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Ain't Too Proud to Beg

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I know you wanna leave me
But I refuse to let you go
If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy
I don't mind, 'cause you mean that much to me
Ain't too proud to beg, sweet darling
Please don't leave me, don't you go.

The opposite of Defiant to the End, this is when the hero of his own accord begs for mercy, or bows, kneels, cowers, or does pretty much anything covered under Kneel Before Zod. Usually, this may happen if the hero's Subterfuge Judo has failed. Technically, this trope isn't morality-sensitive, but heroes tend to be a lot less interested in submission, so it usually is done for the benefit of a villain.

Compare Villains Want Mercy, the inverted trope where villains, having ended up defeated and cornered by a hero, will try to beg or bribe the hero into letting them go or, if they are faced by a particularly angry Anti-Hero, for their life to be spared. Such situations pretty ubiquitously is meant to show that the villain, despite any bravado they might usually project, is a two-faced Dirty Coward when the chips are down. Compare to Too Desperate to Be Picky, which may overlap if the beggar is acting against their own standards out of desperation. A Fair-Weather Foe might do this if they think it will get them something out of their enemies.

Often overlaps with Face Death with Despair as the villains try to weasel their way out of a doomed scenario, many times to no effect.

It comes in two main types.

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Stalling For Time

Maybe they know for a fact that rescue is coming, or maybe they just figure that every moment they're not dead is another chance for a miracle to happen. Either way, they're sacrificing some dignity now for some kind of gain later. (If the gain is immediate, to lead their opponent to believe the fight is over, this is I Surrender, Suckers instead.) This will usually involve Holding the Floor.


    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, Mercenary Tao (for the 1st half of his appearances) has been seen sadistically killing people he's been hired to hit, the likes of which include General Blue and Bora, Upa's father, and he nearly killed Goku too. However, once Goku gets stronger after training with Korin and turns the tables on Tao by beating the crap out of him, Tao resorts to this as a last-ditch effort, tearfully pleading Goku to spare him. It doesn't work for him and Karma blows up in his face.
    • This even translated to the games as his Ultimate Move: The opponent kicks him to the floor, he begs for forgiveness and when the opponent looks away, he throws a bomb at their face.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward does this to Envy when trapped inside Gluttony's stomach.
    Ling: [after Envy walks up to the two] So it is Envy.
    Edward: Please tell us where the exit is!
    Ling: Humble already?
    Edward: Of course! If it's for the sake of survival, I'll bow down to my opponent.
  • In Hoshin Engi, Heroic Comedic Sociopath Taikobo will use any way to trick villains into lowering their guard, and it's mostly played for laughs. According to him, anything goes when you're fighting for your life. He is called the "worst kind of hero" by both the author and other characters in the story. But then again, his victories and the way he manages to completely turn the tables and own the villains within seconds more than makes up for the temporary grovelling.
  • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam one of the conditions Haman Khan gives in exchange for allying with the AEUG is for Char to beg her for assistance. He is very reluctant but ultimately does so, causing Haman to laugh and say it's a done deal. She winds up betraying the alliance anyway for her own ends.
  • In an episode of Outlaw Star, an assassin, Yase, hired by the Kei Pirates to take out Gene Starwind tries this tactic on "Twilight" Susuka before firing his wrist weapon at her. Suzuka deflects all of his shots before taking him out once and for all.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Leonidas in the finale of 300.
  • John Belushi pulls this off successfully in The Blues Brothers.
  • Die Hard: Hans Gruber pretends to be a typical American when he runs into John McLane on the roof of the building, in an attempt to get back to his gun or find some way to call his troops to kill John.
  • Dredd has Judge Dredd about to be shot dead by an enemy. He mutters out "Wait"; his enemy, surprised and amused that the mighty and feared Dredd is apparently begging for his life, takes the time to make fun of Dredd. Then Anderson shows up to kill the enemy from behind, after which Dredd amends his request to "Wait for her to shoot you."
  • A Most Violent Year: It galls him greatly, but when Abel's bank pulls out and he's unable to complete the purchase he travels round the city asking for more loans and for more time to put the money together.

  • A rather delightful one comes from Animorphs when a captured Marco and Cassie are instructed to "grovel in the fashion of your own people. Grovel as you normally grovel." Marco takes that as an invitation to make things up in a long monologue. Especially with poor Bad Liar Cassie doing her level best to keep up. "We grovel like... um... like people who are really, really grovelling."
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin gets abducted by women who wish to marry him to take control of the throne. Cira is seized when she tries to help him, and the Porters would be quite happy to kill her. So Jerin tells them that if she dies, they will have to rape him to get with child, he'll have to be always tied up to keep him from escaping, he will not raise their children, he will tell everyone, ever, always, what they did. If she lives, he'll be loyal, please them in bed, cook for them, tend their kids, be a good husband. He's lying, hoping to wait for them to let their guard down so he and Cira can escape.
  • In the book Crown Duel, Meliara attempts to plead for the life of her brother despite her obstinate attitude. Just as the villain catches on to her behavior, she reveals she was stalling for time as the Hill Folk arrive and save the day.
  • Dragons of Requiem has two cases.
    • Dies Irae does this twice, and both times it's after he's critically injured by his brother Benedictus. And both times, he tries to kill Benedictus as soon as he hesitates.
    • Queen Solina also begs for her life by making her former lover, Elethor, try to reminisce about their former dating life. She quickly slashes at his face with a dagger when he hesitates, then flies away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: In "Full Measure", Walt is lured to the laundromat by Victor and Mike to be executed for the trouble he's caused Gus. Walt pleads for his life by offering Jesse in his place, but says that he has to call Jesse first to arrange a meetup. When Mike lets Walt make the phone call, Walt instead orders Jesse to go to Gale's apartment and kill him, so that Gus has no one to replace them with and can't afford to kill them.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Becoming Part 2" has Giles pretending to break down in the face of torture at the hands of Angelus.
      Giles: In order... to be worthy...
      Angelus: Yeah?
      Giles: You must perform the ritual... in a tutu. Pillock!
      Angelus: All right. Someone get the chainsaw.
    • During his death scene in "Villains", Warren begins desperately trying to reason with Willow when it finally hits him that she really does intend to kill him. It doesn't work.
  • Burn Notice: Michael Westen has been known to do this to further the Obfuscating Wussiness of his cover identities.

  • Trope Namer is the song "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" by The Temptations, which was also covered by The Rolling Stones on their album It's Only Rock 'N' Roll.
  • The narrator of the song "Silent Running" by Mike & the Mechanics, suggests this as a survival technique in the face of a hostile invasion.
    "Swear allegiance to the flag. Whatever flag they offer. Never hint at what you really feel."

    Video Games 
  • In the prologue to Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas kneels to beg forgiveness from rival gang leader Seifer... only to use that as a distraction so he can quickly grab a Struggle bat to fight him with.
  • This happens in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door during the Boss Battle with Hooktail. After you deplete her health to zero, she seems to be defeated, and offers Mario some bribes in exchange for being spared, first 1,000 Coins and then a "Really Ultra Rare Badge". If both are refused, she disgustingly asks Mario if he would like to smell her feet, claiming that people pay good money to do this. It's up to the player whether Mario accepts or refuses any of these bribes, but if he does, they turn out to be lies; she's trying to lure him close for a powerful attack. (If the player doesn't fall for it, she devours half the audience to regain some of her health, then the battle begins again.)
  • In the video game Radiata Stories, during the Non-Human campaign, Jack beats up a few commanding officers of the human side. Afterwards, just to rub it in, he tells them to beg. They do, but it's to stall for time until reinforcements arrive to greatly outnumber him.
  • When close to death, a certain mook in Rise of the Triad will drop to his knees and start yelling "No! Don't shoot! Please!" It's a trick, though; if you try to spare them, they'll fall over, play possum for a little while, then get right back up and keep shooting at you.
  • During the Batman Cold Open of Sonic Unleashed, Dr. Eggman starts begging for mercy in order to lure Sonic into a trap that will Depower him and charge Eggman's cannon. Since Eggman is a Dirty Coward, Sonic mistakes it for actual begging and doesn't realize what's really going on until the trap is sprung.

    Visual Novels 
  • This is a skill in Gnosia. If Sha-Ming is chosen to go into cold sleep, he can Grovel in the hopes that they will have pity on him. The player character can learn how he does it, after which you can employ it yourself if you're about to be voted off (given you have the Stealth to do so).


    Web Original 
  • Why Not Janice? has... Janice. She will do anything, even extremely pathetic tactics and mentioning completely cringe-worthy irrelevant things, just to get subscribers.

