Shaming the Mob
Skinner: What have we become?The mob is out in force, toting Torches and Pitchforks and demanding blood. All that stands between them and their target is our hero. The hero gives a speech, and the mob is ashamed. Dejected, they turn and leave. This sometimes works on a Powder Keg Crowd as well, but only if done before the violence breaks out. Once the riot starts, nobody's listening. Occasionally this doesn't work. The mob stops in their tracks, hears out the speech... and then keeps right on with what they were doing. When it works, almost guaranteed to be an instance of Verbal Judo. Compare Talking the Monster to Death. Sometimes rather than the hero giving the speech, it's a Character Witness or Zombie Advocate. If the speech is only meant to delay the mob rioting until The Cavalry arrives, the character is Holding the Floor. If a character points out the extreme danger of what they are doing, or if they demand that someone else do it, and the character shoves it back on them, and they stop, it's Who Will Bell the Cat?. The inversion is Shamed by a Mob.
Dr. Hibbert: We've given the word "mob" a bad name.
Dr. Hibbert: We've given the word "mob" a bad name.
— The Simpsons, "Rosebud"
open/close all folders
- The Big O: Dan Dastun shames the military police with a speech about them following Alex Rosewater’s deranged leadership and then performs the Insignia Rip-Off Ritual. Later, the rest of the military police follows his example and attacks Alex Rosewater. , , , 
- In Porco Rosso, a gang of air pirates ambush Porco and threaten to trash his plane in an effort to get even with him, and are stopped only by Fio appealing to their sense of honor.
- From One Piece, the people of the Ryuugu wanted to kill a World Noble who was stranded on the island as retribution for their treatment as slaves. Queen Otohime stops them with one sentence.
Otohime: " The children are watching."
- Kotetsu from Tiger & Bunny tries to call out Sternbild's government for twiddling their fingers while the terrorist group Ouroboros is launching a city-wide attack. As it turns out, he's not very good at this impromptu monologue thing.
Kotetsu: You people are despicable! The entire city is at stake, and all you care about is protecting your own self...uh, your own...Mayor: Our own what?Kotetsu: You know, your own... er, that thing you have.Barnaby: Self interests.Kotetsu: Yeah, that's it!
- This is how Satou brings the Club of Heracles's plan crashing down around his ears in Ben-To.
- In Attack on Titan, when soldiers panicked and threatened to desert after the Titans' assault on Trost to spend their last moments with their loved ones, Commander Dot Pixis - knowing that executing soldiers and causing a bloody riot was the last thing humanity needed - gave this Rousing Speech.
Titans are terrible creatures, and once someone gives in to that fear, they can never fight one of them again! Those of you who have already experienced that dread are free to go away! FINALLY! Those of you would let their parents, siblings and loved ones to experience such terror for themselves... are all free to walk away!
- Played for Laughs in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. A viral agent is released in class and Crowd Panic ensues until Kaname dresses down the entire class. Everyone starts hugging each other, determined to Face Death with Dignity... until Sousake reveals he has enough vaccine for one person. When the entire class attack Sousake for getting them into this mess, Kaname tries to talk them down again but everyone ignores her, so she gives up and starts throwing punches herself.
- In issue 210 of The Uncanny X-Men, Kitty Pryde, Colossus (in human form) and Magik find a mob about to beat a depowered Nightcrawler. Judging that using their powers would only make things worse, Kitty proceeds to shame the crowd, one at a time, until they leave. ("He scared my kids!" "YOU scare ME! Should I beat you senseless?")
- In Y: The Last Man, since all the men have died the US Government has become dominated by Democrats, who elect women more frequently. A mob of shotgun-toting Republican Wives try to storm the White House to demand their husbands' political offices, but are talked down by the President (Who is, herself, Republican).
- Attempted in Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief's Tale, when a mob of townsfolk corner and plan to kill a group of Gypsies who they (correctly) believe to be werewolves. Knowing that the Gypsies aren't dangerous, a woman from the town tries to shame them out of it, asking them how they'd feel if they shot a child and found out the Gypsies were ordinary people after all. It doesn't quite work, though no Gypsies die.
- Sonic and Sally attempt this with an audience swayed by Mina Mongoose's "Anti-NICOLE" protest songs in Sonic #221, by explaining who was really in control of her actions, what she was doing when she was a Fake Defector, and pointing out that she was the one who saved most of their butts during the invasion. It doesn't stick.
