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Revenge Before Reason
Joachim: You have defeated the plans of Admiral Kirk. You do not need to defeat him again.
Khan Noonien Singh: He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him. I'll chase him 'round the Moons of Nibia, and 'round the Antares Maelstrom, and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up.

Some people can be so filled with the need for Revenge that they will pursue it at any cost, to the point of endangering themselves and others.

This is mainly a villain trope, not the least of which because the revenge tends to be Disproportionate Retribution caused by the most minuscule of Rant Inducing Slights, and sometimes targets innocent third parties. If the level of vengeance is taken to a downright ridiculous level, one may end up asking Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him? rather than waste time and resources towards humiliating or torturing the person before killing them or making sure that they die horribly in some slow, easily escapable death trap.

Yet heroes can fall into this, showing that even they aren't immune to this flaw.

This includes cases where The Atoner is willing to make amends, or the character is vitally needed for some other good cause.

Often invokes Taking You with Me and Being Evil Sucks. If the character snaps out of it, can lead to Was It Really Worth It? and My God, What Have I Done?.

Compare Honor Before Reason, Roaring Rampage of Revenge, He Who Fights Monsters.

Contrast Forgiveness and Restrained Revenge.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 
  • InuYasha: In episode 23, Kikyo plans to drag Inuyasha to Hell with her as revenge for allegedly betraying and killing her. Even after Kagome tells her that Naraku set them up and that Inuyasha still loved her despite everything, Kikyo openly states that she doesn't care because it doesn't change the fact that she died. However, after confirming Kagome's story with Kaede, Kikyo focuses her efforts on Naraku from there on out.
  • Sasuke Uchiha of Naruto has allowed revenge to motivate almost every single action he takes. Everything he does in the first half and most of the second half of Naruto is done to become strong enough to face Itachi. These actions include charging in half-cocked to fight Itachi when he was nowhere near ready, getting excessively jealous when a "failure" starts surpassing him, Face-Heel Turn-ing to the enemy, killing said enemy and absorbing his powers, and gathering his own team to help him. You would think that Sasuke might chill out a tiny bit after he finally succeeds, but nooooo. When Sasuke learns his (now late) older brother did everything he did for Sasuke's sake, he sets out on a whole new rampage of revenge, this one directed at the Leaf Village itself and the current aspirant for Hokage (Danzo) in particular. You know it's bad when Danzo, not exactly a saint himself, calls him on it and has a valid point. Gets even worse when he abandons his new team because he's too impatient to wait for them to catch up, and stabs through Karin simply because Danzo took her hostage and it was too much effort on his part to help her. Remember, she is his only medic at this point. There's a big reason why Sasuke is the God of this trope... or at least was once a big reasonnote  due to several other Character Development that causes him to finally stop pursuing revenge too much and becomes a good guy again.
    • Weirdly, he intends to keep a promise he made to Naruto about his revenge, namely that he'll fight and kill Naruto first, to the exclsion of all others.
    • There's also Pain, who lost so many loved ones to ninja society that he set about to effectively destroy it so thoroughly people would be too scared to even consider making war. When that fear wore off, as Pain was certain it would, he would lather, rinse, repeat.
      • It should also be noted that the cornerstone of Pain's beliefs and plan is that he thinks everyone acts like this.
    • To his credit, Naruto himself has done everything in his power to avert this. Despite his own desire for revenge on Pain for killing Jiraiya, temporarily Kakashi, as well as killing many Leaf Villagers, Naruto is able to rein in his feelings and instead ultimately wins without killing him which pays off far better. Not long after he tries to get the Raikage to not try and kill Sasuke for attacking his brother.
    • Speaking of which, the Raikage is perfectly willing to lose an arm (and a leg, but was stopped before that could happen) to achieve his revenge.
      • However, he subverts/averts it later when he learns his brother is okay, and apparently decides to forget about Sasuke entirely.
    • Subverted with Tobi. After he saw Kakashi kill Rin, presumably forced by something Mist ninja had done to her, he utterly slaughtered the Mist shinobi... but he did not touch Kakashi, declaring he no longer cares for his ex-teammate.
  • Mazinger Z: Big Bad Dr. Hell is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds with Abusive Parents and a very crappy childhood and early adulthood. His motivation to Take Over the World is having revenge in everybody abused him or mocked him when he was young (or people he believes abused him and mocked him). Nevertheless, he was seventy-years old when the series begins, so everyone or most of them will be deceased. Yet will he let that insignificant detail stop him? Hell, no!
  • Sosuke Nekome, one of the main characters of Dennou Coil, is obsessed with ruining the MegaMass corporation for ruining his father's reputation and causing his death. He's willing to sacrifice anything or ultimately kill anyone who gets in the way of this plan, even the twelve-year-old protagonists Yasako and Isako. Fortunately his little brother does possess reason and Heel Face Turns in the final episode.
  • In Bleach, Gin Ichimaru followed Aizen so he could learn how to kill him. Apparently, Gin came across Aizen's mooks after they took a piece of his childhood friend Rangiku's soul. He wanted revenge. For over a hundred years, Gin waited for the perfect moment. His would-be victim, Aizen knew all along and was simply interested in what Gin would do. Then, when he finally attacks, Aizen survives and kills him easily.
    • To be fair, it was a literal Diabolus ex Machina that saved Aizen from being killed instantly when Gin saw and took his chance, and it was at Gin's hands that Aizen knew fear for the first time in his life. Gin's plan was extremely solid, he was just unlucky; outmaneuvering and killing Aizen didn't stick due to the Orb of Distortion's reality-warping powers, but it is implied this and the Stealth Mentor bit Gin pulled on Ichigo still set up for Aizen to ultimately lose all of his powers and get imprisoned forever.
  • Then there's Lockon Stratos (that is, Neil Dylandy), from Gundam 00, whose whole motivation turns out to be revenge against the people who bombed his family. At one point, the terrorist leader who caused their deaths tries to divide the Gundam Meisters by telling Lockon that his teammate Setsuna used to belong to his group; Lockon points his gun at Setsuna and says (paraphrased) "I know you couldn't have done it, but just let me shoot you so I can feel better."
    • Later on, he goes out in a badly damaged Gundam and missing one eye because the aforementioned terrorist was on the battlefield and he refused to let the guy get away in the time it would have taken to fix the Gundam and regenerate his lost eye. Which ends up causing Lockon's death because the guy picks up on his new blind spot and exploits it, despite a sterling Determinator attempt by Lockon to take him along for the ride.
  • Shinn Asuka Gundam SEED Destiny is part of ZAFT's "Operation Fallen Angel" which involves ambushing and destroying the Archangel battle ship that has been avoiding combat. While several members from ZAFT express their doubts if attacking the Archangel is right, Shinn solely focuses on defeating their Ace Pilot Kira Yamato in revenge for the death of Stella Loussier.
  • An earlier Gundam example is Kamille Bidan, of Zeta Gundam, who in the first episode gets himself thrown into military prison for attacking a Titan, and then beaten up for physically assaulting a military police officer, in both cases because of ultimately petty reasons. Even his hijack, which goes on to cause him so much misery, is motivated by pointless revenge — he initially climbs into the cockpit, breaking into a military base to do so, in order to intimidate the MP officer who beat him up.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass. His revenge not only leads to millions of deaths, despite what happens in the end, but also screws up more of his plans than they should have been.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Frieza could have chosen to escape, but he spends his remaining energy trying to get rid of Goku
  • Sentinel 3, AKA the "Avenging Sentinel" from Franken Fran becomes addicted to vengeance even setting up his own non-combat allies to be killed just to have excuse for it because the act of vengeance feels really good. And it's not like this or like that, just knowing you're avenging someone even someone you set up to die in the first place produces that same kind of high.
  • Guts from Berserk. He and his lover Casca were the sole survivors of the dreaded Eclipse which was caused by their former friend and leader, Griffith, selling them and all of their comrades in the Band of the Hawk out to the Godhand in order to become a demon lord so that he could fulfill his life-long dream after a year of crippling torture. To make a long and sad story short, neither Guts nor Casca come out unharmed or intact. After the event, and though all that they had left were each other, Guts was so embroiled in his rage and grief over what happened to them that he left Casca in the care of Godot, Erica, and Rickert after only a few weeks in order to pursue revenge against Griffith, the Apostles and the Godhand, which apart from leading Guts to Take A Level In Jerkass during those two years certainly did not help Casca's post-Eclipse condition at all. It is only after getting a serious What the Hell, Hero? speech from Godot about this two years after this that Guts finally starts getting his act together again.
  • Master of Martial Hearts has the villains take Revenge before Reason, common sense, sense of decency and even basic logic.
  • The defining trait of One Piece villain Hody Jones. Despite having never suffered from it firsthand, he craves revenge against the human race for crimes against Fishmen and Merfolk and will do anything to achieve it. This anything includes sabotaging attempts by other characters to reconcile and live peacefully with humans so they can continue to justify themselves.
  • RanmaOneHalf'sRyoga Hibiki. He left his home, his school and everything else to try to get revenge on Ranma for "breaking a man-to-man promise" and abandoning a challenge which Ryoga was ludicrously late for. The original reason for the fight? Ranma had cut in front of him in line at the school tuckshop. Okay, a fair few times, but...
  • Engi from Yumekui Merry starts sliding into this in her pursuit of Heracles, willing to risk the life of her vessel, Yui, and going against her friends if it means avenging her sister.
  • In Murasakiiro No Qualia: Hatou in some of the parallel worlds/possibilities shown to us.
    • To some extent, most of them fit this, considering none dropped their crusade and goal, not even for a chance at a good, stable life.
  • In Servant × Service, Lucy could very easily apply to change her Overly Long Name, (As Hasebe mentions) but she's determined to find the civil servant who approved that name, and give him the business first.
  • In Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL, Gilag is so enraged when Alito is beaten up by Rei, he goes gunning for revenge, and when Yuma defends him, thinking Rei is an amateur, Gilag actually challenges both of them at once, using cards that are as dangerous to him as the are to his opponents. This proves a mistake, as Rei is much better than anyone assumed. In fact, we later learn he's downright deadly and capable of murder; he's actually Vector in disguise.

