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 filled with the desire for Revenge so greatly that they will pursue it at any cost; this trope refers to when their pursuit of it is unreasonably dangerous to themselves or their loved ones (which in extreme cases can make it a Suicide Mission), or when their pursuit of it is of unreasonable and irrevocable consequence to their mission/objective.

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 avenging a death, will be regarded Excessive Mourning. 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, and Pyrrhic Villainy.

Contrast Forgiveness and Restrained Revenge.


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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. It's still this trope though, but in a different way that ultimately doesn't work out for her in the end.
  • The first season of K revolves around what will happen if the Red King carries this through. Everyone agrees that the killer should be taken down - he shot the sweetest, kindest person around in cold blood and gloated about it. Unfortunately, the victim was also the Red King's Morality Chain, and he wants revenge personally - even though that would cause his Sword of Damocles to (literally) crash down, which would destroy the entire city. And they show the crater from when it happened to the previous Red King, too. But he doesn't care. The Blue King ends up having to kill him right after he takes his revenge, causing his Sword to be at risk of falling, and thus it carries on in season 2...
  • 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 is done to become strong enough to face Itachi, the older brother responsible for killing his entire family. 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. He becoming better due to several other Character Development that causes him to finally stop pursuing revenge too much and becomes a good guy again... but the final arc to reveal it to be a Bait the Dog moment and in a way, he may still be keeping the position well enough. Eventually after learning the truth about the Uchiha, he figures, the world might as well be his revenge and focuses on trying to change it to his will. This kid just will not let it drop.
    • 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 exclusion of all others.
    • In the end, he and Naruto clash, costing them both an arm. Despite this, Naruto's persistence has paid off and he managed to finally get Sasuke to surrender his vendetta against the world and finally helping Sasuke find himself. In the epilogue, he has married Sakura and had a child with her, but often travels away from home to explore the world.
    • 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 Obito. 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.
    • Izuna Uchiha uses his dying breath to convince his brother, Madara, to refuse Hashirama Senju's offer of a truce in favor of continuing to avenge their fellow Uchiha. Sadly, he didn't seem to acknowledge that accepting the truce would both give him a chance to survive through Hashirama's powerful medical jutsu and prevent his clansmen from dying needlessly in more wars with the Senju clan. As a result, he dies of his wounds and Madara ends up becoming an even worse example of this trope, to the point of continuing the war even when other members of their clan wanted to give up.
  • 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 upon everybody who abused him or mocked him when he was young (or people he believes abused him and mocked him). Nevertheless, he is seventy years old when the series begins, so most if not all of Dr. Hell's former tormentors will likely be dead by now. 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 and 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. The problem is, Gin never told anyone what his plan was, even Rangiku, possibly for fear of it getting back to Aizen somehow or tipping him off. As part of his cover, Gin unquestioningly assisted Aizen in his efforts for more power, and even fought or killed other people if they got in the way because in his view none of them had what it really took to kill Aizen. All of this backfires when he finally attacks, as the power he helped Aizen get, a literal Diabolus ex Machina, saves Aizen from being killed instantly.
  • Gundam has a lot of pilots like this.
    • Kamille Biden 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 (Kamille is a man's name!). 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.
      • Kamille's nemesis, Titans ace Jerid Messa, ends up with an even worse case of it. Initially he accidentally kills Kamille's mother and clearly has genuine regret, but the next time they meet Kamille kills his lover (a fellow Titans pilot) and Jerid becomes absolutely obsessed with his own revenge. They continue killing each other's friends and loved ones in an escalating Cycle of Revenge until the finale when Kamille easily kills the now hopelessly outclassed Jerid.
    • G Gundam has Andrew Graham of Neo-Canada. After his wife was killed in a pirate attack, Andrew became Canada's Fighter solely to get back at Argo Gulskii as the man responsible. He kidnaps Rain to force Domon and Argo into his vengeance, and while he has a Heel Realization, it doesn't stick... by the Finals he's as raring for revenge as ever, even when shown evidence that Argo had tried to save his wife. He finally gets it while watching Argo fight Domon.
    • After Garrod snubs her and pulls a gun on her, Ennil El starts teaming up with some incredibly unsavory types to get back at him. She even spoiled the crew's escape attempt from the Feddies after they'd given her medical treatment. Fortunately, this bites her in the ass in a way that wakes her up to the foolishness of her actions.
    • 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. While Kira did indeed cause Stella's death, being a Technical Pacifist he did so by accident...and if Shinn were in a more rational state of mind he would've realized that saving Stella was probably impossible even if Kira hadn't screwed up.