- After an EMP knocks out Gotham's electricity in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the city turns into a war zone of fire, looting, and gangs. Retired Commissioner Gordon and Batman talk the mobs into turning from looting to firefighting.
- Phil Sheldon does this in Marvels, realizing that he lives in a universe where the average citizens are a bunch of Ungrateful Bastards. That said, it only works as when Phil overcomes his fear of a little mutant girl (although he wasn't part of a mob at the time, he previously was part of one where he threw a brick at Iceman's head. Cyclops keeps Iceman from retaliating by telling him that his attackers "aren't worth it," which doesn't shame the mob but shakes Phil up).
- Shinji and Warhammer 40k has resident Badass Preacher Makoto breaking up a riot with words while revving a chainsword to get their attention. One minute, the rioters are willing to kill each other; the next, they are kneeling and lamenting that they are the world's biggest assholes.
Films — Animated
- Horton Hears a Who!: Horton tries a rousing speech to explain to the mob why he is so devoted to protecting a speck on a clover which contains a microscopic community on it. At the end, even the Sour Kangaroo notes that the speech is moving, but immediately orders Horton bound and caged anyway.
- Artie delivers such a speech in Shrek the Third. The speech turns inspirational, with a hilarious ending:
Artie: If there's something you want to do, or someone you really want to be, then the only one standing in your way... is you.
Member of the Mob: Get him!
- Awesome one in ParaNorman by none other than Norman's sister.
- Victor Frankenstein tells of a mob looking for his monster in the beginning of Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein by pointing out how ridiculous the concept of the monster is. The chipmunks do this to another mob in the finale after said monster is revealed to be a Gentle Giant.
Films — Live-Action
- During the riot in '71, a woman defends Gary and Thommo from being beaten. Unfortunately, Quinn doesn't care.
"Get back, the lot of you! We've had enough for today! Behaving like animals, you should be ashamed of yourselves!"
- At the climax of the film Young Frankenstein, the monster, made newly articulate, manages to do this.
- Downplayed twice before; the first time, a respected elder tells a group of people that they should not chase Dr Frankenstein away, until they are sure he is creating a monster. The second time, he speaks to the mob, pitchforks and all, and explains that "A riot is an ungly thing... undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun."
- In Footloose Reverend Shaw delivers these to his parishioners when they try to stage a book burning. It also serves as a touch of a What Have I Done in that they thought they were doing what the Reverend told them to do.
- The Animal:
- Parodied when one of the mob members who keeps asking questions finally asks what the viewers are thinking:
Mob Member: I was just wondering...is this really the right thing? Are we sure this man did anything wrong? And even if he did, is it really right for us to kill him over it?
Mob Leader: Back of the mob.
Mob Member: Back of the mob?! But I got here three hours early for this spot!
Mob Leader: Back of the mob.
Mob Member: This mob blows. [goes to the back of the mob]
Mob Leader: Any other questions? Good, let's go.
- When the mob has the main character cornered, his black friend suddenly confesses to being behind it all. The mob stops and disperses, not wanting to be known for lynching a black man.
- Parodied when one of the mob members who keeps asking questions finally asks what the viewers are thinking:
- M: When childkiller protagonist Hans Beckert gives an extremely moving speech about how everything he does is the product of mental illness, not genuine malice. He also notes that while he is insane and can't control his abhorrent actions, the criminals who are attempting to lynch him are criminals entirely by choice. The angry mob don't listen, but he manages to buy himself enough time for the cops to arrive and arrest everyone present.
- A Knight's Tale: Chaucer, who has previously demonstrated his ability to work a crowd, tries to shame the mob that's gathered around William, who is in the stocks for impersonating a knight. He's pelted with vegetables before he can get started. However, in the extended cut of the film, Chaucer succeeds and chastens them into silence before Prince Edward steps in. This scene was cut to beef up Prince Edward's role.
- In It's a Wonderful Life, there is a run on the Building & Loan and a mob is demanding all their money. George Bailey shows up and explains that the money is not there because it's been loaned to their friends to build homes. He calms them down and convinces them to take out just enough to get by (except for one jackhole who demanded all his money regardless), thereby saving the Building & Loan.
- Done well in the 1953 biographical film Martin Luther and especially well in its excellent 2003 remake, Luther. Martin is horrified both that his best friends are being burned at stake for heresy—an unfortunate touch of Truth in Television—and that his supposed followers and converts to a way of peaceful reform have instead decided to take up arms against Catholicism, looting and pillaging churches and Spalatin, even killing a priest. Martin confronts them at the steps, fiery-eyed.