    Comics 
  • The Yves Rodier finished version of Tintin and the Alph-Art has Rastapapolous so willing to kill the titular character (who continuously screwed up his plans and operations) that his plan to do so would also inevitably lead to killing himself in the process.
  • In All Fall Down, this motivates Pronto into selling out his friends to get his powers back.
  • Subverted in Sin City: Hell and Back. When mob boss Wallenquist hears that one of his operations was completely shut down by an ex-soldier, his subordinates start making plans to track and kill the guy. Instead, Wallenquist points out that there's no profit in revenge and no point in pursuing a fight with someone who's leaving town anyway. He knows what's in his own best interest.
  • Spider-Man arch-enemy Venom lived and breathed this trope during his first several appearances. With the powers and knowledge of the alien costume, Eddie Brock could have done pretty much anything he wanted, including repairing his damaged life. But he was so consumed by his vendetta against Spidey that he would immediately try to kill him at every opportunity, despite it always ending with Venom incarcerated or otherwise disabled. The most egregious example is in "Trial of Venom", where Brock is actually found not guilty of his crimes as Venom (by reason of insanity) and is about to be released from prison...but he can't stop himself from going after Spider-Man.
  • Queen Chrysalis againnote  in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW). Twilight and her friends have already proven they are more than a match for her and her changelings, but she wants payback. She pulls another invasion, kidnaps the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and it ends about as well for her as you would expect.
  • Sonicthe Hedgehog Mega Man Worlds Collide: After being defeated by Super Sonic and Super Armor Mega Man in the final issue of the crossover, Eggman is so pissed that he deliberately interferes with Super Sonic's attempt to undo the Super Genesis Wave, willing to let reality be destroyed rather than let Sonic restore it to normal. Said interference results in a Cosmic Retcon on Sonic's world. Wily, however, is Genre Savvy enough to avert this and Know When to Fold 'Em.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers fanfic Under The Bridge is a two-way example. Widget Hackwrench believes that their father tried to drown her in favor of her sister Gadget, a cute blond mouse and not a one-armed, gray-haired albino like herself. She builds a submarine out of a discarded boiler and hires a crew for it including a war veteran mouse as the captain, the latter being the only one who knows about her plans—nothing less than killing her sister in revenge for what she herself had lived through in her past. She even goes as far as sinking a rodent ferryboat. After several unsuccessful attacks, Gadget decides to take her sister's death threat against her into her own hands, snapping mentally in the progress. She modifies a machine gun round into a guided torpedo to kill Widget by sinking her submarine with everyone aboard. In a sense, the other Rangers have to intervene against one of their team members in the end.
  • Maylu Sakurai from Mega Man NT Warrior fanfic, Maylu's Revenge, has this of wanting to get revenge against her NetNavi, Roll, for her actions as Empress even it's her own fault this happened. This would her to join World Three in an attempt to gain power strong enough to delete her from existence.
  • Unkei in Black Flames Dance in the Wind: Rise of Naruto. His entire clan is defecting from Konoha and he knows full well the only way for them to succeed is to have as much of a lead as possible. He still insists on killing Yakumo (due to the demon sealed in her betraying them), who's under 24-hour guard.
  • When Uryu confronts Ichigo in A Black Heart, Ichigo gladly tells him that he can takeover for Ichigo in protecting Karakura from Hollows. Uryu however insists that he won't allow Ichigo to simply forfeit and uses Hollow Bait to prove he's better. The only reason Ichigo doesn't kill him afterwards is that Urahara took Uryu away and hid him.

