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Suicidal Loyalty Demonstration

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The Big Bad demonstrates the fanatical devotion of his followers by ordering one or more to commit suicide.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
JackG on Aug 6th 2016 at 1:15:17 AM
Last Edited By:
Miss_Desperado on Jan 12th 2019 at 4:28:16 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

The Big Bad demonstrates the fanatical devotion of his followers by ordering one or more to commit suicide. Definitely Kick the Dog.


  • Supposedly there was a Real Life incident that inspired this trope, variously attributed to Shaka Zulu (who marched an entire impi off a cliff to impress visiting Europeans), Alexander the Great (to frighten a city into surrendering), King Henri Christophe of Haiti at the cliff castle of Sans-Souci, or The Old Man of the Mountain (that's the guy who led the Hashshashin, not the Dirty Old Man who chased Betty Boop.) As with all such tales they should be taken with a grain of salt, as they may have just been exaggerated horror stories for the benefit of Western audiences.

  • Conan the Barbarian (1982). Thulsa Doom does this merely to demonstrate An Aesop that flesh is stronger than steel. He points out one of the Children of Doom standing high above him on a cliff, and gently encourages her to come to him. She fearlessly leaps off the edge, her impact smashing her through the floorboards.
    Thulsa Doom: THAT is strength, boy. THAT is power!

  • Babylon A.D.. In an extra included in the DVD, an animated scene called The Genesis of Aurora shows the Back Story of how Darquandier met the High Priestess of the Neolite cult. The latter has the two acolytes accompanying her take poison, just to show off her power.
    High Priestess: If one will die for a religion...

  • Joke - During World War 2 a Japanese officer tells some Australian soldiers he's taken prisoner that the Japanese will win because their soldiers are braver. To demonstrate, he orders one of his men to commit hari-kari. The Japanese soldier rips open his belly with his sword. Not to be outdone, the Australian officer orders one of his men to do the same. The Australian soldier tells him to f**k off.
    Japanese officer: Aha! You said your men were braver!
    Australian officer: They are. Your man wouldn't have dared answer you back like that.

  • In the Conrad Stargard series by Leo Frankowski, a delegation sent by the Mongols does this as psychological warfare when demanding the Poles submit to the Mongol Empire. The protagonist realizes he's got to take charge of matters or the battle will be lost before it's begun. So Conrad asks the Mongol ambassador to order another member of their delegation to kill himself. He hesitates (because it's his son, as it turns out) but complies. Then Conrad asks for yet another demonstration. When the ambassador demands to know why, Conrad says if all the Mongols are stupid enough to kill themselves, they won't have to fight them on the battlefield.

Feedback: 17 replies

Aug 6th 2016 at 9:03:55 AM

Good idea for a trope, but the name is a bit vague. It suggests any demonstration that is somehow suicidal (or perhaps shows how a person is Too Dumb To Live). How about Loyalty Suicide Demonstration?

Aug 6th 2016 at 3:55:57 PM

Averted in Flash Gordon. Ming orders Prince Thun to kill himself for providing inadequate tribute. Thun attacks Ming instead, and Ming kills him.

Aug 6th 2016 at 5:14:43 PM

Anime and Manga:


  • Monty Pythons Life Of Brian: "We are the Judean People's Front Crack Suicide Squad! Suicide Squad, attack!" (they all stab themselves)

Aug 6th 2016 at 9:04:28 PM

  • Variant: in One Piece, the personnels of the military group Germa 66 are expected to become a Human Shield for their commanders if they order them to. In particular, their supreme leader, Judge (that's his name), during his fight with Sanji, he ordered his men to form a wall in front of him and then he tries to strike Sanji through his men, impaling one of them with his spear in the process, to distract Sanji.

Jan 11th 2019 at 1:12:02 AM

Throwing a bomb until the write-up is properly formatted.

Jan 11th 2019 at 10:54:19 AM

Compare and contrast Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You, where it's the character who offers to die.

Jan 11th 2019 at 12:45:23 PM

I'm not grabbing this, I'm just making minor improvements to keep it visible until someone else grabs it, I lose interest, or I run out of quick and easy fixes. This time I separated the examples from the description, they still need sorting.

Jan 11th 2019 at 3:38:02 PM

  • In Alamut, Hassan-i Sabbah of The Hashshashin demonstrates his power over his acolytes by ordering two of them to commit suicide, which they do without hesitation.

Jan 11th 2019 at 11:40:29 PM

Assassins Creed I: Al Mualim has Alta´r and two other assassins jump to their deaths to prove to Robert they do not fear death. It's really a ploy to get them to circumvent the Templars and activate Masyaf's defenses.

Jan 12th 2019 at 9:22:11 AM

BIONICLE: Roodaka demonstrates her authority over the Visorak to Vakama by ordering a few Visorak to jump off a cliff.

Jan 12th 2019 at 12:27:16 PM

Vanilla Ice cutting off his own head to give Dio his blood out of Blind Obedience might count, as he had no idea he could be revived and become a vampire. Might because I'm not sure whether this was him showing loyalty by basically killing himself, or if he's too dense to realize decapitation is a fatal sacrifice

Jan 12th 2019 at 4:28:16 PM

^ He shows his loyalty and then gets paid with a second life. Ain't that great?

  • Lampshaded in The Last Samurai, where Katsumoto says that, if the Emperor wants him to die, all he needs to do is just ask. As previously he had just fend off an assassination attempt by ninjas, this makes him and Algren suspect that someone else (likely Omura) was behind it.