    Western Animation 
  • Features in Mighty Max Season 2 Episode 3, "Blood Of The Dragon." Max and his friends are trying to escape a moving island when they're cornered by Skullmaster. Knowing that in just a few moments the island will drift into range of a portal which he can use to escape, Max pretends to surrender, offering to hand over the Cosmic Cap in exchange for his life. Skullmaster accepts his offer which distracts the villain just long enough for the island to arrive at the portal and for all of the heroes to escape safely.

They Mean It

Usually very much the darker variety. Their resistance has been successfully broken, whether through Breaking Speeches or Cold-Blooded Torture or some other means, and their submission is a sign of that. They'll probably recover, unless we're going for a massive Downer Ending, but for now, the villain has what he wants. Tears of Fear and Please, I Will Do Anything! can be involved.

Alternatively, a Pragmatic Hero may beg for mercy or aid to avoid an unnecessary fight, even if it hurts their pride. A more positive use, and more likely to actually work.


    Anime & Manga 
  • Accel World: Played for dark drama with Noumi at the end of the Dusktaker arc. Having suffered a devastating blow from the repowered Silver Crow while in an all-or-nothing match, Taker finds himself a barely functional heap on the ground, helpless and begging someone, anyone to share points with him to keep him from losing his powers. That this is the exact situation Noumi claims he put his abusive brother in (and his screams of terror and begging were fond memories for Noumi) serves as a dark echo for someone who spent the entire arc mocking any sign of weakness in the heroes. Haru, Taku, and Chiyo take no pleasure in this display, and Taku tels Haru to end it by finishing Noumi off with the laser blade.
  • In the final volume of Blade of the Immortal, two of the deadliest warriors in the series, Makie of the Itto-ryu and Giichi of the Mugai-ryu face off. The battle ends when Makie feigns weakness and slices off Giichi's right hand which, combined with the damage he'd already accumulated over the series (including his left foot being split in half) leaves him unable to fight on. While Giichi's friend Hyakurin is ready to challenge Makie to try and protect him, Giichi is fully aware that Hyakurin doesn't even have a ghost of a chance, so he bows down in front of Makie, admits that she is the strongest warrior, and begs her to just take the win and leave them in peace (especially as Hyakurin is pregnant). While Makie is initially disgusted by his selfishness at begging for his life after slaying so many Itto-ryo warriors, she confesses that she doesn't have a moral high ground either and walks away.
  • In Bleach, as the Wandenreich prepares to annihilate what little resistance is left in the Seireitei, Ichigo finally breaks out of the Garganta and arrives to Soul Society. One of the first things he does is check on Byakuya, whose life is hanging by a thread, and reassure him that Rukia and Renji are still alive. Byakuya, a character best known for his pride, apologizes to Ichigo for making such an "audacious request" to someone who by all rights shouldn't even be involved in their war and, with tears in his eyes, begs him to save Soul Society. Ichigo leaves without a word, but Byakuya gets the message before finally passing out.
  • When the final confrontation in the manga version of Death Note reaches its conclusion, Ryuk refuses to help the defeated Light and writes Light's name down right in front of him, exactly as he promised he would in the very first chapter. This gives the oh-so proud "God of the new world" exactly forty seconds to desperately beg for his life. In the anime, as he's laying on the warehouse ground riddled with bullet holes, he desperately calls out for Misa and Takada, begging to know where they are. Either way, Light ends the series going from a total egomaniac who thought he had everyone on puppet strings to a terrified young man with just mere seconds to live.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, as part of an elaborate ruse by the Digimon Emperor, team leader Davis is convinced that all of his friends have been captured and will be mauled by a rampaging Digimon unless he gets down on his knees and begs for mercy. Oddly for a kids show, Davis complies immediately and without embarrassment and is never judged for it - on the contrary, it's Davis' immunity to pandering or attacks on his personal pride when more important things are at stake that allows him to save everyone in the final battle of the series.
  • Saito in The Familiar of Zero, to stop the inquisition, but only once Louise is threatened.
  • Hijikata in Gintama pleads with the Yorozuya to protect the Shinsengumi as his last request when he is possessed by a cursed sword and is losing his personality and he knows Itou is up to something bad but cannot do anything about it because he was dismissed from the Shinsengumi.
  • Played for Laughs in Hetalia: Axis Powers; every time Italy gets captured by the Allies, he immediately starts pleading for his life. He also does this in the first episode upon first meeting Germany:
    Italy: Please don't shoot me, I'm too young to die! And what if I don't die, but I'm just mortally wounded and just forced to lie there miserably in a pool of my own blood? Please, I'll do anything! [Beat] Well, I mean, within reason.
  • In Higehiro, instead of chastising Sayu's mother for her horrible treatment of her daughter, Yoshida tries to reason with her that it's a parent's responsibility to keep their children away from harm, then prostrates himself before her, begging her to be a more responsible parent to Sayu. This spurs her son Issa to do the same thing, causing her to have a breakdown.
  • Played for Laughs in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, when Kashima approached Seo about taking singing lessons from her, Seo told Kashima that she'd only agree to do so if Kashima got on her knees and begged. Kashima had no issue with complying (though Seo stopped her and said it was only a joke to try and scare her away).
  • One Piece attaches a lot of importance to Manly Stoicism at some points, but is always clear that the decision is a person's to make on their own: Several leaders are portrayed as strong and wise for their willingness to cast aside their pride and beg for the lives of their people or followers.
    • This is the lesson that Luffy learns in the Drum Island arc: A leader should NEVER be too proud to beg for the lives of his followers. Vivi teaches him this when she gets shot and then yells at him for wanting to attack the guy who shot her because it would only make the situation worse. She then proceeds to go into a Pose of Supplication, which he imitates, and both of them beg for a doctor to help Nami, who was deathly ill at the time.
    • Usopp has to do this before he is allowed to rejoin the Straw Hats after quitting. Zoro reasons that since he quit in defiance it has to be this way if the crew were to have true meaning.
    • In Thriller Bark, Zoro gets on his knees and begs Kuma to spare Luffy's life by offering his own in exchange.
    • Zoro later proves that he's not too proud to beg either when he asks Mihawk to train him. And Zoro manages to beg manly.
    • Luffy showed that he learned his lesson when he begs help for Sanji in Fishman Island and the Pose of Supplication is seen when he shows his gratitude to an unconscious Bon Clay.
    • Tashigi tries to convince Smoker to cast aside his pride as a Marine when they're held captive in Punk Hazard, saying that if begging a pirate for help is what they have to do in order to save the children Caesar uses as guinea pigs and take down Vergo, then they should beg. Neither of them end up doing it since what Trafalgar Law actually wants is for them to keep quiet about his activities on the island, but the sentiment is the same.
    • Tashigi later begs Nami to let the Marines take the children into custody in order to get them the help they need. While Nami is reluctant about this at first, considering it was the negligence of the Marines that allowed the children to end up as Caesar's guinea pigs to begin with, Tashigi retorts that this is precisely why the Marines must handle the children, if only to make up for their failure. Nami doesn't have the strength to refuse after seeing that Tashigi's plea is sincere (though she later admits that it's also because Tashigi being a female Marine reminded her of Belle-Mère).
  • Played with in Ravages of Time where during the battle of Puyang, Lu Bu taunts Cao Cao about the foolishness of trying to be Defiant to the End when cornered; this gets Cao Cao to vocally wonder, "Does that mean if you get captured one day, you will shamelessly beg for your life?" Years later, when Lu Bu is captured in the fall of Xiapi that's exactly what he does. Unfortunately for him, Cao Cao publicly "praises" Lu Bu for abandoning useless pride to save his own hide, since "[a] true hero understands that one can accomplish much more by staying alive"... which is exactly why Cao Cao won't let him livenote .
  • A non-heroic version would be Masao from the anime version of Shiki. In fear for his life, he goes to his sister-in-law's house and begs her to offer him shelter. In the end she invites him inside... right before beating him with a pole and staking him to death.
  • Spice and Wolf has Holo negotiate with a group of other wolf gods to save Lawrence's life. We don't see the event itself, but mud on her knees implies that she begged them.
  • In Trigun Vash first kneels and bows his head to the ground to keep some thugs (including one pretending to be him) from killing his friend. The thugs tell him they'll go away if he strips naked and barks like a dog. He does. They keep their word and leave him and the girl be. But then shoot Vash as they're driving away. They then go back on it and kidnap the friend. However, this turns out to be a bad idea on the thugs part.
  • Subverted in Vinland Saga: A rich landowner says he's willing to finance Thorfinn's expedition... if Thorfinn begs him on his knees. Thorfinn immediately does so and submits to the man's demands (after several years as a slave, Thorfinn should Know When to Fold 'Em), which causes him to throw off the deal (he wants to hold power over people, and willing victims just aren't any fun).
  • Coast Guard boss Kaizai in Wa ga Na wa Umishi is not too proud to beg ordinary fisherman to stop interrupting a rescue, much to the surprise of the fisherman who had demanded that he go on his knees.
  • A variation of this (it doesn't involve the character's own life) plays an important part of the backstory of Amon Garcia, a secondary antagonist in the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. As a child, he was torn between jealousy towards his younger brother (the biological son of his adoptive father, and thus the heir to the family's oil empire) and loyalty to his family. When his brother grew gravely ill, he considered doing nothing and letting him die. Loyalty won out; he found the only merchant who sold the medicine that could save his brother and shamelessly begged for it. (Apparently, the merchant gave in.)
  • World's End Harem: Shion Hoshino was the most beautiful and most popular girl at school and one of the few people who don't bully Shota Doi. However, on two occasions, Shion shows that she has no sympathy for Shota for the bullying he suffers. First, when Shion and her two friends saw Shota being stripped of his clothes and bullied on the school rooftop, Shion just sat down and ate her lunch while ignoring what was happening to Shota. Second, when Shion explains to his class why Shota will be absent because of his disease, she gets a phone call from her boss and just leaves, not offering him a single word of condolence. So five years later, when Shion Hoshino reveas to Shota Doi that she could not become a celebrity in this new society, she begs for his help in becoming a celebrity. Shota just tells her to strip; shocked, Shion asks if he's joking, he admits that he is. In the anime, as he leaves, Shota tells Shion she can't expect him to help her after all what she did. Shion had resorted to stripping up to her underwear and having sex with Shota on the school rooftop in front of three girls to get his help.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Button, Eobard Thawne spends a second boasting about how awesome he is in the final issue, before really getting to see Doctor Manhattan. He then begins freaking out and begging for mercy.
  • DC Comics: "He-Man Eternity War": When the heroes manage to free Eternia, they also manage to capture Imp, who has been placed there as governor with a 0% Approval Rating. The snakemen plan to execute him on the spot and the little guy immediately begins pleading for his life. Imp has never been much of a fighter, but typically he's a Karma Houdini who manages to escape such comeuppances.
  • Deadly Class: The main character is shown as a homeless beggar at the beginning of the series. Another older beggar tries to steal his shoes and begs for mercy after being caught.
  • Night of the Owls: When an assassin comes for high-ranking Deputy Sheriff Michael D. Davis while he's taking a bath, Davis can only say, "Please don't."
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): When his plan to use the Freedom Fighters to topple King Scourge backfires, a terrified Miles Prower immediately starts begging for his life when Scourge corners him on being the only one who'd orchestrate such a plan. This serves as proof that despite his claims of maturity and sneering disdain for his prime universe counterpart's supposed childishness, the antithesis of Tails is at his core a treacherous coward.
  • Electro makes Spider-Man do it in one arc; after Taking a Level in Badass, the villain is a serious threat (attempting to use water to short circuit him fails, as he can turn it to steam before it reaches him, and he can control electricity enough to fry the synapses in a person's brain) and he's Drunk with Power. After curb stomping the hero in public, he demands Spidey beg for his life, and Spidey actually does it. (Seeing as the torture makes him feel like his brain is on fire; when Spidey recovers, he's mad and goes after Electro with an insulated costume with Nate Summers backing him up.)
  • Examples from Superman comics:
    • In All-Star Superman, Solaris's final line, after being firmly beaten by Superman, is simply "Mercy." Superman, having been informed by time travelers that Solaris will survive, and one day be repurposed to help humanity, simply says in response "You'll live", before punching Solaris hard enough to create a mushroom cloud.
    • In the 1988 The Supergirl Saga, Zaora of the Phantom Zone criminals goes from boastful and proud to begging for her life when Superman subjects her to fatal radiation exposure of Green Kryptonite to execute her for her crime of genocide. She ends up dying along with General Zod and Quex-Ul, the latter of whom strangled Zod as they both died together.
    • In Superman vs. Shazam!, Black Adam angrily attacks Karmang when the sorcerer informs him that he has been summoned to serve him. However, Adam quickly drops to his knees and begs for mercy when Karmang easily crushes him with a simple spell.
  • The Transformers (IDW) comics:
    • Tarn begs for his life when Megatron is preparing to kill him. It doesn't help. This example is especially pathetic because Tarn had previously mocked his own victims for doing the same thing, clearly expecting them to have dignity while dying horribly.
    • When he realizes that Optimus Prime intends to kill him and won't be dissuaded, Galvatron immediately drops any facade of stoicism and spends his last moments uselessly screaming "I SURRENDER!".
    • In a more tragic example, when the Decepticon Loyalists storm Cybertron's space bridge, Tracks tries to get Needlenose, leader of the attackers and Tracks's brother, to stop the assault. He's quickly reduced to desperate begging and when Needlenose still refuses to listen, he tries to forcibly pull Needlenose away. He gets shot for it and as he bleeds out, he once again begs for Needlenose to stop. Needlenose simply kicks him and continues the attack.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • The Ultimates: After Valkyrie breaks free of Mastermind's illusions and decapitates him, Pyro tried to beg for mercy, even invoking his time with the X-Men. It didn't save him from dismemberment.
    • Ultimate X-Men: After falling prey to The Dog Bites Back at the hands of his son, Magneto frantically grovels to Xavier as the latter turns his own powers against him before hurling him into space.
    Magneto: Charles, please! I'm begging you! Spare my life and I swear I'll think whatever thoughts you want! CHARLES!