    Film 
  • As quoted above, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan this is Khan towards Kirk, all the way down the line. Even though Khan's dialogue shows he's read Moby-Dick, he follows Ahab's footsteps to the bitter end.
    • Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact. He gets over it.
    • In Star Trek (2009), Captain Nero is like this. Overlapping with Cut Lex Luthor a Check, he could have just taken his ship to Romulus after escaping from the Klingons (Deleted Scene), even after capturing Spock. Then he could have given the future tech to his people, and they could have taken on the Federation and the Klingon Empire, thus assuring the safety he wanted.
      • In a more subtle example, Spock toward the end, when Kirk offers to rescue Nero ( who had previously destroyed Vulcan) from the singularity he created;
      Spock: Captain, what are you doing?
      Kirk: Showing them compassion may be the only way to earn peace with the Romulans. It's logic, Spock. I thought you'd like that.
      Spock: No, not really. Not this time.
    • Shows up again in Star Trek Into Darkness, where Kirk wants Harrison dead for killing Pike, and Admiral Marcus exploits this by sending Kirk on an assassination mission that is really about starting a war.
  • In Iron Man 2, Ivan Vanko wants revenge on Tony Stark for the Sins of Our Fathers; his father Anton Vanko invented the original Arc Reactor alongside Tony's father, Howard Stark, but Howard Stark had him accused of spying and deported. Needless to say, Ivan is pissed off, but his desire to get personal revenge on Tony Stark for what his father did blinds him. He invents his own personal reactor for a suit of his own and attacks Tony in public, trying to discredit him and his claims that no one else can match his own technology. Shortly afterward, when Tony defeats him, he comments on Vanko's pursuit of personal revenge over simply selling the reactor to anyone who wants it and making a huge profit. Later, when Justin Hammer busts Vanko out of prison, he explains that Vanko is approaching revenge all wrong, and says that instead of attacking the man personally, one should attack his legacy, and arranges for Vanko to create an army of "Hammer Drones" that are intended to make Stark's Iron Man technology obsolete. Vanko goes along with it at first, apparently, but ultimately sabotages the drones and War Machine, takes control of the whole lot, and tries to kill Tony again. Then again, Justin Hammer is a Big Bad Wannabe Smug Snake who just wouldn't SHUT UP about how things should be done, didn't bring Vanko his burd from Russia and, seeing he's an Corrupt Corporate Executive, he would have most likely killed Vanko once his drones outdid Tony's suit. Plus, Vanko was never intending on earning profit or making the drones for Hammer. He just wanted to kill Tony, preferrably in the most epic way ever.
    • In Iron Man 3, Killian's plans would have gone much more smoothly if he hadn't involved Tony due to revenge for a petty joke thirteen years ago. In more detail: Killian showed up at Stark Tech showing Pepper ideas his new Extremis Super Serum in the most flirtatious way possible. Happy then followed his goon, witnessed a drug deal, and was put in a coma, which led Tony to decide to take an active interest in the Mandarin, storm his hideout, and kill all of his men. Now, while a good amount of that Killian couldn't have predicted going exactly that way, the fact is that he flirted with Pepper specifically to piss off Tony.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy gives us Drax, who sells out the team to get the Big Bad's attention, only to get his ass handed to him. This results in the loss of the MacGuffin, two of our heroes nearly dead and captured, and possibly tons of civilian casualties.
  • In the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, after downing the mutagen and transforming into Super Shredder, Shredder becomes so fixated on killing the Turtles that he doesn't realize that the bridge they're under is falling apart. But then when told so, he's beyond caring.
    Leo: Shredder, you gotta listen to reason! You're gonna destroy us all!
    Super Shredder: Then so be it!
  • In the film (and MST3K episode) The Sidehackers, protagonist Rommel, finds out that the Big Bad, J.C., is hiding out in a rock quarry and planning an ambush for him. Rather than sending word to the police where J.C. isnote , he goes ahead with his original plan to confront and kill J.C. It doesn't end well.
  • The protagonist of the Joshuu Sasori series is so hell-bent on revenge that she pursues her list of targets leaving the worst for last because she knows exactly where it'll get her: he's a detective, and she attacks and kills him in the police station where he works. Sure enough, the final shot of the film shows her re-entering the prison.
  • In Michael Mann's Heat, this is what eventually brings master thief Neil McCauley down. He's literally on the way to the airport with his girlfriend, ready to catch a private jet to retirement in New Zealand, but he gets a phone call letting him know where the guy who ratted him out to the cops (and tortured one of his friends to death) is staying. He just can't leave without paying the guy a visit...and it turns out the cops have got him staked out for just that reason.
  • In Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, this is what leads to both the protagonists' downfall.
    • Ryu himself went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the organ dealers after his sister's suicide, in retaliation for stealing his money and kidney. However, when he gets back to Cha Yeong-mi's apartment, he found his girlfriend's dead body in in the stretcher while in a lift. Consumed with grief and unwilling to get over her death, he swears vengeance on his girlfriend's killer.
    • Park Dong-jin wants to fulfill his justice on the kidnappers of his daughter, right after Yu-sun's demise. He starts out by going to Yeong-mi's apartment to interrogate her. However, the girl threaten him that the anarchno-terrorist underground she's part of, knowing of his identity, will find and kill him if he kills her. Said threats sounds completely hollow, so Dong-jin kills her anyway.
  • In Taken 2, the Big Bad Murad is the father of one of the sex slavers Bryan killed in the first film. Considering how much other damage Bryan had done to his sex slavery ring, it was already Bullying a Dragon to try Avenging the Villain. What really puts it into Too Dumb to Live, however, was trying to get at Bryan by abducting the man's loved ones... again. If Murad had just quietly restarted the ring and not done anything to regain Bryan's ire, he could have avoided his fate.
  • In Serenity, both Mal and Jayne caution Zoe to keep her head in the game and not in revenge for Wash's death. Ultimately she ignores them, and leaves cover to shoot the Reavers at point blank range and fight them hand to hand. This results in both the others being able to provide less adequate cover fire (out of fear they'll hit her) and her being injured. Jayne is then forced to leave cover to drag her to safety, further limiting how much cover fire is provided.
  • In X-Men: First Class, only Charles Xavier's timely intervention prevented Erik Lehnsherr from drowning while the latter tried to stop Sebastian Shaw's submarine.
  • Taken to a particularly unusual (not to say unrealistic) degree in The Hurt Locker, where Sgt. James discovers a mutilated, explosive-laced body that could pass for the local Iraqi kid he had befriended, and becomes so fixated on avenging the boy that he draws a gun on the only man he associated him with, takes his car, goes to the house where the kid apparently lived, breaks in, finds the resident father-figure, who turns out to be a professor who has nothing to do with the insurgency, comes to his senses after a short conversation with the terrified man, and finally realizes he has no idea what he's doing. It's incredibly awkward.
  • Soto from Ice Age is so obsessed with getting revenge on the tribe of premieval men who killed half his pack (probably in self-defence anyway), he makes an assault onto their camp with the specific goal of eating the chief's infant son, which results in more tigers killed (offscreen) and his Dragon betraying him in favor of his new Fire-Forged Friends. In the climax, when he hears the baby cooing, he immediately turns to it - completely forgetting about raging mammoth right behind him. It gets him knocked into a wall and killed by falling icicles.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Feudalism: in the fable Scorpion and Fox the scorpion stings the fox while swimming over the river to saferty from forest fire: Better we both should perish than my enemy should live!
  • Captain Ahab of Moby-Dick endangers his life and crew to chase a white whale whom he believes bit his leg off out of pure spite.
    Starbuck: Vengeance on a dumb brute! That simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous...
    Ahab: Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then I could do the other.
  • This is what leads to Liu Bei's downfall in Romance of the Three Kingdoms after Guan Yu is killed, leading to a Heroic BSOD, and prime minister Zhuge Liang's advice on priorities is ignored; the resultant failed attempt at revenge costs the lives of two of his four remaining elite Tiger Generals — including his sworn brother and longtime companion Zhang Fei — the ruination of his army by Lu Xun's fire attack, his own health and eventually life, any realistic hope of an alliance between the kingdoms of Shu-Han and Wu within his lifetime, Jing province being forever lost to Shu (before Liu Bei's punitive expedition against Wu, its sovereign had offered the province back which Guan Yu had been fought for), and the ascension of the throne of his easily manipulated son Liu Shan.
  • The Sponsor in Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations has a little of this. First by maliciously deleting from history the temporal agent who attempted to identify him (rewriting the timeline so she was never born) and then, when other agents were nonetheless able to use her last, shielded transmission to find him, having this to say:
    "If that revenge backfired and led to my arrest, then all the more need for the revenge itself to stand".
  • Throughout the Star Trek Novel Verse, Bajorans are prone to holding grudges and vendettas long past the point of reason; this is particularly noteworthy in the Terok Nor series. In the first book, their stubborn commitment to stewing over wrongs both real and imagined becomes a fatal flaw when Dukat decides it's the perfect means of controlling them. All he has to do is fan the flames of their anger against a preferred target, and they'll be too angry and focused to see his agenda unfolding around them.
  • In the Iron Druid Chronicles the Norse god Thor is such a Jerk Jock that he makes mortal enemies wherever he goes. After Thor killed the family of the Viking Leif, Leif became a vampire and then spent the next thousand years preparing his revenge. By the time he is ready, he has become the most powerful vampire in North America. Whether he succeeds or fails the outcome of his attack on Thor will have profound repercussions in the supernatural world with a massive vampire war being the least of the problems. He does not care for the consequences as long as he gets a chance to kill Thor.
  • In World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness novelization, this is revealed to be a major reason for The Horde's defeat during its war with The Alliance. During the Horde's siege of Lordaeron's capital, the Evil Sorcerer Gul'dan, whose Shadowmoon Clan as well as Cho'gall's Twilight's Hammer clan have been left in reserve, due to Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer not trusting them, decides that now is the time to break with the Horde and sail for the island on which he has found the Tomb of Sargeras. After discovering this, Orgrim is facing a dilemma: he can either send forces to punish Gul'dan and all the other traitors, which would leave him unable to break through Lordaeron's gates and raze the city, or raze the city but leave the traitors unpunished. He decides to go with the former, sending the Blackrock Clan, constituting a full third of the Horde's strength, to obliterate the two renegade clans. With the Alliance army approaching, Orgrim has to cut and run, retreating to his fortress in Blackrock Spire. Meanwhile, the Blackrock Clan clashes with the Twilight's Hammer Clan and slaughters them all, although sustaining plenty of casualties, while the Shadowmoon Clan is destroyed by the demonic guardians of the Tomb. On the way back to the mainland, the orc transport ships are ambushed by the Kul Tiras fleet commanded by Admiral Daelin Proudmoore, and most of the transports are sunk. Basically, not only does this decision cost Doomhammer the city, but he ends up losing so many warriors that he ends up losing the war in short order.
  • A heroic example in Patricia A. McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. After the Mind Rape that was intended to destroy her personality and turn her into a happy little slave, Sybel decides that no sacrifice—not even the love and happiness of those closest to her, and certainly not the death of uninvolved third parties—is too great to make if it will ensure that the man responsible suffers the depths of terror and despair before he dies.
  • In the Honor Harrington novel Shadow of Saganami, when Captain Terekhov discovers that the pirate ship he's tracking is not only Havenite, but a Mars-class cruiser, the same exact class as the one that destroyed his last command, he is filled with a burning desire to smash them. He admits that his desire for revenge may be why he chose a plan of attack that put his ship at a somewhat greater risk in order to ensure he could bring the enemy to action. Played with in that his plan worked more or less perfectly, with the enemy cruiser reduced to a floating wreck and his own ship unscathed.
  • From the second Ringworld book (Engineers): Harvey Mossbauer's family had been killed and eaten during the fourth Man-Kzin war. Many years after the truce and after a good deal of monomaniacal preparation, Mossbauer had landed alone and armed on Kzin. He had killed four Kzinti males and set off a bomb in the harem of the patriarch before the guards managed to kill him.
    • While we're on Niven, his short story "The Ethics of Madness" has a man inadvertently deprived of psychiatric medication go insane and kill some people. The end result is that the killer flees towards, basically, the edge of the universe in a ramscoop vehicle, with a relative of those killed chasing him. Advanced medical devices all but ensure neither of them will ever die of old age.
    • And in A World Out Of Time, Corbell flees the state in a ramship. His "Checker" (effectively, slavemaster) sends his "personality" over and over at the computer in his ship, being unable to enforce his orders any other way. The computer very much wants revenge due to the personality overlay, but it's also programmed at a deeper level to obey Corbell's orders, which sets up an interesting dynamic that profoundly impacts the plot.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo: Dantes' finds himself free, talented, and ridiculously wealthy. It reaches the point where he's able to offer bribes to the pope, bankrupt a major French bank, construct multiple elaborate secret identities, buy up half of the French property market, and care for a beautiful foreign princess. He could sail off into the sunset, attempt to live out a long and happy life... But by this point he is a broken man. Obsessed with vengeance.