- Clerks. "Bunch of easily-led automatons! Try thinking for yourselves before you pelt an innocent man with cigarettes!"
- Occurs in The Elephant Man, when Merrick is out on his own and is discovered by a crowd at a train station, who realized he was disfigured, began following him, and are about to beat him after he knocked over a little girl trying to get away. He screams: "I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am... a man." which stops the crowd dead in its tracks, as they realize exactly what it is they are doing.
- Ike in Runaway Bride does this at the pre-wedding party to the collected family and friends of Maggie. Granted, the "Mob" here was only throwing snide comments at Maggie rather than pitchforks and torches, but...
"May you find yourselves the bullseye of an easy target, may you be publicly flogged for all of your bad choices, and may your noses be rubbed in all of your mistakes."
- In The Stoning of Soraya M., right before the stoning, Soraya gets to have a Final Speech in which she accuses her fellow villagers of coldheartedness.
- At the climax of Talk of the Town, the mob is about to lynch Cary Grant when Ronald Colman bursts into the courtroom—yep, the mob invaded a courtroom—with the purported murder victim, who is very much alive. Colman then gives a long shaming-the-mob speech about how they should respect the law, especially during a time when other countries were fighting to have law.
- Dracula Untold has Vlad call out his kingdom after they find out he's a vampire and want to repay him for saving them from the Ottomans by killing him. He lets them know in no uncertain terms that they are alive because of him and what he did to save them. It works.
- Played with twice in Silent Hill. Initiated first by Christabella, when it succeeds because the mob that she's talking down is composed entirely of the members of her cult. The second time Rose attempts to shame the cult, including Christabella, for burning Alessa and then attempting to go for some sort of bizarre karmic double jeopardy by burning Sharon. This fails as a form of Verbal Judo when Christabella stabs her, but succeeds in letting them know that they've seriously messed up, which brings the darkness into their church.
- The scene of Pocahontas saving John Smith has been highly inaccurately dramatized to resemble this but Disney is only partially to blame. The originator of this story is John Smith, himself. He's the only one who was there who claimed it happened.
- In A Series of Unfortunate Events it is done by Olaf of all people to the audience of the play in the film.
- One chapter of The Buddenbrooks takes place while a wave of revolutionary uprisings sweaps over Germany and an angry mob of workers gatheres in front of the council building. The council members decide to hole up and wait for the crowd to disperse, but when it gets close to nightfall, two of them go outside to see what the protesters want. When one of the workers shouts that they want a republic, he is reminded that the autonomous city has been one for centuries. When someone blurts out "then we want another one!", the protest pretty much instantly falls apart and everyone is quitly returning home.
- Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird, in both the book and the film, is unexpectedly present when a lynch mob comes for the accused rapist Tom Robinson. Recognizing one of the men, she gives the speech — out of sheer innocence — and breaks the mob up. While this is quite possibly the Trope Codifier, it's also a rare example when the shaming of the mob is entirely unintentional.
- The Bible shows several instances of this trope and shows that it's Older Than Feudalism
- The origin of the term "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" is in the New Testament where Jesus convinces a group about to stone a supposed adulteress by pointing out that they are no saints themselves.
- Late in Acts, Paul turns the mob (a courtroom staffed by opposing political parties) against itself.
- Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal elaborates on the scene by making note of what Jesus was doodling on the ground before he said the famous line — namely, a documented list of every mob-goer and their sins (a common theory from some time before). One involved doing something unmentionable with a goose.
- Spoofed in Robot Chicken.
Jesus: (smacks tied up man in head with rock) Blammo!
- Keeping with the Older Than Feudalism theme, the first epic simile in the The Aeneid.
- Mark Twain's didn't like this trope.
- The War Prayer: The "mob" dismisses the shamer as a lunatic, and carries on anyway.
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The shamer, Colonel Sherburn, tried to shame a lynch mob after him but they're weren't interested in anything he had to say. He shot a harmless man in the street, in broad daylight; that's not something you can talk your way out of.
- The footnoted analysis of this scene basically boils down to "Twain is using this to satirize the Southern code of 'Justice.'"
- Twenty pages into the first Commissar Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! novel, Cain marches into the middle of a riot in the mess hall on his troopship and promptly starts yelling at the participants about the abominable state of the room and orders them to go get mops. It's also a Bavarian Fire Drill.
- Carrot in the Discworld novels does this a lot.
- As does Vimes, with an especially poignant example in Night Watch.
