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Beard of Sorrow

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"I'm a lot like my dad, I would have to say
He's been wearing a beard ever since mom passed away
She would have hated it"
Buck 65, Roses and Blue Jays

One of the easiest ways to show that a male character has fallen into depression is to show him with unkempt stubble or a full beard after a Time Skip. Happens to be Truth in Television: A common symptom of depression is loss of interest in personal appearance, which could mean a clean-shaven man quitting shaving or one with carefully groomed facial hair veering into Mountain Man territory. Often accompanied by the Drowning My Sorrows and Mess of Woe tropes.

Sub-Trope or perhaps Brother Trope to Good Hair, Evil Hair: just as a goatee indicates evil, stubble or an unkempt beard indicates squalor. Sub-Trope of Expository Hairstyle Change. See also Mangst. Contrast Perma-Stubble, which is the mark of a badass, and Wangst, which is telling, while this trope is showing. Also contrast Perma-Shave, where no facial hair grows. If the sorrow drives them to a Face–Heel Turn, it may double as a Beard of Evil. A beard caused by stress rather than distress is a case of Seriously Scruffy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gendo Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion is seen beardless when he's young but, bar one scene, bearded after Yui is absorbed by Eva-01. Suits his new persona rather well.
  • Aizawa of Death Note gets preparatory Angst Stubble.
  • Shuro of Delicious in Dungeon grows one while on his quest to find Falin, who he was in love with before she was eaten.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist's Roy Mustang sports a bit of stubble while grieving the death of his best friend.
  • Vash does this after the Fifth Moon incident in Trigun.
  • Tomoya of CLANNAD After Story gains a stubble after the events in THAT episode.
  • The titular character of Afro Samurai sports an unkempt beard at the beginning of the sequel, after living for some time as the Number One.
  • Sasahara from Genshiken briefly grows some stubble when he's losing hope of ever finding a job.
  • Hei seems to be a victim of this trope in the second season of Darker than Black.
  • Tenma from Monster not only ceases to care that his beard is unkempt and his hair growing all over the place, but he goes to the degree of negligence where other characters are complaining of his smell and emaciated appearance.
  • In the 1986 feature film version of Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro grows a textbook version after he loses to Shin. In the anime, he grows one in the time skip after defeating Raoh.
  • Vincent Volaju, the main antagonist of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door used to be clean-shaven and have short hair, judging by the picture that was taken when he was still in the military. However, after the events that led to his Sanity Slippage, he grew a beard and apparently stopped cutting, or even combing, his hair.
  • Soul Eater: Stein grows some stubble when he is framed for killing Buttataki Joe.
  • Kiryu in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds doesn't grow a beard, (he may not be capable of it) but when he hits a huge slump in Crash Town, his hair grows quite a bit because he's not bothering to cut it.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Commander Erwin Smith has one while recovering from the loss of his right arm and processing the fact that all titans may be humans once.
    • After the Time Skip, Reiner sports a thin beard and a significant weight loss, as indicators of his shell-shocked condition. Having previously suffered through an extensive Trauma Conga Line, he's a far more jaded individual and spends much of his time trying to put on a brave face for others. He ends up very nearly shooting himself, only stopping when he hears Falco outside the room.
    • Exploited by Eren Yeager, sporting long unkempt hair and heavy stumble while disguised as an injured soldier. People see his unkempt appearance and accept the story that he's gone mad from his experiences on the battlefield.
  • In Muhyo and Roji, Nana's father is clean-shaven in the flashbacks in which he's playing with his young daughter, but grows a mustache and goatee around the time his wife leaves him. He keeps that facial hair as his career goes into a decline, up until he dies of a heart attack after an argument with his daughter.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 8 episode 14, Big M., upon learning that a former classmate of his who was once considered "useless" has now graduated, become a commander, and successfully taken over three planets, slumps into a depression and grows a five-o'-clock shadow.

  • Bo Burnham's 2021 stand-up special, Bo Burnham: Inside, is his first special he made since he stopped performing in 2015 due to suffering panic attacks. It was made during the pandemic, so it was filmed entirely in his house without an audience, and, since it focuses mainly on his depression, his hair and facial hair is noticeably more unkempt.

    Comic Books 
  • John Constantine of Hellblazer, when he falls into an alcoholic depression and takes to the streets after Kit leaves him.
  • When Tony Stark/Iron Man became an alcoholic, this happened.
  • Elongated Man: Ralph Dibny grows this after those Running the Asylum at DC decided that a funny, healthy, loving marriage can't exist for as long as his did, and raped and retroactively raped in flashback and killed off his wife Sue. Also, his face looked completely different.
  • Cyclops does that a lot. Fans have taken to calling it "The stubble of angst" and comment on how fast Scott grows it.
  • Jamie Madrox in the X-Factor series grew one, after accidentally absorbing his son.
  • Cosmo in ElfQuest - The Rebels after he killed someone.
  • Franky grows one in The Goon: Chinatown & the Mystery of Mr. Wicker, when he gives up on life and becomes an alcoholic because Goon loses interest in their criminal enterprises.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • One time when Thor came home to find Asgard laid waste and all his friends missing, The Mighty Thor returned to Earth weeks later with a beard. This wasn't so much because he was depressed as because he had been searching for weeks nonstop and just hadn't taken the time to shave. (The beard looked pretty awesome actually, since Thor arguably shouldn't be clean-shaven in the first place.)
    • Earlier than that, Thor was forced to grow a beard after Hela cursed him to never die, but never allow his wounds to heal. The beard was meant to hide his facial wounds.
  • Flycatcher in Fables grows a massive orange beard whilst mourning his lost family. He later implies that he hadn't even noticed it.
  • Superman grows one while traveling space to protect the earth from the split personality he developed out of guilt after executing three Kryptonian criminals, although that may just have been because he didn't pack his shaving kit, since he was going on a voyage into space, after all.
  • Fantastic Four: Reed Richards grew one during his exile in the past. It was lampshaded when he told his family that Doc Samson suggested that he shave it so it won't remind him of the past.
  • Savage Dragon did this early in his series when a girlfriend was killed.
  • Bruce Wayne dons one in the Legends of the Dark Knight story "Venom" when he finally emerges from the Batcave after detoxing himself of the title drug.
    • Jim Gordon grows one in Batman #349 after being fired as police commissioner. He shaves it off soon afterwards when he joins Jason Bard as a private investigator.
  • In Noob, the Wham Comic was bad news for both one of the male characters and his Fanboy, making both of them grow one.
  • In the aftermath of 52, where he became both a married man, then a widower, and then got stripped of his powers, all in the space of less than a year, Black Adam grew a beard, although this was also partially pragmatic, as he'd made so many enemies that he needed to disguise himself.
  • The New Teen Titans: Dick Grayson grows one after Koriand'r has an Arranged Marriage.
  • Aquaman grows one at the beginning of Peter David's run after learning the truth about his origins in the preceding Time and Tide miniseries and kept it for the rest of the '90s.
  • Saga: Marko gets separated from his family, and he has a beard after a Time Skip, serving as both this trope and a Time-Passage Beard. One character name-drops the trope when she refers to Marko as "Beard of Sorrow."
  • DC Comics Bombshells: Steve Trevor grows a beard during his imprisonment, due to his lack of a razor, but keeps it after his escape. He suffers from PTSD.
  • In The Vigil, the normally clean-shaven Aqib grew a beard during the year that he mourned for his lost wife and child, though he shaved it off after being recruited for the Vigil.