     Live Action TV  
  • 24:
    • Gael Ortega's wife shoots Stephen Saunders despite him being the only person who can stop the outbreak of a deadly virus.
    • Another example: Curtis Manning tries to kill Hamri Al-Assad, leading to Jack being forced to shoot him.
    • Victor Drazen could have escaped the country if he wasn't so busy trying to kill Jack.
    • Tony Almeida works with the antagonists of Day 7 and puts hundreds of innocent lives at risk in order to get close to their leader and kill him to avenge the murder of his wife.
    • Jack Bauer himself on the other hand generally averts this trope. Although he isn't above revenge and has no problem putting several bullets into the body of someone who's killed a close friend or loved one of his, if he needs to work with said person first in order to carry out some assignment or thwart some other terrorist plot, he will put aside urges to kill them for the moment until after the mission's over. Some notable cases include him saving the life of Nina Meyers during Day 2 since he needed her to find the nuclear bomb and teaming up with Christopher Henderson to stop Vladimir Bierko's takeover of a sub armed with nuclear missiles during Day 5. This trait becomes especially important in the series finale where after a few hours of flat out playing this straight Chloe O'Brien is able to convince him not to assassinate Yuri Suvarov at the eleventh hour, which would in turn have kick-started WWIII.
    • In Day 9, CIA Agent Kate Morgan weaponizes this trope in order to get a confession on a stolen piece of property out of the man who also framed her husband, by bluffing him into thinking she's going to kill him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Played straight and lampshaded In Faith, Hope & Trick. Kakistos the Vampire is determined to kill Faith after she horribly scarred him in self-defense a while back. While they're fighting Faith and Buffy, Kakistos' underlings cut their losses and abandon him after Mr. Trick points this out:
Mr. Trick: [walking out after noticing Kakistos will probably lose this fight] There's a reason these vengeance crusades are out of style. As a modern vampire, you have to see the bigger picture.
  • Castle: Detective Kate Beckett nearly fell victim to this trope, as she became more determined to find her mother's murderer. For much of the show she decided that she could not commit herself to a relationship with Richard Castle until her mother's murder was solved. In the fourth season finale "Always" her obsession with the case nearly drove Castle away from her after she refused to back down, even after his Anguished Declaration of Love. By the end of the episode, after nearly getting killed and being forced to Turn In Her Badge, Beckett decided that her revenge on her mother's killer meant nothing if she lost Castle. Cue Big Damn Kiss / Relationship Upgrade.
  • Farscape: the Big Bad of the first season, Crais, spends it tracking down the "killer" of his brother; forfeiting his command, career and facing imprisonment because of it. He later admits that he was mostly concerned about his waning career and agrees that his brother's death was just an accident (his brother's Prowler grazed Crighton's comparatively primitive Farscape One module, lost control, and slammed into an asteroid). An Evil Sorcerer fueling his anger doesn't help matters.
  • Game of Thrones: Ser Loras Tyrell is ready to storm out of King Renly Baratheon's tent to put a sword through Stannis Baratheon's righteous face, but his sister Margaery and Littlefinger manage to convince him that it would be hopeless, as he would be killed by Stannis' men long before he ever reached his target.
    • Averted with regards to Loras' perception of Brienne on the show. From the books...  He never believes for a moment that she is capable of harming Renly. Despite his intense grief and his resentment of losing to Brienne in the melee, Loras correctly blames Stannis.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Marshall once pointed out that Barney, while eating a meatball sub, had gotten some marinara sauce on his tie, then chuckled a little at it. Barney considers this the most humiliating moment of his life, and is determined to get revenge by tricking Marshall into eating an exploding meatball sub. He spends months designing the exploding sub, and actually waits ten years before he gets Marshall to eat it; Barney pretends to be dying (he even spends thousands of dollars on medical treatments for a disease he doesn't have) and says that Marshall eating the sub is his last wish. Then the sub explodes in Marshall's face, Barney laughs ... and Ted points out that Barney got another bit of marinara sauce on his tie.
  • Kamen Rider Double: Both played straight and averted by Ryu Terui/Accel. While he goes berserk when he sees the Weather Dopant or even hears about him, he is otherwise kept in check by Shotaro's intervention and his own conscience.
  • Merlin: King Odin. He hatches one scheme after another to kill Arthur in retaliation for killing Odin's son in battle years before. Never mind the fact that Arthur didn't want to fight the boy in the first place and had no choice to kill him once battle was initiated. Arthur is finally able to talk him down, though, very impressively.
  • Once Upon a Time: Regina's desire to get revenge on Snow White is what drove her evil. She's clearly aware that she has destroyed her life for revenge, which she didn't even actually get. Hook would qualify, as well.
  • Revolution:
    • In "No Quarter", Private Richards wants revenge on Danny for killing his best friend Templeton in "Pilot". The problem with that is Templeton shot first and killed Ben Matheson (Richards dismissed that when Danny points that out), Danny only wounded the guy with his crossbow and the villager Caleb shot and killed Templeton. Even though Danny gets beaten up, he repays Richards for that later by strangling him a little with his chains and threatening to kill him if he ever lays hands on him again.
    • In "Soul Train", Ken 'Hutch' Hutchinson wants revenge on the militia for the death of his wife, by blowing up a train with many officers on it. Unfortunately, he is willing to blow up the train with innocent civilians like Danny Matheson in it. He ended up stabbing Nora in the gut when she tried to stop him.
    • When Danny gets killed off in "The Stand", Rachel Matheson becomes obsessed with avenging him. In "The Song Remains the Same", she tried to kill Tom Neville and had to be talked out of it by Charlie. In "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", Dr. Jane Warren suspected Rachel's motivation and tried to talk her out of it, but Rachel wouldn't listen. In "The Longest Day", Rachel has to spell it out to Aaron Pittman that she only wants to turn the power back on to avenge Danny, and she'll let another ill boy die and abandon Aaron if that's what it takes to obtain it. In "Clue", she infiltrates Monroe's tent and tries to use a live grenade to kill herself and take him with her. In "Children of Men", her attempt fails, and she ends up having a heart-to-heart discussion about her motivations, with Monroe himself having to point out that he wasn't even there when Danny got killed off.
  • Scrubs: In "My Mirror Image", The Janitor realizes he has spent so much time and energy into trying to trying to get revenge on JD (for the penny in the door incident) that he misses out on all the things he wanted to do. He doesn't change his ways until much later, though.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode, "The Battle", Ferengi Daimon Bok staged an elaborate trap to gain revenge on Captian Picard for the death of Bok's son, whose ship was destroyed in a battle with the Stargazer, the first ship Picard commanded. His fellow Ferengi ultimately abandoned him, declaring that there is no profit in revenge.
  • The Storyteller: The retelling of Daedalus' story presents him as falling into this. After terrible actions in the past (causing the deaths of his nephew and son), Daedalus had a chance to atone when he befriended the young prince and princess at a court. However, when he is blackmailed by King Minos into building the Labyrinth, he throws away that chance by his terrible revenge on Minos - rigging his bath to boil him alive. The story indicates that with that revenge, Daedalus essentially froze his heart, and he dies alone, a broken man.
  • Supernatural: All of the Winchesters are hell-bent on taking out the demons who have destroyed their family, but John and Sam are particularly scary and self-destructive about it. Particularly notable in season four, when Sam's quest to kill Lilith, the demon who laughed as her hounds tore Dean apart and dragged him to hell, leads the poor kid down a path that ensures he fulfills his own greatest fears about himself. And brings about The End of the World as We Know It killing her in an attempt to prevent the Apocalypse.
  • One episode of Csi Ny has a particularly silly example. A fat girl wins an audience contest during a basketball game but her triumph is spoiled by another audience member mocking her weight. She spends her winnings and the next two years on slimming down and making herself beautiful so that she can become a cheerleader for the basketball team and rig the same contest so that her tormentor wins, allowing her to deliver a Kiss of Death as he tries to claim the prize. Leaving aside the numerous more practical methods that she could have chosen for her revenge, would she not have stopped at some point and realized that she had improved her life to the point where his insults were no longer relevant? At the very least, would she not have simply run into an even bigger jerkass in the mean time who would have been even more deserving of death?

