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Revenge Tropes

Revenge is sweeter than life itself. So think fools.
Juvenal

"An eye for an eye" (or, at least, how many people misunderstand the bible verse) has long been the standing policy for many humans. Perhaps it's related to reciprocal altruism — just as people are prone to repay kindness with kindness, they are also prone to Pay Evil unto Evil. In any case, the concept of revenge works even better in fiction.

An obsession. Compare Crime and Punishment Tropes, Hatred Tropes, & Morality Tropes. Contrast A Forgiving Index.


A list of Revenge:

  • Accuser Of The Brethren: A person doesn't care that someone else may be sorry for what they did.
  • Animal Nemesis: A person fixates upon an animal as his arch-rival as a result of twisted logic. Also called Captain Ahab Syndrome.
  • Avenging the Villain: A villain goes after the hero in vengeance for another villain that the hero killed.
  • Best Served Cold: Dedicating one's life to fighting evil in hopes of getting revenge.
  • Bewildering Punishment: When the victim has no reason to know why he's being targeted by the revenge.
  • Buy Them Off: Trying to buy off the victim of a crime so they will not seek revenge when they learn that the person has wronged them.
  • The Chain of Harm: Evil you do to one person doesn't stop there, it messes up their entire family.
  • Color Me Black: Taking revenge on a racist by transforming them into the object of their hatred.
  • Crusading Widower: The death or murder of a family motivates the father to seek revenge.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Vengeance begets vengeance, and tends to lead to a blood feud.
  • Designated Bullet: Saving or Crafting a specific special bullet for your specific special target.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: For when "eye for an eye" just isn't enough for some people. (Hell, the concept of "an eye for an eye" was invented to avoid this!)
  • The Dog Bites Back: When a villain is on the ropes, someone they've abused one time too many times may take an opportunity for revenge.
  • Do with Him as You Will: The hero leaves the villain in the hands of those they've most grievously wronged, allowing them to take vengeance upon them.
  • Dying Curse: In the rare cases where the victim not only wishes, but makes good on their spiteful last words.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: Carrying out revenge, melee style, way beyond what is necessary.
  • Feuding Families: A Cycle of Revenge between families.
  • Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: Messing with the water temperature in some way to get back at someone using the shower.
  • Food Slap: A character avenges a wrong by throwing food or drink at the offender.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Earth has had enough of being abused by humanity, and now, she's striking back.
  • Genocide Backfire: Trying to wipe out a people to keep them from destroying you will only give the survivors (and there are always survivors) all the reason they need to destroy you.
  • Gypsy Curse: A curse that is more about vengeance and spite than actual justice. Expect it to be disproportionate.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: When a character out for vengeance becomes just as bad as the scum they're trying to take vengeance on.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: When parents off their offspring because they somehow "stained" the family's honor.
  • The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: Someone who is pursued decides to stop running and turn the tables on their pursuers.
  • I Ate What?: Character eats or drinks something that's not intended to be food, usually prepared by someone wanting to get back at them.
  • It's Personal: The villain has killed or otherwise hurt someone important to the hero. Now the hero wants revenge.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Revenge directed against those who cannot reasonably be blamed for the crime, save by some extremely shaky justification.
  • Opposites Attract Revenge: When a Love Triangle leads to a vendetta between the two rival love interests.
  • Paranoia Gambit: A Batman Gambit involving the victim sabotaging oneself out of paranoia.
  • Parking Payback: Parking somewhere you shouldn't has consequences.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Doing bad things to bad people because they deserve it. The core of revenge.
  • Rape and Revenge: A person (usually a woman) gets revenge on their rapist.
  • Relative Button: A person finally confronts another over the family members they murdered.
  • Remember The Alamo: A battle cry named for an enemy atrocity; a call for revenge in war.
  • Restrained Revenge: Settling for a much lesser (often petty) token revenge to show that you have "forgiven" them.
  • Reunion Revenge: Someone uses a Class Reunion as a means of getting back at the people who wronged him or her back in school.
  • Revenge: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. What this index is all about.
  • Revenge Against Men: A woman seeks to avenge herself against men in general or a particular man who done her wrong.
  • Revenge Before Reason: When someone pursues revenge over more sensible goals, often leading to ruin.
  • Revenge by Proxy: When a villain targets an innocent connected to the person he wants revenge on, just to make the person suffer for what he did to a person connected to them. One of the more despicable forms of revenge.
  • Revenge Fic: Fan Fic where the author is out to kill a character he or she hates or make his or her life a living hell.
  • Revenge Myopia: Seeking retribution against someone who may have acted in self-defense, or on behalf of someone who is less than pure.
  • Revenge Of The Nerd: A unbelievably hot woman seduces the guy who made fun of her in school as a nerdy wallflower, then rejects and humiliates him.
  • Revenge SVP: When someone isn't invited to a party, the snubbed one seeks revenge.
  • Revenge Through Corruption - Villain does Revenge by Proxy or Sins of Our Fathers through corrupting the enemy's loved one(s) - i.e., an engineered Face-Heel Turn.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Revenge that dispenses with Machiavellian plotting and goes straight for the violence.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Children are punished for what their parents have done.
  • A Taste Of Their Own Medicine: Someone receives the same bad treatment that they showed/were going to show others.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: The character gives up on trying to be good and decides to do unto others as has been done unto him.
  • This Is Unforgivable: As a way of expressing his/her desire for revenge on someone for pushing him/her too far or doing something horrible to those close to him/her, one character announces that what the other character did was unforgivable and therefore he/she must pay for what he's/she's done.
  • This Means War!: Similarly to This Is Unforgivable above, in order to avenge their loved ones who were killed or the fact that they got pushed around too much, a character declares war against the other character before proceeding to kick their ass and get revenge for said loved ones.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Taking revenge on someone by damaging their vehicle.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: A character who's devoted his/her life to vengeance finds out that it doesn't give the hoped-for satisfaction.
  • Vengeful Widow: A woman who goes on a spree of vengeance after losing a husband or other loved one.
  • Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: When someone goes after not only a crime's perpetrator, but those who supplied the perpetrator or were otherwise marginally connected to it, whether or not the people involved had anything to do with the actual crime or not.
  • Voodoo Doll: A character sticks pins into a doll fashioned after their enemy.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: When a character becomes a villain to get revenge on those who have treated them as a Butt Monkey or The Chew Toy.
  • Woman Scorned: She's been done wrong by her significant other, and she's going to make him/her PAY.
  • You Killed My Father: If a character's father has been killed, it will be that character who kills the one responsible for said death.

Rest and Relaxation TropesTopical TropesRewarded With An Index
Responsibility TropesTropesRituals and Ceremonies
    Obsession TropesArch-Enemy
RevengeImageSource/Web ComicsStupidity Tropes
Responsibility TropesMorality TropesSelfishness Tropes
Prison TropesCrime and Punishment TropesSteal This Index

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