammer the Dwarfs have a serious problem with this. They're incapable of ever letting something go, and everything anyone does that displeases them is a deliberate, malicious strike against them. One instance involves a human fortress being razed because they hired dwarven engineers to help build it and shortchanged their payment by a handful of coins out of thousands. Instead of accepting that this was probably just a clerk miscounting or a ripped bag losing a few coins in transit and either brushing it off or sending someone to explain what the problem is and asking for the complete payment, they instead stewed on this vile theft for a century, assembled an army, and laid siege to the baffled fortress.
- Magic: The Gathering: This is the whole purpose of the White/Black/Red color-wedge, combining White's love for justice, Black's selfishness, and Red's hunger for destruction. Seen most clearly in Kaalia's flavor text.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is about a man who wants revenge for his false imprisonment at the hands of a corrupt judge and his Beadle so that they could have his wife for themselves. He does eventually get his revenge, but not before killing a lot of other people.
- In the second act of Into the Woods, The Giantess wants revenge for the death of her husband.
- In Il Trovatore, the gypsy Azucena seeks revenge against the di Luna family for burning her mother as a witch.
- Ghosts. Helen Alving takes vengeance on her late husband, who treated her like shit for years, by humiliating him at home (while he still lived), and later making sure that none of his money goes to her son Oswald. "He shall only inherit me!"
- The entire premise of the Crusader series of games—and naturally, when you start wreaking such havoc, the bad guys get in on the act.
- Both Kael'thas and the generic Blood Mage from War Craft III: The Frozen Throne have a sound pack distressingly but understandably focused on pronouncements of vengeance.
"My blood cries out for the vengeance of my people's blood, which can only be repaid with twice as much blood! Or maybe three times as much blood! Like, if you went to hell and it was full of blood, and that blood was on fire, and it was raining blood, then maybe THAT would be enough blood. But, uh... probably not."
- Tasha in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, her character theme is actually titled "Goddess of Revenge".
- Tasha's love of revenge is lampshaded in one of the War Room segments, she claims "My hobbies include professing my love for the Lazurian Army and vowing revenge."
- While Ryu Hayabusa's final goal in the Xbox version of Ninja Gaiden is to reclaim the Dark Dragon Blade stolen from his village, it's obvious in a number of cut scenes that he's bent on killing Doku, the Greater Fiend responsible for destroying the village. The chapter of the game in which Ryu finally kills Doku is titled "Vengeful Spirit".
- Baldur's Gate:
- Kivan's motivation in Baldur's Gate. Not surprising considering his mate was tortured to death by one of the villains.
- Jon Irenicus in Baldur's Gate II. "Once, my thirst for power was everything. Now, I hunger only for revenge. And I... will... HAVE IT!"
- Minsc and Jaheira start out bent on beating Irenicus to death with a potato masher for the whole "killing the person they cared about most" thing. If you keep them in the party, eventually they do get to help take him out, and there is much awesome. Even the potato masher fits, if you accept a +5 potato masher known as Crom Faeyr, the Hammer of Thunderbolts.
- From the same family, Carth Onasi wants to pound his treasonous ex-commander into paste for betraying the Republic and bombing Telos. Sky wanted to kick Gao the Greater into orbit over the death of his little girl at the hands of Gao's slavers. Even though you kill Gao before he does, Sky's pretty understanding about it, and just extends his vendetta to anyone dealing in slaves.
- In Jak II: Renegade, Jak's main motivation is getting revenge on Baron Praxis for two years of Dark Eco experimentation. A far more sinister plot eventually reveals itself, and he ends up focusing more on saving the city.
- In Mass Effect, Dr. Liara T'Soni went on a two year long quest to destroy the Shadow Broker after he tried to sell Shepard's body to the Collectors. Depending on your choices, this might also fit under Violently Protective Girlfriend.
- Zaeed wants revenge on Vido for shooting him in the head twenty years ago, Garrus wants vengeance on Sidonis for betraying him and his team, Kasumi gets payback on Hock for torturing her boyfriend to death, Thane got revenge on the men who killed his wife in his Backstory and Jack has a serious vendetta against Cerberus for experimenting on her as a child. It's really easier to list which members of the Mass Effect 2 squad don't want some form of revenge. Including Shepard, if you take the Renegade route, which gives us the quote, "The Collectors are about to find out what happens when you piss me off."
- Persona 3 gives us Ken, a kid with a vendetta against his mom's murderer, Shinjiro, who accidentally killed Ken's mom from losing control of his power and has become The Atoner for it. When confronted on the anniversary of the mother's death, they get interrupted by Strega and Shinjiro sacrifices himself to protect Ken, denying him his revenge. Ken is of the Justice Acrana.
- The motivation of the original heroine of Phantasy Star, Alis. Lassic's men murdered her brother in front of her, so she's going to bring him down.
- In God of War, this is the primary motivation for Kratos. His quest for revenge against the Gods is what causes him to become a One-Man Apocalypse.