    Fan Works 
  • At the start of The Desert Storm, Obi-Wan Kenobi has grown out a long and scraggily beard from spending four years wallowing in grief over the events of Revenge of the Sith. After traveling to the past, one of the first things he does after making his way to the Jedi Temple is to trim his beard.
  • In An Eagle Among Lions, Edelgard notices that Seteth's normally well-groomed beard has grown some extra stubble from his grief over Flayn's kidnapping.
  • Fate Azure Destiny: Ritsuka Fujimaru has grown a beard because he is too depressed over the death of Mashu Kyrielight to bother with shaving.
  • Played for laughs in The Symphony Verse. Kurt is going to be studying abroad for one semester, meaning that Kurt and Blaine will be apart for almost five months. Blaine decides that this is a good opportunity for him to explore his "rugged mountain man side" and grow a beard in Kurt's honor, which he calls the "Glorious Beard of my Barren Solitude" (GBOMBS for short). He doesn't shave the entire time Kurt is gone, and Kurt's first comment when he comes back to New York is that Blaine looks like the Unabomber.

  • 2 Days in the Valley: Alvin is a deeply unhappy man with a bearded face, while he's clean-shaven in pictures taken before his family left him.
  • Ron Burgundy grows one of these in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy right after his career apparently goes down the drain. Humorously, as part of his He's Back! moment, he leaps off-screen and immediately returns clean-shaven.
  • Apur Sansar: After his wife dies the formerly fresh-faced Apu stops shaving. He has quite the scraggly beard by the end.
  • Blue Ruin: Dwight sports an impressive hobo beard, but it turns out that he's a hobo because he's unable to deal with the brutal murder of his parents, so his beard is a direct result of his sorrow.
  • In The Butterfly Effect it's subtly used, but there. In the futures that Evan loses Kayleigh in, he's always grown out a full beard. When he's still with her in the "frat-boy" future he's shaved it down to a goatee, but it isn't until the very end of the movie, when he's put her being a part of his life behind him that he's clean-shaven.
  • Bruce Wayne early in The Dark Knight Rises, toward the end of his eight-year depression after the events of The Dark Knight.
  • Jet Li's character in Fearless (2006), who's normally bald, gets a long, shaggy beard and head of hair after his wife and daughter are murdered.
  • Forrest Gump:
    • Forrest Gump decided to just start running non-stop after Jenny left him. He didn't care about anything besides running and as a result grew a long beard.
    • Lt. Dan also has one when he first meets Forrest again after the war.
  • The old Zero Mustafa in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Zero was much more active in his youth days and used to paint a thin moustache with a pencil. As an older man, he is much more melancholic and lonelier, grieving the premature deaths of his wife and baby son.
  • In The Great Houdinis, Harry grows one while mourning the death of his mother, who died calling his name while he was touring Europe.
  • At the start of A Gunfight, Abe Cross has been living in the wilderness for months without bathing or shaving. When he rides into town, he is sporting unkempt hair and a shaggy beard.
  • Hancock's Perma-Stubble is eventually revealed to also be a beard of sorrow. Having lost his memories and sense of belonging, he's drifted into a self-perpetuating slump. His rise out of this drunken depression is marked by his removing the beard. With his fingers.
  • Lucius Malfoy sports some stubble on his otherwise aristocratic face after sharing his home with Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Either he's very worried about Draco, or he just misses "Snakey".
  • Rainn Wilson's character grows one of these in Hesher after his wife dies in a car accident. In the end, he shaves.
  • Inverted in The Hobbit: according to Word of God, Thorin Oakenshield has a short beard as a sign of mourning, and might grow the beard again should he succeed in claiming back Erebor.
  • Inverted in Hostage. Willis actually has a beard and unkempt hair BEFORE the sorrow.
  • Inception: Cobb, although it may qualify more as a Stubble of Sorrow.
  • Intermission: Possibly unique female example: Sally, traumatised by an abusive relationship. "She's got a moustache! Whatever she was doing before, waxing, or shaving - she's stopped".
  • Interstellar: Cooper's son, Tom, is seen with a full-grown beard in a video message to his dad announcing the death of Tom's son, after 23 years have passed on Earth while Cooper was caught in the time dilation of Miller's planet.
  • In Intouchables, the paraplegic Philippe grows one after sending Driss away, his stay-home-nurse and friend, so that Driss can take care of his family again.
  • In Jack, Jack grows one of these after he's forbidden to spend time outside due to health problems.
  • Mr. Rochester of the 2011 Jane Eyre film has one when Jane goes back to him after she finds out that Thornfield burned to the ground and that Rochester's wife, Bertha Mason, is dead. It's unknown whether he grew the beard after Jane left him or after the fire, though.
  • Luke Skywalker has grown one of these by the time of The Last Jedi.
  • Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. Twice as awesome because he cycles between cleanshaven and furry more times than you can count.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Doctor Strange: after his Career-Ending Injury, the titular Doctor grows an unkempt beard over months of desperately, unsuccessfully searching for a successful treatment. Justified since the nerve damage in his hands leaves him unable to hold a razor steady.
    • Captain America has one in Avengers: Infinity War following the events of Captain America: Civil War.
    • Avengers: Endgame: Thor has wallowed in shame and self-pity for five years because he failed to kill Thanos in Wakanda. During that time, he's grown a large, unkempt beard and is noticeably out of shape. However, his hair and beard are magically braided for the final battle as a sign of his reclaimed strength.
    • Spider-Man: No Way Home: The Amazing Spider-Man has since grown a stubble on his chin, not only showing that he is older, but that he is still grieving over the death of Gwen and has only focused on his superhero career.
  • In Mr. Mom, Jack Butler grows one when he realizes he's going to be stuck watching over the kids and the house for a while as his wife goes off to work. He shaves it after he has his Soap Within a Show dream.
  • Allan in Monkey Shines after his accident: Part of the reason he grew a beard in the first place is that the accident rendered him a quadriplegic and he couldn't shave on his own. However, he only gets his caretaker to shave it once he starts to take a more positive outlook on his life.
  • Moulin Rouge! opens with a grieving bearded Ewan McGregor. You find out why later.
  • Passengers: Jim grows one after spending a year alone in the Avalon.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Norrington is clean-shaven while he is accepted in society, but while he is disgraced (and has lost his love), he doesn't shave.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has Puss growing a scruffy beard while living in the home of a Crazy Cat Lady during his 10-Minute Retirement.
  • Subverted in Rasen: Ando attempts to slash his wrist, but can't go through with it. Cut to him shaving for work.
  • Overlaps with Time-Passage Beard in Rewind (2013). In the month since the nuclear attack on New York City that killed 9 million people, CIA field agent Sean Knox has been stuck in a military prison for derailing the interrogation of culprit Benjamin Rourke. Sean has nightmares about the blast that destroyed New York City and the death of his estranged wife Jessica (who was in NYC when the attack occurred), and has grown a stubbly beard during his time in a cell. He shaves it off when he's given the opportunity work with a secret government project to travel back in time and prevent the attack.
  • Skyfall: James Bond gets one when he goes MIA after M gives the order to leave Bond to die.
  • Inverted in Sodom and Gomorrah, in which Hebrew leader Lot is the only one not to have a beard, as he has shaved it off to mourn his recently-deceased wife.note 
  • In The Film of the Book The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Alec Leamas acquires one as he becomes an alcoholic as part of his cover to become a The Mole.
  • In Sunshine, Mace's unkempt hair and stubbly beard represent his degrading morale. When he finally starts to buck up and take things seriously, he shows up clean-shaved, with a fresh buzz cut.
  • Parodied in Superhero Movie; with Rick's fake beard.
  • Swingers: Jon Favreau's character, Mike, rocks an atypical unkempt Beard of Sorrow after Sue gives him The Business in the parking lot.
  • In Team America: World Police, Gary grows stubble after leaving the team.
  • Kumar grew one of these in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, after his girlfriend Vanessa dumped him for being irresponsible.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Scott Summers displays a stubbly beard while in mourning.
    • The Wolverine: Logan starts out with a shaggy one, likely resulting from the events of The Last Stand.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The younger Charles has one when Wolverine first visits him in 1973; Logan finds a man broken by despair. Played with, as Xavier keeps it for the entire movie even after he begins to move beyond his personal pain.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Erik Lehnsherr's beard is initially a Beard of Hiding From the Authorities, but it becomes this trope after he loses his wife and daughter.
    • Logan: Logan sports a full beard for the majority of the film after the deaths of many of the X-Men and the dissolution of the team. Toward the end of the film, the New Mutants humorously cut his beard into his classic muttonchops. Professor X has one as well, as he's losing his mental faculties and was accidentally responsible for the aforementioned incident that claimed the lives of his pupils.

