Page Type: trope
Being crucified is probably the worst way of being executed. There are many different ways to go about it, but two main ones are typically depicted in media.
The most popular (due to a certain carpenter) involves nailing a person to a cross, simple post, or other such object. Depending on exactly how the person is nailed to the cross, their weight may be supported by hands, feet, or both, and some crosses may have included accessories (footrests to stand on, a saddle to sit on, or a sharpened spike pointed at the victim's crotch) to take some of the victim's weight, thus increasing the length of time before death (and thus, the victim's suffering).
Binding a victim to the cross instead of nailing them may be considered even less humane. You don't permanently maim their hands and feet, but the victim does not now have to contend with blood loss, possible infection or blood poisoning, and the pain of being nailed, meaning they can theoretically last much longer.
Asphyxiation may be the most common cause of death from crucifixion. Since the victim's weight is supported by their nails or bonds, they are fighting against their own body weight to breathe. Using the bonds or nails as leverage can alleviate this problem, but sooner or later strength and endurance will run out. The strain can also cause myriad other cardio-pulmonary problems. Additionally, exposure, dehydration, malnutrition, and even animal predation are potential causes of death. Even if a person is rescued from crucifixion before they perish, their lives are in grave peril, recovery will be long and difficult, and they may never heal completely, especially if those pesky gigantic nails were involved.
But in the land of fiction, a character removed from a cross while they're still breathing will be a-okay not long afterward. They'll need a lot of water, something to eat, maybe some rough bandages over the massive bleeding holes in their hands, and a good night's sleep, but they'll be right as rain the next day.
- In New Mutants, Magma gets crucified, but her friends manage to get to her in time, and while she has her hands bandaged for a while, she otherwise seems to suffer no lasting effects.
- Averted, surprisingly, in Conan the Barbarian (1982) (because if you'd expect this trope to apply to anyone, it'd be Conan). His crucifixion is of the binding variety, and he's implied to survive far longer than anyone else could in his position, but he still very nearly dies after being rescued. It's implied Valeria has to trade her life for his in order for Conan to survive and recover.
- In Monty Python's Life of Brian, the characters treat crucifixion as more of a minor annoyance than anything, and Brian keeps hoping someone will come and rescue him. The other crucifixion victims cheer him up with a rousing chorus of "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life." Of course, this is strongly played for Black Comedy.
- Zig-Zagged in War for the Planet of the Apes. Alpha-Omega binds apes to St. Andrew's crosses (x-shaped) as a method of warning and execution. Ceasar finds one such ape still alive and cuts him down, but the ape lives only long enough to pass on some important information. Later, Ceasar himself is crucified in this manner for a day or two, and is visibly weak and suffering. He may not have survived the night if Nova hadn't snuck him food and water. Ceasar is then fit enough to participate in the film's climax, though it's implied his time on the cross may have contributed to his death at the end of the film.
- Played straight when Dorothy Gale of Emerald City first encounters Lucas (the show's counterpart of the brainless Scarecrow)— he's been bound to a T-shaped post and left to die by the Wizard's Guard. After she cuts him down and dresses his wounds, he makes a complete recovery and is soon able to run, sneak, and swing a sword as if nothing ever happened. This version of Dorthy Gale might be a trained nurse, but Lucas' recovery is nothing short of miraculous.
- Clark is basically crucified in the first episode of Smallville as part of Smallville High's yearly "Scarecrow" hazing prank, and Lex Luthor (on friendly terms with Clark at this point) shows up to rescue him. Of course, Clark was only in this position because he was made to wear Lana's Kryptonite necklace, and Lex unknowingly dislodges it during the rescue. Once it's off, Clark switches right back to being, well, Clark.
- Averted in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Agron is rescued from being crucified partway through, but the nail driven into his hand makes his sword-arm useless.
- In Assassin's Creed Origins, Bayek is strung up on a cross by the Roman soldiers and left to roast in the hot desert sun for days. He doesn't have the strength to break the ties and get down, but once one of the Hidden Ones slices the rope and releases him, Bayek has the strength and agility to engage in a 3-on-1 knife fight and then immediately return to the city to take on the entire guard of the municipality governor who betrayed him.
- Conan Exiles:
- In the intro trailer, Conan himself rescues Razma of Shem from crucifixion (bondage variant). Despite however long she was on that cross in that desert waiting to die, she's ready to spring to Conan's aid with the axe he used to cut her down.
- In the game proper, Conan rescues your Player Character from the nails-in-the-hands variant. One exhaustion-and-sandstorm-induced episode of unconsciousness later, and you're fit to run, jump, climb, grab stones, strip bushes, weave clothes, make axes, chop down trees, and beat animals to death with your bare hands.
- Zigzagged in Fallout: New Vegas. Attempting to free most characters who are being crucified by Caesar's Legion (who use the binding method instead of nailing them to the cross) is met with a notice that because they're already near death, cutting them down will kill them, preventing players from doing so. The exception to this is the "Aba Daba Honeymoon" sidequest, where players have the option of freeing a crucified drug mule. If freed, he doesn't make a full recovery (becoming one of the only characters in the game to walk with a permanent limp), but he somehow manages to cross most of the Mojave Wasteland alone and on foot immediately after his rescue.
- The You Testament: This is zig-zagged, as normally the in-game punishment of crucifixion is a death sentence. Meditating while on the cross, however, will allow the character to leave with little damage... except of course for the two large spikes still in their wrists, which don't seem to affect the heart meter at all and will eventually go away as the game proceeds.
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