- There is also the vicious tongue lashing Lady Ramkin gave to the mob who were attempting to lynch the stunned dragon when they threw rocks at the Night Watch (who were trying to arrest it). She delivered it dressed in a torn nightdress and a pair of rubber boots and cowed the entire mob:
Lady Ramkin: Who did that? I said, who did that? If the person who did it does not own up I shall be extremely angry! Shame on you all!
- There is also a villainous example when the vampires do it in Carpe Jugulum.
- An odd variation occurs in the first book of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, the hero attempts to shame a mob who are out to Burn the Witch! - literally, as their target is The Obi-Wan of the series, who happens to be a wizard. His speech fails to convince anyone. It's followed up by the mysterious woman openly threatening them, but not knowing what she is, they aren't impressed. Instead, The Obi-Wan manages to scare the mob into backing down, by threatening them with the magic powers they are going to burn him for having. As he says to the others, "Too cold *points at Richard* , too hot *points at Kahlan* , just right *points at himself* ."
- Enders Game sequel Xenocide: Grego shames the living hell out of a mob of his fellow villagers after they had already accomplished most of the damage they'd intended. After all, was his mob in the first place.
- A Song of Ice and Fire
- Sir Jacelyn Bywater tries to employ this (offstage; we hear about it from another character) in the Battle of the Blackwater, when the men of the City Watch are abandoning their posts. He has almost shamed them into going back and fighting?-when someone shoots him in the throat with a crossbow.
- The dwarf Tyrion Lannister uses the same technique successfully in the same battle, when trying to organize a sally. Tyrion's forces are outnumbered, and while his masterful military tactics have levelled the playing field somewhat, they've also turned it into a fiery hell for all combatants. When the Hound returns from the battlefield and refuses to go back into the fire, Tyrion announces that he personally will lead the next sally. The soldiers are either too rattled by the Hound of all people being too scared to go back, or hold Tyrion in complete disdain. Tyrion gets on his horse, looks at the soldiers, and tells them, "They say I'm half a man. What does that make the lot of you?"
- When the Hound is on "trial" by the Brotherhood Without Banners for the various atrocities committed by his brother and other Lannister soldiers, he gives a speech calling them out and pointing out he's not personally guilty of the murders. Arya Stark interrupts, pointing out one murder he is guilty of: namely, he chopped her friend Mycah, an innocent peasant boy, in half.
- In Treasure Island, Long John Silver's men are getting tired of waiting for the treasure he says he's leading them to, and are prepared to kill him. He manages to turn the situation around by asking which of them had desecrated his Bible to make the Black Spot, the traditional declaration of impending death.
- In I, Claudius, Germanicus uses this to put down the mutiny of his troops on the Rhine. It helps that he has sent away his young son Gaius, whom the troops have come to view as their mascot and good-luck charm. The precious tyke walks around the camp in a miniature legionary's uniform complete with miniature caligae — army sandal-boots — so the soldiers have affectionately nicknamed him "Little Boot", or, in Latin, "Caligula". Yes, that one.
- In The Good Earth, when a starving, angry mob attacks Wang Lung's home in hopes of taking its non-existent food, O-lan shames them for trying to steal from someone equally as poor as them.
- In C. S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when they find the last of the lords they are looking for, the sailors are of the opinion that they should stop going on. Caspian tells them that they are assuming that he will let them all go.
- A silly example in The Lions of Al-Rassan, in which the merchant-turned-warrior and the legendary assassin together defuse an angry mob with humor and then tell them off for fighting amongst themselves with enemies approaching the city.
- A Charisian Guard manages to do this to a mob forming outside a church in Manchyr in the fourth Safehold novel. Unfortunately, he didn't manage to do it to the people who had organized the mob, who manage to restart it.
- Septimus Heap: Averted Trope. Jenna's speech to the RatStranglers doesn't stop them at all from hunting down the rats in Spit Fyre's kennel.
- Waco does this in the short story "A Man Called Drango Dune" in Arizona Ranger by J.T. Edson.
- Gone with the Wind: Playing with a Trope. When the Yankee Army reaches Tara, with the intent to destroy it, Gerald O'Hara informs them that they'd be burning the house over the heads of three sick women. The Yankee officer not only keeps Tara from being burned, he also sends for an army surgeon to care for the women. On the other hand, he decides to use Tara as his army headquarters, and they do considerable damage to the rugs and furniture, as well as steal any possessions they can find, along with the food and the livestock and destroy the vegetable crops in the process. They also burn all the cotton the family needed to sell for money.