    Music 
  • Eminem's 1 Shot 2 Shot fully acknowledges the fact that bullets are flying everywhere as people engage in a shoot out, even leaving their wives and girlfriends in harm's way to go get a gun so they can return fire. Something of a sub-culture specific example of Honor Before Reason, as well, as the culture expects one to fight back when shot at.
  • "Before He Cheats"; a woman perceives her boyfriend to be cheating on her. What does she do? Wreck up his car and key-scratch her name into it, of course! Apparently, she doesn't know that you can go to jail for such a blatant destruction of property, not to mention the fact that key-scratching her name into her boyfriend's car pretty much counts as a signed confession.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: So. Let's say that you are the ghost of a First Age god-king, who has been empowered by the dead gods that once ruled Creation to go out and drag the whole place screaming into the maw of Oblivion. They have power over you that is paramount, and do not show favor to those who screw up. So what have you spent the last several years doing? You've been tracking down the reincarnations of the people who tormented you in the First Age, and making their lives hell over and over again. You have let plans that could put a serious cold sore on Creation's lips, including a zombie plague, char on the back burner because you are so busy fucking over the people who tormented you millennia ago. You are Eye and Seven Despairs, and you are, in the eyes of your colleagues, utter dogshit.
  • In Warhammer the Dwarfs. Every time. They are determined to avenge every slight, and never, ever forgive. And just to make sure they don't forget either, they have a giant book called the Book of Grudges in which they write them all down. They're currently going slowly extinct, and a fair amount of the blame goes to their refusal to cooperate with the other races because at some point in centuries past they were wronged by them. That, and their literal inability to stop taking revenge. Every time they take revenge, and lose a dwarf doing it? Write it down in the book. Vengeance is a sacrament to them; one wonders what they'd do once the Book of Grudges no longer had any unfulfilled grudges within.
  • At least one Paranoia module addresses this: "After all, what's more important— that you survive, or that your enemy gets his?"