    Comic Strips 
  • In FoxTrot, Roger did this when asking for his job back. It was more that Pembrook made him, but Roger was still willing to do it.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas: Empty Fullness: In "Damnatio Memoriae", the creature that would form the middle head of King Ghidorah desperately pleads for his brothers' lives when the Makers are cutting into them, causing them to scream in agony.
  • In Amazon Aid, Nabiki is so afraid that the people she had blackmail material on will come after her for revenge after said material is destroyed that she's forced to beg Ranma to protect her. He agrees, but only after making her promise to give up extortion forever.
  • A Brighter Dark: When trying to convince her father to spare Felicia's home village, Corrin ends up begging him with every fiber of her soul, in contrast to her usual defiant and headstrong nature. While it isn't enough on its own, it does convince Garon to allow her to think of a way to pull it off.
  • In Children of the Glades, assassin Creote gives a stomach churning No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Helena, who is soon reduced to begging for mercy.
  • In Chapter 23 of The Command Quarters, Megatron is forced to apologise to Starscream after falsely accusing the Seeker of stealing his fusion cannon (Soundwave had actually had it sent to Cybertron for maintenance). Starscream initially isn't interested, but forgives Megatron when the warlord actually gets down on his knees and gives him a profound look.
  • Down And Out: Grace towards Amelia when seeking treatment for Simon's injuries, after every other attempt to convince her to help.
  • In flames of sorrow, Scar tracks Roy Mustang down in order to avenge the many Ishvalan civilians slaughtered in the war, and is left utterly floored when Roy fully admits his sins and merely begs for his subordinate Edward to be spared from retribution on the grounds that he's Just a Kid.
  • Forum of Thrones:
    • The prisoner in the court scene during the beginning of the first chapter is pleading for Harren Hoare to spare him, or to allow him to join the Night's Watch. It only makes Harren punish him more severely.
    • After being revealed to be a deranged child-murderer and after receiving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, Otis Shiff is reduced to a crippled and pathetic shadow of a man that desperately begs to be spared. It does not work out well for him.