- In Kristin Lavransdatter, Kristin is outside her parish church, accused by Jartrud of adultery with Jartrud's husband, Ulf. This makes an angry mob assemble, because many of the townspeople were secretly thinking the same thing. The visiting bishop, seeing that things are getting out of hand, reminds everyone that weapons are forbidden in the church yard, and sends everybody home to cool off while he starts an investigation. When the crowd assembles again later that day, most of them are regretting listening to Jartrud and are now willing to hear evidence of Kristin's innocence.
- Judge Dee does this often. It's even used in the original Van Gulik based his on, where instead of defeating the highwaymen, he gives them a Rousing Speech on the virtues of justice, and they're so moved they join him.
- One chapter of Janet Kagan's Mirabile deals with mysterious forest fires, and at one point the townsfolk want to leave a man they think has been setting the fires to die in them. Susan puts herself between the mob and the man and tells them off, personally calling out a couple she thinks should know better. She doesn't stop them, but she does hold them long enough for Annie to get there and break things up with force of personality and a "persuader" full of rock salt.
- Eric Flint's 1632 series inverts this, when a Powder Keg Crowd is prevented from turning into a mob by Mike Stearns. He does this by turning it into a political rally, starting with "People of Germany, rejoice!" and keeps giving speeches until the air force shows up for a flyby.
- Another novel has a priest ineptly attempt this, failing miserably, and then having soldiers violently disperse the mob. The fact that he was haranguing a mob of Italians in Spanish was the first of many things the priest did wrong in his efforts to defuse the situation.
- In Phyllis A. Whitney's novel Willow Hill, an African-American player is accused of throwing a basketball game. A mob threatens to lynch him, or at least beat him up. Then his white teammate claims to be the one who actually threw the game. They calm down, giving another character a chance to shame them into dispersing. In fact, nobody threw the game. Their team just lost.
Live Action TV
- The X-Files: “War of the Coprophages”: Scully attempts to control the mob with a speech about how they are giving in to panic. The mob ignores her and creates havoc. , , 
- The classic Star Trek episode, "The Devil in the Dark" had Kirk and Spock protect a horta from vengeful miners by telling them that the Monster Is a Mommy and had legitimate reasons for attacking them since they were inadvertently destroying her eggs. Fortunately, the combination of shame of the miners realizing the carnage they caused and the exciting proposal that the hortas can help them mine is enough to turn the mob around.
- Firefly episode "Safe" zigzags all over the place. A mob has gathered to burn River, who they believe is a witch. Simon attempts to shame them out of it by yelling that she's just a girl. It seems to be working, as the town elder acquiesces...and then River brings up a shameful thing from his past that she couldn't have known. Commence burnination, although Simon interrupts again—this time by accepting River's fate and climbing up to the stake so he can be burned with her. This causes them to hesitate just long enough for The Team to show up. Mal does not bother talking to them. He puts the town elder at gunpoint to force the issue.
Patron: The girl is a witch.
Mal: Yeah, but she's our witch.
[cocks shotgun and aims at Town Patron]
Mal: So cut her the hell down.
- Amazing Stories "Mummy Daddy" episode has a subversion; An actor in a highly-restricting mummy-suit is caught by a lynch-mob of bloodthirsty Redneck Hicks. As they are preparing to hang him, an angelic-looking young child suddenly steps forward:
Child: I dunno. He looks like a good mummy...
Actor: [muffled by bandages] Yes! Good mummy! Good mummy!
Child: But we better not take any chances! String 'im up!!
- Sykes does this in The Movie premiere of Alien Nation, when the mob takes Fantastic Racism too far for even his tastes. Better yet was one of the mob was a black man in his mid to late 30s. The series is based in the the late 80s and early 90s. Sykes truly shamed him as he lived at the birth of the Civil Rights movement.
- Played with in the Pilot of Deadwood, a Mob has come to kill a prisoner and the Sheriff tries to talk them down. They're having none of it, so the Sheriff hangs the prisoner right there (even helping to break his neck) so the mob wouldn't have the satisfaction of torturing him.
- Andy does this a couple times to the citizens of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. Seeing as this is Mayberry we're talking about, the "danger" any mob poses to a target is never more serious than humiliating or making someone feel bad about themselves, though.
- Inverted in The Middle''s fifth-season episode "The Award". Mike, being feted for his 20 years on the job at the quarrynote , gives a speech at the dinner honoring him that depresses a happy crowd, reminding all present that he had recently had to lay people off and that anyone's job could be ended at any time, preventing them from reaching the same milestone.