    • 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.
    • Flit Asuno, the first protagonist of Gundam AGE was already pissed at Vagan for killing his parents, but after their Psycho for Hire murdered his would-be Love Interest, he kept a bitter grudge for fifty years. It lead him to great victories... but it also lead to him instituting The Purge against Vagan sympathisers, wanting to summarily execute Vagan POWs, and trying to turn his grandson into a Tyke Bomb to wipe out every Vagan man, woman, and child. It probably doesn't help that said Psycho for Hire was a child.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
  • Lelouch from Code Geass for Shirley half way through the second season. He sends his army - completely unaware of what happened - into what seems to be an ordinary research facility to kill everyone. This, of course, doesn't go over well with them.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Frieza could have chosen to escape, but he spends his remaining energy trying to kill Goku, which backfires spectacularly. This also crosses into Fantastic Racism; Frieza is so shocked that he was defeated by a Saiyan, whom he disregarded as "mere monkeys," that he can't accept that he is defeated even though he's missing an arm and the lower half of his body. Ever since then, his entire purpose in life is to get revenge on Goku for defeating and humiliating him; in Resurrection 'F', he even states outright that he can't stand to live in the same universe as Goku, and as long as Goku is still alive, he can't even sleep at night.
    • Immediately after becoming Mecha-Frieza, he wasn't even off the operating table before ordering his father and their men to set course for Earth, wanting revenge on Goku so badly that he overrides his father's plan to just blow up the planet from orbit and lands so he could personally kill all of Goku's loved ones and friends... and gets sliced into itty bitty pieces by Future Trunks, another Super Saiyan, for the trouble.
    • In GT, during the Super 17 Saga, instead of escaping Hell with the other villains, he and Cell stay behind to double-team Goku after Gero and Myuu trap him in Hell with them, only for Goku to effortlessly beat them both without even going Super Saiyan.
    • This is the basis for his entire plan after being resurrected in Resurrection 'F'. He could have simply rebuilt his empire in space with the Z Fighters none the wiser, but he instead goes through Training from Hell to unlock a new Super Mode before launching a full-scale invasion of Earth, all to get revenge on Goku for his previous defeat. It's to the extent that when one of his minions begs him to just leave Goku alone and focus on rebuilding his empire, Frieza kills him on the spot. This ends up being his undoing: Freeza rushed to Earth to get revenge as soon as he achieved his new Super Mode, not realizing its massive Fatal Flaw (it burns through his stamina at an incredible rate). Even though he was technically more powerful than Goku or Vegeta (AND actually manages to mortally wound Goku), he can't seal the deal before he runs out of stamina and drops back to a weaker form, leaving him easy pickings for Vegeta.
    • Another, very chilling, example is Super Saiyan 2 Gohan willfully prolonging his Curb-Stomp Battle against Cell despite his father and the other Z-Fighters yelling at him to finish it, stating outright that Cell hadn't suffered enough. It backfires spectacularly, as Cell suffers an epic Villainous Breakdown and attempt a Suicide Attack that could've destroyed the whole Earth, had his father Goku not stepped in and sacrificed himself for the sake of everyone, leaving Gohan to finish the job when Cell came back.
    • Goku falls into this after becoming a Super Saiyan the first time. He wanted to make Frieza pay for killing Krillin. To that end, he let Frieza power-up to his max level for the sole purpose of humiliating him with the knowledge that even at his best he couldn't beat a "mere monkey". This was around the time when the planet was going to blow up in a few minutes so defeating Frieza as fast as possible would have been reasonable. He also refused to leave when King Kai planned to wish everyone to Earth, because he wanted to finish the fight. By that point, King Kai considered Goku a lost cause.
    • Vegeta falls into this trope not once, but twice:
      • After Cell kills Trunks during the Cell Games, Vegeta, having had a Jerkass Realization over his treatment of the latter, snaps and attacks Cell at full force; said attack doesn't even faze Cell, and Gohan suffers a Game-Breaking Injury as a result Taking the Bullet for Vegeta. Since Gohan could still have beaten Cell before then, and since Trunks could still be revived by the Dragon Balls, it falls under this, with the other Z Fighters flat-out calling Vegeta an idiot.
      • During the Buu Saga, Vegeta, in order to top Goku, deliberately lets Babidi turn him into a Majin in an attempt to bridge the gap between them. He knew that the energy released by the fight would revive Majin Buu, but he was so obsessed with beating Goku that he just didn't care. From that point on, the remainder the Buu Saga consists of the rest of the universe paying the price for Vegeta's selfishness and obsession.