  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Honor Guard, after a disaster, Gaunt starts drowning his sorrows, but when a general arrives, he has straightened up; his soldiers note with relief that he is clean and clean-shaven.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry's normal response to grief is to stop shaving. And it goes on for a long time.
  • Roran of the Inheritance Cycle. After Katrina is kidnapped, he grows a beard and keeps it for the rest of the series.
  • Older Than Dirt: In The Epic of Gilgamesh several characters remark on Gilgamesh's haggard, bearded appearance after the death of Enkidu.
  • The recently widowed Inspector Lynley stops shaving and washing during his trek along the Cornish coast in Careless In Red.
  • Captain Blood: His Odyssey: Peter Blood goes through a period like this when depressed after believing he's lost the love of his life:
    He was degenerating visibly, under the eyes of all. He had entirely lost the almost foppish concern for his appearance and was grown careless and slovenly in his dress. He allowed a black beard to grow on cheeks that had ever been so carefully shaven; and the long, thick black hair, once so sedulously curled, hung now in a lank, untidy mane about a face that was changing from its vigorous swarthiness to an unhealthy sallow, whilst the blue eyes, that had been so vivid and compelling, were now dull and lackluster.
  • In The Stone Of Tears, while Richard is being hauled down to the Old World to begin training as a wizard, he grows a beard. He originally started growing it after he believed Kahlan betrayed him and forced him to go she really only did it to save his life. He removes it at the end of the book—not shaves it, but uses his magic to make it not exist — at the end when he reunites with Kahlan and all is forgiven.
  • In Carl Hiaasen's novels, the recurring character of former Florida Governor Clinton "Skink" Tyree. In flashbacks to his governorship, Skink is described as being clean-cut with movie-star looks. After he is run out of office by corrupt special interest lobbyists, Skink takes refuge in the Florida Everglades, where he grows a long beard which he keeps in braids.
  • After the title character of Doctor Zhivago gets conscripted as a medic in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War, he starts sporting one of these. It also indicates that all the business of tending to the wounded leaves him little time to shave.
  • Han Solo seems to pick up a mild one after Chewie's death in New Jedi Order.
  • All the World's a Stage: Erast Fandorin, usually the immaculately groomed dandy, has a little bit of a breakdown after Eliza breaks up with him. He goes two weeks without combing his hair, he grows a scraggly beard, and he develops circles under his eyes.
    Mephistov: You used to be like a picture from a ladies' magazine.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, these are ubiquitous among the Bridgemen — bottom-rank indentured Cannon Fodder in the Alethi military, composed of slaves and disgraced soldiers, almost all of them near or past the Despair Event Horizon since they have no way out and a crushing mortality rate. It's a milestone in Kaladin's bridge crew becoming True Companions when they scrape up money for a razor and have a group shave, and a sign of Kaladin's crushing depression that he doesn't have his beard shaved until later.
  • Jimmy from Love Anthony stops shaving whenever he's having a hard time, like after Beth kicks him out for having an affair.
  • Social Queue: Zoe's dad used to have one after a Career-Ending Injury left him unable to contribute to the family's finances.
  • The Mermaid's Mirror: After Lena goes into the ocean with Melusina to stay with the society of merfolk, her father spends days on the beach, hardly eating, until he grows a beard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24
    • At the beginning of the second season, Jack has one as he is shown missing his wife and daughter and possibly contemplating suicide. It takes the killing and beheading of a pedophile to snap him out of it and reach for the razor.
    • He notably has stubble in the TV movie Redemption, as the events of the previous two seasons saw him being tortured beyond the brink physically and mentally and then by the end saw him giving up any sort of a normal life, so at this point, he's a shell of his former self.
  • Jasper starts season 3 of The 100 in a depressed funk with a goatee. This is in stark contrast with the preceding seasons, in which his clean-shaven face emphasized his innocence.
  • In the break between Seasons 1 and 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., two of the male leads get Beards of Sorrow:
    • Ward's doubles as a Beard of Evil, and is grown during his incarceration by SHIELD, after being outed as a HYDRA mole last season. However, he reveals to Skye that he attempted suicide several times when first imprisoned, and claims that he's latterly been pining for her, making it a Beard of Sorrow as well.
    • In Fitz's case it's more like Stubble of Sorrow, but since he was perfectly clean-shaven throughout Season 1 it's noticeable nonetheless. At first, it seems like a reaction to the brain damage he suffered in the first season finale that, among other things, has left him with limited use of his hands. There's that, of course, but it's Simmons leaving the team after he told her he loved her that's really tipped him over the edge into a full-blown depressive breakdown.
  • In Alias, when Sydney is presumed dead in a house fire, Jack (who is correctly convinced that she's actually been kidnapped) ends up arrested by the CIA because his attempts to find her include illegal contact with her mother, a former KGB agent and wanted criminal. He spends months in custody and has a genuinely epic beard of sorrow by the time she comes back.
  • Angel: Starting towards the end of Season 3 after he gets his throat cut, Wesley, the formerly clean-shaven, glasses-wearing nerd loses his glasses, his boyish optimism, and his boyishly smooth cheeks. He kept it up for the rest of the series, too- this was The Stubble That Would Not Die. According to the Season 6 comics, not even when its owner did. It was part of Wesley's character development, a visual aid to his newly acquired badassery. Alexis Denisof once commented in one of the episode commentaries how difficult it was to maintain the stubble rather than either keeping clean-shaven or just actually growing a full beard. This was also Lampshaded in the memory-loss ep. "Spin The Bottle", where Wesley, who, along with the rest of the gang has woken up thinking he is in high school after a memory spell goes awry, scratches his chin thoughtfully and remarks "I seem to have grown about three days' worth of beard."
  • In Band of Brothers, Don Malarkey has quite a scruffy beard, starting right after two of his best friends get killed, and another has a Heroic BSoD, in episode 7. It's not until episode 10 that he's shown clean-shaven and (seemingly) happier.
  • In Banshee, Brock Lotus, in Season Three, mourning Emmett's death.
  • In the third season of Barry, Barry's deteriorating mental state is accompanied by him growing a beard.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Happens multiple times over the course of the show, some of them played with:
    • There's a triple example during the New Caprica story arc. After the Time Skip humanity is doing pretty crappy and both Saul Tigh and Chief Tyrol sport big scruffy beards while Admiral Adama had a case of a mustache of sorrow. They all lose their facial hair around the same time when the status quo is returned and they're able to leave the planet. Starbuck can also be said to have grown Long Hair of Sorrow during the same arc, while Apollo leaves his hair untampered with but has the Weight Gain of Sorrow to show his misery after Starbuck leaves him, marries Anders, and she and Apollo stop being friends, both of which also go away quickly after they're back on Galactica.
    • Similarly, Gaius Baltar grows a beard during his trial after the events of New Caprica and loses it once he slips away into hiding.
    • Tyrol again stops shaving after Cally is tossed out of a launch tube by Tory. And then later he goes all Private Pyle on us.
  • Black Mirror, "Beyond the Sea": Cleanshaven family man David grows a shaggy beard after the deaths of his family.
  • Bones:
    • Booth grows one while in prison after being framed for murder. Shaving it after he’s out and Bones talks sense into him signals his return to normal.
    • Hodgins probably counts too in season 11 despite having a beard already. It gets thick and bushy when he’s dealing with post paralysis depression and he goes back to his typical beater style after coming to terms with it.
  • Jesse grows one in the second half of season 5 of Breaking Bad. Walt later grows one following his exile to New Hampshire.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Xander Harris grows one shortly after Renee's death in Season 8.
  • Burn Notice: In "Good Soldier", Michael Westen adopts the persona of an alcoholic and stops shaving.
  • On Charmed, after Phoebe rejects and divorces Cole, he grows a beard, goes insane, and attempts suicide only to discover that he's Nigh-Invulnerable.
  • The first episode of Chuck's third season sees Chuck grow one of these after he loses both Sarah and his spy job. He shaves it off after making the decision to try winning her back. We actually see it growing in a series of cuts as Chuck's life wastes slowly away.
  • Danny Messer, after being shot in the back on CSI: NY. It started with a few-month time skip between seasons and then only lasted a few eps after the season opener, getting shaved off when he found he could walk again.
  • The Defenders (2017): In a lesser case, Matt Murdock's Perma-Stubble has grown out a little bit since Elektra's demise.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Wedding of River Song": The Eleventh Doctor grows one of these while held in the Tower of London by the Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill. It's a long story.
    • The War Doctor sports a moustache and goatee in sharp contrast to the other male Doctors, who are generally clean-shaven barring some instances of sideburns and/or Perma-Stubble. He started out clean-shaven, but given that he fought in the Time War, it's no wonder.
  • Constable Fraser talks of this happening with his father, Bob Fraser, after his mother's death in Due South. He recalls his dad then suddenly coming out of his depression, shaving, and making breakfast one morning.
  • Dr. Romano in ER, after his arm gets cut off by a helicopter blade.
  • Farscape: John Crichton has grown these twice in the show's run.
    • The first was in season one episode "Jeremiah Crichton" after Moya and the crew accidentally leave him behind on an island where technology doesn't work due to sci-fi reasons. As the local residents of the planet are all perfectly groomed with nary a beard or leg hair in sight it's implied that Crichton deliberately let his beard grow, either to set himself apart from them or due to his depression about falling out with his shipmates.
    • He grows another beard during the break between seasons three and four after getting stranded (again) on a dying Leviathan. When Chiana and Rygel show up to rescue him the first thing he does is shave the beard off. This time around Ben Browder grew a beard for real during the hiatus, but fans often claim it looks less realistic than the fake beard in "Jeremiah Crichton".
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Tyrion Lannister, after he kills his father and escapes from Westeros. He ultimately decides to keep it, though, even after finding purpose and returning to Westeros as Daenerys' Hand.
    • Doran Martell is introduced sporting one as part of his general dishevelment, which is understandable since he has just learned that he's outlived all his siblings even though he is by far the eldest.
    • Loras has one in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", likely since his captors didn't let him shave.
  • General Hospital's Scott Baldwin sported one of these for a time after his wife's Dominique's death. Him appearing clean shaven again is indicative of his depression improving. Indeed, several months later when his father questions him remarrying so soon after Dominique's passing, he states, "She's given me a reason to shave", implying that his love for the new woman is what's brought him out of his Heroic BSoD.
  • When Grey's Anatomy's Dr. McDreamy became depressed about losing a patient, he went dark and twisty and retreated to the woods. While sitting in a lawn chair in front of his trailer, feeling emo and contemplating giving up neurosurgery, his face acquired a startling amount of bush. When he finally got his crap together and was ready to go back to the hospital and propose to Meredith, the beard disappeared and quite a lot of viewers let out a sigh of relief; if not because of the proposal and his return to work, then because Patrick Dempsey looks a lot cuter clean-shaven.
  • The Season 4 premiere of Haven has Nathan with a beard because he's been living life on the run and his girlfriend Audrey and best friend Duke have been missing/presumed dead for six months. When Duke returns and gives him hope Audrey is alive as well, he shaves.
  • Heroes: Nathan Petrelli in Season Two. It vanished after two episodes.
  • When House switches to methadone and becomes as happy as House can be, he shaves his Perma-Stubble. The other characters are taken aback by this, not to mention the fans.
  • Lampshaded in the season 3 episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted grows a beard after breaking up with Robin. Also played with, in that the beard only showed up for less than two minutes of screen time before it was shaved off, in stages, as he kept walking in and out of the bathroom to shave off portions of the beard between taking part in a group conversation in the living room. Each time he comes out of the bathroom, he is given a different name by his friends, including "Old Timey Inventor", "Our 21st President, Chester A. Arthur", and "Persian Nightclub Owner".
  • Innocent: Tarık grows one in the six months following the death of his wife Emel, indicating a lack of self-care and grooming habits in her absence.
  • Julius Caesar (2003): Cato the Younger is clean-shaven right until the end when he and his forces have retreated to Africa and are besieged by Caesar's, he is suddenly shown with a full beard.
  • On Law & Order: SVU, whenever the normally clean-shaven Amaro gets an It's Personal episode, you can almost invariably tell how bad things are going for him by how intense his five o'clock shadow is.
  • Lost: Jack at the end of the third season. The beard was massive, probably because it stood for alcohol and pills. Frank Lapidus of the Freighties also sported a beard, as he was busy drinking before being recruited. He shows up again, relatively happier and clean-shaven in season five.
  • Manifest: The normally well-groomed Ben totally neglects himself in a two-year time skip after his wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped.
  • In a sixth season episode of Medium Joe grows a Beard of Sorrow while Allison is in a coma. It's a pretty impressive beard, though it turns out to be a dream.
  • Taken to such extremes that its borderline Played for Laughs in the last ever episode of Misfits, despite the bleak nature of the storyline. After Jess goes missing for a year due to being caught unawares in a time skip, she returns to find everyone else more or less unchanged except Rudy, who's sporting a Beard of Sorrow of epic proportions, complete with mountain-man shaggy hair and a grubby pajamas/dressing gown combo that he actually wears out to the bar. Though it's an otherwise heartbreaking scene - Rudy literally crumples to the floor and sobs upon learning that Jess is back - his appearance is so over-the-top pathetic it's hard not to find it funny at the same time.
  • NCIS: Gibbs, after being blown up, and retires (temporarily). Even if it is just a mustache.
  • The Office: In the US series, Roy grows a Beard of Sorrow after Pam breaks up with him. This does involve alcohol (and a DUI). Later, reeling after his breakup with Angela, Dwight also rocks the depression stubble.
  • Ben Wyatt of Parks and Recreation sports some thick stubble after being forced to resign.
  • In Person of Interest, John Reese has one in the pilot, as he's mourning Jessica's death. He has one later in the series for a few episodes after Carter dies.
  • Used a few times in Rome, as per the custom of the time.
    • Mark Antony grows a beard after Octavius defeats his army. By a historical account, this actually happened.
    • Brutus grows one after he kills Caesar. It goes away after he cleanses himself in a river in slow motion.
    • Lucius Vorenus grows a "mourning beard" after his wife dies. His friend Pullo grows one as well out of solidarity but later urges Vorenus that they should shave them off and get on with their lives. It takes a Get A Hold Of Yourself Man from his former commanding officer Marc Antony for Vorenus to actually do so.
  • Scrubs:
    • Dr. Cox after accidentally killing three patients spirals into a depression that involves drinking and growing a much heavier beard (as opposed to the regular stubble he had for much of that season).
    • Also gets Played for Laughs when Eliot's boyfriend Sean grows an impressive beard in a minimal amount of time after he gets dumped, explaining to J.D. that he is part Bulgarian.
  • The Shield: Actor David Rees Snell, who played "Ronnie Gardocki" on "The Shield", upgraded in his trademark moustache to a full-fledged beard in between seasons two and three of the series (largely to sidestep the issue of his character being brutally disfigured in season two by having a beard cover up where his scars were). The character shaved off the beard midway through season six, to please a new girlfriend of his, but after finding out that fellow Strike Team member Shane Vendrell had not only murdered Ronnie's friend Lem, and had exposed Vic and Ronnie's involvement in robbing several million dollars from a local crime syndicate's money laundering ring, the beard came back for revenge as Ronnie sought (unsuccessfully) to save himself from being destroyed by Shane and Vic's war.
  • Rob Fitch (Katie and Emily's dad) has one in series 4 of Skins after the bank shut down his gym.
  • In an episode of Sledge Hammer!, Sledge starts showing up to work looking disheveled and with unkempt stubble after the love of his life was stolen from him... that love being his gun of course.
  • In the Season 8 premiere of Smallville, Clark Kent has a beard after losing his powers, getting captured, and imprisoned in a Russian slave labor camp. He shaves shortly after getting rescued.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Parallels", in an alternate timeline, William T. Riker (who's already famous for Growing the Beard), captains the Enterprise. In this timeline, the Borg had won in "The Best of Both Worlds", with the United Federation of Planets destroyed and the Enterprise is one of the last few intact/unassimilated ships. As a result, he grows a beard of Leonidas-like proportions.
  • Supernatural: When big brother Dean is possessed by Michael in Season 14, younger brother Sam grows a grief beard over the hiatus. He shaves it off after Dean mocks him for it upon his return.
  • On Season 4 of Teen Wolf, Chris Argent grows one after his daughter Allison dies.
  • On That '70s Show, Eric gets one after his break-up with Donna. (Well, the first one.)
  • Titus — In fact, taking time to shave was an indication that he was going sober.
  • Daniel in Ugly Betty, after losing his fiancé.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • Duncan near the end of the first season. Unless he's actually entering the Beardness Protection Program — at the time that he grows it, he's both depressed and running away from home.
    • Logan grows one in the third season after Veronica breaks up with him.
  • Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead (2010) was initially clean-shaven, but as the tragedies pile up (and as he has less access to shaving utensils), he lets it go.
  • Parodied in Weeds by Andy when Nancy leaves to be with her Mexican gangster boyfriend. People keep commenting on it, and he eventually shaves it, after much hilarity.
  • Very nicely subverted in the pilot episode of White Collar. After his girlfriend Kate comes to the prison to tell him goodbye, Neal stops shaving for a month-and-a-half. Turns out he wasn't wallowing — growing a beard was part of his escape plan.
  • Without a Trace's Martin Fitzgerald sports five o'clock shadow while in the midst of a Heroic BSoD.
  • The X-Files
    • Mulder grows one of these in times of stress, ranging from stubble in season 2 when Scully is missing to a full beard in the six-year interim between the end of the series and The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
    • Byers has a very subtle one. In the episode "Three of a Kind", he has a dream sequence about living the American Dream. At the beginning of the dream, he has a short and neat beard, but his beard becomes longer after his dream is shattered.