- On Salem Cotton Mather successfully gets a mob to refrain from killing a family suspected of witchcraft. He's a zealous witch hunter, but he does believe suspects have the right to a fair trial and to face their accusers.
- Get Smart - at Max's bachelor party, it's discovered KAOS has planted a bomb inside Hymie the robot, and all the guests start to flee in panic. The Chief stops them and angrily reprimands their unprofessional conduct, reminding a few of them how Hymie had saved their lives. He concludes saying he's going to forget he ever saw that spectacle - and they continue fleeing.
- Father Brown: Father Brown does this in "The Standing Stones", delivering a speech to a group of villagers who were planning a human sacrifice in an attempt to stop an outbreak of polio. While it does not sway the leader, it gives most of them pause, and make one of them switch sides and cut Father Brown's bonds so he can escape.
- A possible crossover with Real Life from Rev Hammer's album Freeborn John, based upon the life of "Freeborn" John Lilburne. From the very moving song Battle of Brentford:
Nehemiah Wharton- Parliament soldier: My own regiment the Redcoats of Colonel Holles suffered the heaviest losses. We began to fall back to the town of Brentford sir, and when Brookes regiment saw our faces and our losses, well, they began to retreat also. Ah! who could blame them?
Captain Lilburne, well, he rode after us all, he grabbed our colours sir and bid all those with weak hearts to march back to London, but calling on those with the spirits of men and the gallantry of soldiers to follow him back to Brentford.
We turned and followed him as a man sir, for five or six hours without powder, match or bullet we disputed the town.
- In The Protomen, Protoman actually calls out a crowd on being too passive, asking if there's no one among their ranks who is brave enough to make a stand. The crowd remains silent, counting on Megaman to fight him.
Myths & Religion
- In The Bible:
- Several times in the book of Exodus, God Himself has to show up to stop the cranky and tired Israelites from rioting, though for the most part that was less literal shaming and more "cut it out before I smite you".
- Jesus Christ stopped a stoning by challenging the mob: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Nobody did.
- In the book of Acts, a clerk of the city of Ephesus stops a rioting mob of silvermakers by pointing out that if they have a grievance against the Christians for "stealing" their business (by no longer worshiping Diana, the patron goddess of Ephesus, and thus not buying statues of her), there's the courts for that, and they run the risk of attracting the ire of the authorities if they keep up this nonsense.
- In the Book of Judges, Gideon tears down the altar of Baal and a mob of Baal-worshipers shows up to execute him. Gideon's father defuses the situation by pointing out that, if Baal was really a god, he would be quite capable of dealing with Gideon on his own.
- On October 5, 1789, Queen Marie Antoinette mounts a window balcony and curtsies to the angry mob that had converged on Versailles. At first stunned and silenced, they begin shouting, "Long live the queen!"
- One of many stories about Joshua Norton, first and only Emperor of the United States, says that he broke up a mob of anti-Chinese rioters by standing in their way, head down, reciting the Lord's Prayer. They left without incident.
- In an unusual version of this trope, Emperor Norton was later arrested for vagrancy, but the judge not only refused to prosecute, he gave the arresting officer a dressing-down, saying that Emperor Norton "had shed no blood, robbed no one and despoiled no country — which is more than can be said of his fellows in that line".
- In another real-life example, though a bit less unruly than an actual mob, George Washington managed to discourage the Newburgh conspiracy, consisting of officers of the Continental Army that sought to start a military coup against Congress, by making a heartfelt speech to them claiming that he had gone gray and almost blind in service to his country. Many of the conspirators were brought to tears by Washington's speech.
- What makes that a Crowning Moment of Awesome is that it wasn't Washington's words that first pulled it off. Though that was when some began to cry, he first managed to shame them by putting on his spectacles. The man had presence.
Washington: Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.
- What makes that a Crowning Moment of Awesome is that it wasn't Washington's words that first pulled it off. Though that was when some began to cry, he first managed to shame them by putting on his spectacles. The man had presence.
- Another Washington story from the Hudson Valley during the Revolution takes place at St. Philip's Church in the Highlands, located in Garrison, downriver from where Washington's headquarters were, in Newburgh, during the years after Yorktown but before the British had withdrawn all their troops from New York. Many of St. Philip's congregants had been Tories during the warnote and an angry mob was duly convened to march on it with Torches and Pitchforks. They were stunned to see Washington himself in the vestibule when they arrived. One ventured to ask what he was doing there, and the general replied "This, sir, is my church" whereupon the mob dissipated. When the current church was built in the 1850s, a stained glass window depicting Washington was installed in the front as a show of gratitude.