    • Baby, the first Arc Villain of Dragon Ball GT, is single-mindedly obsessed with avenging the Tuffles' extinction at the hands of the Saiyans no matter what; when Pan tells him that the Saiyans who were actually responsible for his species' demise are long dead, Baby flat-out states that he doesn't care.
    • Dr. Raichi, the Big Bad of the OVA Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans. Like Baby, he's utterly fixated on avenging the Tuffles' extinction, and it makes no difference to him that the Saiyans who actually committed the genocide are long dead; as far as he's concerned, all Saiyans are guilty. He even comes right out and says that he will never forgive the Saiyans for what they did to the Tuffles, even if God Himself does.
    • Zamasu from Dragon Ball Super generally for the dumbest of reasons against Goku: He lost to him in a sparring match which Goku requested just to gauge his strength. Goku was more than cordial about it when he won, didn't even gloat, even complimented Zamasu's efforts and tried to help him up. But Zamasu took the loss way too personally. When Goku and Vegeta go with Trunks to confront Goku Black, they find out it was Zamasu from two alternate timelines going on a rampage to kill all humans. One from a Future Timeline and one from another where Zamasu swapped his body with Goku's, killed him and proceeded to kill his family just for this slight. Granted Zamasu was never right in the head to begin with being that he saw all humans as chronically evil and that they need to be destroyed. But he personally made an effort to target Goku, again, just for a loss in a sparring match rather then being sensible and use the experience to better himself. Essentially he's a Sore Loser taken Up to Eleven.
  • 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.
  • Ranma ˝'s Ryoga 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... Of course, with his sense of direction Ryoga couldn't have stayed in one place anyway, so he might have figured that if he's going to be Walking the Earth anyway he might as well try to get revenge on Ranma. Fanon is that his sense of directing grew worse as he got older, explaining his ability to attend school in the first place, so he would have had to drop out of school and abandon having a permanent home sooner or later anyway.
  • 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.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, Kaiba is so eager to take revenge on Yugi he ends up almost killing him, and refuses to back down when Yami Yugi explains how dangerous their duel has become.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, this is the main motivation for Kurapika, one of the four main characters.
  • In Death Parade, in the afterlife, a man has the corrupt detective who didn't lift a finger to help his sister as she was being raped at his mercy and has the opportunity to torture him. Despite the Black-Haired Woman warning him that if he goes through with it, he'll be banished to the void and never see his sister again, he still does it.
  • In Endride, Emilio is so guilty of this that literally every person around him spends the first cour trying to persuade him he shouldn't kill his Parental Substitute Delzaine to avenge his real father but talk to him instead, especially since he's given zero thought to what happens to the kingdom after he kills the king. He hesitates at the last minute, only for someone else to kill Delzaine first. Emilio is, of course, seized with regret as Delzaine was his father figure and now he'll never get to talk it out.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Supergirl (Rebirth). Lar-On was a Kryptonian sick of lycanthropy who was quarantined to the Phantom Zone by Supergirl's father Zor-El. When he escapes, he wants to kill Supergirl when he finds out that she's Zor-El's daughter. However Kara talks him down, pointing out that she has nothing to do with whatever her father did, and killing people will not bring his family back.
  • In Superman/Spider-Man crossover Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, Lex Luthor's real goal is destroying the planet "which held [his] genius in contempt"... even though he cannot survive in a devastated world. The man has got issues.
  • 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.
  • Sonic the 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, as well as the subsequent Shattered World Crisis. Wily, however, is Genre Savvy enough to avert this and Know When to Fold 'Em.
  • Jonathan Hickman's Avengers: During the Time Run Out arc Steve Rogers, and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D., insist on hunting down and capturing the Illuminati, who are trying to prevent the destruction of the universe, and the rest of existence, while doing absolutely nothing to solve this problem themselves. By the time Sue Storm gets both sides to sit down and shut up, the situation is beyond saving.
    • And even then, in the very last issue, Steve decides that hunting down and beating the ever-loving crap out of Tony is more important than the imminent end of everything.
  • In the Star Trek: Myriad Universes comic The Last Generation, Wesley Crusher wants revenge on the Klingon Empire for their war against Earth. When Picard proposes a plan to go back in time and stop the war before it starts, Wesley is horrified, seeing the idea of peace with the Klingons as a slap in the face to everyone who died in the war. The fact they won't have died never seems to occur to him.