  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Black Adam reacts violently when Mordru orders him to submit to him... and then promptly falls on his knees and begs to be spared when Mordru proves he can destroy him at any given time.
    Calmly, the bearded giant on the throne before him answered, "I am Mordru. You have been brought here to serve me."
    Angrily, the black-and-gold-clad villain launched himself at Mordru. His power and velocity should have carried him straight through the wizard's body.
    But Mordru raised a hand, and a lightning bolt sprang from his fingers. Black Adam was knocked out of the air. A flash of energy almost blinded Mordru's messenger.
    Now, a slim Egyptian man with no powers whatever cowered on the floor of Mordru's chamber. And the over-villain's hand still glowed with eldritch power.
    "Spare me!" begged Teth-Adam, who would never have spared a foe himself.
    "Agree to serve me, then," said Mordru, not giving an iota.
    Teth-Adam knelt before his new master, touching his forehead to the floor three times.
  • I Am War: Celestia begs Excolotis, the god of war, for help because as a peaceful goddess she doesn't know how to lead an army let alone train one.
  • In with the Old, Out with the New has a villainous example from Kano. After Sonya proceeds to beat Kano within an inch of his life, he begs for mercy. Given that Kano had kidnapped, tortured and raped Cassie, Sonya, understandably, isn't offering any.
  • Loved and Lost: After Prince Jewelius pins the blame on them for the invasion of Canterlot and sentences them to exile, all of the Mane Five (even Applejack and Rainbow Dash) tearfully beg for him to show them mercy.
  • In A Marriage Of Convenience, When it looks like their marriage isn't necessary anymore, Hans privately begs Elsa not to annul it. To show how desperate he is, he takes his shirt off and shows her all the scars he's received from his brothers and makes it clear he might not survive if he'll ever be sent back. He is desperate enough that he even offers to be a servant. Thankfully, Elsa tells him she's not going to annul the marriage.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Gary Oak goes off to beg a trainer-turned-novelist named Casey Snagem to train him after he suffers a devastating defeat against Paul, even entering a Pose of Supplication while he does so. This is notable because up to that point, Gary had dismissed Snagem's views about what meant to be a Pokémon Master, but now he's eating his pride and acknowledging him as a strong trainer and the person who can help him find what he's missing.
  • Reacting to The Loud House:
    • In Making the Grade, Lynn Sr. begs Principals Huggins and Ramirez not to report Lisa's destruction of her (at the time) classmates' school projects.
    • When the title card for "No Such Luck" shows up, the Loud sisters share a collective Oh, Crap! before begging Joe not to show the episode. It doesn't work.
    • In No Such Luck Part 2, Rita begs the principals not to report the luck incident. They are on the fence, but Huggins admits they can try to be fair.
  • Shadows Over Hell: Blitzo doesn't enjoy it, but he gets down on his knees in front of Verosika to get the latter to treat Loona better, much to Verosika's surprise.
  • Shadows over Meridian: When Jade catches Vera's team in Chapter 27, the teary-eyed Tinsley begs her to show mercy so that the badly wounded Alan would get medical treatment, showing how much the upbeat girl has been pushed to her breaking point by everything they've endured, and her crush's condition further convinces her that surrendering is the only option left.
  • In Tangled Fate, Ranma first refuses to become the new ruler of Greyfalls only for Setarial to kneel and beg for the Solar Exalted to take the throne and protect the city. The martial artist is so stunned from seeing a goddess willingly forsaking her pride for her mortal worshippers' sake that she comes back on her decision and agrees to receive the crown.
  • Team 8: Tsunade is intrigued by how very motivated a main branch Hyūga clan member seems to be about pleading for her to heal Naruto, and decides to put them off by demanding six months' indentured service as payment; surely their pride will make them baulk. Hinata agrees immediately.
  • The third video of the Town of Salem Affectionate Parody Town of Salem IRL ends with the Mayor and Pestilence being the last survivors note . Pestilence begs to be allowed to win, even promising to subscribe to the Mayor's youtube channel if he lets her win. The mayor votes guilty.
  • Universe Falls: In "The Stanchurian Candidate", Amethyst is still mad at Stan after the events of "Not What He Seems", and initially refuses to help with his campaign for mayor of Gravity Falls. Steven's idea of taking "drastic measures" to convince her is to cling to Amethyst's leg and beg, whine, and wheedle until she agrees to help.
  • Wisdom and Courage: During the climax, Link is on the receiving end of a savage No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Veran, who decides to twist the knife even further by threatening to cut out his right eye. The Primal Fear immediately hits Link, who begs her not to do so; in response, Veran takes sadistic pleasure in the fact that she actually got Link to plead for mercy before proceeding to gouge out his eye For the Evulz.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible begs Syndrome not to shoot down his family's airplane.
  • Pinocchio: Lampwick does this as he's turning into a donkey while begging for Pinocchio to help him.
    Lampwick: Please! Ya gotta help me! Be a pal! Call that beetle! CALL ANYBODY!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • An example comes from Babe where Fly, a sheepdog, swallows her pride to politely ask the sheep (who she saw as stupid and nothing but inferior to her) just what happened the morning that Maa was killed, so she could prove her adopted son Babe's innocence.
  • Balibo: Roger begs for his life as the TNI prepare to execute him. It doesn't work.
  • In the movie Bent, Max is willing to do whatever the guards ask of him if it means he'll have a chance of getting out of the Nazi concentration camp sooner.
  • In Black Rat, Takashi ends his life on his knees begging the Black Rat for mercy. It avails him not.
  • The now-iconic scene in A Clockwork Orange, when Alex is undergoing The Ludovico Technique to "cure" him of his sadism. It's commonly regarded as one of the most effective and chilling uses of Not So Stoic in film.
  • Death Proof. When Stuntman Mike has kidnapped Pam and trapped her in his car, she reacts angrily at first and threatens to kill him. When she realizes she can't escape, she tearfully begs Mike to let her go and that she won't tell anyone. He mocks her situation before giving the death blow.
  • In Hobo With a Shotgun, Slick tries to placate the Hobo when he's got his shotgun pointing at his crotch. Doesn't work.
  • Maleficent: During the christening, after cursing her ex-lover's infant daughter to die on her 16th birthday, in retaliation of him drugging her and stealing her wings, Maleficent forces King Stefan to beg on his knees for his daughter's life, before she places in a curse escape clause.
    Stefan: I beg of you, don't do this...
    Maleficent: I like you begging. Do it again.
  • As Tom Reagan is about to put down Bernie Bernbaum in Miller's Crossing at Miller's Crossing, Bernie breaks down into primal sobs and pleads for his life. It's harrowingly pathetic, and it does work in getting Tom to spare his life... the first time.
  • In Mystery Men Captain Amazing, who has the best reputation of all heroes, actively bargains to be the villain's assistant upon capture.
  • The ending of Oldboy (2003). After a particularly nasty revelation, Oh Dae-su forgets all about getting his revenge, begs the antagonist not to let Mido know the secret that would ruin her life and then, unprompted, cuts out his tongue just to show how much he has nothing further to add.
  • Peter Pan (2003): The titular protagonist, Peter Pan, has been broken down by Captain Hook who tells him Wendy will grow up, move on, find a husband and forget Peter Pan ever existed. Peter, the youthful and boastful boy he once was, ends up begging Hook to stop.
  • Subverted in The Princess Bride; the Dread Pirate Roberts spared Wesley for asking to be spared, with a simple a polite "please, I have to live". (Roberts had been more used to shameless and pitiful groveling, and sincerity was new to him.)
  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women: Near the end, Elizabeth (at the encouragement of William) went on her knees and pled for Olive to stay with them/her.
  • In The Sadist, Charlie forces Carl to get on his knees and beg for his life at gunpoint.
  • Saving Private Ryan: "Stop! Listen to me, listen to me! Stop! Stop! No, no! Stop, sto-" - Pvt. Mellish when he's pinned down by a German soldier and about to be stabbed in the chest. No Big Damn Heroes or last-second miracle: these end up as his last words.
  • Scarface (1983): Frank Lopez desperately pleads for forgiveness from Tony after failing to assassinate him. It sort of works, as Tony chooses not to kill him, but ultimately fails when Tony instead gets Manny to do the job to make his demise ironic.
  • Star Trek: Generations has two:
    • The first is Downplayed and non-villainous, and occurs when the Enterprise is trying to rescue two El-Aurian transports from an energy ribbon. After the first one is destroyed and the inexperienced Captain Harriman realizes that he has no idea what to do, he swallows his pride and asks the veteran Captain Kirk for help, which he's practically jumping to provide.
      Harriman: Captain Kirk...I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.
    • The second is played much straighter and scarier. After Soran KO's Geordi, he holds Data at phaserpoint. Data, whose recently-installed emotion chip is malfunctioning, is overcome by fear and begging for his life.
      Data: not hurt me. Please, please...
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Rey and Kylo Ren develop a connection and each is convinced that the other will turn to their side. Then Kylo makes it clear that despite turning on Snoke, he's not leaving the First Order.
    Rey: Don't do this Ben. Please don't go this way.
    Kylo: You're nothing. But not to me. Join me...please...
  • The Suicide Squad: The moment Starro manages to capture and hold The Thinker, who had been experimenting and torturing Starro for at least 30 years, The Thinker feebly and pathetically begs for mercy. It doesn't work.
    Thinker: Okay, we've gotta calm down. Let's all just...let's just talk about this. I understand where you're coming from. I crossed a line! Okay, I crossed a line! I realize that! But I'm ready to change! I am ready to change! I didn't mean to hurt you!
  • Superman II: When General Zod and his followers storm the White House, he demands that the president kneel before him. However, he deduces that the man that steps forward and kneels isn't actually the president.
    Zod: You are not the President. No one who leads so many could possibly kneel so quickly.
    The real president steps forward.
    President: I am the man they're protecting. I'm the President. I'll kneel before you if it will save lives.
    Zod: It will. Starting with your own.
    President: What I do now, I do for the sake of the people of the world. But there is one man here on Earth who will never kneel before you.
    Zod: Who is this imbecile? Where is he?
    President: I wish I knew.
  • In Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Optimus Prime is ready to sever Unicron's connection to the Earth when the world eater begs him not to, that he can give him anything. Prime tells him to stuff it.
    Unicron: Don't, Prime! I can give you everything you want.
    Prime: Then, die.
  • Zombieland has a particularly funny example as Tallahassee is threatened at gunpoint by Little Rock, who managed to steal away his shotgun. Tallahassee mocks her at first for not knowing how to use it, but one loud warning shot to the sky has him immediately shrieking out "Don't kill me with my own gun!"