  • The song "Razor Burn" by Lagwagon is all about this. "On the night she left me, facial hair grew miraculously, I dressed in black like Johnny Cash and grew this beard of shame."
  • Hollywood Undead's The Diary, which is about spiraling into depression and alcoholism has the line, "I haven't shaved in a week".
  • The 1980 Cold Chisel song "Cheap Wine" refers to a 'three-day growth'' in the chorus.
  • James Freud wears one in the video clip for "Barbados" by Models.
  • In Bo Burnham's INSIDE special, he has a scraggly beard and unkept hair that's longer than he usually wears it, due to the stress, depression, and chaos of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Snarkily lampshaded in the first song, "Content":
    Sorry that I look like a mess.
    I booked a haircut, but it got rescheduled.
  • Eminem:
    • In "Deja Vu", Marshall is described as wearing one due to inability to maintain his appearance while addicted to drugs.
    • Em grew a beard in 2017 to reinforce the themes of fading relevance and disillusionment with the political world that characterised his album Revival.
    • The video for "Gnat" shows Eminem with a scraggly grown-out beard and longer than normal hair due to depicting him convalescing in his house in lockdown while dying of COVID.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Inverted in The Bible, where Jeremiah the prophet records that shaven beards were a sign of mourning.
  • Charon, the Greek/Roman ferryman of the dead, is portrayed as being permanently dirty, disheveled and unshaven, since, as someone who always deals with the dead, he's in a constant state of mourning.