- The main plot motivation of Corvo Attano from Dishonored.
- This was one of the reasons James Tobin murdered Zack in In the 1st Degree. Tobin found out that his girlfriend Ruby had a one-night stand with Zack. Tobin was so jealous and furious that he decided that Zack had to pay for this with his life.
- When Geese Howard killed Jeff Bogard, Jeff's sons became martial artists to eventually kill him back.
- Asura from Asura's Wrath is the embodiment of vengeance and all related tropes!
- Calypso of Twisted Metal is primarily a Jackass Literal Genie... but if you win the tournament and then wish for revenge on someone, nine times out of ten, he'll give you what you want without any manipulation. Something about it seems to strike a chord with him.
- Claude of Grand Theft Auto III seems to be motivated solely by revenge against Catalina (when he's not doing odd jobs for money or going on a rampage).
- The Tonberry of the Final Fantasy series is the Moe Anthropomorphism of this concept: (aside from their One-Hit KO move once they come up close) their attack Karma/Everyone's Grudge deals damage proportionate to the number of enemies its target has killed.
- Revenge is a key theme in Final Fantasy XII, specifically whether or not the princess Ashe (Ashelia B'Nargan Dalmasca) will or should take revenge against the Archadian Empire for their subjugation of Dalmasca and the death of her husband, Prince Rasler.
- In Xenoblade Chronicles, following the Mechon attack on Colony 9 and the death of Shulk's friend Fiora, Shulk declares his intent to destroy every last Mechon in revenge for what has happened. A shocking goal for someone as kind as Shulk. This becomes important later on.
- Revenge is a recurring theme in The Wonderful 101. A number of characters on both the heroes' and villains' sides have revenge as their primary motivation, and the game's story takes time to show how counter-productive revenge can be. People driven by revenge endanger themselves and everyone around them, and revenge as a motivator leads to one becoming just as much a monster as the ones they want revenge against. This is contrasted by Wonder-Red, who prioritizes the team and the mission above his personal feelings, even when that means not chasing the alien who killed his father.
- This is The Penguin's motivation for wanting Bruce Wayne dead in Batman: Arkham City. Unlockable backstory reveals a lengthy history of feuding between the Wayne and Cobblepot families, and Penguin blames the Wayne family for ruining the Cobblepot family.
- This is the core theme for Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, as every one of the protagonists has a beef with the antagonists, mostly Void Dark and Majorita. The game goes in depth on exploring how revenge motivates, how self-destructive it can become, and how one can move past it. As it turns out, Void Dark himself sought revenge against Killia for Liezerota's death, which Void Dark himself caused when she took his sword in Killia's place.
- Ace Attorney is all about revenge, which is why so many of the murders happen. One very notable example is in Justice for All with Franziska von Karma, the daughter of prosecutor Manfred von Karma. She goes after Phoenix Wright in court and brags at how she will defeat him with her logic and power as a prosecutor, which leads Phoenix to believe that she's seeking revenge due to Manfred being found guilty of murder and possibly forging evidence. It's subverted when Franziska reveals that she doesn't care about what happened to her father and her actual reason for revenge is because Phoenix bested Edgeworth in court and she wanted to be the one to do the deed. Ergo, Phoenix ruined her chance at getting revenge at Edgeworth for always besting her and being the favorite child of Manfred.
- In American Barbarian, Rick's motive.
- Bob and George
- Cinema Bums. Serves as the catalyst for a multi-strip series beginning here.
- In Dragon Mango,
- Eerie Cuties What Lupus the Wolfhearted sought from the vampire queen.
- Tiffany remembers the difference between heroic and non-heroic version. Not that she had a good chance.
- In Endstone, the revenge-minded have plagued Herrik for years.
- The Fox Sister: Yun Hee's primary motivation.
- Parodied in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal in the form of what to say during a job interview.
- In Sinfest, recommended as a substitute for unrequited love.
- Becomes a major theme in the second season of Tower of God, especially with Ja Wangnan trying to avenge Nia and Viole trying to figure out if he wants to take revenge on Rachel.
- Anak Zahard, Jr. is out to kill her entire adoptive family, the Zahard, because they killed her parents, an unnamed father and Anak Zahard, Sr, her mother. She ends up befriending the very first Zahard daughter she meets. Not a very good start.
- In Urban Underbrush, rejected from the gift exchange, Caius steals all the gifts.
- The "The Contract" storyline of Consolers is based around this - first Nintendo gets her revenge against Sony planning to get most of the profits from their collaboration console, which ends in Sony later getting revenge back by making his own console which ends up being way more successful.
- Tecmo swears to get his revenge against Namco, who he carries a huge grudge towards... for a comment about his game series.
- In Epic Tales this is Shadow Hawk's motivation for being a superhero. Or so he claims. His best friend Diana thinks he just doing it for the thrills, although this is only mentioned once. Also the revenge thing seems to have been glossed over in the two most recent stories.