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four, for the Downer Ending to end all Downer Endings.
  • Address Unknown: In his final letter to Max, Martin begs for Max to abandon his scheme and stop writing him. Max refuses.
  • Battle Ground: Rudolph desperately pleads for his life after Harry comes after him in a blind rage for murdering Murphy. It does not help the coward that he killed her for saving his life, or at least took advantage of her being off guard from doing so, and he is only spared because both Knights of the Cross step in and forcibly prevent Harry from crushing Rudolph flat in cold blood as they do not want to see their friend taken over by the Winter Mantle and changed irreversibly by murdering someone defenseless.
  • Scrooge, at the end of his spiritual journey in A Christmas Carol. His cold and uncaring haughtiness has already been irreparably shattered.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Tamlin is usually quite proud, but in the first book he's willing to beg when it comes to Feyre's safety. He pleads with Rhysand not to tell Amarantha about her and prostrates himself before him at his request. And when Amarantha is beating Feyre to death, Tamlin desperately begs for her to be spared.
  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg begs for Ward's forgiveness a couple of times. It's not necessary, Ward is a hero and rather confused by it, but Oreg has been a slave for most of his life, and it's a habit.
  • Silas and Elish from the Fallocaust series fall into this where Sky and Jade are involved.
  • Matilda in The Full Matilda does this so that the senator will not move back to the South, crushing her father's dreams of owning a nice house. She ends up sleeping with the senator.
  • In the sixth Gor novel Tarl does this, bringing on a Heroic BSoD since he never thought he'd be the type to do that. Stalling for time occurs throughout the series as well.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Winds of Fate: When Starblade k'Sheyna relives his torture in his nightmares, one scene he and we both see is Starblade kissing Mornelithe's feet in adoration.
  • Straight from The Iliad, after Achilles has killed Hector and then... not paid Due to the Dead, Hector's father goes to Achilles and gives a speech, culminating in:
    Priam: Think me more pitiful by far, since I
    have brought myself to do what no man else
    has done before—to lift to my lips the hand
    of the one who killed my son.
  • In Glorious Appearing from the Left Behind book series, False Prophet Leon Fortunato, when he is made to stand before Jesus Christ and to bow before Him and confess Him as Lord, ends up begging pitifully to be spared his fate in the Lake of Fire alongside the Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia, even renouncing his association with both Nick and Satan and pledging his allegiance to Jesus. Unfortunately for Leon, Jesus isn't changing His mind.
  • In the climax of D. J. MacHale's Pendragon series, the terrifying, superhuman Big Bad Saint Dane, when finally defeated by the Travelers, is reduced to a sobbing, groveling wretch begging to have his life spared.
  • In The Queen of Attolia, Eugenides' desperate begging to be spared having his hand cut off doesn't help at all. Yet, it turns out to have haunted the queen ever since.
    • Later in the book, this exchange occurs, referencing the above example (paraphrased)
      Euginides: I'll grovel.
      Attolia: I've seen you do that.
      Euginides: No, that was begging, I assure you, I'm quite good at groveling.
  • In the Revenge of the Sith novelization, as Anakin has him disarmed and at his mercy, Count Dooku begs Palpatine to spare him, claiming they had a deal. In actuality, he's begging his Master, Darth Sidious, not to discard him in favor of Anakin, but to no avail; Anakin soon succumbs to temptation and takes Dooku's head off. This was intended to be in the film, but Christopher Lee rejected the lines as out of character.
  • A pragmatic variety in Safehold — prince Nahrmahn knows perfectly that Emperor Cayleb is pissed off with his nation and if the Empire of Charis decided to attack them, Emerald would have no chance of surviving it, so he goes and begs Cayleb to allow him a Heel–Face Turn. It works.
  • In Twilight of the Red Tsar, more than a few victims of Stalin's purges beg for their lives when they realize their fate. It doesn't work.
  • In Stephen King's Under the Dome the surviving residents of Chester's Mill decide to go to the generator and beg for their lives when everything else fails.
  • The Unicorn Chronicles: In Dark Whispers (the original book 3), Ian, while trapped in the Rainbow Prison, asks Felicity for directions to his wife. She demands that he beg, which he does, because he knows that unless she helps him, he will die, his friends will die, and Martha will never see her daughter again. Felicity takes great joy in this, forcing Ian to crawl and kiss her feet.
  • The Warrior's Apprentice: Aral Vorkosigan, who in past sentenced Count Vorhalas' son to death, begs Count Vorhalas not to lay charge of treason against his son.
    Vorhalas: Say, "I beg of you."
    Vorkosigan: I beg of you[...]
    Vorhalas: Shove it, Vorkosigan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • And Then There Were None (2015): Vera tries to bargain with Wargrave to save her wretched life. Wargrave patiently indulges her... then gives her a subdued "The Reason You Suck" Speech, kicks away the chair keeping her from hanging, and then leaves her to her (well-deserved) fate.
  • Hal in Series 4 of Being Human (UK) voluntarily kneels while begging Cutler not to destroy humanity. It doesn't really have the desired effect.
    Cutler: I think I'm going to hurl.
  • Blackadder Goes Forth: In "Goodbyeee", Captain Darling is told he's being deployed to the trenches for the upcoming "Big Push" after spending the series up to that point safely at army headquarters and miles away from the front. Knowing exactly what this means he desperately tries to beg General Melchett to reconsider and let him stay. It doesn't work.
  • In Breaking Bad, after Jack and his men kill Gomez and have Hank at gun-point, Walt tries to save Hank by offering his entire fortune and pleading Hank to let the incident go. Hank has to inform him that even if he was willing to let it go, Jack wants him dead anyways due to him being a DEA agent and would never spare him no matter what Walt offers him, following which he's killed.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Bad Girls", Wesley's craven pleading is directly contrasted with Giles' snarky defiance in the face of a hideous demon and his vampire minions.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Utopia": The Doctor pleads for the Master to stop and think instead of stealing the TARDIS and escaping, but it doesn't work.
    • In "Journey's End", the Daleks drop the TARDIS into the fiery core of their space station — with Donna still inside it. This is the Doctor's reaction.
      The Doctor: Put me in her place! You can do anything to me, I don't care, just let her go!
    • "The Magician's Apprentice": The Doctor tearfully begs the villain on bended knee to stop the Daleks from exterminating his companion, Clara (aside from being a dramatic moment in its own right, this is also a watershed moment for the entire season as it establishes the Doctor's growing love-driven paranoia over Clara's safety).
    • The Doctor also has plenty of examples of the Pragmatic Hero variety of this trope. For example, in "Spyfall", The Master does his Kneel Before Zod schtick, and the doctor complies, but her attitude is more "ok, fine, can we get on with it already?"
  • Euphoria: Cal Jacobs, when Jules reveals herself to him at the chili cookoff, finds her when she's alone and says he knows she can destroy him by revealing they had sex. He outright begs her not to, unaware Jules has no intention of doing so.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Cersei is quickly reduced to begging when Tywin declares his plans to place her in a new Arranged Marriage.
    • After being very gravely wounded many miles from help, Sandor Clegane is forced to tearfully beg his companion for a Mercy Kill.
    • In "High Sparrow", Janos Slynt starts crying and pleading when he finally realizes Jon is serious about executing him. Jon executes him anyway.
    • Played with using Hizdahr, who willingly kneels before Daenerys to plead for his father's body, but stands tall when facing incineration by her dragons. Then when Dany comes to his cell, he kneels at once and begs for his life, explaining he wanted to die bravely but would rather not die at all.
    • Gendry when he's leeched by Melisandre, immediately begs Stannis to stop her — even using the much fought-over royal address to sway him — even though Gendry dislikes highborns and wants to be done serving them. His willingness to beg makes sense because unlike most characters on the show, he's a commoner so has no noble pride to cling to and is used to being mistreated by more powerful figures. (And spent previous seasons having to submit to different masters or captors to survive.)
    • Despite looking down on Walder Frey (or "The Late Walder Frey") throughout most of the series, Catelyn still tearfully pleads with him to spare Robb's life, even offering herself in his place. It doesn't work.
    • After seven seasons of being a Magnificent Bastard, Littlefinger is rocked when he realizes too late he's been set up by Sansa and Arya for a public trial. Realizing he has no allies, he falls to his knees and asks for mercy for the memory of their mother, who he loved. Given how she died in part because of his conniving, it's no wonder they don't listen.
  • In Glue, James pleads for his life while Alone with the Psycho before trying to escape. Too bad he's unsuccessful and the scenario has to repeat itself.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Claudia only does this twice. The first is when she implores Lestat to save her First Love with an Emergency Transformation (this is impossible because Charlie is already dead, but she later requests that Lestat make her a vampire companion to love). The second is her tearfully pleading for Lestat to let Louis go whilst he is violently abusing him. Both times are in tragic vain, and Claudia never begs Lestat for anything again.
  • Season 3 of Lois & Clark has a resurrected Lex Luthor learning Clark's secret and forcing him to beg so he won't kill his parents.
    That's good. You grovel with style, and that's important. Because I'm going to tell every criminal in the world who you are, and I'm going to give them the design of this weapon, your parents' address, and you're going to spend the rest of your life running...or hiding! And believe me, they're both equally humiliating.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): "Lithia" ends with Major Mercer begging very loudly not to be shoved into a cryo-tube. He gets louder when he finds out the one sentencing him to this knows his name because she's his fiancee, whom he thought was long dead.
  • Agent June Stahl in Sons of Anarchy. The Season 3 finale ends with her in the driver's seat of a car and Opie in the back with a gun to her head, while she cries and begs him to not kill her, right up until he pulls the trigger.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation In "Q Who", Picard asks Q to save them from the Borg. After a moment, Q acquiesces and sends them back to the Alpha Quadrant.
    (Q snaps his fingers and the Enterprise is taken back to where they previously were in the Alpha Quadrant)
    Q: That was a difficult admission. Another man would have been humiliated to say those words. Another man would have rather died than ask for help.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Move Along Home", when Quark believes he'll be forced to choose which of four crew members to sacrifice in an alien game, he falls to the floor, pleading with the aliens in question not to force him to make that decision. (It turns out they were never in any real danger, but Quark doesn't know that.)
    • Quark again in "Profit and Loss", when he pleads with Odo to release a pair of Cardassian defectors. Odo does, although he's adamant that he's not doing it on Quark's behalf.
  • Supernatural
    • When God!Mode Castiel (who just killed an archangel) demands that the Winchesters and Bobby bow down to him at the end of Season 6, a pragmatic Bobby calmly agrees and kneels rather than risk his wrath, then prods the more reluctant Sam and Dean to go along with it. He even offers to go further with it if Castiel wants.
    Bobby: Well, all right then. Is this good, or you want the whole "forehead to the carpet" thing?
  • Merle Dixon from The Walking Dead (2010) TV series initially bawls and begs Jesus to save him. Then he gets defiant. "I ain't never begged ya before an' I ain't gonna beg ya now!".
    • Gareth begs Rick not to kill him and the other hunters when they're captured after a failed assault on the church. It doesn't work.