    Video Games 
  • Phoenix Wright in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is seen with Perma-Stubble 7 years after he lost his lawyer badge.
  • At the beginning of Assassin's Creed Origins, Bayek wears a long beard and his hair is grown out, likely as a result of his son's death.
  • After going through the events of Condemned: Criminal Origins, main character Ethan Thomas went from being a clean-cut Federal Agent to a bearded alcoholic transient by the time of Condemned 2: Bloodshot. Considering the events of the game, it's hard to blame him.
  • Hank Anderson from Detroit: Become Human can be seen clean-shaven in old photos but has a full beard in the present which, along with his drinking habit, demonstrates his grief over the death of his son.
  • After getting half his face toasted off and his mother killed at the end of Act 3, Snake spends the Act 4 Briefing of Metal Gear Solid 4 with a stubbly jaw, although he's shaved it off by the time he becomes playable again.
  • Heavy Rain: After his son Jason is hit by a car in the prologue, a formerly clean-shaven Ethan Mars sports a beard for the rest of the game.
    • He will shave it at the end of the game if his other son Shaun is saved and he forgave Madison. He will appear beardless in a scene of the epilogue where he is looking for a new place to stay with Madison.
  • Both Kane & Lynch games have Kane with one. He grows one in the first game's final act after his wife is murdered by The 7 and he is forced to travel to Cuba to get revenge. He begins Dog Days with one after his daughter tells him to his face that she hates him and never wants to see him again.
  • In the trailer for Gears of War 3, Dom is shown with a heavy beard. This is likely due to the fact that he was forced to mercy kill his wife in Gears of War 2.
  • Max Payne progressively grows a grief beard during the first half of his third game, going with his fully shaved head to differentiate him even further from what he used to be.
  • Naked Snake does this in the transition to becoming Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, in response to the events of Snake Eater.
    • He did already have a beard, although it was less a "beard" beard and more Perma-Stubble.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Donald Love is seen with one after losing both the mayoral election and his empire.
  • By Mass Effect 3, the default male Commander Shepard's perma-stubble has begun to evolve into one.
  • Joel from The Last of Us is sporting a beard of sorrow after the Twenty Year Jump, which is also a survival beard. His hair has also grown longer in The Last of Us Part II, which was likely the result of Ellie having cut ties with him years earlier after she found out the truth about the Fireflies, as he sported the same hairstyle as in the first game during the flashbacks.
  • Jim Raynor in StarCraft II. It's four years after the Brood War, where the woman he loved used him, betrayed him, and killed off many dear friends. Mengsk's propaganda machine has marginalized him and his rebellion, making it nearly impossible to fight effectively. Jim's taken to drink and become far more bedraggled in appearance than he was in the first game.
  • Kenny shows in Season 2 of The Walking Dead (Telltale) with a shaggy and fairly unkempt beard. According to his significant other, it was even worse when they first met.
  • In the Playable Epilogue of Spec Ops: The Line, Captain Walker sports a short but full beard befitting his status as a Shell-Shocked Veteran beyond the Despair Event Horizon.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, Cid has a clean-shaven appearance during the events of 1.0. When he is found again during the events of A Realm Reborn, he has suffered trauma-induced amnesia as a result of witnessing Bahamut's rampage through Eorzea, and his hair and beard had grown out considerably. After regaining his memories and rejoining the fray, he decides to keep his new beard.
  • A subverted example in Final Fantasy XV: After the ten-year time skip, Noctis returns from the crystal with a short beard. In spite of the world having gone to ruin and the realization that saving it means sacrificing his life, however, he is actually at his most hopeful at this point. Prompto, similarly, grows a goatee during this timeframe, but is also hopeful.
  • In God of War (PS4), Kratos' goatee has grown out into a full beard and moustache, and he's had to live for centuries with the knowledge that he brought ruin to Greece by destroying the Olympians. That said, his beard is also thematically appropriate for a game based in the Ancient Norse lands.