- UltraJMan's I Wanna Be the Guy fangame, I Wanna See You Suffer, was created with pure, unadultered raging vengeance aimed at all those people who talked him into making a Let's Play of the I Wanna Be The Guy fangame, I Wanna Be The Fangame, as the driving spark of creativity...
- GEOWeasel's third episode chronicles the attempts of Weas and Mitri to kill Mitri's Not-So-Imaginary Friend Bob, who they want because he killed two of their team. A different imaginary friend gets killed in the process.
- In Noob: Le Conseil des Trois Factions, Kavan Oberion is the Sole Survivor of his battle unit and wants to avenge his fallen comarades.
- The show Dan Vs. revolves entirely around this concept, exacted by a hilariously paranoid, quick-tempered Dan and his drag-along best friend Chris. His targets include cookie ninja, the wolfman, and the entire country of Canada.
- Stripperella. Spoofed in "Beauty and the Obese", where Mad Doctor Cesarean's motive for making supermodels fat is because beautiful women have spurned him all his life. And because his mother was a model who ran off when he was five. And because his promising career as a model was ruined when he became horribly disfigured in a modeling accident. Oh, and his grandparents were killed by models. He hates heights too, but you can't harm heights.
- Gargoyles major theme is how "revenge is a sucker's game" and never accomplishes anything except spreading the need for revenge. Oddly, the only character who has a firm grasp of this in the beginning is the Affably Evil Big Bad David Xanatos, which is why he wins so often.
- In The Venture Bros. after his defeat Phantom Limb renames himself Revenge, collects a gang of inanimate objects, and goes on a campaign against The Guild (Not that one).
- An anthology episode of The Simpsons had revenge as its theme.
Lenny: Nothing like revenge for getting back at people.
Carl: I dunno, vengeance is pretty good.
- Roger of American Dad! often parodies this of the Disproportionate Retribution order. In "The One That Got Away" for example he discovers a stranger has been using his credit account and in retaliation proceeds to destroy his life in every manner possible this causes complications when the culprit in fact turns out to be a split personality of Roger obliviously created. In turn his victim sets an assassin on him. Naturally Hilarity Ensues.
- Sealab 2021 wanted to do a Christmas Special, but for various reasons swapped Christianity for the made-up religion of Alvisism, based around a violent, Wild West messiah. Whereas Christmas is about family and giving, Alvistide is about drinking and revenge.
Capt. Murphey: "Vengeance is mine!" quoth Alvis. And then he shot him, right in the face!
- If it isn't capturing them to make them into gold or to eat them (or, as in the movie, to make himself the most powerful wizard in the world), Gargamel's main motivation to go after The Smurfs is this.
- The Lex Luthor of Young Justice defies in the same manner as Xanatos and uses the same phrase: "Revenge is a sucker's game". Not suprising considering their fourth wall father.
- Weisman also worked on The Spectacular Spider-Man, and in this case it's not a Big Bad but a lower-ranked but likable villain who lives by it: Sandman was a thief and never forgot it even once getting super powers, and once, when offered payback against Spider-Man by joining the Sinister Six, he said that he didn't care about revenge and just wanted the "big score" he'd always dreamed of. (He joins anyway, once convinced there'd be a lot of money involved.)
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the Cutie Mark Crusaders concoct a plan to get some extremely well-deserved payback on Babs Seed, but find out that she became a bully in response to being bullied where she came from, and that they'd be no different if they did the same thing. (They end up going to a lot of trouble to save her from their plan, made harder by her continuing to be a Jerkass, but Babs also learns her lesson in the end.) That when you Pay Evil unto Evil you become subject to He Who Fights Monsters was the Aesop of the week.
- In the Season 6 finale, "To Where and Back Again", after having not been seen in the show since the Royal Wedding, Queen Chrysalis and her Changeling Swarm return for revenge for that defeat by taking their previous plan Up to Eleven with kidnapping all five Alicorn Princesses, Prince Shining Armor, Spike, and the Elements of Harmony, essentially decapitating Equestria's government and primary defenses in one fall swoop to clear the way for a full-scale invasion. However, thanks to Starlight Glimmer and Thorax, a traitor to the Swarm, the Swarm pulls a Heel–Race Turn and destroy Chrysalis' throne, free the ponies they kidnapped and cocooned, and effectively go from enemies to Equestria to one of their most powerful allies, except Chrysalis, who swears revenge again over losing everything and escapes to return in the future to take her vengeance on Starlight, then possibly the Royal Family and Mane Six again.
- Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender is not a forgiving girl and holds a grudge against Zuko longer than anyone in the group, but asks for his help in The Southern Raiders to help track down the man that murdered her mother so she can kill him. Aang tells them not to go because revenge isn't worth it and she should just forgive him, but Zuko agrees with her and they set off. They track the man down, but seeing how disgusting and pitiful he is she decides he isn't worth dirtying her hands. She and Zuko return and Aang assumes she's forgiven the man, but the only one she's willing to forgive is Zuko; The murderer was simply too pathetic to kill, but Zuko is genuinely remorseful and trying to repent.