     Video Games 
  • Just about every murder in Ace Attorney is a result of this trope. For example, Manfred von Karma's reaction to his rival pointing out an inconsistency in his argument, resulting in his first court penalty was to murder said rival and raise the rival's son—Miles Edgeworth—as a prosecuting attorney obsessed with getting guilty verdicts. That isn't the half of it, either; the rest of his reaction is to wait 15 years, then frame Edgeworth for the murder of someone related to the case. And, since Edgeworth thinks that he accidentally killed his father, even if he is acquitted, he'll confess to von Karma's crime. A third person was thought sort-of guilty, no one was investigating further, and von Karma would have gotten off scot-free if he didn't try to frame Edgeworth. Considering that this is a man who walked around for 15 years with a bullet in his shoulder as part of keeping his crimes under wraps, he propably kissed reason goodbye long before the game even started.
  • In Quest for Glory III, Rakeesh tries to convince the king not to declare war because of the dissapearance of his (Rakeesh's) daughter, knowing that there are demons involved and starting a war is what the demons want:
    "Revenge for the sake of revenge is pointless. Mindless revenge is pure stupidity."
  • Assassin Asha in Iji. He also accuses Iji of the same, as she really wants to kill him for attacking and possibly killing Dan.
    • The player is free to subvert this by ignoring Asha's challenge, which leads to Asha's suicide.
      • Alternate Character Interpretation: Asha is far more of a Honor Before Reason character. Considering that he refuses to dodge shotgun blasts, gets revenge BECAUSE you insult his honour, and commits suicide if you refuse to fight him? Iosa on the other hand... Iji can reason with her, but she just hates the Tasen far too much because of what happened to her.
  • In Fire Emblem, Raven is thrown in a jail cell with some Caelin soldiers and his best friend/servant, Lucius. He then betrays them to fight for the enemy in hopes that he could kill your main lord, Hector of Ostia. No matter how much evidence is presented that Hector is innocent of the crime Raven pins him with and no matter how often his friend and sister tell him to give it up, he's quite willing to throw his life on the line to try and take a chunk out of him.
  • Touhou gives us Kaguya Houraisan and Fujiwara no Mokou, two immortal girls who are perpetually trying to kill each other despite knowing that they can't die. The reason behind their feud is pretty pathetic too; it's all because Kaguya humiliated Mokou's father centuries ago.
  • Chloe in Tales of Legendia. During her the main game, her primary motivation is justice. However, justice soon turns to revenge when confronted with person who killed her parents. Later in game during the Character Quests, Chloe's want for revenge upon learning identity of killer, to the point where she stabs and leaves for death Senel and tries to kill the swordsmen in front of his daughter who she has gotten close to and sees her as a sister. Luckily, she grabs a hold of her senses when she almost kills said daughter who stands in her way from harming her father.
  • Asch in Tales of the Abyss. It's actually a lot more complicated than plain revenge, but there's certainly an element of vengeance when he faces Luke, the replica who unwittingly stole Asch's life and condemned him to an early death by fonon separation, in a Duel Boss encounter near the end. He even admits this:
    Asch: Shut up! This isn't about logic!
  • Tech Kraken, pupil of the late Hero Antagonist Phantom in the Mega Man Zero series. Knowing that Zero retired Phantom before the end of the first game, Kraken decided to join Dr. Weil's army to get revenge on Zero. He openly stated that he doesn't care about the repercussions of working under Weil, because he just wants to avenge his mentor. Fortunately, Kraken loses all of his desire for revenge after his final defeat in Zero's hands, and gives Zero his blessing in defeating Dr. Weil once and for all.
  • In God of War III, Kratos is so completely blinded by his desire to kill Zeus and eventually all the gods, he refuses to listen to other people who tell them that, like, maybe killing the sun in pursuit of Zeus wouldn't be such for a good thing for the world at large. Nope, he's got to have his vengeance! Eventually however he starts to see the consequences of his actions and chooses to sacrifice himself to give the power of hope to humanity in an attempt to salvage the world he obliterated.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Zaeed wants the head of Vido Santiago on a pike in the worst way. The two started the Blue Suns merc group together. Vido wanted to hire Batarians because they were cheaper, but Zaeed considered them a little too hardcore. Vido circumvents Zaeed by betraying him and shooting him in the face. Zaeed attempts to get his revenge later with the help of Commander Shepard, but ends up endangering the lives of innocent refinery workers in the process. A Paragon player can go so far as to deck Zaeed across the face in a What the Hell, Hero? diatribe, and deprive Zaeed of his revenge attempt and save the plant workers instead. Renegade players can go along with Zaeed's Revenge Before Reason spree.
    • The Paragon option works because you make it look like you were going to leave him there like he would have the other people. He calms down a bit. Enough so that he won't get himself killed on the Suicide Mission.
    • This political stance in the Quarian fleet regarding the Geth is personified by Admiral Han'Gerrel. If you screw up Priority: Rannoch or have a bad save, and choose to allow Legion to complete the upload, Han'Gerrel will doom the fleet in a mad attack on the geth, leading to the virtual destruction of the quarian people and the death of Tali.
  • In Soul Calibur 3, Setsuka vows to take revenge upon the man that defeated her father in a duel, which accidentally gave him an infection that killed him. Despite the fact that his dying words were that the swordsman was a good, honorable man, and that she should not hold a grudge against him.
  • In Persona 4, the Protagonist is given the opportunity to kill Taro Namatame for being responsible for Nanako's death. However, if the Player chooses not to give in to this and ponders the option that Namatame is not the true killer, not only does Nanako gets better, but her father (after getting some time to cool off) will piece together the evidence himself and doubts Namatame's (who turns out to be a well intentioned Unwitting Pawn given false leads) actual guilt.
  • Saints Row series:
    • The Boss in Saints Row 2 drives the Brotherhood boss Maero into this throughout a Cycle of Revenge story arc. The Boss makes precise and sometimes lucrative strikes against Maero, who lashes out with any heavy vehicles and weapons at his disposal, going so far as to assault and threaten city officials to do it. Eventually the Boss loses reason enough to charge into a trap set by Maero.
    • Near the end of the game when the Boss is given the opportunity to confront Julius, he/she does it with no hesitation. Even when Julius points out why he tried to kill him/her at the end of the first game to prevent more bloodshed, the Boss just laughs in his face before gunning him down.
    • Likewise in Saints Row: The Third if you decide to go after Killbane which ultimately results in the death of two long standing Saint's members.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a heroic example: If you choose to spare Loghain at the Landsmeet, Alistair will permanently leave the party. However, it's possible to get him to stay as King of Ferelden and save Loghain's life if you take proper precautions. If so, by Dragon Age II he'll calmed a bit about this, though he's still quite bitter towards Loghain.
    • This goes the other way as well. If you are aimed on killing Loghain the otherwise virtuous and good Alistar will stick with you to the end, even if you're playing the Warden as a cruel ruthless backstabbing evil jackass who's constant murdering and betryals have long since caused the rest of the party to leave.
    • If you don't carry over the save game from Origins into Dragon Age II, you are given three choices for the outcome of the first game. The default choice has Loghain survive and Alistair become king.
    • The Human Noble can demonstrate this towards Arl Howe. Despite remaining calm and rational throughout the rest of the game, various dialogue hints that just under the surface is a seething mass of rage, eager to get revenge on the man who murdered their entire family;
    Human Noble Warden: I want Howe dead NOW!
  • In Dragon Age II, Vengeance — the former spirit of Justice twisted by Ander's rage directed at the Templars — embodies this. Over the course of the game Anders/Vengeance cares less about true justice and more about making the Templars pay for oppressing mages, regardless of who gets hurt.
    • Ironically, in the endgame, if you refuse to kill Anders, Sebastian will swear to raise an army and burn Kirkwall to the ground in revenge for the destruction of the Chantry, rather than reserving his revenge for Anders and Hawke, despite having just condemned Anders for killing innocent people.
  • Prototype, where Alex Mercer kills countless people to get revenge on the people who turned him into what he is, overturning their operations whenever he finds an opportunity. As a direct consequence, Manhattan becomes a war-zone. This is, of course, one of the few things remaining from the original Mercer, whose corpse was reanimated after he died trying to take the rest of the world down with him.
    • It's a something of a theme now; in Prototype 2, Heller's motive is to get revenge on Alex for 1) wreaking so much havoc on New York (indirectly killing Heller's family, who were caught in the crossfire of the first game) and 2) turning Heller into a creature like Alex, making him immortal when all he wanted was to die.
  • Defied by Karst in Golden Sun: The Lost Age. She prides herself on being aware of her situation and in control of her emotions when she needs to be, so even her Roaring Rampage of Revenge over the death of her beloved Cool Big Sis is second priority to the Elemental Lighthouses.
    Karst: *smiling, possibly grimly* I am filled with rage... but not so much as to be blinded by it.
    • At the same time, she never stopped to ask why Isaac killed her sister, which in hindsight was a mistake.
  • In Wing Commander III, when Hobbes kills Cobra, Colonel Blair has the option of going after him or listening to reason. If he chooses revenge, he chases Hobbes and duels him, while Hobbes comments that he knew their fight was destined to happen. Consenquently, Vaquero is killed in an ambush while the Victory is undefended by the Colonel. If he chooses to not chase him, the ambush doesn't happen and he gets to fight him in the final mission alongside Prince Thrakhath, but Hobbes doesn't say anything then.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim The Blades insist that Paarthurnax be killed and refuse to aid the player until the deed is done. This is despite the Blades being honor bound to serve the Dragonborn (you) and a previous Dragonborn already agreed to leave Paarthurnax alone. Secondly, if you fail in your quest the entire world will be destroyed. In fact, depending on when they confront you, you might have just watched the leader of the Blades chew out the generals in charge of the civil war for putting more focus on their petty conflict than on averting the apocalypse when five minutes later, they refuse to aid the only person in the world who can stop Alduin over a four thousand year old grudge.
  • In Starcraft II Heart Of The Swarm, the restored-to-human Kerrigan willingly returns to the Zerg for the sake of revenge on Mengsk for supposedly killing Jim Raynor. This reignites a devastating galactic war, destroys any chance for peace and stability and results in countless deaths. She is thoroughly chewed-out for this by various characters, and ultimately she proves she is no longer the original Queen of Blades by making her own job much harder in her attempts to prevent civilian casualties and ensure that the galaxy survives her war and has the possibility of a brighter future.
  • This is the Big Bad's entire motivation in Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War. He knows that restarting the war between gods and demons will likely result in the destruction of the human race, if not the entire world but he doesn't care, just so long as he can pay the gods back for humiliating the demons 70,000 years ago.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: After losing everything, including a few limbs, to XOF and Cipher a.k.a. the Patriots, Big Boss and Miller have sworn revenge on both groups, and are perfectly willing and able to cross any line to reach that end.
    Miller: "We pull in money, troops, just to combat Cipher. Rubbing our noses in bloody battlefield dirt... all for revenge."
  • Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne: Sylwanas Windrider would've gotten her revenge on Arthas, prevented his ascension to Lich-Kingdom and saved everybody heaps of troubles if only she had had the sense to kill him outright rather than seek to prolong his torment allowing him to escape and fulfil his goals.

