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Big Sleep

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A rather low key death.
The polar opposite of Dies Wide Open. A character gently closes their eyes as they die. They may also slump a little. May result in Peaceful in Death.

Named for the novel and movie, The Big Sleep.

Subtrope of He's Dead, Jim. If someone is actually sleeping, only metaphorically like the dead, see Deep Sleep.

Compare Passed in Their Sleep, where a character dies in their sleep, with their eyes closed, and Eye Lights Out, where the dying character's eyes slowly go dark.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the end of Fate/stay night 2006 adaptation, as Saber lies dying back in her own time, she tells Bedivere that she has been dreaming. Bedivere tells her that if she closes her eyes, she'll be able to see that dream again. Then Saber slowly closes her eyes, uttering "This sleep is going to be a bit... longer..."
  • Angelina of Gunslinger Girl is implied to have died at the end of the first anime. She closes her eyes while being told a story. In the anime, she wakes up in Teatrino (with a completely different character design at that), making her dramatic death scene in season 1 a bit hollow. In the manga, she's not so lucky and dies at a later point in the story.
  • Saya at the end of Blood+, although it's more like a literal big sleep than it is death.
  • Subverted in Outlaw Star. Did you really think Aisha was going to get killed?
  • Lelouch in the Code Geass R2 finale. While he's uttering his last words to Nunnally, a backwards Really Dead Montage plays in the background until it reaches their childhood at which point he finally expires with a slump. Cue Nunnally breaking down in tears as she just realized moments before that Lelouch was running a Thanatos Gambit for world peace, hence why everyone else is cheering at his killer.
  • This trope is rare in Dragon Ball. In the pre-Z phase, Dies Wide Open was near-universal for death. Raditz's death added in Blank White Eyes to that. But this trope does occasionally apply:
    • Goku during his first death in Dragon Ball Z. After holding his brother Raditz in place so they can both take the hit of Piccolo's attack, he tells Krillin, Bulma, and Roshi to gather the Dragon Balls to wish him back to life soon before slowly closing his eyes. (He even says, "Bye" right at the moment he closes his eyes in the Ocean dub.) The anime even gives the three a few minutes to mourn him before Kami-sama whisks his body and soul away to the after life.
    • Yamcha and Tien also both die this way in the Saiyan saga. Vegeta as well when killed by Frieza. Krillin dies this way in Dragon Ball GT when killed by Super 17.
  • In the Distant Finale of Fire Punch the immortals Judah and Agni reunite and close their eyes together, implying they never woke up again.

    Comic Books 
  • In a way averted in Lenore when after experiencing an explosion the demon bounty hunter Pooty Applewater goes on to the "Long Sleep" only to return after an hour, since "that's a long time for a demon".

    Fan Fiction 
  • Kalash 93 has used this more than once.
    • Last One Standing was the first time this happened.
    • Reflections also mentions this trope, with the immortal protagonists wondering if that's what it's like to die.
  • Narrowly Averted during the third setting of Masses to Masses. Ian, infected by a Varen bite, peacefully accept his death only to be saved by Garrus
  • In the Gensokyo 20XX series, this happens to Sakuya, as she dies of radiation sickness, while Yuuka tells her what she wants her to hear. It was noted that she looked as though she had simply fallen asleep, except she didn't wake up.
    • It was also noted periodically, later in the series, that is how Reimu tends to see death, which, because of her innocence, seems to be the most comforting.
  • It Wasn't Sleep is a oneshot based off of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Kate and Sticky had been captured and, while trying to escape, they were shot at. Sticky doesn't notice that Kate has been shot until after Kate "falls asleep".

    Films — Animated 
  • Subverted in the film Titan A.E.: Gune, who combines The Professor and Plucky Comic Relief in one character, apparently slept the Big Sleep after being wounded, even saying "Must have nap..." as he went. Much later, he returns during the final battle in a Big Damn Heroes moment, loudly proclaiming "I've finished my nap!" as he pilots the Cool Starship to the rescue.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, after Louis finds Ray having been stepped on by Doctor Facilier, the alligator brings Ray to Tiana and Naveen, who tell Ray that they're going to remain frogs and get married. After Ray says that both he and Evangeline (The evening star that he's fallen in love with because he thinks it's a firefly) would like that a lot, he closes his eyes for the last time in the company of his new friends and the love of his life.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Garfield: His 9 Lives, at the end of one episode, "Diana's Piano", after hearing her last piano concerto from married mother Sara, Diana jumps down onto the piano keyboard, yawns, and drifts off into a deep sleep from which she never wakes up.
  • In Tangled, Flynn/Eugene gently closes his eyes and breathes his last as he succumbs to his stab wound. Right after he and Rapunzel had confessed their love to each other. Fortunately, Rapunzel's tears had enough of the magic flower's healing powers to bring him back to life.
  • In Fantasia's "Rite of Spring" sequence, after the Stegosaurus loses its battle with the T-Rex and the camera slowly pans across its dying body from tail to head, its moment of death is conveyed by its eye closing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Likewise for Yoda just before his death. He even extends the "big sleep" metaphor out further by actually settling down in his bed as if he's preparing for a long nap, calling it "forever sleep."
  • In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock closes his eyes before dying after bidding farewell to Kirk one last time.

  • Oddly, the trope namers (Raymond Chandler's novel The Big Sleep and the movies based on it) don't include this trope. The character said to be "sleeping The Big Sleep" not only doesn't die on stage, but is dead before the story begins.
  • In the Children of the Mind, this is how Ender Wiggin finally passes away. The book describes it as feeling just like falling asleep.
  • The Bible uses sleep as a metaphor for death a lot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The king of the Subverted Trope, Joss Whedon, does this in the pilot episode of Firefly. Kaylee, having been shot by a jumpy Alliance lawman who was after Simon, closes her eyes and goes limp; Mal goes to Simon and informs him she's dead. He rushes to the med-bay, where he finds out that not only is she alive, she's awake and talking. Turned out she was taking a nap and the rest of the crew decided to play a rather cruel joke on the man who was partially responsible for her injury.
  • Played straight in episode 2 of the 2nd season of Angel. He finds the woman who betrayed him long ago. After she is forgiven, she proclaims that she will go outside after she has her rest. She never wakes up. Though the phrase she uses—"go out"—is ambiguous and could just as easily mean "die, cease to exist".
  • Game of Thrones: Robb's direwolf Grey Wind dies this way when he slowly closes his eyes after being shot multiple times. Judging by the majority of reaction videos, this actually hit a lot of people harder than the human deaths that followed.
  • Jack Shephard in Lost goes out like this in the last scene, mirroring the opening scene of the series.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Lily dies with her eyes closed and hangs limply from a noose.


    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark", Fry's dog Seymour spends over a decade waiting in vain for Fry to come back before closing his eyes for the last time. Or so you're led to believe, until "Bender's Big Score" reveals more.
  • BoJack Horseman: Sarah Lynn dies in BoJack's arms right after she states she wants to leave the fame and excess behind to be come an architect, while BoJack has taken her to her favorite place: the Planetarium.
  • The Trope Namer comes from the pilot episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show, where "the big sleep" is used as a euphemism for euthanasia.


Video Example(s):


Maestro's Death

Maestro dies with his eyes closed.

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Main / BigSleep

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