  • During the height of the Iraq War, Doonesbury offered a depressingly realistic explanation for the seemingly impossible task of convincing certain Iraqis to live together peacefully, when Ray stresses the importance of capturing a target alive:
    Iraqi Officer: This will not be possible. I am sworn to vengeance!
    Ray: Why? What'd he ever do to you?
    Iraqi Officer: A member of his family killed a member of mine!
    Ray: What? When did that happen?
    Iraqi Officer: 1387.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • In Origin Story, for several of the The Avengers, defeating Alex Harris is less about any laws she may or may not have broken and more about her embarrassing them in public.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI has one in Talon Ryashen. He was once an ordinary boy who was kidnapped off of the streets by Fairy Tale and used in their Super Soldier experiments, being infused with Alucard's blood and becoming a Half-Human Hybrid; as a result, Talon was rejected and disowned by his own family and seeks to hunt down and kill every last member of Fairy Tale, including those who were Locked Out of the Loop, defected, or simple non-combatants. Despite having been repeatedly told that the members of Fairy Tale who were truly responsible for his condition are dead, Talon refuses to see the situation in anything but black-and-white; as far as he's concerned, everyone who was ever a member of Fairy Tale for any reason is equally responsible for his condition, and he won't stop until they're all dead. It's even been mentioned in-universe by more than one character that Talon simply will not listen to reason.
  • In Mass Effect's Crucible, Makern, the ancestor of the Northern turian clans lost his beloved daughter Koria due to one greedy old nobleman from the South and decided that he needed to destroy them all completely before building everything from scratch under his absolute rule.
    • Because one group of Quarians led by Raan and Tali killed Alt.Amata and their children, Alt.Gaius made them all pay by dropping a bomb on Rannoch, completely pushed the whole race with all its innocent people to extinction while making the leaders watched before they too died.
  • In Things Unseen, Things Unknown, and Things Yet to Be, Willow responds to Xander questioning her decision to keep an employee whom she knows full well is spying on them by deliberately sabotaging him on an upcoming mission to an area that's already cost them six people. In other words, she's risks the death of a friend she's known for roughly forty years because he disagreed with her.
  • In The Witch of the Everfree, after her parents are killed by a timberwolf, Applejack goes into the Everfree Forest determined to make it pay, ignoring both the dangers of the forest and the fact that she doesn't know where the timberwolves actually are.
  • In the Pony POV Series Dark World Arc, the possibility of falling victim to this trope is a constant threat while trying to stop Discord and free Equestria, in no small part thanks to the Nameless Passenger's constant encouragement to take this path. As it turns out, the Passenger is Nightmare Eclipse, Twilight's evil potential future self who is defined by this trope. In her timeline, she intentionally went Nightmare after managing to Set Right What Once Went Wrong to take revenge on Discord...and became so addicted to her vengeance, she trapped Discord in a loop where he'd rule for a thousand years before being defeated and his daughter Fluttercruel killed before it resets, destroying the universe and erasing everyone from that thousand years from existence. It got to the point that Discord's had a Heel Realization and she has to control him as her Puppet King to be evil so she can take revenge on him, becoming even worse than him. Thankfully, in the end Eclipse meets her end and the heroes avoid this trope.
  • We Are What We Are has Starshot. Though his reasons for getting back at the Dazzlings is understandable, (they took his wife from him and ruined his life) he goes way to far: He doesn't kill them right away in favor of letting them suffer, he's willing to hold innocent bystanders hostage, and he puts Adagio in a Hope Spot just to make sure she knows there's no way she can stop him.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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 the raging mammoth right behind him. It gets him knocked into a wall and killed by falling icicles.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek:
    • 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 Jurassic Park, The Big One becomes enraged when Rexie kills her subordinate, and proceeds to attack the T. rex instead of focusing on the humans, despite the fact that Rexie is larger and could easily crush her with her jaws. And she does just that.
  • 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 deconstructed this trope with 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 the rest furious at his foolishness, and possibly tons of civilian casualties.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, 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.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, Balem is willing to harvest Earth ahead of schedule just to spite and/or kill Jupiter, even though Mr. Night points out the serious financial blow doing so would entail.
  • A central theme of The Prestige, starting with Angier craving justice when, thanks to Borden's incompetency, Angier's wife drowns playing an assistant in a water tank trick. Escalating in one-upmanship, the two frequently seek to better and ruin each other's magic career, which even leads to Angier pushing his assistant Olivia to infiltrate and woo Borden to have a means of striking at him:
    Olivia: If I don't get [his diary] back by tomorrow morning he'll know I took it!