- In another, possibly more realistic version, Washington reminded the crowd that the Revolution had not been started to burn churches.
- During the Australian Aboriginal "Freedom Ride" of 1965, in one small town there was a mob of angry white men who threw things at the Aboriginal freedom riders... until one local Aboriginal woman called out some of their names and revealed they had been sleeping with the local Aboriginal girls. She did this in front of their wives. The men had no choice but to am-scray.
- When Napoleon returned to France, a group of soldiers were sent to kill him. When they got to him, he said something to the effect of "If you would shoot your Emperor, then do it." They, of course, didn't. Not only did he talk his way out of being shot, he talked them into deserting and joining his army. After that, the King of France sent out an army of his own to take down Napoleon, and Napoleon did it again. After that, Napoleon sent a message to Louis saying something along the lines of "My dear cousin, please stop sending soldiers to apprehend me, I have more than enough troops already."
- Gaius Julius Caesar famously quelled a mutiny of his troops by addressing the rioters as "Quirites" ("Civilians"). You know what that means ... According to one theory, this was supposed to be a form of shaming them, as Caesar had always referred to his soldiers as his comrades or his brothers/soldiers in arms. Referring to them as Quirites (Citizens) was a rather blunt way of implying that they had already discharged themselves from his service by their mutiny. He offered to pay them their dues for the past 15 years and discharge them immediately because he claimed he did not need them. Reportedly, all the soldiers begged to be forgiven and taken back into his army.
- This anecdote from Not Always Right.
- Gaius Octavian once shamed an angry mob besieging the Curia and threatening to burn the senate alive for not not making Octavian dictator. He talked them down into having him made Grain Commissioner instead.
- A Hackney resident named Pauline Pearce famously stood up and chastised a lot of the rioters in the London riots of 2011, becoming an internet sensation when a video of her doing so went viral, and she gained much acclaim from the press and politicians.
- Thomas More, a play written in the 1590s, has its title character persuade a xenophobic mob to put down their weapons by appealing to their sense of justice and promising that none of them will be executed. William Shakespeare wrote that speech (but not most of the rest of the play). They do surrender, and get executed.
- In Knickerbocker Holiday, when it seems that Brom is finally about to be hanged and has run out of the sort of tricky suggestions that have prevented him from being hanged in the first act, he tells the council that they should be acting on their own authority like they used to rather than take orders from a dictator who has people executed if they don't. The council then rebels against Stuyvesant and refuses to hang Brom. Stuyvesant then moves to order his lieutenant to open fire on the crowd, but the narrator intervenes.
- The Nameless One gets to do this at a certain point in Planescape: Torment, sort of. He talks various rioters, looters and anarchists into abandoning their rather ill-timed plans and working together to reverse the city of Curst sliding into the plane of Carceri.
- Happens in the first chapter of The Witcher, although it's debatable on whether the witch Geralt defended deserved it or not. It's also up in the air on whether Geralt shamed the mob, or scared them off by threatening them with violence.
- Early on in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, if you spared Okku and he joins you, you'll soon afterwards be confronted by a mob of spirit bears who want to punish Okku because his attempts to contain the Spirit Eater curse doomed his race to madness. With a good enough diplomacy skill, you can throw their charges right back at them by asking them that if they were in Okku's position, would they have simply let the curse run rampant, or would they try to stop it somehow. The mob then goes silent until the leader admits that they would indeed try to stop it.
- An inversion pops up in Mass Effect 2, during Tali's treason trial. If Shepard managed to keep Kal'Reegar and Veetor alive, they have the option of rallying the crowd in Tali's defense, which causes the mob to shame the judges into letting Tali off.
- The finale of World of Warcraft's Death Knight starting zone involves a titanic clash between the Death Knights of Acherus and the Crusaders of Light's Hope Chapel. Just as the Lich King's soldiers seem to gain the upperhand, Highlord Tirion Fordring intervenes to singlehandedly end the conflict and give the Death Knights- specifically Highlord Darion Mograine- a stern reminder of the situation they are creating for themselves and others.
- Dominic Deegan: Zigzagged in a series of strips. Greg and Luna are targeted by mass ridicule by the people of Lynn's Brook. Luna stands up for herself, and Greg, driving them off. Later, they appear at Dominic's house, since the mob learned Luna and Greg were staying there and Dominic already had plenty of heat with the townspeople as it was. They, again, have to be scared away, even after Dominic calls them on all the dick moves they made towards his friends.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, here, Bob chews out the angry mob (actually just four people, but Heywood had to form it on short notice) that has been hassling Molly, and they sheepishly agree to mind their own business.