    Music Videos 
  • In Miserable, at least two of the band members (Allen and Jeremy) resort to begging the giantess not to eat them. (Kevin never saw it coming, so he never got the chance, and while A.J. still struggled a little bit, he seemed pretty resigned to his fate.) It fails. She ignores their pleading and devours them without a hint of remorse.

  • In L'Orfeo, Orpheus begs Charon to let him pass and is initially devastated when he's refused entry.

    Video Games 
  • At the beginning of Cuphead, when the Devil offers the titular character and his brother Mugman a chance to beat him in a game of craps at his casino for his treasure, Mugman realizes that this is a bad idea, but Cuphead is too blinded by greed to listen to his brother's warnings when he bets their souls on the game... and then loses. When the Devil is about to claim their souls, Cuphead and Mugman kneel down and beg for their lives to be spared. The Devil agrees to let them go, on the condition that they must collect the Soul Contracts of other characters who have lost to him, and you know how this will turn out...
  • Afflicted heroes in Darkest Dungeon often time try to beg with the enemy or the heir to be let go as they take stress damage. Specifically, the Bounty Hunter has a unique quote of this, and meanwhile the Man-at-arms will try to bargain with the enemy to spare the others. Likewise, most of the different heroes will beg not to be chosen when the Heart of Darkness unleashes its "One hero dies, you choose which" One-Hit Kill attack, Come Unto Your Maker; others, however, either Face Death with Dignity or outright volunteer.
  • Corypheus The Elder One of Dragon Age: Inquisition does this when being defeated in the Final Battle causes him to lose control of the Orb of Destruction. After spending the game mocking the faith of others in absent gods, he hypocritically begs Dumat and the Old Gods to save him.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, Yangus proves he ain't too proud to beg after his old friend Red steals the party's horse, kneeling before her and pleading that she return the poor mare. Red doesn't realize why he's so determined to get the horse back, being blissfully unaware that the mare is actually the cursed princess Medea.
  • Starkiller of The Force Unleashed does this to Darth Vader in order to save Juno's life. Juno stops it herself.
  • In God of War Ragnarök, Heimdall has been nothing but the embodiment of smug pissantry for much of the game, and tries to mask much of the damage and panic in his boss encounter as dumb luck, but this briefly falters once Kratos violently spears his arm to the wall and twists it, leaving Heimdall screaming at the top of his lungs for him to stop. To his surprise, Kratos actually does, offering Heimdall the chance to walk away with no further quarrel... which Heimdall takes as some kind of insult to his pride, prompting him to retaliate even harder.
  • This can potentially happen to any character from Injustice: Gods Among Us: The victory animation for Regime!Superman has him tell his opponent "Kneel before me!" and the defeated opponent complies as he is surrounded by Superman's Gas Mask Mooks.
  • A less dark example from Kingdom Hearts II: when Sora tries to get Saïx to take him to see Kairi, Saïx demands that Sora show him how important Kairi is to him. Sora responds by getting down on his hands and knees and saying "please." Saïx still says no.
    • Even more powerful with Japanese cultural connotation, as he is doing a bow known as Dogeza (土下座), which is reserved for when you've really fucked up, because by doing that act you saying you are worth nothing and purposefully and willingly putting shame and humiliation on yourself.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, a secretary in the Exchange Corporation does this, albeit without the pose, when you begin your rampage during the struggle for power in the Telosian Exchange. You can let her go or kill her (for Dark Side points).
  • In the fifth episode of Minecraft: Story Mode, a villainous one comes from Aiden near the end after he's lost his sword during the Battle in the Rain with Jesse. His voice completely transitions from loud insane screaming to panicked pleading; with Jesse not so much as saying a word, he gives back the enchanted flint and steel he stole earlier and kneels before them. He then begs not to be left behind in the city as it's being destroyed; Jesse can choose to take him away to safety, roughly throw him into the waterfall that takes him to safety (without telling him it'll do so, making him think you're giving him a Disney Villain Death), or leave him behind. The first two options will result in Aiden being arrested, but if you do the first one, he'll seem genuinely remorseful and the right dialogue options can prompt him to become The Atoner. (The second option will just have him give you a silent Death Glare as he's led away.)
  • In the ending to Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Mullock has Abe captured, bound and dangled over a meat-grinder in the floor. Abe reacts to this predicament by thrashing his legs around and tearfully pleading for his life. To be fair on him, he's a Non-Action Guy, and... Well, it's a meat-grinder.
  • When Porcus Rex threatens to eat a boy in Sands of Destruction, The Hero Kyrie suggests he just beg for mercy. He then says that, if it'll help, he'll beg for the boy's life, too. Everyone else is convinced Kyrie is either insane, stupid, or both; the Front has to kill Porcus Rex in order to save both the boy and Kyrie from being eaten.
  • The Ur-Quan Kzer-za from Star Control 2 are every inch as Affably Evil as they sound. Surrendering to them and begging for mercy, while it leads to a Non-Standard Game Over, still means they simply return you to the slave-shielded Earth and pardon your race instead of holding them accountable for violating the terms of their surrender (as you most likely weren't even aware Earth had surrendered).
  • Edward Diego from the first System Shock begs SHODAN to spare him in exchange of information on the hideout of La Résistance. This is roughly two weeks after he boasted that he completely controlled SHODAN.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, there's a side quest where Yuan is looking for a ring he lost. When he eventually realizes the protagonists have it, he demands it back. They insist that he actually ask nicely, and in a rare moment of swallowing his pride, Yuan goes a step further and humbly begs them to give it to him. Rather than a dark moment for the protagonists, it's a significant Pet the Dog moment for Yuan, since the ring turns out to be his engagement ring to Martel, which he's worn for four thousand years past her death.
  • In the bad ending of Wing Commander III you're given the option to beg for mercy. The Big Bad kills you anyway.