    Angier: Leave him.
    Olivia: I can't, he knows where I live.
    Angier: (laughs) This is his diary, Olivia. All of his secrets are right here in my hands!
    Olivia: It won't bring your wife back.
    Angier: I don't care about my wife, I care about his secret.
    (pregnant pause)
  • Metegol: El Grosso is more concerned about his revenge over a foosball game he lost back when he was a kid than his career as a soccer player.
  • In Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark spends the movie trying to hold his makeshift family together even though he's adamant that they all need to be kept in check. But when Zemo shows him the footage of the Winter Soldier assassinating his parents, he snaps like a twig and all his efforts for the rest of the movie go straight out the window. Not five minutes earlier he proved that he knew Bucky was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time, and he also knows what he's doing to the Avengers by attacking them ("So was I."), but he can't get a handle on himself and it's the final fatal blow to the team.
  • Ladies They Talk About: Nan goes to kill Slade at one of his sermons. There’s a huge crowd and a policeman even recognizes her before she goes in the building, but she still goes in to kill him.

  • 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.
    • Ahab's desire for revenge is contrasted against another captain who lost a limb to the same whale, but doesn't hold it against him, and asks Ahab to abandon his chase of Moby Dick.
  • This is what leads to Liu Bei's downfall in Romance of the Three Kingdoms after Guan Yu is killed, leading to a Heroic B.S.O.D., 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. He eventually snaps out of it. But only when he sees the consequences of his actions.
  • In Insurgent, Tori becomes so obsessed with avenging her brother, she ignores Tris' pleads to spare Jeanine and kills her. Even after her revenge is complete, she brands Tris (a girl who she's interacted friendly with in the past) a war criminal, instead of hearing her out.
  • In the Horus Heresy novels, there are multiple cases. Some Iron Hands, such as those in The Damnation of Pythos, will risk anything to hurt the Emperor's Children; in that specific case, it ends very badly for them. Roboute Guilliman, usually one of the most even-tempered Primarchs, responds to Lorgar's treachery in Know No Fear by ordering his ship to fly right down the throat of Lorgar's flagship so he can personally rip out Lorgar's internal organs one by one, even though the tactical situation isn't really in a good place for that. He does get talked down from it, though.
  • In Alouette's Song, after the heroes' interference turns the tide of battle against Mardonale, Roban, the ruler of Kondal, orders a full-on nuclear assault. He is well aware that this could only result in the total destruction of both nations, but claims that he must do it to avenge his people, so this is also a case of Honor Before Reason. Ultimately, the heroes have to remove him from power to prevent a nuclear war.
  • In Starlight And Shadows, the drow priestess Shakti's obsession with revenge against Liriel gets her temporarily banished to the Abyss. After watching her compatriot Gorlist's similar obsession likewise lead him to his demise, Shakti concludes that the drow's biggest weakness is their penchant for revenge before reason. Therefore, she deliberately chooses to avert this in her final confrontation with Liriel, abandoning her chance for vengeance in order to succeed in obtaining the magic artifact she's been seeking.
  • Paths Of Darkness has Le'Lorinel, who wants to fight and kill Drizzt, badly. Badly enough in fact, that he willingly allies himself with a group of dangerous pirates and ogres. Also, when Drizzt refuses to fight him after finding out his real identity, he employs desperate measures, like taking a potion that will mirror all his wounds on Drizzt's body. All the while he is absolutely blind to the fact, that Drizzt is not responsible for the death of his family, but rescued him as a child.
  • Rebecca Reisert's novel The Third Witch, a retelling of Macbeth, is told from the perspective of a girl called Gilly who is obsessed with avenging the death of her father. He had been murdered by Macbeth, who then married Gilly's mother, the future Lady Macbeth. Gilly is so focused on her goal that she does not care if she dies, nor if she hurts others in the effort. She even relinquishes her entire identity, proclaiming "I have made my life an arrow, and his heart is my home". In the end, when the moment she has been waiting for arrives and Macbeth is vulnerable before her, she abandons the opportunity to kill him in order to save the life of Pod, a young boy she befriended. It is Macduff, of course, who then defeats Macbeth; though Gilly is left in an almost catatonic state for several days because she 'failed' her mission, she eventually gains a positive outlook and begins rebuilding her life.
  • In The Witchlands, Merik slips into this after he's heavily scarred in an assassination attempt, and he becomes completely focused on taking down his sister, whom he believes responsible for the attack. He never once stops to consider a greater goal and completely ignores the fact that Vivia might not be the person behind the assassin.