- A character tries and fails in this Darths & Droids strip.
- Kevin & Kell Lindesfarne thanks the attendees of her wedding, telling them, that by attending they had struck a blow against prejudice and hatredtoward Fenton's mother, who happens to be a vampire bat.
- In Impure Blood, Mac tries this.
- In Sinfest, in a Day In the Life, Jesus does this to a mob.
- In an episode of Goof Troop that involved a parody of Frankenstein's Monster that resembled Pete, Peg asked the angry mob just what the monster had done to them, any of them, that would warrant them trying to kill it. They couldn't think of a single reason to justify harassing the monster, and consented that what they were doing was shameful.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Rosebud", Maggie has a teddy bear which belonged to Mr. Burns, and Burns has taken away television and beer from the town until the bear is returned. An angry mob comes to confront Homer and takes the bear away, but when they see how Maggie feels, they remorsefully return it. As Dr. Hibbert laments, "We've given the word 'mob' a bad name." Then, at Principal Skinner's suggestion, they all head off to sing and volunteer at a hospital and head out with a cheery song
- A variation appeared in "Bart After Dark". A mob of Moral Guardians is about to tear down the Maison Derriere, a burlesque house, when Homer leads the mob in a big song and dance number about how much it's a part of their history. It works. In an odd variation, the Maison Derriere is destroyed anyway by Marge, who wasn't there for the song. So apparently, the speech was very convincing. Marge promptly tries to re-incite the mob with her own song, but accidentally releases the brake on the bulldozer she had brought.
- Played with when the Mob at first starts to take his speech as further incitement.
Homer: My friends, stop! Sure, we could tear this place down... [mob starts rampaging] WAIT! My friends, stop! Let me finish. We COULD tear it down, but we'd be tearing down a part of OURSELVES...
- Also, in the episode "Whacking Day", Lisa, Bart, and Barry White manage to shame a mob who are about to gleefully club to death every snake in Springfield, as per the holiday tradition.
- And in "The Boys of Bummer", when Marge shames and chews out the whole town for harassing Bart to no end for accidentally costing the town the Little League Championship and nearly drove him to suicide and landed him in a coma. Marge shames the town over their persecution of Bart, and points out to a sign that says "Springfield Americas Meanest City" and their living up to it, the town gets the message (a "Bart Sucks" sign is replaced by "We're Sorry"), and everyone agrees to restage the game so Bart can win.
- Played with yet again in another episode, when Homer and Bart are trying to escape in a float going 5 MPH.
Skinner: They're very slowly getting away.
Moe: They're heading for the old mill!
Homer: No we're not!
Moe: Let's go there anyways. Get some cider.
- Parodied in a Halloween episode where Marge is going to be pushed off a cliff for being a witch:
Lisa: WAIT! Does the Bible not say, "Judge not lest ye be judged"?
Chief Wiggum: The Bible says a lot of things. Shove her.
- Seen in the episode "Radioactive Man", when Mickey Rooney criticizes Springfield for bankrupting the movie crew which had set up shop, and which had to leave as a result of running out of money.
Otto: [sniffles] Should we give them some of their money back?
Mayor Quimby: No.
- Family Guy.
- Used for Black Comedy in on episode. Jesus delivers the "let he who is without sin" line only to...cast the first stone.
- The tagline for fake film The Passion of the Christ 2: Crucify This. "Let he who is without sin... KICK THE FIRST ASS!"
- Exploited by O.J. Simpson: When the mob reaches the Griffin house to lynch O.J., he stops them by acknowledging his mistakes and concludes that he isn't perfect, then asking anyone else who isn't perfect to stand with him. Then when the entire mob has come to stand with him, he pulls out a knife, kills three of them, and runs off.
- Camp Lazlo Downplayed example. An angry mob has run Almondine out of camp for not wearing a wig (don't ask), when Patsy and the rest of the Squirrel Scouts step between them and announce that it's not the wigs that make them pretty. They proceed to take off their wigs, hair, noses, eyes, etc. to show that they're still gorgeous on the inside. The mob isn't shamed, but the walk off out of disgust and annoyance anyway. Then everyone starts dancing.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy tries this on a mob that's trying to capture a space alien. It fails.
Lucius: Hey, it is called Miseryville.