  • In Supernormal Step, Van stops shaving while he searches for Fiona, who ditched their party after her Heroic BSoD.
  • Steve from Questionable Content grows one after a break-up. He is also seen drinking heavily. He keeps it after getting better, albeit groomed instead of fluffy-lion mane.
  • Indie Rock Pete from Diesel Sweeties can literally grow a beard as he is told depressing news.
  • Something*Positive: Davan grows a beard when his mother dies and he becomes focused on taking care of his father. Ironically, he still has this beard once he gets over his issues and is seen smiling. He eventually shaves it off, but no show is made over it.
  • When Agatha fakes her own death in Girl Genius, the mourning Gilgamesh Wulfensbach swiftly develops a Perma-Stubble - and takes a level in badass. Interestingly enough, he keeps the badass-ness even after he shaves...
  • Dmitri from Dresden Codak grows one at the end of the Hob storyline.
  • In Sluggy Freelance Riff grows one of these after exterminating the human race.
    • It's slightly less bad than it sounds. And it's not *our* Riff.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del: Ethan has been growing some stubble ever since Zeke left, return to alcoholism included.
  • Subverted in Scary Go Round when Ryan shaves his beard in sorrow after Fallon breaks up with him.
  • The previous page picture was taken from this Rob and Elliot strip, though in this case, it's a beard grown to offset Tender Tears.
  • In Deities Death has started to grow one after it was revealed he has taken on qualities of the deities he's reaped.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Adrian Raven noticeably has stubble after his mother dies. Though he shaves before meeting with Sarah.
  • Shortpacked!: It's revealed Joe started growing one of these after finding out Rachel had been replaced with an alien robot double. It's the first thing the real Rachel comments on when they're reunited.
    Joe: Are you the Rachel from this universe?
    Rachel: I don't know. My Joe didn't have a beard.
    Joe: I started growing it when you left me.
  • Unsounded: Lemuel's usually clean shaven face got a bit scruffy in the aftermath of his brother's assassination.