     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 Jack going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for Renee Walker and falling straight into this trope, 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.
  • In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Heavy is the Head", Lance Hunter desperately wants revenge of Carl Creel, a supervillain responsible for the deaths of his friends. On a survillence mission, he betrays the rest of his team, shooting them unconscious, then goes out and confronts Creel alone. This ends with his nearly being killed, a third party stealing a powerful and dangerous artefact, and Agent May having a grudge against him. That last one is agreed to have been the worst part.
    Hunter: She's the type to hold a grudge?
    Coulson: Savors it, actually.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): In the final episode, the Final Five Cylons all put their hands in the mind-link water to download all parts of the resurrection blueprints. Tory tries to convince them to let all their past sins be forgiven. They agree. Naturally, when Galen sees her murder his wife Cally (because she knew they were Cylons), he breaks off the Psychic Link and strangles her. As the resurrection blueprint was part of the deal they made to end the Cylon War, breaking off the download makes the hostile Cylons think it's a trap.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Likewise, an episode of CSI: Miami has the team investigating three separate murders at Spring Break. All three had humiliated a fat girl at an earlier vacation years before so the girl changed her name, lost weight and plotted to get payback by killing all three before they even realized who she was. The episode ends with the girl imagining herself in her "fat prime," smiling with pride as she's led to jail. But as soon as the door slams, her face falls as it seems to hit her how her desire for payback has now ruined her entire life.
  • 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.
  • In The Flash (2014) Christmas Episode "Running to Stand Still", Patty, a cop, temporarily disables The Flash so he can't stop her murdering the defeated and helpless Mark Mardon, the man who murdered her father. Luckily, the Flash is still able to talk her down from killing Mardon.
  • Frontier Circus: Cato in "Coals of Fire". Obsessed with finding the Union officer who killed his master, Cato joined the Confederate army in hopes of running across. After the war ended, he devoted his life to searching for him. When he eventually learned the officer's name and hometown, he joined the T & T Circus because it would be traveling there. Tony made multiple attempts to make him see how empty his quest was, and how a man of his talents could do so much more with his life. But it wasn't until Cato confronted his target and saw how pathetic he had become that he came to his senses and left without killing him.
  • 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. However, he does intend to storm out and put a sword through Stannis' righteous face until Margaery and Littlefinger convince him he would be killed before he ever got close.
  • 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.
  • Legends of Tomorrow:
    • In Season 2, Sara is obsessed with killing Damian Darhk whenever they encounter him in timeline, since he will one day murder her sister Laurel, to the point where she will thoughtlessly abandon any mission the Legends happen to be on for the smallest chance to kill him. To make things worse, Darhk is destined to be killed by Green Arrow in 2016, so killing him in the past would cause massive damage to the timeline, and damage to the timeline is the very thing the Legends are trying to prevent.
    • In the episode "Outlaw Country", Jonah Hex is so obsessed with getting revenge on Quentin Turnbull he storms a stallon filled with Turnbull's people, all armed to the teeth, and would have been killed if not for the Legends.
  • Luke Cage: Diamondback's vendetta against Luke ultimately destroys his entire power base with Luke barely having to lift a finger. Shades calls him out on this when Willis shoots Misty in the club and turns his attempt on Luke into a hostage situation. It's a very, very stupid move that is unlikely to end well even in the best of circumstances. Willis bluntly says he doesn't care. He's willing to burn everything for a chance to kill Luke.
    Diamondback: At the end of this thing, either he's dead or I am.
    • In the first part of the season, Shades tries to get Cottonmouth to stop extorting Harlem businesses as retaliation against Luke, since such an act makes Cottonmouth look weak. The move in fact backfires by making Luke's name ring out even more.
  • 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. For reference, the Stargazer was attacked by a ship that didn't identity itself, and the Federation vessel ended up being abandoned with most crew killed. Bok still blames Picard despite the fact that it was his own son who initiated the battle.
  • 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.
  • Over the course of the third season of Tyrant, Bassam systematically pisses away every scrap of goodwill he's earned over the previous two seasons in order to launch an almost-certainly-doomed invasion of Syria in order to avenge the murder of his daughter Emma.

  • 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.
  • Discussed in Chris Rock's "No Sex (in the Champagne Room)":
    "Young black men — if you go to a movie theater and someone steps on your foot, let it slide. Why spend the next twenty years in jail cause someone smudged your Puma?"