  • Bowsette Saga: Bowsette is captured by an old Lakitu named Jugem who incapacitates her by attacking her injured ribs. She eventually resorts to begging for mercy before she passes out from the pain.
  • The first chapter of morphE has 8 characters wake up in a mansion and forced to pair off and fight to the death. Billy is thrown into the ring and is recognized as a TV celebrity by the host. He begs for his life and is given support in the fight which helps him survive. In recent chapters, he has been shown playing along with his captor in order to gain leverage. When it comes to survival, Billy has no shame.
  • Ja Wangnan from Tower of God falls on all fours in front of Viole when he realizes that he can take him to the next floor and starts begging. Hon Akraptor and Kang Horyang follow suit.
    Web Original 
  • Both Dream and his opponent Hunters in Minecraft Manhunt are not above pleading and bargaining for their lives when they're put on the run.
  • When Posting Goes Wrong had an episode detailing the "HIVLiving Incident."For the uninformed...  The episode included readings of the chat where Alix, the person behind the HIVLiving blog, was confronted by another Tumblr user. After hours of Blatant Lies and trying to weasel her way out of trouble, she was finally caught in an absolutely undeniable lie, and her whole story very quickly fell apart. She then went into full-on grovel mode, begging the other user not to doxx her or make her findings public—even after she was told multiple times that they had no intentions of doxxing her, they just wanted her to publically acknowledge her deception, apologize, and refund the money she'd raised under false pretenses. The grovelling goes on for hours and gets rather pathetic. It's almost enough to make you feel sorry for her. Almost.

    Western Animation 
  • Action League NOW! uses this trope for a funny exchange in "Voice of Treason," as a garage door is about to crush the League.
    Announcer: With a door closing on any hope, the league has one last card to play...
    Thunder Girl: No please!
    Stinky: Don't hurt us!
    Meltman: We'll be your best friend!
    Announcer: ...The wuss card.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: "Joker's Favor" reveals that, for all his daring heists and death-defying stunts, the Joker himself will beg given the correct circumstances. When Charlie Collins catches the Joker outside the police station after spending the episode under the clown's thumb, he threatens to use one of the Joker's own bombs to blow the villain up. While at first Joker thinks Charles is bluffing, he's quickly disabused of that notion and begins calling for help from Batman of all people. Played with in that the bomb was actually a fake and Charlie was trying to force the Joker to give up the information he had on Charlie's family. But then Joker didn't know that...
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Near the climax of "Summit to Save Earth, Part 2", the evil spirit Zarm forces the Planeteers to "fight" him one by one – which is virtually suicide – in front of their Team Mom Gaia, whom he had captured much earlier. While the four older Planeteers, who have elemental powers, do try to attack him – not that it has any effect on him – Ma-Ti refuses to fight, knowing full well that the Heart Ring cannot do anything to someone as heartless as Zarm. He, in turn, ridicules the boy, and prepares to kill him with an energy blast. Gaia, herself on the verge of death, tries begging for her youngest Planeteer's life, but gets flat-out ignored. She and Ma-Ti are soon saved due to Commander Clash's intervention, but at the time, she had no way of knowing it would happen.
  • In the Grossology episode "Pinkeye and the Brain", after several failed attempts to get information about the Bureau of Grossology from Lance Boil, Roger turns in his dignity card and begs him to tell. When Boil still refuses, he breaks; bawling and wailing about Ty and Abby neglecting him from their work and mocking him for his eye infection.
    I can't help that I have bacterial conjunctivitis!!
  • In The Hair Bear Bunch episode "Raffle Ruckus," Hair Bear is so weary from being the zoo owner (which he won through a raffle he staged) that Bubi suggests he beg Mr. Peevly (the zoo's actual keeper) to take it back. "No one makes Hair Bear beg!" he states firmly. But when the phone rings with another possible complaint from the animals, Hair starts crawling out the cave on his knees to Peevly's office.
  • Zim himself on Invader Zim—somewhat surprisingly, given how much of a Narcissist he is. He has had to ask Dib for help a few times ("Planet Jackers," "Bolognius Maximus") and begged GIR to obey him in "Invasion of the Idiot Dog Brain."
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Darth Maul pleads for mercy after being defeated in his last appearance in the original run of the series. Unfortunately, his opponent Darth Sidious doesn't believe in mercy.
  • Played for Drama in Steven Universe. When Jasper finds Lapis in "Alone at Sea", she goes on bended knee and begs Lapis to fuse with her again. Considering their fusion is the embodiment as an abusive relationship, and that Jasper generally comes across as an addict, it's rather disturbing.
  • In Thunder Cats 2011 One stockaded Lizard prisoner, Made a Slave for the crime of scavenging the Cats' crops, begs for mercy from protagonist Prince Lion-O, only for his defiant compatriot to cynically spit that you Can't Argue with Elves. Lion-O asks the angrier one to elaborate, whereupon he launches into a Motive Rant/Screw You, Elves! speech explaining his race's oppression by the Cats in fuming detail. This inspires Lion-O to successfully plead with his father for their release.
  • Starscream in Transformers: Prime has no standards when it comes to this. Doesn't stop him from being a threat, though.

    Real Life 
  • Counterfeiter William Chaloner was condemned to death after found guilty for counterfeiting, which was considered treason. Despite trying to frame Sir Isaac Newton (the acting Warden of the King's Mint) along the way, Chaloner wrote a letter to Newton groveling and begging to be pardoned. It didn't work.

Other Forms


    Anime & Manga 
  • In Holyland, Yuu does this in chapter 88.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has this happen twice, with the "begging" actually being a warning to the opponent.
    • Near the end of Jotaro's fight with Anubis (a sword Stand that is possessing Polnareff), as Polnareff starts to push the sword into Jotaro's abdomen, Jotaro says it'll be "murder" if he pushes the blade any farther in. Anubis sadistically mocks Jotaro for begging for mercy, but Jotaro uses Star Platinum to punch the blade to pieces, then says that he was warning that Anubis would be murdered if he tried that.
    • Not long afterward, Mariah has used her Stand, Bastet, to magnetize Joseph and Avdol, resulting in them being attracted to each other and large amounts of metal being drawn to each of them. Like in the previous example, Joseph begs Mariah to turn off her magnetism, but she refuses, confident that she's already won. Joseph then reveals that she sealed her fate by not doing so, before allowing himself and Avdol to be drawn toward each other, with Mariah caught in between. The end result is Mariah being crushed between two large hunks of metal and defeated by her own power.
  • One Piece:
    • In the Punk Hazard arc, Tashigi begs Law to release her and Smoker when she gets her original body back. Smoker is disgusted at the very idea, but Tashigi remarks that it's not just their lives at stake, but also their men's lives, as well as the children experimented on by Caesar Clown. She's not begging out of fear, but because they need to stay alive to save them.
    • Ten years ago, Doflamingo blackmailed King Riku of Dressrosa into paying him ten billion Belly in exchange for leaving the country alone. Aware that he stood no chance to ward off Doflamingo if things got violent, King Riku agreed to his demands and begged his citizens to lend him all of their money without telling them the truth of the situation, merely asking them to trust him. He even got on his knees and bowed his head, which all the citizens saw via a video Transponder Snail, which finally persuaded them to give up their money. Unfortunately, Doflamingo would then use his String-String Fruit powers to control both King Riku and the soldiers and force them to go on a rampage across the country, which made it look like King Riku was trying to rob his own citizens. Once the citizens lost faith in King Riku, Doflamingo and his elite executives conveniently showed up to save Dressrosa from their "tyrannical king".

    Comic Books 
  • In the French-Belgian comics Les Petits Hommes Les Prisonniers du temps, the hero begs the villain not harming him, telling that the villain can kill all the others if he wants. Just kidding. Actually, they were now ghosts for each other, so the villain had no way to harm anyone, and the hero was just having fun.