    Web Original 
  • In StewdioMACK, after a terrible 2019, Mack grows a partial one for season 2 in "Mack is Back." It's gone by the next episode.
    Mack: I look like shit.
  • In the Irish Short Film Aaron a picture from years ago shows Adam clean-shaven. He's grown a beard in the present.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Refan grows a beard after the Cataclysm because he feels he betrayed the world for not killing his brother when he had the chance, which might have prevented the rise of the Godslayer.
  • Tariq grows a beard at the start of KateModern series 2, apparently out of grief.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is a Sad Clown and has had a goatee ever since he first started.
  • RWBY: The first time we see General Ironwood after the cast-wide Trauma Conga Line that was Volume 3, he's grown stubble, conflicting with the immaculate appearance he had in all past Volumes, due to the stress and grief that resulted. By Volume 7, Atlas is in an economic recession, other politicians are questioning the increase in military action, and Ironwood (now explicitly shown exhibiting traits of PTSD) has grown a full beard.
  • In Marble Hornets Entry #65, Tim is seen with one following his Mind Rape via The Operator.
  • Katamari: After a series of misunderstandings, the King of All Cosmos becomes so troubled by the thought that he's no longer needed that he Inverts this by shaving off all his facial hair.
  • The Cry of Mann: While suffering from being away from the warr, note  Jouglat falls into a state of depression, and grows stubble almost overnight, reflecting his mental state.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer:
    • Sterling Archer grew one, along with letting the rest of his hair grow out, during the Time Skip between seasons 2 and 3 after his fiance was killed at their wedding.
    • Ray Gillette combines this with Drowning My Sorrows after his robotic legs quit working and he spends a good part of the "Archer Vice" arc confined to a wheelchair, wearing only a pair of soiled briefs and weeping constantly. During a mission, Kreiger casually reminds Cyril to have him reboot the CPU in Ray's spine to get his legs running again.
  • Being prepubescent, Aang of Avatar: The Last Airbender had to grow Hair of Sorrow after being killed and brought back to life. During that period he was forced to let people continue to think he was dead, which didn't sit well with him. He shaved it again right before leading the attack on the Fire Nation capital on the dramatically named Day of Black Sun.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Parodied in Caked Four, where Numbuh 4 spontaneously grows a beard despite being a kid after being stranded on an island. When Numbuh 3 sees him, she doesn't even recognize him and mistakes him for an old man, and when he asks her to save him, she mishears him and thinks he wants her to shave him.
  • Drawn Together: Happens to Foxxy of all people in "Captain Hero's Marriage Pact" and "Spelling Applebee's".
  • Futurama: Whenever Bender, a robot, stops drinking, he develops a beard-shaped patch of rust. Fry occasionally develops a beard of sorrow in a few episodes.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy manages to get stubble literally seconds after losing his collection of chewed gum.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: In Mr. Logic's flashback in "Lad and Logic", when he first met Mr. Gar as he was building Lakewood Plaza Turbo, Gar had grown a massive bushy beard that completely obscured his face (and muffled his speech) in the time since quitting P.O.I.N.T. due to the "Sandwich Incident".
  • On Regular Show, Modercai grows a beard and disheveled feathers after Margaret tells him, in "Steak Me Amadeus", she can't be his girlfriend since she's going to college.
  • In Samurai Jack, by the time Season 5 begins, Jack has grown a very long beard and doesn't even tie his hair anymore. After 50 years of wandering the future searching for a way back to his timeline without physically aging and losing his sword - the one thing capable of destroying the Big Bad, he is consumed with grief and despair going as far as to hallucinate with a Split Personality that tries to convince him to put them out of their misery.
  • On Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, after Mystery Inc was disbanded in the Season 1 finale, the Season 2 premiere has Fred sporting a massive beard.
  • Homer Simpson of The Simpsons. He grew it over the course of one day — could sorrow increase the growth rate of a beard?
    • And Smithers has had this as well, during the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" plotline.
  • In Song of the Sea, Conor gets one after Bronagh vanishes.
  • Sol Butcher of Sons of Butcher has one of these in the pilot episode, and it reappears several times throughout the series. He actually refers to it as his "Alcoholic Beard".
  • Star Wars Rebels: After getting blinded in the season 2 finale, one six-month Time Skip and a lengthy Heroic BSoD later Kanan Jarrus has grown out his sideburns and goatee into a full-on beard and mustache.
  • Teen Titans Go!: Robin grows one in "Birds" when he is driven out of the team and starts living in the mockingbird nest in the chimney (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context).
  • After The Venture Bros.' first (onscreen) death, Dr. Venture grows such a beard while traveling around the world "finding himself".
    • And Mr. Impossible grew one when his wife left him for Rusty's one-armed midget brother.
  • Clone!Roy Harper sports one during the five-year time skip in Young Justice (2010) after a dose of cloning.