     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.
    • To add some perspective on just how obsessive dwarfs are on the subject: Dwarf craftsmen were once hired to build a castle for a human noble, but the agreed-upon payment of a wagon-load of gold was six pennies short. The response? Kill the noble, murder his family and raze the castle to the ground. Dwarfs do not take kindly to being cheated in business, even if the sum is minute.
      • Similarly, the Dwarfs took massive losses fighting the Greenskins at the Battle of Grimspike Pass, after an Ork Shaman exploded causing a massive landslide. The Dwarfs wanted revenge, but since the offending Greenskin was dead, and the Dwarfs already had vowed to exterminate all Greenskins for other reasons, they declared a grudge against Grimspike Pass, broke own the surrounding mountains and used the rocks to fill up the pass.
  • At least one Paranoia module addresses this: "After all, what's more important— that you survive, or that your enemy gets his?"

     Video Games 
  • 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 avert this by ignoring Asha's challenge, which leads to Asha's suicide.
  • 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.
  • Scorpion from Mortal Kombat is a frequent victim of this. This is shown most prominently in Mortal Kombat 9 when Scorpion, offered a chance by Raiden to have the Shirai-Ryu clan restored in exchange for sparing Sub-Zero, flies off the handle when Quan Chi shows him a vision of Sub-Zero being personally responsible for his wife and child's death. Then in Mortal Kombat X, once he is returned to life and learns the truth behind Quan Chi's complicity in the Shirai-Ryu's extermination, he makes a bee-line for Quan Chi to take his head, deaf to pleas to spare him so that he could bring the allies the sorcerer had under his control back to life.
  • 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.
  • 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 SoulCalibur 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:
    • 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: Sylvanas Windrunner 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 fulfill his goals.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Bandit Keith is so obsessed with beating Pegasus he doesn't care about Reshef or the threat he poses.
  • Kokonoe in BlazBlue is defined with, aside of her scientifical genius, her seething hatred against the Big Bad, Yuuki Terumi, who killed her mother. She has pretty much focused so much to kill Terumi that she doesn't give a crap if she dabbles into dangerous science, planned a nuclear strike in case her plans go south, mindwipes one particularly innocent 'weapon' just for her purposes, ignores her two students so much one of them ends up corrupted into a monster and the other one ended up joining her enemy to restore him, attempts to order the death of anyone who comes near close to uncovering some of her secrets, uses the clone of her aunt to power up a massive cannon at cost of the latter's life and doesn't care if said clone is developing her own identity... In her own words, becoming a devil is fair play if it means a dead Terumi... by her hands. She doesn't want to share her frag!
  • This causes Grimlock's downfall in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron; when he finally gets his chance at revenge on Shockwave, he's loses control and thoughtlessly smashes apart the space bridge control center in the process of attacking. This causes him to be unable to escape the space bridge when it collapses.
  • The First Child in Undertale hated humanity for reasons unknown. After falling into Mt. Ebott and being taken in by a kinder monster family, they manipulate Asriel, their surrogate brother, into their plans to murder the humans from their village. They poison themselves in a Thanatos Gambit in spite of having a better life just to have revenge on humans.
  • One of the antagonists for Final Fantasy XIV is Nidhogg, the current leader of the Dravanian Horde. He is consumed with rage and has waged war with the nation of Ishgard for over a thousand years over the loss of his eye and his sister at the hands of Ishgard's founders. Even when both man and dragon come to the point where they're ready to atone and make peace, Nidhogg would sooner spill his own kin's blood than ever allow peace with his sworn enemies.
  • Tellah from Final Fantasy IV seeks revenge on Golbez for ultimately being responsible for the death of his daughter, Anna. To do this, Tellah seeks the world's strongest black magic spell, Meteor. Several characters warn him not to go through with it, seeing his advanced age makes him too weak to use it. He also never gets enough MP to actually cast it. When Tellah finally confronts Golbez, he uses what's left of his life to cast Meteor, and dies as a result of the strain. It's not quite a Senseless Sacrifice, however, since the power of Meteor broke the hold Golbez had over Kain.
  • The entire story of Watch_Dogs has this theme. Aidan Pierce obsessively seeks revenge for the death of his niece, which happened because of his illegal actions as a hacker. His sister begs him to let it go and move on but he doesn't listen and soon gets in over his head.