    Webcomics 
  • Lord Horribus from Sluggy Freelance wants revenge on Torg bad (well, technically he wants redemption for having let Torg escape, but they both come down to tearing Torg into tiny, meaty bits). He proves willing to sacrifice the demons's entire invasion attempt just for the chance of killing Torg.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Ms. Damico kidnaps two people who cost her some money. Petey, a near-godlike AI who can wage war on whole galaxies, offers to buy his friends' freedom for 25 times the amount Damico lost. She refuses, instead demanding "satisfaction".
    • In a (technically) heroic example, this trope is the only thing that can make Tagon say Screw the Money, I Have Rules!. When he's offered a huge fee to rescue Xinchub from certain death, he refuses, because he and his soldiers hate Xinchub so much.
  • In Get Medieval, crimelord Broat personally flies out to the backwater planet his deposed rival Torquel Hane is stranded on (France in 15th century Earth, to be exact) to personally kill, rather leave him stuck somewhere he has no ability or desire to leave. Why? Because Torquel wasn't suffering enough.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the method the Nasaghast used to try to kill the doc for punching an astronaut would've, if successful, killed another astronaut. The Alt Text lampshades this, saying it is impossible to reason with a vengeful ghost.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Fructose Ribflavin's father was killed by the Nemesite emperor. That emperor is long dead. Riboflavin has wasted his entire life seeking revenge against the emperor's innocent descendants. Bob pointed out the pointlessness of this to him, but that only enraged him.
  • Sarda in 8-Bit Theater wants the so-called "Light Warriors" to suffer for all the harm they caused and continue to cause, rather than stop them from causing more harm.