    Real Life 
  • A common symptom of depression is that sufferers stop caring for their appearance, so beards of sorrow are pretty common in Real Life.
  • Inverted by Alexander the Great who reputedly shaved off all his hair after the death of his lover Hephaistion. At the time, this was a standing custom.
  • Vice President Al Gore gained weight and grew a scraggly beard after losing the Presidential Election in 2000. He was one of a handful of candidates to win the popular vote, yet not the office, so if he was kinda depressed for a while, it would be no surprise.
  • There is a tradition of Popes growing beards when Rome is conquered.
  • Archbishop Thomas Cranmer grew his beard as a sign of mourning after Henry VIII's death. Cranmer may have been the only person in England who was genuinely sorry Henry was gone.
  • It is customary for Jewish men to not shave during the Shiva, the customary week of grief and mourning. Some actually extend this to a full month.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, the Strike Beard; both David Letterman and Conan O'Brien developed impressive beards after vanishing from the air during the WGA strike. They didn't last long, but they made an impact. Stephen Colbert, of course, parodied this by having a massive Rip van Winkle beard the first time he appeared after the strike.
  • And after leaving The Tonight Show, Conan grew the beard (though he kept the literal facial hair after being picked up for a new show by TBS).
  • Many people noted that during the breakup of The Beatles and the stress that resulted, Paul McCartney grew a beard, something he was not previously known to do (even when the Beatles were experimenting with facial hair, McCartney only went so far as to grow a mustache) and only rarely seen to do since. It was suggested that this trope might have something to do with it.
    • In fact, McCartney himself summed up his post-breakup depression as follows in a 1984 interview with Playboy: "[Linda] had to deal with this guy who didn't particularly want to get out of bed and, if he did, wanted to go back to bed pretty soon after. He wanted to drink earlier and earlier each day and didn't really see the point in shaving, because where was he going?"
  • Jim Morrison of The Doors grew a beard while in depression before he died. He was noted as taking heavy drugs and drinking a lot of alcohol, so the beard was just the finishing touch.
  • Christian singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman has had a clean-shaven appearance for most of his career. He grew a beard for a while in 2008-2009 after the death of his youngest daughter, which became the subject of his album Beauty Will Rise.
  • A standing custom in Roman times was to wear ragged clothing and stop shaving or cutting their hair to show mourning or to inspire pity when prosecuted.
    • After the disastrous battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the Roman Emperor Augustus had a breakdown, letting his beard grow, banging his head against the walls, and shouting "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" Varus had led the 17th, 18th, and 19th Roman legions, all of which were destroyed by German troops; Varus himself fell on his sword to avoid capture and execution.
    • Cato the Younger, who grew his beard during the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, and mourned every Roman citizen who died.
  • A former example - Gary Weddle of Ephrata, Washington is a high school teacher. After the events of September 11, 2001, he vowed not to shave his beard until Osama bin Laden was either dead or in US custody. At the time of his decision, he thought it would only take a few months; as time went on he had to start explaining to incoming freshman classes the whats and whys behind his facial hair, the students having been too young to remember the events of that day. Mr. Weddle ended up bearded for nearly ten years and ultimately bore some resemblance to the infamous terrorist before bin Laden's death in May 2011 allowed him to shave again.
  • There's an old Italian custom; when a loved one has died, a man doesn't shave until the funeral.
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II grew a beard during his exile in the Netherlands. There are very few photos of him during this period, so that's why the Kaiser Beard is not nearly as famous as the Kaiser Moustache.
  • A staunch Democrat named Valentine Tapley swore to never shave again if Lincoln was elected in 1860. He died in 1910.
  • Some Taiwanese/Chinese people don't shave after the death of a loved one as a sign of grieving.
  • A sort of enforced version: when MMA fighter Evan Tanner died from hyperthermia in 2008, thousands of mourning fans, including UFC commentator Joe Rogan, grew out their beards for a month as a tribute to him.
  • Inverted with English inventor Geoffrey Pyke, who shaved his beard right before committing suicide.
  • A lot of men, stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, started growing beards, which lead to the phenomenon of "quarantine beards."
  • Freddie Mercury shaved his mustache and grew a beard after testing positive for HIV in 1987, though he shaved it in 1991 as his condition deteriorated to the point where he had to be filmed in black and white to look presentable.
  • Some wartime leaders also grew beards. Abraham Lincoln in the American Civil War, Pedro I of Brazil during the Portuguese Civil War and Volodymyr Zelensky in the Russo-Ukrainian War.
  • When Robin Williams played a tragic character, he would often have a beard. His lively characters tended to be clean-shaven.


Video Example(s):


We Won't Go Back

From Memory Alpha: "The Federation is gone, Riker's beard is everywhere."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / BeardOfSorrow

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