  • The Hunters in Pittsburgh in The Last of Us pursue Joel, Ellie, Henry and Sam through the Suburbs and even bring their humvee because they're pissed that Joel and his companions basically were forced to slaughter their way through past them to get to the suburbs (and the Hunters were shooting people on sight, so Violence Is the Only Option). The Hunters, rather than cutting their losses and not attempting to fight the One-Man Army who slaughtered over a hundred of them, attempt to get revenge instead. This ends poorly for them. This is something of a trend when it comes to bad guys that Joel and Ellie encounter, really.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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 Dangan Ronpa, Aoi Asahina of all people is driven to this as a result of her friend's fake suicide note, which stated (falsely) that she was driven to suicide by the mistrust of her peers, sabotaging the investigation with the intent of getting those responsible killed (as per the rules of the Deadly Game). She doesn't seem to care that this will also kill Makoto and Kyoko, who had no part in the incident, as well as herself.

  • 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.
  • 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. He eventually willfully participated in their rise in power and destructivity, just so he could confiscate all this power from them at the end.
  • Scurry: Talon refuses to let Wix escape from him a third time. Wix ducks into the forest, where he knows the cats won't follow him. Talon decides he hates Wix more than he fears the forest and gives chase. Turns out there's a good reason the cats avoided the forest: The pack of wolves that live there. Talon is quickly killed and eaten by said pack.

     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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • And in the film, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm we have Andrea and briefly Batman himself.
    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.
  • In Dan Vs. 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Queen Chrysalis 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.
      • She falls for this again in the sixth season finale. Thanks to Starlight Glimmer convincing the Changeling Thorax to give love than to steal it, Chrysalis' plan against the Mane Six and the Royal Family goes up in smoke and she loses everything — her throne, her people, her prisoners in the very same ponies she was getting Revenge against, her title — save her life. Starlight attempts to get her to stop this ridiculous Cycle of Revenge and be a good leader, but she slaps away her hoof and vows revenge on Starlight. This is despite that she's now alone.
    • 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 (despite the fact said sister was trying to talk her out of fighting. She pretty much forced her to do it). She completely fails to see that the Elements of Harmony can still hit her.
    • This is the problem with Starlight Glimmer at the end of Season 5: After the Mane Six stops her cult of equality and restores the villagers' Cutie Marks, Starlight flips out and decides to wreck everything by using time travel to stop Rainbow Dash from performing the Sonic Rainboom that would bring together the Mane Six. End result: an Equestria on the brink of tearing itself apart - oh, sure, Starlight's gonna have possession of an "equal" Ponyville, but with Nightmare Moon unrestrained and Celestia ready to declare war, the only thing she's brought is pain and terror. All because Twilight and the others thought "Your village is creepy and you're creepy."
  • 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 Device 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.
  • What cemented Peridot's Heel–Face Turn in Steven Universe is realizing that Yellow Diamond, whom she's always revered as a Gem of logic and reason, is subject to this trope: she doesn't care how useful Earth and its resources can be, she just wants it destroyed out of revenge for all the trouble that planet and the Crystal Gems on it caused her. Cue the Broken Pedestal. Becomes an even bigger example later on with The Reveal that Homeworld is running out of resources and Yellow Diamond throwing out Peridot's suggestion of getting Earth's resources without ruining it's ability to support organic life or harm it (a win win situation)is throwing away resources they desperately need, but she's beyond caring at that point. A later reveal by Jasper of all people suggests that part of Yellow Diamond's hatred for Earth is cemented in the fact Rose was responsible for the death of her fellow Diamond Pink Diamond, something that she hasn't forgiven her or Earth by extension for, which suddenly makes her seemingly irrational hatred a bit more justified.
    • The above incident inspires a lot of this trope when combined with the fact Steven is often mistaken for Rose by Homeworld gems. Jasper refuses to accept healing from her hated enemy, even while being turned into a monster, and one Homeworld Ruby tries to kill Steven even though succeeding would trap her alone in space forever.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Adrian Toomes could have saved his corporation, Toomes Aerodynamics, from being bought out by Norman Osborn by just showing off that his anti-gravity experiments had worked and he'd built a workable flying suit. Instead, he dressed up in the suit as "the Vulture" and tried to assassinate Norman Osborn for the effort, which ultimately cost him his company.
  • Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner: After a certain point, it becomes clear that Wile E. Coyote is really motivated more by this trope than by his ostensible motivations of desire for food. Many of his traps would kill the roadrunner in ways that would render the corpse totally inedible, but Coyote has come to care more about seeing the roadrunner dead than feeding himself or not getting maimed constantly on account of the Roadrunner's reality-warping powers.