     Western Animation  
  • David Xanatos of Gargoyles always defied this trope, believing that revenge is a sucker's game.
    • This in contrast to may characters like Demona and MacBeth (and even most of the heroes on the occasions their Berserk Buttons are pushed) who often fall right into this.
  • In South Park, Cartman does this, usually Disproportionate Retribution to the offense. Kyle, who is usually the most logical of the boys often devolves into this when Cartman is involved. A lot of both characters' abuse is often self inflicted by their zeal in destroying one another.
    • One example to show exactly how disproportionate we're talking about: Scott Tenorman swindles Cartman out of $16.12 (not all at once). Cartman's response is to get Scott's parents killed, grind up their bodies, make them into chili, and trick Scott into eating it before revealing all of this to him. And then he gets Scott's favorite band to mock him for crying.
  • Quite a few incarnations of the Shredder suffer from this:
    • In the Turtles Forever animated movie, the 2003 Shredder, after being beaten so many times by his Turtles and discovering The Multiverse, decides to go to the source (the Mirage comics universe) and destroy all reality. Karai even explicitly tells him that this would kill him as well, but he's so obsessed with his revenge that he just doesn't care.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the episode "Enemy of My Enemy", Shredder, even after being explicitly told of the danger the incoming Kraang invasion represents, adamantly refuses to waste any resources or weapons on them over his vendetta with Hamato Yoshi/Splinter and the Turtles, which leads a disgusted Karai to form an ill-fated Enemy Mine with the Turtles behind his back.
  • Family Guy: In the episode "The Big Bang Theory", Bertram decides to travel back in time to Ret Gone Stewie by killing his ancestor, none other than Leonardo da Vinci, unaware that, as a result of a time paradox, Stewie was the one that caused the Big Bang and that erasing him would destroy the universe, including himself. Even after Brian and Stewie tell him as such, Bertram, after a brief hesitation, promptly declares that getting rid of Stewie is worth the end of the universe and promptly shoots da Vinci dead. However, Stewie preserves events by becoming his own ancestor.
  • Depth Charge from Beast Wars is a Maximal driven by an all-consuming need to take revenge on the sadistic Rampage, who personally killed and ate the all of the former's friends for a laugh. He'll blow off any order if Rampage is anywhere nearby.
    • In the Grand Finale, Depth Charge finally corners Rampage and stabs his spark with an energon stake, knowing full well this will result in an Earth-Shattering Kaboom he can't survive. On the other hand, this results in Dinobot II regaining the memories and nobility of the original and turning on Megatron at the crucial moment.
  • Courtney spends much of the latter half of Total Drama World Tour sabotaging her own team to get revenge on Gwen as well as Duncan who was her boyfriend at the time for kissing behind her back.
  • Invader Zim. The writers point out that the only reason he hasn't taken over the world is because he gets caught up in pointless battles like finding out if Dib threw that muffin at his head during lunch by hooking him up to a mind control machine and making him live out a vivid, decades-long fantasy life.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Jimmy the "Jazz Man" was more focused on making sure Gordon is killed than getting out of Gotham and laying low.
    Andrea: I'm not saying it's right or even sane, but it's all I have left, so either help me or get out of the way!
    Joker: Let me go or we both die!
    Batman: Whatever it takes.
  • Arcee's obsession with Airachnid in Transformers Prime is made of this, since the latter was the one who killed her partner Tailgate. This also applies with Starscream after she finds out he was the one who killed Cliffjumper. Fortunately by the end of "Partners", she was able to put her desire for revenge behind her.
    • As of Crossfire, she swerved right back into it.
  • This is Dan's bread and butter.
    • More specifically, every episode is about him getting revenge on something, often for comically stupid and petty reasons.
    • Sometimes he will try to get revenge on things people normally wouldn't even dream of getting revenge on or think you could get revenge on like New Mexico, art, technology, a dead president, and a squirrel for some reason.
  • In Winx Club, the Earth fairies were so caught up in revenge against the Wizards of the Black Circle and the people of Earth that they were about to freeze Earth over when one of their grievances was that humans had not taken care of Earth. Nebula in particular wanted vengeance even when Morgana and the other Earth fairies had given up on it. Thankfully, they were all convinced to drop it.
  • The Retaliator in Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens: He goes after a To'kuStar, believing it to have killed his son Azmuth, completely disregarding the fact that his target is about 100 feet tall.
  • Queen Chrysalis of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic falls into this full throttle, and it costs her. In disguise as Princess Cadence, she's succeeded in turning every character, even Princess Celestia herself against Twilight Sparkle for her harsh accusations, and even makes Twilight herself regretful of accusing her of being evil. What does she do? She picks up the Idiot Ball and traps Twilight in exactly the same place as the real Cadence. You can guess what happens next.
    • An alternate interpenetration could be that Chrysalis trapped Twilight there so that she could kill Cadence in a fit of rage, which would've hammered the nail in the coffin further. You know, for kids!
    • Way before that, Nightmare Moon. After a thousand years in isolation she's still driven enough to possibly risk the destruction of all life in Equestria just to get back at - well, everyone. The regular mortals for not remembering her and her sister for banishing her in the first place. She completely fails to see that the Elements of Harmony can still hit her.
  • Blythe soon falls into this in the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "Terriers & Tiaras" in trying to best Judy Jo Jameson at a dog pageant. The TV crew at hand encourage her, and the once sweet-tempered girl becomes meaner and more aggressive than even Judy Jo, going as far as to repurpose the dress Blythe originally gave her dog Zoe as a birthday present to try to gain a competitive edge. Given what this episode is spoofing, Blythe's 180-degree in behavior was bound to happen.
  • In Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, there are three stunning examples:
    • Professor Zoom, whose hatred of Flash is so much that he not only is willing to commit suicide if he can manage to blow up Flash, the Flash Museum, and thousands of innocent, Flash-admiring civilians in the process, but he also interferes with Flash's efforts to save the Crapsack World that is Flashpoint and then tries to ensure Flash will be stranded there as the world is destroyed, even if it means committing suicide in the process.
    • Wonder Woman, who commits adultery with a married man and then kills his wife (she claims in self-defense, but it's ambiguous) before claiming her victim's crown as a trophy and sending the decapitated body back to her now-ex-lover. After this she leads an Amazon invasion of Europe, slaughtering every man and enslaving all of the women, to strengthen her position to defeat her former lover in bloody combat. She all but states outright an intention of leading a bloody Gendercide after she believes she has claimed victory towards the end of the movie.
    • Aquaman, who gets his wife killed by cheating on her with Wonder Woman, and then declares war on the Amazons over it, a war that starts with him sinking all of West Europe. By the time of the final battle, he's rigged what he knows could very well be an unstoppable Doomsday Weapon up as a suicide strike, and his final action after being beaten is to trigger it, ensuring that the whole world follows him into death.
  • The latest incarnation of the Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) is defined by this. His primary motivation in life is to kill Splinter and his turtle sons. He is perfectly willing to aid genocidal alien invaders in rendering the Earth uninhabitable, if it means they can help him exact his revenge.

    Real Life 
  • The cycle of vendetta can very easily lead into situation where all the males of both sides are killed and only women remain.
    • This has led into very bizarre situation in some regions in Albania: some women have seeked for sex change to fulfill the gap due to menfolks killed.

The ResenterCharacter Flaw IndexRich Bitch
Revenge Against MenRevenge TropesRevenge by Proxy
Pay Evil unto EvilVillain BallSelf-Disposing Villain

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