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Quirrell aims to teach Harry that begging is worth it if it gets you results.
  • Done in Bleach fanfic A Protector's Pride, by Ichigo, to get help from Yamamoto, after plan A (Ask Nicely) didn't work. Notably, plan B (Beg for help) also yields no results, and Ichigo is forced to seek help elsewhere. While it turns out Yamamoto had a valid reason for denying said request (he was trying to avoid a catastrophe, which happened still after Ichigo got his help from Urahara), helping would have been much better both in the long and short run, as it would have preserved friendly relationship AND Yamamoto would have been in a position to warn Ichigo against doing the exact wrong thing that led to said catastrophe.
  • Second Wind: Don Krieg gets this twice, and both times proves to be an Ungrateful Bastard immediately afterwards. First, the canon situation where he's starving to death, and begs for food. Sanji obliges, much to the protests of the other chefs, and is rewarded with a barely blocked lariat. The second time, Luffy has punched his armor so hard that it's dented, caving in on Krieg and cutting off his air supply. He begs for Luffy to remove it, and the rubber man complies... after snarking at Krieg. As soon as Krieg gets his breath back, he charges at Luffy... only to get one-shotted.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the Farscape Grand Finale miniseries Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton is about to unleash his wormhole weapon, and asks Scorpius, who has been dogging him for years, if he really wants to see the weapon. Scorpius, for his part, is more than happy to get to begging if it means the culmination of his life's goal.
    Crichton: Beg.
    Scorpius: [instantly] I beg you.
    Crichton: That's not good enough. Say please.
    Scorpius: Please.
    Crichton: Pretty please.
    Scorpius: Pretty please.
    Crichton: With a cherry on top.
    Scorpius: [only one word behind] With a cherry on top.
    Crichton: Happy Birthday. Now, get out of my sight.

  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore begs for his life when he's unarmed and being approached by Snape with wand in hand, pointing at him. This fact scares Harry, which makes him believe the situation is hopeless, which seems to be confirmed when the plea for mercy goes unheard. It's only in the next and last book when it's revealed that Dumbledore was actually begging for Snape to fulfill his promise to kill him, as he was dying of a painful curse anyway and this act would make Voldemort and the Death Eaters believe Snape was on their side.
  • In Mister B. Gone, Jakabok alternates his narration with either dire threats or pitiful groveling to get the reader to release him from the book. At the end he reveals that if he had been released, the reader probably would have been a bloody smear immediately after... if they were lucky.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Dying Detective", Holmes pleaded for help from someone he suspected of having infected his nephew with a deadly disease that he (Holmes) had apparently contracted, even offering to abandon the investigation. Holmes was feigning illness, as a ruse to get the suspect to admit both the original crime and the subsequent attempt to infect Holmes, with Watson hidden in the room to serve as witness.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Good Place: Played for Gallows Humor. Janet the AI cheerfully explains that she isn't human, doesn't feel pain, and can't die, but, as a security failsafe, she's programmed to beg desperately for her life whenever anyone is near her reset button.
    Chidi: Augh! Your pleading seems so real.
    Janet: Oh yes, it is a very effective failsafe.

  • TLC's debut single, "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg", is about the girls saying that they don't mind begging for sex from their significant others.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Among the Invictus in Vampire: The Requiem begging is used as an occasional gambit when a lower-ranking Vampire fails at some task. If you can't assign blame or weasel your way out, then you can always prostrate yourself (publicly) in front of the Elder, wail about your worthlessness, beg for mercy, tear your clothes, demand some horrible punishment, etc. This might (emphasis on might) fluster the Elder enough to say that the failure wasn't that bad, and avoid losing face by actually punishing you. Or he could just tell you to stop being a drama queen and show some dignity.

    Video Games 
  • In Doom Eternal, Hellpreist Deag Ranak, when confronted by the Doom Slayer, immediately begins grovelling and offering his genius at creating weapons in exchange for his miserable life. We're not sure if he's sincere or not, because Doomguy chops his head off mid-sentence.
  • Dragon Quest III: After being confronted and beaten once, Orochi beats a hasty retreat back to Zipangu and tries to reassume the queen act, demanding in a hushed voice that the Hero keep their mouth shut and she'll call it even.
  • "Grovel" is a God Reel technique in God Hand. Gene sinks to the Pose of Supplication and begs the enemies not to hurt him. The audience mocks you... and the Dynamic Difficulty sinks to the lowest possible level. (This doesn't work in Hard Mode, because the Dynamic Difficulty is locked on Level Die.)
  • Inverted at the end of Mass Effect 3: Citadel when Shepard has the option to convince The Dragon that her inevitable escape-from-prison-and-seek-vengeance scheme just isn't worth it.
    Brooks: [mocking] Is the great Commander Shepard begging for his/her life?
    Shepard: [completely serious] No. I'm begging for yours.
  • Mega Man (Classic): Whenever Dr. Wily's last machine is destroyed, he drops to his knees and begs for mercy. In the first few games, Mega Man seemed to comply, but in later ones he's wised up and Wily has to resort to other methods to get away.
  • At the climax of Story Mode of Mortal Kombat 9 there is an interesting example that is kind of both A and B. When Shao Kahn arrives to merge his realm with Earth, out of the surviving four heroes, only Raiden remains. Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade are too beaten to stand up to Shao Kahn and are easily dashed aside, and Liu Kang has died trying to kill Raiden. As the triumphant Emperor steps forward, Raiden falls to one knee and consigns the Earth to him. It's kind of like A, since the elder gods have decreed that merging the realms without victory in a Mortal Kombat tournament is forbidden, so Raiden could be seen as supplicating the Emperor's ego and drawing him into a trap. However, it could also be considered B, as at this point Raiden's faith that the elder gods will do anything to help the Earth is more or less gone, and he could be simply trying to hand over the Earth to Shao Kahn without the need for any more killing. Either way, the elder gods finally do intervene at the last possible second, but the victory is a bittersweet one indeed.
  • Suikoden:
    • Suikoden V straddles the line at one point during a Side Quest to capture and recruit the cocky thief Raven. The Oboro Detective Agency, having dealt with him before, helps to easily ensnare the thief. When approached about joining the rebellion, Raven pretends to be bargaining from a position of power, demanding that Oboro bow and beg him to join. Without missing a beat, Oboro gets on his knees and calmly requests he join, pissing Raven off because he can't believe his 'rival' capitulated so easily, but can't tell whether or not he's mocking him or being completely serious about it.
    • Under somewhat similar circumstances, this is also done in Suikoden II when Apple gets on her knees and begs Shu to join your cause when realises that she alone cannot act as the army strategist. You have the option of telling her not to, or joining her in a Pose of Supplication. Whichever option you choose, it really pisses Shu off, and he kicks you out of his house.
  • Early in Tales of the Abyss, Colonel Badass Jade kneels down to humbly beg Luke for his assistance in reaching the Kimlascan king with their peace treaty. Luke is actually the hero, although at that point in the game he was still a Jerkass, and Jade manages it without losing a great deal of dignity, despite very nearly sounding humble until after Luke tells him to knock it off (which is impressive for the game's foremost Deadpan Snarker). Mostly, the scene serves to underscore the seriousness of their mission.
  • The ability to grovel/supplicate/GENUFLECT (otherwise known as "Dogeza" in Japan) is a funny and welcome addition to the third entry of Way of the Samurai. Not only it is useful for ending most fights prematurely, it is also required to recruit one particular follower.

    Web Original 
  • Cobra Kai: It's not explicitly stated whether he's stalling for time or he actually means it. During tryouts at Kreese's class, Brucks is getting a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Hawk (yes, the same Brucks that had no problem with repeatedly making fun of Eli's "lip" before). Having not gotten anywhere near landing a hit on his former victim, he has no problems begging for a let-up. What he gets instead is ten good hard punches and a Spiteful Spit.
  • Manga-Waido: Ms. Makita is usually a stuck-up housewife, but becomes a sobbing, begging wreck around Yoko's father. The reason was that the man's bear-like build and the scar on his face made him easy to mistake for a Yakuza thug.

    Web Video 


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In "The Avatar State", Aang begs General Fong not to threaten Katara in order to trigger his Avatar State.
    • Later in "The Puppetmaster", when Hama bloodbends her, Katara tearfully pleads with her to stop.
  • David Xanatos in Gargoyles is perfectly willing to ask Goliath politely for help rescuing his fiancee. It's just he'll save it for Plan D, after plans A through C don't pan out. (Plan E, after Goliath turns him down, is even more desperate — "plant a tracker on Goliath and follow him so I'm there if he changes his mind.")
  • Starscream has pulled both varieties, and is quite good at it.


Video Example(s):


The Thinker's Death

The moment Starro manages to capture and hold The Thinker, who had been experimenting and torturing Starro for at least 30 years, The Thinker feebly and pathetically begs for mercy. It doesn't work.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / AintTooProudToBeg

Media sources: