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Break Them by Talking

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"There exists, for everyone, a sentence—a series of words—that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you're lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first."

When one character gives a talk to another that does or is meant to somehow break down the recipient or gain a psychological advantage over them by claiming uncomfortable things that they cannot deny.

Also known as a Breaking Speech or Breaking Lecture.note 

This is often achieved by a kind of "The Reason You Suck" Speech, telling the other character how pathetic they are or perhaps how guilty of something terrible, perhaps Not So Different from someone unpalatable, but there are other ways of breaking someone down by talking. You could for example instead deconstruct the world, other characters, or their relationship with the victim. The important part is that they can't deny your words, at least not in the heat of the moment, and you gain a psychological advantage over them. Uncomfortable truths (or at least half-truths) and logical arguments are effective for making claims hard to deny, but hitting emotional weak spots is also important and can work even if your statements are not truly reasonable.

Results, when successful, range from the mere chance of getting to smirk in a satisfied way for rattling someone in an otherwise superior position; through distracting or demoralizing an opponent to make them easier to beat; to bringing about Break the Cutie, Heroic B.S.O.D., Villainous Breakdown or even Face–Heel Turn, More Than Mind Control, or Driven to Suicide. The most extreme form would be Mind Rape by just talking, but be wary of automatically calling every instance of Breaking Them by Talking that.

Obviously, this is easier to pull off from a relative position of power, such as when you have just defeated someone, or when interrogating a prisoner, but it goes both ways. It's even more impressive when someone manages to turn the tables on someone who was in a superior position. When this is done by one being interrogated—and only then—it's the Hannibal Lecture. Naturally, in between these cases there is the one where both parties start out on an equal footing.

Note that a lot of this hinges on the victim actually caring about what you have to say, or otherwise respecting you enough to take your opinion seriously. If the victim is Too Dumb to Fool, or simply doesn't care about your opinion, then all you're likely to get for your trouble is laughter or a blank stare.

As stated above, there is frequent overlap with "The Reason You Suck" Speech, but the concepts are not the same. "The Reason You Suck" Speech is about what you say, this is about what you do by saying it. You can tell someone they suck without breaking them down or even intending to do so, particularly if you're just annoyed, and you can break someone down without telling them why they suck.

The distilled version of this is the Armor-Piercing Question. If the declarations used as a weapon come from simple clues, this is a form of Sherlock Scan. Some characters have the ability to do this as a superpower, which may be an example of Awesome by Analysis. Can be done as part of Evil Gloating. Shut Up, Hannibal! is a way of countering this trope. The opposite effect is done by a "World of Cardboard" Speech, when the hero tells about his own flaws and how they don't matter now. The reverse or "good counterpart" is the Kirk Summation or Talking the Monster to Death. Hannibal Lecture is a specific subtrope.

For examples of literally breaking someone by talking, see Weapons-Grade Vocabulary or Make Me Wanna Shout.

See also: To the Pain, Talking Your Way Out, Just Between You and Me, And Then What?, Verbal Judo.


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  • In Dragon Ball Z, Goku does this to Freeza during their battle on Namek. After having ascended to the level of a Super Saiyan and smacking around the now fully-powered Big Bad, he abruptly decides that their battle is done. When a shocked Freeza demands to know what he means by that, Goku's response makes the killer of the Saiyan race and former #1 fighter in the universe (at least at the time) go through a massive breakdown:
    Goku: Your power level is decreasing with every blow. You're not even a challenge to me anymore. It wouldn't be fair for me to keep fighting you. I'm satisfied now. Your pride has been torn to shreds. You've challenged and lost to a fighter who is superior to you...and to make it worse, "he was just a monkey," right?
    (Freeza is seething in anger, shocked and enraged at Goku's words)
    Goku: It would be meaningless to fight you now; you're too scared and ashamed. Live with the shock. Keep it bottled up inside of you... silently.
    • After running circles around Future Trunks, Cell tells him why he can't win no matter how much he powers up. Cell tells Trunks that all he's been doing is pumping himself up and he can do that too, which he does to prove his point. He then tells Trunks the Fatal Flaw in the Ultra Super Saiyan form. Although very powerful, Ultra Super Saiyan lacks speed, making it impossible to hit someone like Cell who is both fast and strong. To twist the knife even further, Cell informs him that Vegeta figured that out on his own, which is why he didn't use the form. Hearing this, Trunks undergoes a Heroic B.S.O.D. and tells Cell to just kill him and be done with it.
    • Super Buu gives one to Gohan in the dub using the knowledge of Piccolo to break him down emotionally. If it weren't for Goku's intervention, he would been killed after that verbal assault.
  • Fate, The Woobie of Lyrical Nanoha, is talked into a small coma by her mother, Precia Testarossa. She breaks so badly it renders her literally catatonic for a brief period, and for good reason; her mother had just admitted that she despised her since the day she was born (this was after Fate had spent the entire season blindly trying to earn her affection).
  • In Code Geass, Mao uses a Breaking Speech and his Geass-induced psychic powers to perform More Than Mind Control on Shirley Fenette. She's so badly damaged that Lelouch must erase himself from her memories via Geass.
    • Mao tries this again to avoid arrest by Suzaku a couple episodes later, violating his sanity by reading his mind and taunting him with such knowledge. With Shirley's More Than Mind Control and Nunnally's hostage situation still fresh in his mind and Mao's visor knocked off by Suzaku prior to the Mind Rape, Lelouch had a clear shot to Geass Mao into a Fate Worse than Death.
      Mao: So that's how you justify it in retrospect? You're nothing but a spoiled brat!
      Lelouch: Mao! (activates Geass)
      Mao: SHIT!
      Lelouch: NEVER SPEAK AGAIN!
  • Persona 4: The Animation has quite a few of these. The Shadows do this to their hosts, but Shadow Mitsuo gives one to Yu inside the Lotus-Eater Machine:
    Shadow Mitsuo: "You have no bonds. Friendship is an illusion. You are empty."
  • In Monster, this is one of Johan Liebert's specialties. He actually drives people to suicide with it.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has quite a lot of these, actually.
    • #66, Barry The Chopper, makes 14 year old Alphonse Elric question his own existence with one of these by telling him that Ed might have faked Al's memories and that Alphonse Elric NEVER existed. It's only after Winry hits Al with a wrench and points out that no one would sacrifice an arm for a fake brother that Al figures out that he's the real Al.
      • This changes somewhat in the 2003 anime version; here, it takes Alphonse an episode which involves a pep talk from Scar and Ed telling what him what he really meant to say to him to snap him out of it.
    • Then we've got Envy, a big fan of humilating with words. Roy eventually burns his tongue off.
    • After burning Envy back to his parasitic form, Mustang nearly goes in for the final kill to avenge his fallen comrade Hughes, that is, until Ed and Riza both interfere, and along with Scar, talk him out of it, claiming it would make him Not So Different. Envy proceeds to goad at the four for not killing each other in retribution for something they did (Ed not killing Scar for killing the parents of Winry or the Mercy Kill of Nina, Scar not killing Mustang over the Ishvalan massacre). It completely backfires when they prove they won't turn on each other, and Envy succumbs to the shame of losing to humans, who he saw himself superior to, and kills himself.
    • Solf J. Kimblee is a very smart psychopath with a flair for messing with people's heads and an apparent gift for considering himself the rational one in any given collision of philosophies. He delivers a Breaking Speech with a rare positive benefit (an inversion?) during the Ishvalan genocide when Roy and Riza were telling themselves that they really didn't have any choice but to take part in war crimes. Kimblee utterly shreds those ideas apart ("When you shoot a man, do you not feel even the slightest bit of pride for a job well done?"), forcing them to take responsibility and realize that they're Not So Different. The end result is Roy and Riza plotting to take down the military government to prevent such a genocide from ever happening again.
      Kimblee: "Don't avert your eyes from death. Look forward. Look the people you're killing in the face and don't forget them. Don't forget. Don't forget. They won't forget you either."
      Kimblee: (later on while fighting Alphonse, he questions why Alphonse doesn't simply use the Philosopher's Stone to get his original body back, and following Al's response?) "I see. So if you can discover an exception to the rule, you can effectively rewrite the laws of nature as we understand them. Is that how it's supposed to go? Because there is another possibility you know... you don't get your bodies back and you don't save everyone. That could certainly happen."
    • Pride later gives Edward one during their brief fight. It didn't end well for Pride.
    • Father deals a rather vicious one in the Recap Episode of Brotherhood, which has a healthy dose of Mind Screw.
    • When Ed confronts Shou Tucker on how the latter could use his own wife and daughter for his chimera experiments, Tucker claims it was for the same reasons that Ed and Al dabbled in human transmutation to resurrect their mother. As the human transmutation incident is a particular sore point with Ed, things turn out quite badly for Tucker.
    • In the 2003 anime, episode #49, Dante attempts this on Edward by stating that the law of equivalancy is 'a lie meant to comfort the oppressed and make children do their lessons'. She seems very determined to prove her point , even going so far as threatening to kill a helpless infant to demonstrate to him that even the most strenuous efforts (in this case, the infant crying for help) can get you nothing in return.
      • The truly impressive thing about this is that Dante takes the idea of Equivalent Exchange and deconstructs it, revealing that while impressive and accurate in theory, the law of Equivalent Exchange is very flawed, especially when one attempts to apply it outside of Alchemy. While someone may put in everything they've got to achieve something, what they receive will not always be of equal value to what has been given. Ed rejects this view instead of letting it get to him.
  • Naruto:
    • During the chuunin exams, Neji gives one to Hinata before their sparring match, telling her that she's futilely fighting against fate. When she starts to break down, Naruto's cheering snaps her out of it. Unfortunately, in the ensuing fight he delivers a beatdown that nearly kills her. Verbally, however, Hinata still gets the last word in when she points out that he's the one hopelessly fighting fate and not her.
    • Naruto received one from Kabuto back in Part I too. Naruto's response was to drive a Rasengan into his stomach.
    • Pain gets in on this and uses it on Naruto. It doesn't convince Naruto to give up, but instead he decides to try and prevent the conditions which causes someone like Pain to exist. Before that Pain gave one to Tsunade about the big villages not caring if they hurt the smaller ones. She's not convinced and claims that even the big villages suffer. Not to be outdone, Pain's response was to crush the village.
    • Naruto also receives one of these from Yami Naruto in chapter 493. We don't see the end of it, but it's enough, combined with an inability to defeat his opponent in combat, to make Naruto start to seriously doubt his own morality. Naruto seems really vulnerable to these, doesn't he? This particular lecture verges on Mind Rape because Yami Naruto was a manifestation of all of Naruto's personal insecurities. He'd never had an answer for these doubts before but had ignored them; Yami forced Naruto to face them.
    • The Kyuubi attempted this a few times with Naruto in Shippuden, but each time was interrupted by, in order of appearance, Sasuke, Minato, and finally by Naruto himself, who shut it up accordingly.
    • Obito keeps bringing up Kakashi's greatest regrets, such as his obsession with the Memorial Stone. This is before we find out Tobi is Obito. Later Obito brings up Kakashi's broken promise with the intent to make Kakashi lose the will to fight him, since without Kakashi they have no chance of winning... and it works. Kakashi freezes, moments away from a complete breakdown, without Gai to snap him out of it like last time.
    • In a flashback, Madara tells Obito, after saving him, that the world sucks and he can't go back to being a ninja in his condition, with the intent of getting him to help complete the Moon's Eye Plan. It doesn't work at first, but after witnessing Rin's death Obito remembers Madara Uchiha's words and decides he was right. Ironically enough, later on Obito (posing as Madara) gives the same speech to Nagato.
    • Tobi gives another one to Naruto himself after Neji and many others die from his Wood Release Technique. He says Naruto can't protect his comrades, and with so many close to him dead and the others bound to follow, he should join them and abandon reality. It almost works until Hinata and Kurama restore Naruto's resolve.
  • Anti-Hero Saito Hajime from Rurouni Kenshin can do this to any villain in sight, (or anyone who just rubs him the wrong way) and he barely has to pause his beatdowns to give his lectures. Watsuki, (the mangaka who created Kenshin), bemoaned the fact that evil characters he created with the intention of being Terminator-like and tough fights for Saito were inevitably broken down into pieces and looked like weaklings after they actually fought Saito.
    • The granddaddy of Saito's lectures comes against Usui, where he delivers no less than three during their Duel to the Death. The final one is given with a dying Usui is pinned to the wall by Satio's sword and Saito proceeds to give him a classic "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • Right before Sano goes to Kyoto, they fight. Again, Saito wins but at the very end of the fight, after Saito call him a chick, he gets something like this:
      "I may be a chick right now, but I bet you and Kenshin were not that strong in the beginning."
    • Kenshin is not above doing this as well. In the manga, Kenshin's lecture to Raijuta about his misguided ideals of swordsmanship destroyed him far more than any of his attacks did. He even tells Sano that any further physical pain would be useless at this point.
      "His confidence is gone. He'll never recover as swordsman."
    • Kenshin does this to Sojiro as a way of neutralizing his superior speed. Although to be fair, most of the talking is on Sojiro's side, who cannot reconcile Kenshin's philosophy of non-killing with his own experience under Shishio's of the strong feeding on the weak.
      Yumi: "Sojiro has ... broken"
  • In Bleach, during The Reveal, Aizen delivers a several chapter long lecture to Ichigo, completely paralyzing him. Until Komamura attacks Aizen in a rage at his betrayal.
    • Aizen's response: cut off Komamura, then continue, until everyone shows up. But by then, he already finished all he said.
    • Repeated again during the Fake Karakura Town arc with not one, not two, but several, to the Vizards (making Hiyori Half The Woman She Used To Be) for the entire chapter, several pages long for Ichigo before Komamura pulls a Shut Up, Hannibal!, then giving more lectures to everyone else, especially Hitsugaya, while crossing swords with them (ends when they became so enraged they all fall), then another one to Yamamoto (forcing the old man to sacrifice himself), before CONTINUING his lecture toward Ichigo. Face it, Aizen's lecture can only end either when he finishes, or when you get killed while trying to shut him up.
    • Aizen's not the only one. In Chapter 404, we got Gin of all people giving Ichigo yet another lecture, including the line, "I thought you were better than that, but you're still a child." Many probably felt that that issue needed to be addressed by now (He's what, 15-16?) Better yet, he then proceeds to attack with another Shinso power before Ichigo can reply.
      • Gin also cruelly broke Rukia's resolve with words, telling her he would save her from being executed before revealing that he was "just kidding". The poor girl is reduced to a screaming wreck, and with good reason.
    • Kenpachi Zaraki also gives one to Ichinose after Ichinose told Zaraki all that he wished to accomplish. It doesn't impress Kenpachi one bit and attacks back with the fact that he's had those goals put into his mind by his new master, Kariya, and by disobeying his orders by fighting Kenpachi instead of stopping Ichigo and the others Ichinose has never really cared about Kariya's ambition's and all he ever really wanted was revenge against Kenpachi for killing his captain.
    • In the final arc, As Nodt delivers one to Byakuya while under the effects of his power, The Fear. It causes Byakuya to rush forward with no thought, but it sadly gets him beaten to a coma.
  • In an inversion, it's Amuro Rei giving one to Char during the events of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, waxing on about how philosophers and idealists with plans to change the world become disillusioned when things don't change as quickly as they'd like them to. It, along with the fight that followed it were meant to be the final nails in the rivalry between the two by showing Amuro had surpassed Char in every way.
  • Fist of the North Star is a inversion where Fudoh delivers one to Raoh so crushing that it destroys his confidence for the rest of the series. Also probably the only Breaking Speech that doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Blame Raoh for explicitly telling Fudoh beforehand that he was using Fudoh a tune-up fight so that Raoh could work the fear out of his system, vaccination-style. Like Fudoh wasn't going to take advantage of that overconfidence?
  • Durarara!!: Izaya delivers one to Kida in the third arc.
    • And at the beginning of the series, he gave another one to Rio Kamichika, almost driving her to commit suicide.
    • And in the third season, he tried to do it to Anri, but Erika stopped him.
  • In Chapter 74 of Soul Eater the Envy Chapter of the Book of Eibon delivers a harsh one to Maka. It's enough to reduce her to tears.
  • This seems to be a popular tactic among demons in general in Chrono Crusade, but particularly with the Big Bad, Aion. Two notable examples are in the manga, when two demons corner Chrono in a dark warehouse and proceed to rattle off a list of his crimes, and in the anime with Aion's first appearance, where he lectures everyone as a supernatural fog rolls in.
  • Chang Wufei delivers a long attempt in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, trying to convince Heero that their attempts to bring peace by discarding weapons and soldiers were pointless, as war is simply an ingrained part of human nature. Heero's response is part "World of Cardboard" Speech ("Believe in the era we live in!") and part Contemplate Our Navels ("How many more people must we kill? How many more times must I kill that girl and her dog?"). In the end, Heero got through to Wufei because his speech made Wufei realize that starting another war will only lead to more tragedies, like the destruction of his own home colony.
  • Akito's modus operandi in Fruits Basket. Sure, he punctuates it with physical abuse every now and then, but he breaks most of the Juunishi simply by telling them the exact things that they don't want to hear.
  • Done in Fairy Tail when Erza fights her Edolas counterpart, Erza Knightwalker. In the final bout of their fight. Knightwalker argues how all their actions have been for the sake of keeping magic in their world in order to save it (though said magic come from the living beings from Erza's world). Erza counters that the two are still fighting long after their magic power had run out and that losing magic won't be the end of their world and they can still survive. This gets through to Knightwalker who then admits defeat.
  • In Slayers NEXT, Gaav questions Amelia when she attempts to attack him. Amelia stops for some seconds, confused by his words, so Gaav attacks her instead and Zelgadis is badly injured when he performs a Diving Save and shields Amelia with his own body.
  • In Episode 37 of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Flay Alister manages to get a gun on Big Bad Rau Le Creuset. Instead of disarming her, he proceeds to deliver a downright vicious Breaking Lecture that destroys her will to fight. To wit:
    Rau: If you shoot me right here, you will die within moments. The soldiers will shoot you. If that doesn't suit you, your only other option would be to point that gun at yourself and pull the trigger. The gun is loaded, I presume. On the battlefield, life is cheap; it's lost in an instant. But still, people fight for their country; for justice. However, none of that suits you. You may be wearing a military uniform, but you're no soldier. Am I wrong?
    • And then the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in, and Flay starts thinking of Rau like a father, even though by that point she's still a Coordinator-hater who can't forgive them for killing the father that Rau is a sort-of stand-in for in her mind. This is because, by that point. the girl is stuck in a hostile environment, surrounded by enemies, and it is only Rau's protection that is keeping her alive. And it's not helped by how his voice is VERY similar to her dad's.
      • He attempts this twice with Kira in the final, the first time Rau deconstructs Kira in every way, painting him as a mistake who's very existence is nothing but a blight on mankind, him being the 'ultimate' coordinator. As Rau continues to convince Kira that nobody understands or accepts him, Kira's concentration slips further and further, allowing Rau to press forward and slowly destroy his METEOR support unit. After killing Flay though, she comes to him in a sort of vision to comfort him and dismiss his doubts, renewing his resolve. After Kira is able to reengage him, Rau attempts to rant at Kira again about how humans all suck and are going to kill themselves it one way or another; and Kira is evil and his friends are all evil and Rau's plan to genocide the human race is exactly what everyone which Kira responds with variations of "No" "Shut up" or "You're wrong." He fails to actually counter any of Rau's points let alone get him to change his opinion, but Kira continues to tear Rau's Gundam apart piece by piece without hesitating for a second while Rau tries in vain to convince him he should just give up, let Rau kill him, and let everyone die.
      • Rey tries this on Kira in Destiny, but Kira promptly turns in on him by telling Rey that he's not doomed to be Rau simply because he's a clone, and that he is his own person, which kills Rey's will to fight and belief that Durandal's way is the only way. Athrun's "You're killing the future" speech to Shinn doesn't exactly work out as he's intended as it simply makes Shinn totally lose it and go frothing mad, trying to kill Athrun and trying to cut down Luna when she (seeing Shinn's losing himself to anger breaking her heart) tried to calm him down. However it still allows Athrun to win because Shinn is so angry he can no longer fight properly, focused so hard on killing Athrun he leaves himself totally open.
  • Kyuutarou Ooba from Kemonozume uses a Breaking Lecture as a last gambit after being decapitated, dismembered and finally eaten alive, flying the protagonist into the freezing depths of outer space while scolding him on believing that there's any goodness in humanity. The protagonist replies with his last ounce of consciousness by screaming a denial and ripping off Ooba's wings, sending them both plummeting back down to earth.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • An interesting variation at the end of the Kyoto Arc, when the arc's Dirty Coward antagonist gets chased down by Chachazero, who delivers such a frightening Breaking Speech that the antagonist faints from fear.
    • Later, Depraved Bisexual Psycho Supporter Tsukuyomi gives one of these to The Dragon Fate, to convince him he's got a bad case of Foe Yay for The Hero Negi. The scariest part is that it actually kinda works.
    • Some of Evangeline lectures wander into this territory. Notable example being when Negi ask her if Chao is wrong and should be stopped, and Eva delicately explaining moral relativism to him.
  • As of the end of Retrace LXXIV in Pandora Hearts, it seems that Jack has largely succeeded in breaking Oz by telling him that everything he's worked for and all of the relationships he's formed with the people he loves are fake and meaningless and that he's "never really had anything to call [his] own anyway." Couple that with Oz's past identity crisis and, directly after, have him get shot by his loyal servant and best friend, and you've got a seriously broken person.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, after having his Gundam temporarily knocked out by an enemy ace, Shiro rips off its damaged arm and attempts to beat said ace's mobile suit with it while shouting over an open comm channel at him. When he mentions his feelings for Aina, the ace is surprised long enough that Shiro manages to bash him in the face and damage his suit's sensors.
  • Muteki Kanban Musume: Megumi, who is The Rival to Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up Idiot Hero Miki. In a normal Fighting Series, Megumi would be a Classic Villain with an Evil Laugh… but here, Megumi is just another Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up Woman Child who gives "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the very flawed Miki with an annoying Noblewoman's Laugh.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Touma dishes these out like candy to every Arc Villain, telling them exactly how their motives for their actions are complete bullshit and how he's gonna shatter those illusions with his bare hands. He also gives them to his allies too, in order to get them out of personal Heroic BSODs.
    • Kuroko delivers an one to Awaki during their battle in Volume 8 (season 2 of the anime). It basically amounts to a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that utterly breaks Awaki: She suffers a huge Villainous Breakdown... and loses control of her teleporter powers, nearly collapsing the entire building on Kuroko while she escapes.
  • Yuuta in the anime adaptation of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions gives one to Sanae at the end of episode 11 after she berates him for not supporting Rikka's delusions, forcing her to admit that for all her delusions, she's never been able to fight a monster or summon a weapon, and that delusions like that are pointless in the long run.
  • What drove Yukime to go Murder the Hypotenuse on Ritsuko in Hell Teacher Nube, something that she'd never ever think of doing in normal circumstances, was being at the receiving end of a very nasty one from her father's lackey in whuich he constantly questioned the very core of her existence and reasons to live.
  • In X1999, at least the manga, Satsuki Yatoji breaks Yuzuriha Nekoi into nigh-catatonia by explaining why she thinks killing people is alright. She then proceeds to put theory into practice and it takes a Heroic Sacrifice by Inuki to save Yuzuriha.
  • In InuYasha, Naraku deals more than one of these to the heroes, and so does local Creepy Child Akago aka Naraku's "heart". In fact, Akago is infamous doing this to Kagome and almost making her pull a Face–Heel Turn by manipulating her insecurity about Inuyasha and Kikyou. Too bad they verbally slap him back.
  • Toru Nanamine gives one to his editor in Bakuman。, preying on his confidence issues and inexperience by telling him that he's not more intelligent than the 50 consultants he has and threatening to go elsewhere and put his editor's career in jeopardy if he refuses to go along with his plan as the 51st correspondent.
  • A particularly enlightening example in Is This a Zombie?, Ayamu is facing off with the King of the Night and we get this:
    King of the Night: You only just met her. What could you possibly understand?
    Ayamu: That's right. That's why you piss me off. You've known her for a lot longer, but you refuse to understand her! (Proceeds to beat the everliving crap out of the King of the Night at 800%)
    Ayamu: Have you ever seen her adorable smile?!
    King of the Night: Her smile?
    Ayamu: Do you know how she smiles when she's having fun? Do you know Yuu's favourite food? Do you know how Yuu feels every day of her life? She didn't ask to be born a necromancer. All she can do is live life to the fullest. I won't let someone who's given up on life say he understands her!
  • Guy delivers an epic one to Palparepa in GaoGaiGar FINAL. All while delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    Guy: The reason you tried to seal off GGG... the reason you couldn't come close to the G-Crystal... the reason you isolated GaoFighGar... the reason why you didn't come to directly attack our Earth... it's all because you feared us! The G-Stone's power can only grow and surpass the power of the Loud G-Stone! This is the energy BORN FROM COURAGE!
    Palparepa: "WHAT HAS A GOD TO FEAR?!"
  • In The iDOLM@STER 2: The World Is All One!!, Hibiki is subject to this after a 961 Pro employed show manager goes on a tirade about how she has ruined the TV program by not alerting her fellow idol unit members that they were supposed to come with her. Unaware that she was tricked into coming alone, Hibiki can only stammer excuses and apologies until she begins crying. Thankfully her Producer arrives and promptly turns the tables on the lying executive.
  • Given by Takuto to Kai in Cardfight!! Vanguard's third season, Link Joker.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, Tron combined this with a Not So Different theme, trying to convince Yuma that he was actually working towards the same goal he was - trying to gain revenge on Dr. Faker - claiming his father had sent Astral to Earth in order to destroy it. (Whether Tron truly believed this claim is unclear, but what would make this so horrible, if true, is that it would suggest that Kazuma Tsukumo was just as sadistic as Tron was, which is pretty sadistic). The amazing thing is, that while Yuma refused to believe this, Astral was nearly convinced for a minute or two. (It wasn't the first time he had doubted the benign intentions of his purpose, seeing as he had amnesia.)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS: Towards the end of Aoi's and Spectre's duel in Episode #34, Spectre made Aoi believe that she was about to win and was about to save him. However, it was only a façade as Spectre's Sunbloom Doom made him nowhere near losing. He even mocked her, calling her "a worthless woman who will never become a Blue Angel" and claiming he was the Blue Angel who killed Aoi. He then tore up the copy of the ''Blue Angel'' book he materialized and burned the shreds. The story meant the world to Aoi and gave her comfort after her parents died about ten years before the start of the series. To see it be so carelessly destroyed, in addition to her being so cruelly manipulated and mocked just moments ago, destroyed her. Seeing as the Tower of Hanoi would absorb those who lose duels in Link VRAINS and leave their real bodies in a comatose state with no hope of waking up, Spectre essentially tortured her mentally before Player Killing her in cold blood.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Alexander the Great gives a speech to Yami over their different approaches in regards to allies. He tries to persuade Yami that sacrificing his friends is what he needs to be powerful enough to put up a fight. They essentially tell Yugi that he's right.
  • A favored tactic of the D-Reaper from Digimon Tamers; since it feeds off despair, it naturally tries to drive people to that point by bringing up their worst fears and memories. It delivers various cruel and mocking speeches to Takato (reminding him how he always seems to screw up and telling him he could never save anyone), Beelzemon (reciting a list of his crimes to him in the voices of his victims), Jeri’s father (telling him what an awful father he was and how his daughter’s state is his fault), and poor Jeri herself (saying that Leomon’s death was her fault, that nobody would miss her if she died, and forcing her to relive her worst memories over and over).
  • Gowther from Seven Deadly Sins defeats his enemies by screwing with their minds. Usually he uses his mind-controlling powers, but in a fight with Slader he simply asks him, if he actually heard king personally say, that Seven Deadly Sins are traitors or give any of the orders, that he's been following, since king become ill. Realization, that he might have been fooled devastates Slader, making him forget about their battle and run off to meet the king.
    Slader: I've never been humiliated like this...
    Gowther: There is a first time for everyone.
  • Betsy Beltoise of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is very skilled at this. She's even known as Betsy the Wound-Licking Dagger and it's said that she will one day kill someone with her tongue. She tries doing it to Shirogane but it fails because he doesn't speak French. Then Kaguya gives her one in retaliation that leaves her a gibbering mess.
  • Kyubey in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an expert at this, even if he doesn't look it. It's pretty much his modus operandi for hastening the process by which a Magical Girl becomes a Witch, or "encouraging" a reluctant contractee to make a deal with him. Since he's had several thousand years to practice, he's good enough at it to get the desired result most of the time. He does this twice with Sayaka, first when he brutally reminds her that she is extremely weak for a Magical Girl and then in combination with Cold-Blooded Torture to drive home the loss of her humanity, once with Homura, when he reveals to her that she has essentially doomed Madoka to unimaginable misery through overuse of time travel, and so many times to the protagonist that the viewer starts to lose count after he calls her insane for (inadvertently) throwing her friend's soul off of a bridge. Most notable is the one example that backfires, though, when he reveals too much information to Madoka at one time in an attempt to make her desperate enough to contract with him. Using that information, she is able to make a wish that actually undoes most of the damage that he's caused without harming humanity or endangering the Universe.
  • Surprisingly, Eren Yeager does this in Attack on Titan to Reiner Braun after the two meet for the first time in four years. Although, to be fair, the latter is extremely broken at this point anyway. It does cause Reiner to have yet another mental breakdown, cumulating in him asking for Eren to kill him. He doesn't.

    Comic Books 
  • The Marvel Comics character Karnak has refined his powers to the point where he can do this. At first his power was just sensing the weak point in objects so he (or his stronger ally Gorgon) can smash it. Now he find personality flaws and verbally destroy an opponent.
  • Emma Frost of the X-Men is incredibly good at this. A great example of this can be found when after finding Kimura sneaking around the X-Mansion getting ready to kill X-23, Emma goes up to her and says...
    Emma: Do you ever wonder why you take such pleasure from abusing a little girl who can't hurt you, let alone defeat you? No, I thought not. You'll notice that you cannot move. I've shut down all your motor control so you can listen while I enlighten you. You are a bully, plain and simple. A product of your past. Being kicked around your whole life by an alcoholic father and an uncaring mother at home, only to find the same waiting for you from your peers in the schoolyard, day in and day out. You were born into a life you did not deserve... a life no child deserves... Someone needs to fill the role of victim and you played that part for so many... until your grandmother came to your rescue. But sadly she came too late. All the hope and good you held onto was beaten out of you long ago. After your grandmother's heart attack, you found your way to the Facility to the men that could give you what you wanted so badly... Revenge. A hollow prize, but one you begged for and once you'd gotten the best of those who wronged you, you became the very person you hated and feared growing up. And X-23 played the role of your victim. Like you, Laura didn't deserve that horrible life. No child does, remember? But you didn't care. Even though you know all too well the pain she suffered, you enjoyed inflicting it. You still enjoy it. That's why you're a bully.
    Kimura: Why are you telling me this?
    Emma: Because today you go back to being the victim. It's a shame that the people that perfected your body didn't do enough to safeguard your mind...
  • Batman:
    • Every one of Batman's enemies has tried it. As an action hero, he's immune, but some writers have played it as the villain being right. In the animated series, The Joker, master manipulator that he is, convinces a meek psychoanalyst named Harleen Quinzel to go crazy and fall in love with him; she becomes Harley Quinn. During the montage flashback that gives this backstory, they even trade places — he in the chair, she on the couch — in several of the analysis scenes.
    • In the one shot comic Mad Love as well as the episode of Batman: The Animated Series based on it, Batman does this to the Joker, manipulating him into freeing him from Harley Quinn's otherwise inescapable trap then taunting him about how she'd come closer to killing him than the Joker had ever managed. Puddin'.
    • Joker also gives Batman one in The Killing Joke, in which his plot is to drive Commissioner Gordon insane the same way he was. When Batman shows up to stop him, Joker gives him a long speech about how Batman is just as crazy as Joker is, and how the world is too hopelessly absurd for anyone to stay sane in. Batman powers through it, and, noting that Gordon was not driven mad, says that maybe Joker was the only one who couldn't take it. However, at the end, it becomes clear that Batman finds at least some truth in Joker's notion that they were both insane or, at least, absurd beings. There are also some visual hints that the Joker may have come close to breaking himself with the speech.
    • Brian Azzarello's Joker graphic novel. The Joker tries this on Batman — only to have Batman not only demolish it, but turn it into a devastating taunt right back with just three words:
      Joker: Uhh, God you disgust me. You have no charm at all, just... obviousness. Dumb, dull. Disappointing. Obvious. Shame on you. Obvious... and everybody knows. You wear your shame like a badge, because you don't have the balls to actually pin one on. Yes, just look at you. Desperate to be feared, you want to be perceived as a monster, dressed in black. And yet... you leave that little window. A glimpse at the perfection underneath. Obvious—the chiseled good looks, not the jaw, the mouth of a monster... why do you let it be seen? Tell me why.
      Batman: To mock you.
    • In Death of the Family, when Batman goes to confront Joker at the Ace Chemical Plant, he find Joker wearing the red hood. Joker launches into this trope by saying that having an network of allies has made Batman soft and weak, and that Joker would be doing Batman a favour by getting rid of them. Batman ends up pulling off the hood to reveal Harley Quinn instead! And he continues to do this constantly throughout the story arc to all of the members of the Bat-Family in order to shake their trust in Batman and break up the Family. And it works.
  • Superman:
    • In the "Elseworlds" (out-of-continuity) comic from DC, Superman: Red Son, where Superman's pod landed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States, Lex Luthor does this to Superman with one sentence, written down, and tucked into Lois Luthor (nee Lane)'s coat pocket. Stalingrad, which was shrunk and put in a "bottle" instead of Kandor, haunts Superman. Luthor, the president of the US, takes advantage of this fact by questioning Superman's "perfect" totalitarian rule of most of Earth with the single written sentence, "Why don't you just put the whole world in a bottle, Superman?" He has Lois put the note in her pocket and, when his plan finally spurs Superman to come to the White House personally, she is to ask Superman to use his X-ray vision to read the note. Superman very nearly breaks down in despair.
    • Actually Averted earlier in the same issue, Superman is perfectly willing to debate with Luthor as a way of peacefully addressing their problems (as opposed to the more violent way suggested by Brainiac). Before Luthor can open his mouth, Brainiac wraps him up in tentacles and drags him away, pointing out how a man of Luthor's intellect could've conceivably pulled this.
    • An issue of Superman features a military-sponsored super-villain, Atlas, attempting to deliver such a lecture to Krypto the Superdog, after having delivered an almighty smackdown to Superman and caused him to temporarily withdraw, leaving Krypto the only one left to make a stand. Unfortunately for Atlas it doesn't work, for the same reason that it probably wouldn't work if you tried to verbally undermine a dog's sense of self-confidence with a lecture in real life.
  • In The Eternals (or at least the Neil Gaiman revival), there is a character whose power is the ability to know just what to say to make a certain person break. When he first discovers this power, he manages to make a cop attempting to keep him in an embassy for questioning pass out with just a few words.
    Druig: Yes. Tell me, is it the SLIME of the tentacles that upsets you, or the way they twine bonelessly, the faceless snaking of them... Does it remind you of the way your brother forced a rubber toy into your infant mouth, CHOKING you, the wet, the...
    (Cop faints)
    Druig: Interesting.
  • More than one villain has tried this on The Punisher. Emphasis on tried.
  • In Global Frequency #8 Miranda Zero is kidnapped by a terrorist who tries to do this to her. She does it right back to him with rather more success.
    Zero: Maybe you could rape me. That'd make you a real man. Do you think I'm scared of pain? Three years ago in Haiti, a cell of ex-Tonton Macoute fired a nail gun through my right thigh. Five years ago, radical white separatists in Maine painted an eagle on my back in paint-stripper gel. Last March Russian black marketeers took bolt cutters to my breasts. Understand, you don't frighten me. Your stupid little hands and your thing with the gun do not frighten me. You are ignorant and gutless and you do not frighten me.
  • Sin City: Poor John Hartigan gets it twice. The first time comes from Senator Roark who explains that Hartigan will be framed for his son's crimes and there is not a thing he can do about it. The second is from Detective Liebowitcz who chides him on being a clean cop. Both of these lectures are so that Hartigan will sign a confession... which he doesn't.
  • In V for Vendetta, V does it to Lewis Prothero with elaborate props, reminding him of his role at the Larkhill concentration camp, revealing that he, V, was the man from room five, and finishing up by driving him insane by burning up his precious collection of dolls in the ovens in his replica of the camp.
  • Moon Knight villain "The Profile" is a profiler who uses his mutant observation powers to instantly size people up. He is also a Jerk Ass who likes to give Breaking Speeches to people for fun.
    The Profile: Hey, old man. I almost forgot something. That whole thing about abandoning your family and your wife dying alone and your son becoming a serial killer? You're right. It was all your fault.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian gives one to Dr. Manhattan, in a flashback scene in Chapter 2. The Comedian gunned down his pregnant Vietnamese girlfriend after she slashed his face. He points out how Dr. Manhattan did nothing to stop him, proving he no longer cares about humanity.
  • Supergirl:
    • In Many Happy Returns, super-villain Rebel tries to harass Kara after trying to kill her and Linda Danvers. Supergirl proceeds to tell him that he is a pathetic, insignificant nuisance with delusions of grandeur and she is a very busy and very angry Physical God. He runs away.
      Rebel: So whattaya say we just finish this off with one final dance?
      Supergirl: Don't you get it, Rebel? You're not important! You never were! You were just — something to do! Something for Supergirl and me to bounce off of for a while until people and events of real consequence came along! Look — Here's the problem. You've done some bad things, but I'm really, really upset right now. So much so that, honestly, I don't trust myself. And if you attack me or I attack you... I will hurt you. I'll hurt you worse than you've ever been hurt in your whole life. I can carve you up as soon as look at you. I can break you, boil you, freeze you. I can do things you can't imagine. Things I can't imagine, until I have to. And then I'll improvise. Part of me is hoping you will attack. And part of me is praying — for your sake, and my own peace of mind — that you don't. It's up to you.
      Rebel: You doing that? Causing a storm to roll in?
      Supergirl: Maybe.
    • In Supergirl (2005) Sakki, The Hate Furnace, delivered one to Supergirl. He mistakenly believed that she was Superman's daughter and picked at her shame at failing to live up to Superman's example. Sakki and his partner, Gakidou, were also emotion eaters, so Supergirl's despair and other negative emotions served to make them stronger. Unfortunately for them, she became so angry that they nearly overloaded, and they found out the hard way that their extra strength isn't nearly enough to deal with a Kryptonian.
  • It's a popular tactic of the Black Lanterns in the Blackest Night event, in an attempt to get their victim to show emotions so their heart can be ripped out and themselves added to the Black Lanterns.
  • In one issue of his comic, Wolverine has been imprisoned by the unusual method of throwing him in a pit and shooting him constantly so he'll be too busy healing to escape and he still manages to verbally break down the guy with the gun, who eventually lets Wolverine escape in the expectation that Wolverine will kill him.

    Fan Works 
  • Ace Combat: The Equestrian War: Gilda does this to Rainbow Dash in Chapter 11. It ends as being one of the reasons that causes a Heroic B.S.O.D. to Rainbow.
    • However, it comes back to bite her hard in the butt during their second confrontation.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Unicron pulls this on Pterodactus Prime (formerly known as Swoop) during his "Leave Your Quest" Test, trying to turn him against the Autobots. He almost breaks him, but when Unicron tries to bring the other Dinobots into it he goes too far…
  • A Crown of Stars:
    • Yui had a long talk with Gendo about his actions and how he had treated their children after her death. When she explained that Asuka was to their son what she was to him, Gendo sat staring wordlessly at a wall for a hour before start crying.
    • Several characters do this to Shinji and Asuka -especially the latter- several times: they pointed out their flaws and their mistakes to goad them to confront their personal demons, and both pilots often reacted... badly.
  • A Growing Affection: Hinata demands to know why Kabuto saved her during the Chunin finals (from canon):
    "The truth?" (Kabuto) said seriously, his eyes hidden by the sheen of his glasses, "It was for my pride. There you were, the first daughter of the vaunted Hyuga clan. And even though the best and brightest of the Leaf Ninja Medical Corps had had over a month to fix you, all they could do was delay the inevitable. And in five minutes, I was able to diagnose and repair the damage Neji did to your heart. I wanted to show them how weak and ineffectual they were. I helped you, to prove that I was superior. That's all."
  • Dirty Sympathy: Winston Payne tells Klavier about the bet the Prosecution Office has about the latter's departure: that he'll quit his current case and tells him that due to his experience in the Prosecution Office, Payne knows of the two ways Klavier will departure: fleeing to another country or jail.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Rei broke Gendo by telling him all of his plotting, scheming and manipulating would amount to nothing, and he would fail.
    Shinji:"How much did you actually tell my father, anyway?"
    Rei:"Few details. Only that everything he had worked towards and everything he had put myself and his only son through had been for nothing, and that he would die alone and unmourned, rejected by the only person he had ever truly loved."
  • Don't Let The Darkness Consume Me: King Sombra gives one to Twilight Sparkle, but as he keeps talking it becomes increasingly more and more obvious that he's really just telling her how horrible his life has been and in the end Twilight just ends up feeling sorry for him.
  • Duel Nature: Backfires spectacularly. After getting dragged into a sparring match against Luna, Twilight Sparkle is too stubborn to give up (which, due to Luna's insensitive behavior would be humiliating at this point) and tries psychological warfare to weaken her opponent's concentration. Taunting the princess over her insecurities does distract her to the point that some of her shields dissipate. Unfortunately, it also enrages her to the point where the spar becomes a Duel to the Death, breaks through the wards that protect the audience and in the end nearly levels the building.
  • For His Own Sake has Naru deliver one to her sister Mei, accusing her of being nothing but a Spoiled Brat who doesn't give a damn about her own family. The bitter irony of this is that Mei does care about Naru; unfortunately, Naru's too self-absorbed and caught up in her own delusions to realize the lecture she's giving Mei would better be directed at HERSELF.
  • Forward: In the first "episode", River delivers one of these to Niska's henchman Volsky, and while doing so informs Niska that Volsky was about to betray him. Niska promptly has him executed on the spot, allowing Jayne to snatch Volsky's knife and use to free himself.
  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: Checker Monarch, due to her special talent being manipulation, is very good at doing these, mostly to Trixie who she has she's done it too since they were kids. No wonder the mare is a Broken Bird.
  • HERZ: Asuka did this to Shinji accidentally seven years before the beginning of the story. She wanted to go back to Germany. He pleaded her staying and told he needed her. Unfortunately Asuka thought he was mocking her, so she called him out on everything he had done and said she hated him. It broke him down, but she did not know it at the time.
  • Lulu's Bizarre Rebellion: A favorite tactic of Mao, who uses his mind reading to find the best way to push people's buttons. After He acquires Anubis, the resulting geass-stand combination weaponizes this by causing his words to phyisically wound people proportionally to how much he hurt them emotionally.
  • Mean Time To Breakdown: Iwanako gives one to Emi after her Crash-Into Hello puts Iwanako into the hospital with a concussion and a bout of tachycardia. When Emi tries to apologize, Iwanako snaps:
    Look, what the hell is it you want from me?! Is it forgiveness? You may as well hit the road, because that’s never going to happen. Do you seriously think I’m okay? You nearly killed me, do you understand that? Why the hell would I ever forgive you for that? I’m not the goddamned Pope. I don’t have to grant you a tabula rasa just because you only almost ruined my whole goddamn life. And you’re seriously telling me that this isn’t even the first time that this has happened? You go to a school for the disabled and you just, what, ignored a dozen warnings? What kind of freaking idiot are you? Yes, you’re remorseful. Good for you. I don’t give a damn. How are you any different from some drunk driver who only feels bad after he finally spins out and murders half a family? And, yes, I’m not dead, thanks for noticing, though maybe you’ve knocked ten years off my life, for all I even know. And that’s not even mentioning the concussion you gave me, thanks for that. And I didn’t tell the school to do a single goddamn thing, so don’t blame me for whatever they did. Sorry, not my problem. You should have thought of that before you went sprinting through the halls. You want me to feel better? You want to make things right? You can start by getting out of my life. God knows it’s short enough already without you in it! What the hell are you waiting for? Get out. Get! Out!"
  • New Game Plus: A downright EPIC one in Chapter 10. After returning to the past, Luffy tricked Garp into thinking he would be a Marine in order to get him to train him. When they meet after Garp learns that Luffy gained the highest starting bounty in history, Luffy defuses his anger, though not without regret at hurting the old man, thanks in part to his future knowledge and in part due to the Voice of All Things:
    Garp: (livid, with a Death Glare) Luffy.
    (everyone begins retreating from Garp)
    Luffy: (calmly) Hey, Gramps. Wow, I can see your veins from here. Have you been taking your blood pressure medicine? You know Boggart wouldn't bug you if it weren't important.
    Garp: Brat. I'm going to give you one chance, one chance, to explain yourself. If I don't like your answer, I'm throwing you into Impel Down myself until I think you've learned your lesson.
    Luffy: I had an epiphany.
    Garp: (cracking his knuckles) Oh, really? What was it exactly?
    Luffy: If I became a Marine, I would surely perish.
    Garp: (gritting his teeth so hard that they crack) That's your excuse? You were afraid to get killed? Marines lead a dangerous life, I told you that from day one. You telling me I trained a coward?!
    Luffy: You misunderstand. I did not say I would die in battle. I said I would perish. Disappear. Or maybe, if they wanted to make a point of it, executed.
    Garp: What the hell are you talking about?
    Luffy: A healthy tree may bear a bad apple, but the tree is still seen as healthy. That one bad apple is just bad luck. But only a bad seed may grow from bad soil. Its nature is decided for it by the circumstances of its creation. (looks Garp in the eye, regretfully) I may be your beloved grandson, Gramps. But nothing you do, nothing you say, nothing I say or do will change the fact that I'm his son.
    (Garp looks down in shame)
    Luffy: I'm not saying it would happen right away. It might take weeks; it might take months. Hell, it might be years. But sooner or later, they'll start to think it. That I'm a sleeper agent. Or that I'm leaking information. Or that my goddamn blood is just dirty. And it wouldn't matter if I was the Commander-in-Chief when it happened. They would kill me without a second thought, 'for the good of the world'. And there wouldn't be anything I could do to defend myself. For my sin, is existing.
    Garp: (shaking his head in denial) No, no, they wouldn't do that!
    Luffy: (hardening his heart) Baterilla! (Garp looks up in shock) Based on the rumor of a rumor, Marines spent over a year scouring the island for a sign, any at all, of a child of the Pirate King. Pregnant women were kidnapped to be put through blood tests. Infants were put through the most invasive, comprehensive battery of exams available. Any who resisted were executed. And if they had found such a child, he would have been murdered in his cradle. In the womb. This is how much stock the Government puts in a person's bloodline. Do you deny it?
    Garp: (fighting tears of anger, frustration, and guilt) Luffy, you fool! I thought of all that! I cleared everything with Sengoku! You would have had a fair chance!
    Luffy: Ah, but Sengoku isn't the top of the food chain, is he? Even he must bow to orders from Kong or the Gorosei. And it's not like he'll be Fleet Admiral forever. Can you imagine how Sakazuki would react to news of his son in the Marine ranks? His first order after being promoted would be my death warrant.
    Garp: Luffy, Kong's a good man. And I know people don't always understand why they do what they do, but the Gorosei are just. They wouldn't kill you just because—
    Luffy: Ohara. And Nico Robin. (smiles sadly at Garp's surprise) The Voice told me a lot, Gramps.
    Garp: Sakazuki isn't the only one who could take Sengoku's place! He might never find out!
    Luffy: Ah, yes. I might be spared from 'Absolute Justice.' But that doesn't mean I'm safe. Kuzan and his 'Lazy Justice' would wait a decade after he heard the truth, but eventually he would act. And with that 'Unclear Justice' of Borsalino's, he might not even go for me. He would go for Dadan and Foosha for not lynching me when I was young. (shakes his head) I'm sorry, Gramps. I know you believe in redemption, but your superiors don't. They only understand corruption. And there's not a single future where if I became a Marine I would not die.
    Garp: (desperately) Luffy...
    Luffy: I like to think I'm a decent guy, Gramps. But I'm not so selfless as to knowingly go to my death just so I might be able to save people. So, if the path of a Marine was barred from me, what else could I do? How could I live my life, in a world that does not want me to survive? (grins) That's when I remembered an old dream.
    Garp: No...don't say it...
  • Now You See It: Sakura's Crowning Moment of Awesome is undoubtedly utterly destroying Pain verbally. Sakura destroys a single body (Yahiko's) and then gives a speech about how Pain never really wanted Yahiko back and makes him realize what a monster he's become.
  • Prinz Von Sommerhoffnung: when Sommerhoffnung tries to pull a What the Hell, Hero? on Ywiu and Romea, the two shut her down with this, centred on accusing her of being a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • RWBY: Reckoning has a mysterious enemy give a simple, yet scathing one to Darrel during the events of "No Brakes".
    What you've done… is nothing. Your accomplishments are minimal, your skills are lacking. You blunder along, believing that you further your wretched cause… but you're just a boy swinging tiny knives taped to your wrists. You think yourself a warrior… You call yourself a hero… You dub yourself a champion… You are nothing. Nothing, but a child. Nothing, but a coward. Nothing, but a waste. Nothing, but…
    [The unknown foe crushes Darrel's weapon with his bare hand.]
    ...a failure.
  • Stand Up, the LRIG! has Ulith deal a crushing one to Aichi, noting that his efforts to battle his way through to Mayu in order to save Takuto and the aftermath of each battle will more often than not cause great harm to his opponents. Leon even notes that hurting people with his own hands in any way possible goes against everything Aichi stands for, essentially making it so that appears that he must break his own morals if he wants to save the WIXOSS world. Then to make the 'truth' much more horrifying for him, Ulith conjures up a hallucination of a possible future caused by Aichi's hands, by using his own PSY Qualia, leading to this exchange.
    Ulith: Wonderful isn't it? After all, a similar result will be bound to happen with you, soon enough.
    Aichi: Why...? What good can come from harming other Selectors?!
    Ulith: My, you really are persistant aren't you? I already told you. This is what I live for in the Selector Battles. I'm surprised you haven't felt the same, considering you were all too willing to sell out a friend's memories just to save a meaningless world. If I recall correctly from the person who told me, Kourin was her name. That must be easy for someone whose cardfighting life has had practically no consequences on the world there.
    Aichi: B... But...
    Ulith: Oh that's right, I almost forgot. You have felt the need for breaking others before, just as I have. The first time you felt PSY Qualia enter your life, you were completely unstoppable, everyone you fought broke down before your superior might.
    Aichi gasps in horror, wondering how Ulith knew about his PSY Qualia incident from Season 1 of Cardfight!! Vanguard
    Aichi: H... How did you...?!
    Ulith: I know everything about you. It's truely a shame that Kai Toshiki had to ruin your fun back then, otherwise I'd been more than happy to take you under my wing. Much like a certain lap dog (Aoi Akira)
    Aichi: N... No! I won't hurt the people around me again! I'm no longer that same person!
    Ulith: It appears that your 2 years outside of breaking others through PSY Qualia has taken its toll on you. Perhaps this will change your mind.
    Ulith snaps her fingers, causing the girls in Aichi's hallucination to scream loudly as their cries of despair become too much for him to handle.
    Aichi: Stop it...!
    Ulith continues to laugh into his right ear as the screams and the sight of the girls crying in agony become engraved into his mind.
    Aichi: STOP IT!
    The halluciantion is dispelled after that, but it leads to Aichi misplaying and leaving himself wide open for more attacks the following turn as he goes into a state of depression by the end of the chapter.
  • Stars Above: Desideria is an expert at this. She uses her powers to read her victims' minds, then turns their greatest flaws and insecurities against them.
  • Test Of Humanity: GLaDOS uses this on Wheatley.
    "How amusing. You're not even a real human. All you are is just a computer brain using a human as a meat puppet. That body isn't the real you. It never was. You honestly believe she would love you, anyway? After all you've done to her. She could never love you. You're nothing but a pathetic moron living a lie."
  • The Immortal Game: It's repeatedly stated that the easiest way to defeat a bladecaster is to do this to them — if they lose faith in what they're fighting for, they lose control of their blades. This is ultimately how Sir Unimpressive defeats the Cadet and how Twilight defeats Titan.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell:
    • The Nightmare tries to do this to the Bearers. Page is the closest to being affected due to what it reveals, but the others aren’t buying it and she recovers soon as well.
    • The Nightmare tries again by taunting Page about how her family line came about. This time, she doesn't buy it at all.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has an unusual variation: Sabrina attempts to push Ash past the Rage Breaking Point in order to force him to use his Super Empowering abilities against her (he refuses to do so on the grounds that it's cheating to use them in competitive battling) by revealing what she knows about Ash's father and the circumstances of his birth. It almost works, but fortunately, Muk gives him a Cooldown Hug before he snaps.
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan: The titular character is quite good at this, most prominently doing it to Diamond Tiara when she's his captive and Princess Luna when he's imprisoned in Canterlot. He even comments at one point that it's his one real talent.
  • The Second Try: After Kaworu's death Gendo has Shinji and Asuka brought before him to interrogate them about their knowledge of the future. However Shinji tells him that he and everybody else will die because his plan and Yui will not return to him. The idea that he will never see his wife again is more than Gendo can bear. His first reaction is trying to convince himself that his son is lying. When it does not work, he tries to kill himself.
  • This Bites!: This and "The Reason You Suck" Speech are Cross' most frequently used weapons. The first instance of this trope was when he used it to force Vivi to reveal her true identity: accusing her of being rich, and once she confirmed that, he interrogated her as to why she was hunting bounties. Pacifist that she is, she broke when Cross accused her of being a bounty hunter just to cause pain.
    • Cross' words are undoubtedly his most dangerous weapon; every time someone allows him to open his mouth, it proves to be more than they can handle. Vivi's masquerade as Miss Wednesday? Broken. Smoker and Tashigi's faith in the Marine Corps' justice? Broken. Aokiji's unflappably nonchalant demeanor? Broken. Kaku and Kalifa's flawless masquerades? Broken. And those are just the ones he did on purpose.
    • Aokiji's canon lecture to Robin still counts, but it's the last words he says to Robin that really count, as they shatter Robin's faith in the crew she had found.
      Aokiji: You've found people who will protect you, Nico Robin. They're willing to take on the world for you, of that I have no doubt. But can they win? I seriously doubt that.
    • They manage to repair the damage some, but ultimately, Enies still happens.
    • Robin utilizes this against Spandam to slow him down on the Bridge of Hesitation. It doesn't turn out well for her.
  • Whispers: Celestia lectures a weakened Nightmare Moon on the virtues of the Elements of Harmony, straight on into a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Wings To Fly has, of all people, Lucrezia Noin deliver a rather harsh series of taunts to Zechs Merquise during the middle of a combat where they are on opposite sides. Ironically, her taunts are effective because Zechs truly does love Noin and her sudden belligerence and willingness to fire on him terrifies Zechs as she has always refused to before. His sudden confusion and doubt distract him so much he loses control of his damaged mobile suit in midflight, and only pure luck saved him from getting shot down before he regained control.
  • Wisdom and Courage: Veran does this to Link in chapter 33 in order to break his unbreakable spirit, immediately after forcing him to watch her seem to kill Zelda mercilessly and it works. It also doubles as a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    Veran: Do you know what I hate most about you, hero? That persistent little spirit of yours. The fact that you can live through things that would destroy others emotionally completely unscarred. But even so, everyone has a breaking point... And... I believe you've just reached yours...
  • In With This Ring, this is what Father Matias' exorcism of Paulphidian consists of, deconstructing their motives so Paul would kick the Ophidian out.
  • With some help from Saito (who wrote down the questions then had Louise look through his eyes), Louise breaks Henrietta in Soldier of Zero to find out if she truly needed Louise for a mission or if she was abusing Louise's Undying Loyalty to use her as an expendable pawn. Interestingly, Louise does it in part by degrading herself, noting that she's not the best mage, wisest scholar, or most experienced soldier under Henrietta's command. She's not even the only one she trusts absolutely, so why her? Henrietta responds by slapping her and insisting she will not tolerate her childhood friend degrading herself so.
  • In Loxare Hinder, right after learning Red Hood is actually Jason, Nightwing pleads him to come home, swearing they can "clear his name" from the many counts of murder and torture the Hood is charged with... only for Jason to brutally claim Dick never was family to him and owning to each and every murder, right before threatening the Batfamily with death if they try to talkto him again.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker:
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: Lord Shen, when Po confronts him in the foundry and demands to know what he knows about his past. Shen cruelly lies to him, telling him that his parents abandoned him and didn't love him, which distracts Po long enough for Shen to get the upper hand and nearly kill him.
  • Pitch Black in Rise of the Guardians is a master of these. Given his ability to know what people are afraid of, it would be weirder if he couldn't pull one of these off. His speech to Jack, which is about how Jack will always be alone because he will always ruin any positive connection he makes by making a mess of things, pretty much kills Jack's will to fight him. It would've successfully taken him out of the picture if Pitch hadn't fallen victim to Bond Villain Stupidity.
  • Hans in Frozen tries this twice. The first one is given to a dying Anna, telling her that she was only ever a means to an end to him and what a fool she was for trusting him. It leaves her depressed for a while, but Anna eventually realizes that there are still people who care about her. His speech to Elsa, on the other hand, effectively leaves her suicidal, because being told that her sister was dead due to her own actions is her worst fear come true. Luckily, Anna wasn't dead, and saved Elsa from Hans' attempt to decapitate her.
  • Zootopia: Nick attempts this when he first meets Judy by playing on her fear that she'll fail to be accepted as a cop and have to return home in shame. While she is seriously hurt by it, her fundamental desire to help people ends up driving her to challenge him at wits again to get his help with a case, and then blackmailing him with his recorded boasts of tax dodging to force his cooperation.
  • In The Boss Baby, the Boss Baby does this with his adoptive older brother Tim, telling him that they'll spend every morning together, every Christmas and eventually grow old together. And since Tim is a Mr. Imagination, he can picture this all too well.
  • Cars 3: During the final race, Jackson Storm tries to talk trash to Cruz Ramirez to throw her off his trail and slow her down, while Lightning tries to warn her not to believe a word he says. As Cruz starts to feel that he got to her, Lightning tells her that it's a sign that she got to him, as Jackson wouldn't have willingly slowed down into second place just to taunt her had he not felt threatened by her.
  • Moana: Tamatoa's Villain Song "Shiny" alternates between doing this to Maui and boasting about himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dr. Hannibal Lecter in his various film incarnations.
    • The Silence of the Lambs: Trapped in his cell, Lecter can exert surprising influence on his subjects simply by talking to them. It's stated that he convinced the guy in the cell next to him to commit suicide and attempts to weasel into the head of Clarice during his interviews.
    • Hannibal: He managed to convince a drugged-up Mason Verger to cut off his face and feed it to dogs.
    • In Hannibal Rising, Grutas manages to do it to the young Lecter when at his mercy; it hardly improves his position, but it certainly has an impact on the other. He claims that Lecter isn't hunting him and a number of others down because they ate his sister to keep from starving but because they know that he ate some of it, too.
  • Collateral is one long speech like this by assassin Vincent to his hostage Max which backfires towards the end.
  • The Dark Knight:
    • The Joker gives a nihilistic speech to the scarred, disillusioned and currently helpless Harvey Dent about how chaotic the world is, convincing Dent to do a Face–Heel Turn and become Two-Face.
    • Batman finally returns the favor at the end of the movie.
    Batman: What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone's as ugly as you? You're alone! [...] This city just showed you that it's full of people ready to believe in good.
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Bane engages in this as well, shortly before he breaks them physically.
  • Richard Nixon attempts to do this to his interviewer in Frost/Nixon with a late night phone call, but as his drunken ramblings progress, all his Not So Different lines only end up revealing how broken and full of self-loathing he is. Frost doesn't even need to say Shut Up, Hannibal! — he now knows that all he needs to do is corner Nixon and the man will destroy himself.
  • In Inglourious Basterds this is the main antagonist Hans Landa's specialty. He will talk for quite some time and use questionable phrases on whether he knows their guilty secrets or not, always keeping his opponents on their toes. This is particularly in theinterrogation of Perrier Lapadite and Shosanna in the film.
  • Agent Smith in The Matrix films.
    • His speech to Morpheus in the first movie is the most memorable:
    Smith: I'd like to share a revelation I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with their surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we... are the cure.
    • He delivers another one in the third movie as he watches Neo struggling to get back up after a royal thrashing - except Neo is barely listening to him and it just shows how Smith's mental state is crumbling.
    Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why? Why do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something, for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom, or truth, perhaps peace, could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson, vagaries of perception! Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence without meaning or purpose! And all of it as artificial as the Matrix itself! Although, only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love! You must see it, Mr. Anderson, you must know it by now; you can't win, it's pointless to keep fighting! Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why do you persist?!
    Neo: Because I choose to.
  • In Serenity (the Firefly film), the Operative likes to do this to people he is about to kill, crossing it with "The Reason You Suck" Speech by explaining to people what their 'sin' is. This goes poorly when he tries it on Mal Reynolds.
    Operative: Do you know what your sin is, Malcolm Reynolds?
    • It actually ends up reversed when Mal plays him the recording of the mission log they found on Miranda. A few lines of exposition shatter the Operative's entire worldview.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he is Luke's father, but you already knew that, which is enough to cause a Heroic B.S.O.D., but his subsequent attempt to persuade him to join him fails.
    • In Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine focuses his full powers of charm and scheming to break and turn Luke. Luke is in the throne room along with Palpatine and Vader while the Rebel Alliance and all his friends are about to be destroyed - all, it turns out, according to Palpatine's plans. Palpatine's expositing this eventually drives Luke into attacking the unarmed emperor (as intended), only to be stopped by Vader, and soon Vader's threat to go after his sister finally drives Luke into an Unstoppable Rage that almost pushes him to the Dark Side. However, he has a moment of clarity just before killing Vader, and rejects the Obviously Evil Palpatine's offer to become his new apprentice.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Loki, Big Bad of The Avengers, uses this against the heroes constantly, in keeping with his comic and mythological characterizations. The heroes seem to be aware of this, as he's muzzled when they capture him at the end. Amusingly, this ends up biting him in the ass halfway through the movie, when Black Widow exploits this to make him say too much.
    • In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki's brother Thor gives him a taste of his own medicine after realizing that just constantly forgiving Loki for everything will lead nowhere. So Thor gives him a heartfelt speech about how much Loki used to mean to him, but how he's made peace with the fact that their "paths diverged a long time ago", and claiming that them never seeing each other again is what Loki always wanted. All the while fully aware that he's hitting Loki hard. Not a minute later, when Loki attempts to sell him out on the Grandmaster, Thor incapacitates Loki and proceeds with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that Loki cannot escape or interrupt. Eventually, this works and motivates Loki to finally perform a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Star Trek: Generations. Dr. Soran, an El-Aurian, shows what happens when one of the "race of listeners" use their extremely profound insight to harm than help.
    Soran: They say time is the fire in which we burn. Right now, Captain, my time is running out. We leave so many things unfinished in our lives... I know you understand.note 
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: Dr. Evil (while running away) tries to convince Austin that he's become a "square" and that the 90s doesn't have free love. Austin counters that the 60s were about freedom, only now it's joined by responsibility and that's even groovier. Evil destroys freedom, so he's still fighting the same fight. Then Dr. Evil points out that there's nothing more annoying an old hippie who refuses to get with the times. That gets Austin's back up.
  • Dogma, in one of its opening scenes, features Loki (Matt Damon) explains to a nun how he didn't believe in God due to the story of the Walrus and the Carpenter, successfully making her question and eventually throw away her a span of five minutes. As noted by his fellow angel Bartleby (Ben Affleck), "You know for a fact that there's a God. You've stood in his presence. You've spoken to him personally. Yet I just heard you claim to be an atheist." Loki's response? "I just like fucking with the clergy, man! I just — I love keeping those guys on their toes!"
    • There's also the board room scene, where Bartleby reveals all but one woman's sins. All their reactions range from looking down with shame to breaking down into tears.
  • Salieri's confession in Amadeus turns into one of these. By the end, with his closing lines about mediocrity, the priest is too shell-shocked to administer the sacrament (though Salieri was obviously unrepentant for his sins, so the conditions for the sacrament were clearly not fulfilled anyway).
  • Ocean's Twelve, where Isabel Lahiri, a Europol agent, has taken an informant named Matsui into custody in order to find out more information about the protagonists' upcoming heist. Matsui calmly endures the "bad cop" type interrogation (also unheard) by another Europol agent with an indifferent smirk. Then walks in Isabel, while the previous interrogator telling his partner that nothing will break this guy. Cue Lahiri telling Matsui a few words in the interrogation room, and the informant visibly collapses and grabs the pen to write a confession.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, Harrison gives multiple speeches deconstructing Kirk and Spock's motivations and character flaws. Several of these are similar to Khan's monologues from "Space Seed" and The Wrath of Khan in tone, though avoid any direct references.
  • In Act of Valor, Senior Chief breaks Christo, the leader of the drug and weapons cartel smuggling the terrorists into the United States, by simply sitting down across from him, explaining how he's just lost everything: his wealth will be confiscated, he's going to prison for the rest of his life, his wife will marry someone else, his daughter will grow up without him, and they'll more or less forget about him.
    "Let me explain to you how the world works. This is no longer your boat."
  • In Lord of War Hero Antagonist Jack Valentine spends the better part of 2 decades chasing illegal Arms Dealer Yuri Orlov for Orlov's gunrunning. Regardless of the tricks Yuri has pulled, or how he's twisted the law to suit his advantage, or done insane stunts when seemingly cornered, Valentine has been dedicated to busting Yuri by the book. So he's never planted evidence on Yuri, he's refused to make Yuri "disappear" as one of his colleagues suggested, (because even if no one else knew, Valentine would), etc. When he finally has Yuri arrested with the appropriate evidence for a conviction, Yuri calmly explains that none of that means anything because some of Yuri's arms trafficking is done on behalf of the US Government, which is going to make the charges go away in order to maintain Plausible Deniability. Along the way, Yuri shreds Valentine's idealism and faith, and when everything happens the way Yuri predicted, you can practically see the life going out of Valentine's eyes. (Below is a partial quote, full quote on quotes page or see the scene in question here.)
    "The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of your enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss - the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year... sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So, you call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil."
  • Lisa Rowe from the movie Girl, Interrupted delivers one to Daisy after the latter is released from the psych ward. It's so intense that it drives Daisy to suicide. Later in the movie, she tries to deliver a breaking speech to Susanna, but it backfires.
  • In Mulholland Falls, the General likes to give those speeches to the main character, also pulling a Not So Different.
  • In 42, Ben Chapman breaks Jackie Robinson's spirit by bombarding him with racist slurs and insults until he's a screaming, sobbing mess.
  • Dewey gives one to Bourne in Jason Bourne in an attempt to stall for time, and it works, as Bourne listens long enough for agents to save Dewey.
    Dewey: You took a long time to get here, Jason.
    Jason: I know about Beirut. I know what you did. It all ends tonight.
    Dewey: It'll be a lot easier if you do it right away. You didn't come here for revenge. You came because it's time to come in. Your father created the program. Didn't have what it takes to make it work. And you did. You always did. That's why you volunteered.
    Jason: I volunteered because I thought our enemies killed him. I volunteered because of a lie!
    Dewey: No. You volunteered because of who you are. You volunteered because you are Jason Bourne. And, not, David Webb.
    [Jason then grabs Dewey and slams him against a window]
    Dewey: 32 kills, Jason. Everyone of them made a difference. People all across this country, are safer because of what you did.
    Jason: I'm trying to find another way.
    Dewey: And how's that working out for you? You're never going to find any peace. Not till you admit to yourself, who you really are. It's sudden death here, Jason. It's time to come in.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lex Luthor's speech to (along with the revelation he knows Clark's true indentity and has kidnapped Martha Kent) force Superman to fight Batman.
    Lex Luthor: I figured it out way back. If God is all powerful, He cannot be all good. And if He's all good then He cannot be all powerful. And neither can you be. They need to see the fraud you are. With their eyes. The blood on your hands... If you kill me Martha dies. And if you fly away, Martha also dies. But if you kill the Bat, Martha lives. There we go. And now God bends to my will.
  • Big Bad Franz Oberhauser/Ernst Stavro Blofeld gives a scathing "Reason You Suck" Speech to James Bond in Spectre when he holds the Bond Girl Madeleine Swann hostage. This is because Blofeld is responsible for all the misery 007 suffered since Casino Royale (2006). It nearly leaves Bond depressed, but he gets better by saving Swann in the nick of time and having Blofeld arrested for his crimes against humanity. An orphaned Bond receiving more endearment from Franz's own father than Franz when they were younger is what ultimately led to the Cain and Abel relationship between the two in later years.
    Bond: [after shooting at a bulletproof glass which forms the SPECTRE logo] You're a hard man to kill, Blofeld. [mockingly looks at Oberhauser/Blofeld's scar] Ouch. I do hope that doesn't hurt too much.
    Oberhauser: [shrugs] My wounds will heal. What about yours? Look around you, James — look. This is what's left of your world. Everything you ever stood for, everything you believed in — a ruin.
    Bond: Why are we here? Did you miss me?
    Oberhauser: No. [blows into the glass, creating water droplets. He then makes a heart sign out of the air, indicating that he's taken Madeline hostage] But I know someone who does.
    Bond: Where is she?
    Oberhauser: That's for you to find out. [Activates a timer] In three minutes, this building will be demolished. Well, I can get out easily. Now, you have a choice. Die trying to save her, or save yourself and live with the pain.
    Bond: You're bluffing.
    Oberhauser: Am I? [snickers smugly] I've really put you through it, haven't I? Oh well, that's brothers for you — they always know which button to press!
  • In The Princess Bride, Wesley manages to completely break Prince Humperdinck's will with an incredibly detailed threat, to such a point where Prince Humperdinck drops his sword and surrenders. It was a complete bluff.

  • Zhuge Liang does this at least two or three times (depending on how you count) in classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. First, he causes the death of Zhou Yu, the capable but pompous chief adviser of the nominal ally Wu kingdom by causing a series of humiliating events. Second, he causes the death of Cao Zhen, the commander-in-chief of the enemy Wei kingdom, by sending him a humiliating letter. Finally, he causes the death of Wei minister Wang Lang by humiliating him in a debate in front of both armies.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events:
    • In The Bad Beginning, Olaf reveals to the audience that he has just legally married Violet and played everyone for a sap. When Mr. Poe demands that the Chief of Police arrest him, Olaf calls Poe and everyone out on how the kids had repeatedly tried to warn the adults and asked for help, but they wouldn't listen to them. "No one ever listens to children".
    • There's a zig-zagged and ultimately subverted example in The Penultimate Peril, which extends on the previous example. Olaf points out to the children that each and every adult they've ever met has failed them and left them to the mercy of an incredibly cruel world, and that as a result the Baudelaires have strayed increasingly towards Black and Grey Morality. This badly shakes the Baudelaires, but they decide to put their faith in their adult allies one last time... and are failed yet again. After this, they promptly throw deference to the wind and join Count Olaf—only to finally subvert the trope, as they accept that while to an extent Count Olaf is right, he's not completely right, and they choose instead to ally only with the adults that have proven themselves worthy of the Baudelaires' trust.
    Violet: We can rely on our friends more than you can rely on yours.
    Count Olaf: Is that so? Have you learned nothing after all your adventures? Every noble person has failed you, Baudelaires. Why, look at the idiots standing next to you! A judge who let me marry you, a man who gave up on you altogether, and a sub-sub-librarian who spends his life sneaking around taking notes. They're hardly a noble bunch...And every second, more associates of mine get closer and closer.
    Violet: So do our friends.
    Count Olaf: Only if they've managed to survive my eagles.
    Klaus: They will. Just like we've survived you.
    Count Olaf: And how did you survive me? The Daily Punctilio is full of your crimes. You lied to people. You stole. You abandoned people in danger. You set fires. Time after time you've relied on treachery to survive, just like everyone else. There are no truly noble people in this world.
  • The murderer X in Agatha Christie's Curtain is very good at this, manages to manipulate people using seeming simple but manipulative comments, gesture and words, to provokes his target to murder their source of hatred. However, he didn't like to kill directly himself, instead enjoying the process of their target murders.
  • An example in Animorphs when Sixth Ranger Traitor David does this in his attempt to break Rachel's will to fight.
  • A heroic example appears in Hogfather, where Susan uses this on Psychopathic Manchild Jonathan Teatime — the first time anyone's managed to shake him up even a little bit.
    Susan: I think I know you, Teatime. You're the mad kid they're all scared of, right? The giggling excitable one even the bullies never touched because if they did he went insane and kicked and bit. The one who didn't know the difference between chucking a stone at a cat and setting it on fire. I bet no one wanted to play with you. Not the kid with no friends. Kids know a mind like yours even if they don't know the right words for it. The kind of little boy who looks up dolls' dresses...
    Teatime: I didn't!
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Saruman, using his enchanted voice, can persuade unsuspecting enemies to join and serve him — even after they defeat him in war. In the chapter "The Voice of Saruman" in The Two Towers, Saruman gives the speech to all of his triumphant enemies, and nearly all are swayed by the power of his voice; the Riders of Rohan are wholly overcome by it, while Pippin is particularly shamed. It doesn't work on Gandalf the White, however, and only vaguely troubles Theoden.
    • Grí­ma Wormtongue is a student of Saruman's, and uses similar non-magical techniques on Théoden to render him helpless and hopeless against Saruman, and on Éowyn in order to break her resolve and drive her to desperation.
  • In The Silmarillion, Glaurung father of dragons delivered one combined neatly with a Mind Screw to Túrin having paralyzed him with his hypnotic glare until he "saw himself as in a mirror misshapen by malice, and loathed that which he saw".
  • Euthyphro, from Plato's Socratian Dialogs seems to fit this one rather nicely. Socrates attempts to get a description of piety from Euthyphro, but continues to twist every argument Euthyphro offers to his own needs, making this Older Than Feudalism.
  • From the Thursday Next novel The Eyre Affair. The Big Bad, Acheron Hades, can talk most people into anything. Several times he has escaped by convincing cops to hand over their guns, which are then used on the cops. When Hades needs a lackey, he simply convinces a suitably fit civillain to be one. Fortunately Next can resist to the extent of keeping her wits (and gun), but Hades is still far more clever.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: In the book Under the Radar, the Prophet Harold Evanrod tries to tell his followers of the pedophile polygamist sect Heaven On Earth, "You see, this is the Devil at work! I told you the people on the outside would try to drive us away from our homes and our religion because they don't understand it. They will be forever damned, and there will be no salvation for any of them. I want you all to be strong because we will prevail." However, the Vigilantes give an effective Shut Up, Hannibal! response to that.
  • In The Belgariad by David Eddings, this is inverted during the climactic battle between Garion and Torak. When the Dark God passes up an opportunity to kill Garion, instead demanding that he submit, Garion finally realizes that the purpose of their confrontation is not to fight Torak, but to reject him. His subsequent speech shatters Torak's will and gives Garion the opening he needs to beat him.
  • Subverted in The Tamuli by David Eddings, where Sir Bevier is sent to interrogate a prisoner and uses double-talk and open-ended questions to drag the interview out for three hours. It turns out all he was doing was trying to annoy the guy and make him think about the things they wanted to know so that Xanetia could be invisible in the room and read his mind, gleaning the information that they knew the man wouldn't give up.
  • Fanny Price, the heroine of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, frequently gets these from her aunt, Mrs. Norris (no, not that Mrs. Norris), due to being The Unfavorite.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Blood Rites, Harry Dresden on the book's Big Bad Lord Raith. By the end of it, Raith is incredibly furious that Dresden deconstructed him so well.
    • In Death Masks the ubervillain Nicodemus tried to do something along these lines to Harry in an effort to corrupt him over to his side, and scores some hits, though Harry ends up resisting it.
    • On a later occasion, Harry does a version of this on the shadow of the manipulative Fallen Angel Lasciel in an attempt to turn her away from evil, and, unlike the immutible true fallen, the shadow is just as malleable as the medium she lived in: Harry's mind. In the end, Harry succeeded and changed the shadow back to a benign force. However, soon after the change, she sacrificed herself and took a powerful mental attack, allowing Harry a chance to fight the telepathic monster they were fighting.
    • Harry gives an epic one in Skin Game, where he hammers Deirdre's death at her father's hands into Nicodemus over and over again until he snaps and orders Harry be killed, something that breaks his word of cooperation and allows Harry to fight back. It actually works too well, as it reveals to Nicodemus that only someone with a child of his own could be so effective at such a tactic.
  • Ruin of Mistborn loves doing this to Vin by consistently pointing out that Vin causes destruction wherever she goes, and therefore has been serving his purposes all along. In the end, though, she gets Ruin back by pointing out that as a human being she has the power to protect and destroy at the same time, unlike the much more limited gods such as Ruin. She them proves it by killing Ruin via Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Henry does this to Dorian in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  • From the Deryni works by Katherine Kurtz:
  • In Darkness at Noon, Ivanov believes he can break Rubashov just by talking to him, but Gletkin insists that only physical pain will work. As it turns out, Ivanov was right.
  • Inverted in the World War II French novella Le Silence de la mer, wherein the unwilling hosts of a German officer resolve to resist by never speaking a word to him. He is eventually broken by the unrelenting silence - and by his own Heel Realisation.
  • Suspicion: Big Bad Dr. Emmenberger and The Hero Inspector Bärlach try and fail to do this to each other. Emmenberger doesn't care about what will happen to him while Bärlach after a while simply refuses to talk or listen to Emmenberger.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta Mellark manages this in his Quarter Quell interview. He is highly skilled when it comes to manipulating a crowd with his words and in this case he claims to have married Katniss and that she is pregnant with their love child in order to win her support in the Games. He accomplishes not only that but gets the Capitol audience so upset that some of them cry for the Games to be stopped.
  • In Those That Wake, Man in Suit is scarily good at this.
    I will answer any question you have, because by merely being honest, I will defeat you.
  • Lord of the Flies: Simon encounters the Lord of the Flies in a vision, who tells him that evil is within all the boys, and it is only growing stronger, and he'll be a fool if he continues his righteous path.
  • In Zeroes, this is one of the applications of Scam's power, the Voice which says whatever necessary to accomplish what he desires. Prior to the story, he used his Voice in anger to deliver such a speech to the other Zeroes, resulting in the group splitting up.
  • Halo's The Forerunner Saga has plenty of this, courtesy of the Flood Gravemind and (and its Precursor ancestors.
    • The Didact is on the receiving end of one on the tail end of the Human-Forerunner War, given by an imprisoned being on the human capital world claiming to be the last of the Precursors, the very race that created the Forerunners, but who now swear vengeance against them for killing almost all of their creators. It thoroughly traumatizes the Didact, breaking apart the beliefs and perceived truths for which he had fought and sacrificed his entire life (with his own children being among the casualties), and he spends the next 10,000 years burying the revelation deep in his memories and refusing to reveal them even to his beloved wife, for fear of their implications.
    • This goes Up to Eleven in Halo: Silentium, when the Flood turn the Ur-Didact into a host through which to deliver several Breaking Speeches once (causing him to go mad from Mind Rape as a bonus); one to the Forerunners as a whole, expanding on the above-mentioned speech given to the Didact 10,000 years before, and one to the Master Builder, using the Ur-Didact as a conduit through which the Master Builder's infected wives and children could accuse and taunt him. The latter act effectively turns the Master Builder from a Magnificent Bastard extraordinaire into a broken, despairing, nigh-suicidial wreck.
  • In the Homecoming Saga, Hushidh, a "raveler" manages to verbally destroy the standing of Rashgallavik, the commander of the army occupying the city state of Basillica. She can do this because he was merely standing in for the recently slain Gaballufix, the army's true leadernote , so their loyalty to him was tenuous at best. Her guardian and mentor Raza immediately tells her how badly she just screwed up.note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A part of The First Evil's modus operandi—to torment his victims until they do its bidding, go mad or kill themselves. This bites it in the ass when it accidentally gives Buffy the idea to bestow the Slayer power to the Potentials.
  • ER:
    • Pratt gave one of these to two teenagers who unintentionally shot a six-year-old girl when trying to get someone else. He specifically had them brought to the emergency room where they could actually see the little girl, lying unconscious on the table, covered in blood, and he brutally mentioned all the organs in her body that were damaged because of what they did.
    • Another episode had Kerry Weaver firing an incompetent resident. When she publicly humiliates him by listing his many screw-ups, he counteracts with the fact that the entire ER staff despises her and that the only reason she's so dedicated to her job is because it's the only thing she has in her life.
  • Game of Thrones: After forty years of emotional torment from her father, Cersei finally gets her own back by revealing the truth of her and Jaime's relationship, leaving him stammering that it can't be true.
    Cersei: Your legacy is a LIE!
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: many episodes — particularly those with Goren in the lead detective role — frequently build up to a final interrogation wherein the detectives do it to the perp, playing psychological mind games or confronting them with how inadequate or pathetic they are in order to get them to crack.
  • A Monster of the Week in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger named Zuboshimeshi has this as a superpower. He's able to search the minds of his victims and find the one word that is most hurtful to them, then turning the pain it causes them into an attack.
  • In Leverage, "The Experimental Job", a Breaking Speech by an interrogator is turned around into a Hannibal Lecture. A career CIA interrogator tries to break Eliot by getting him to talk about how many people Eliot has killed. Eliot convinces the CIA man that he's killed far more, and remembers far more details, and that it already haunts him far more, than the CIA man could possibly have imagined or could possibly invoke. The CIA man is so shaken that he ends the day's session right then and there.
  • A non-villainous example comes from Psych. Shawn has found the best way to convince people he's a psychic is to just keep talking crazy and being his Deadpan Snarker self. At the series' current point, anyone who's already met him just lets it go, since he's never solved a case incorrectly.
  • At times, Frank Pembleton from Homicide: Life on the Street edges from Perp Sweating to this. In one episode, he talked someone into confessing proudly to a crime they BOTH knew he didn't do, just to keep an investigation open.
  • In a dazzling display of self-loathing, House (well, technically it's the guy who shot him, but it's all a hallucination, so...) does this to himself:
    Moriarty: You think that the only truth that matters is the truth that can be measured. Good intentions don't count, what's in your heart doesn't count, caring doesn't count, that a man's life can't be measured by how many tears are shed when he dies. It's because you can't measure them. It's because you don't want to measure them. Doesn't mean it's not real.
    House: This doesn't make any sense.
    Moriarty: And even if I'm wrong, you're still miserable. Did you really think that your life's purpose was to sacrifice yourself and get nothing in return? No. (As he speaks, we see House in a car with Moriarty's wife, who supposedly killed herself because House told her about her husband's cheating. The car is in a smoke-filled garage.) You believe there is no purpose to anything. Even the lives you save, you dismiss. You take the one decent thing in your life, and you taint it, strip it of all meaning. You're miserable for nothing. I don't know why you'd want to live. (In the car, House closes his eyes, proving Moriarty right. Then we return to the hospital.)
    House: (quietly and genuinely upset) I'm sorry.
  • Justified: Donovan storms into Duffy's trailer and threatens to kill Quarles for murdering his friend Brady. Quarles talks down Donovan by telling him about how his father forced him into prostitution as a young man, and how Theo Tonin adopted him. Donovan lowers his gun, and a tearful Quarles embraces him as he starts crying. Unfortunately, we see Donovan bound and gagged in Quarles' bathroom at the end of the episode, suggesting that Quarles plans to torture and kill him just as he did Brady.
  • Supernatural:
    • As he seems to have a neon sign on his forehead screaming "SELF-LOATHING WOOBIE WITH DADDY ISSUES", Dean tends to get this done to him a lot. The Crossroads Demon (twice), The Yellow-Eyed Demon (twice), Sam whenever he's under the influence... The list goes on.
    • The scene in 5.14 "My Bloody Valentine" when he corners Famine in a diner is one of the most painful examples on the show:
      Famine: Have you wondered why that is? How you can even walk in my presence?
      Dean: I like to think it's because of my strength of character.
      Famine: I disagree. Yes. I see. That's one deep, dark nothing you've got there, Dean. You can't fill it, can you? Not with food, nor drink; not even with sex. Oh, you can smirk and joke and lie to your brother, lie to yourself, but not to me. I can see inside you, Dean. I can see how broken you are, how defeated; you can't win and you know it, but you just keep trying, just keep going through the motions. You're not hungry, Dean, because, inside, you're already dead.
    • Another one of the best came from Lucifer in 5.19 "Hammer of the Gods" in a speech to Mercury:
      Lucifer: You know, I never understood you pagans, you're such petty little things. Always fighting, always happy to sell out your own kind. You...are worse than humans. You're worse than demons. And yet you claim to be gods. No wonder you forfeited this planet to us. And they call me prideful.
    • Gabriel got a good one off at Lucifer later that same episode. Right before being killed.
    • Done by several Leviathans in 7.06 "Slash Fiction". Bobby mostly shrugs off his double's taunts, but Sam gets hit hard by Leviathan!Dean's revelation.
    • Castiel gets one during the season 9 finale when Metatron gloats about killing Dean. It's probably the most hurtful, evil speech Cas has ever heard in his life.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor's biggest gift is his gab, especially in his seventh incarnation. Notable examples include talking a Dalek into committing suicide in Remembrance of the Daleks, and even talking down a guard who was ordered to execute him in The Happiness Patrol.
    • The Doctor does it again in the new series: the Master is about to blow up the planet Earth (which both he and the Doctor are currently standing on) with 'black hole converters' built into every ship of his conquering fleet to spite the Doctor, who has just thwarted him. Rather than trying to appeal to his better nature or beg him not to, the Doctor's response is merely to dismissively point out that he knows him; the Master is unable to do such a thing because to do so would be to kill himself, which the Master simply cannot do. As such, the Doctor calmly points out, the Master has no choice but to surrender his weapon — which he does.
    • Baines / Son of Mine unleashed a particularly impressive one of his own upon the headmaster in "The Family of Blood":
      Headmaster: Well, I warn you, the school is armed.
      Baines/Son of Mine: All your little tin soldiers... but tell me sir; will they thank you?
      Headmaster: I don't understand.
      Baines/Son of Mine: What do you know of history, sir? What do you know of next year?
      Headmaster: You're not making sense, Baines.
      Baines/Son of Mine: 1914, sir. Because the Family has traveled far and wide looking for Mr Smith and, oh, the things we have seen. War is coming. In foreign fields, war of the whole wide world, with all your boys falling down in the mud. Do you think they will thank the man who taught them it was glorious?
    • It also happens to the Doctor a lot. The Beast, Davros, the Carrionites. Given the Doctor is a walking open wound since the Time War, it's a lot easier to get under his skin.
      • Special mention should be made to "Amy's Choice" where he receives several from himself in the form of the Dream Lord.
        The Doctor: Where did you pick up this cheap cabaret act?
        Dream Lord: Me? Oh, you're on shaky ground.
        The Doctor: Am I?
        Dream Lord: If you had any more tawdry quirks, you could open a tawdry quirk shop! The madcap vehicle, the cockamamie hair, the clothes designed by a first-year fashion student... I'm surprised you haven't got a little purple space dog, just to ram home what an intergalactic wag you are!
      • Later he delves even deeper into the Doctor's mind and deconstructs the Doctor's loneliness and pain to reveal it for what it truly is:
        The Doctor: I have to save my friends!
        Dream Lord: Friends? Is that what you call the people you acquire? Your friends never see you again once they've grown up. The old man prefers the company of the young, does he not?
      • The Dream Lord does this to Amy to shake her faith in the Doctor:
        Dream Lord: And he always leaves you, doesn't he? Alone in the dark, never apologises...
        Amy: He doesn't have to.
        Dream Lord: Well that's good... because he never will.
    • Missy gives him one in "Death in Heaven," when the true purpose of her Evil Plan is revealed.
      Doctor: All of this... All of it, just to give me an army?
      Missy: Well, I don't need one, do I? Armies are for people who think they're right. And nobody thinks they're righter than you! Give a good man firepower, and he'll never run out of people to kill. Go ahead, Mister President! Don't you trust yourself?
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Malcolm's mother comes with him to an interview for a university, much to the chagrin of the titular character (considering he is the only one there with a mother). She ends up butting heads with the RA, a massive jerkass. In response to his locking of the vending machine, she escalates the situation in an attempt to get him fired (as opposed to what her son wanted to do, which was go to another floor where the vending machines wouldn't be locked). However, when she confronts him, he nonchalantly points out that this job means nothing to him and there are a hundred other places he could do what he does. Then he quite savagely points out how Lois is a control freak, how she's a failure at life, and how pathetically she's trying to live vicariously through Malcolm, and suggests that if she isn't sure about what he's saying, she should talk to the other parents that insisted on staying with their kids in the dorm rooms. Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • In one episode, after an argument between the boys dissolves into personal insults, Malcolm points out that Reese doesn't have any friends. Reese instantly becomes sad, only replying "Mom told you you're never allowed to talk about that."
  • Community:
    • In the episode "Football, Feminism and You" Jeff delivers a really nasty lecture to Annie after she discovers his role in persuading Troy to rejoin the football team.
    • Jeff delivers an even worse one to Alan in the season five premiere - only to decide that Alan isn't even worth a speech and just smacks him with his own necktie.
    • Season 3 has two: one in the first episode given by Vice-Dean Laybourne to Dean Pelton, and one in the finale given by Evil-Abed to Britta.
  • Chuck: there have been two examples. In the third season The Ring Director does this to Dragon Daniel Shaw and in the fourth season Alexei Volkoff's lawyer does it to Vivian, Volkoff's daughter.
  • Oz: Beecher and Schillinger do this to each other on separate occasions, mainly to provoke the other into some bad behavior to mess up their chances at parole, or to just torment each other. Keller also does this to Beecher a few times.
  • In Power Rangers S.P.D., a Monster of the Week uses this trick on The Lancer of the team by making the guy talk about his beloved Disappeared Dad, driving him to tears — providing him with the reflective surface needed to teleport out of his high-security prison cell.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • Picard gets one in the season 2 episode, Measure of a Man, Picard does this to Maddox' an overzealous cyberneticist who plans to have Data classified as Starfleet Property in order to dismantle him. Anybody with any understanding of his sentience would be horrified, but since Maddox does not believe Data is sentient, he has no qualms. Until Picard convinces him otherwise...
      Picard: A single Data, and forgive me, Commander, is a curiosity. A wonder, even. But thousands of Datas. Isn't that becoming... a race?? And won't we be judged by how we treat that race? Now tell me, Commander. What is Data?
      Maddox (flustered): I... don't understand?
      Picard: What is he?!
      Maddox: A machine!
      Picard: Is he? Are you sure?!
      Maddox: Yes!!!
      Picard: You see, he's met two of your three criteria for sentience, so what if he meets the third?! Consciousness! In even the smallest degree! What is he then? I don't know! Do you?! [to Riker] Do you?? [to the Judge] Do you? Do you?! Well that's the question you have to answer.
    • Deanna gets one from Riker in The Loss, when she resigns from Starfleet due to the loss of her empathic abilities (which to a Betazoid is basically like losing a whole sense). While understanding her loss, people have been trying to convince her all episode of the value in her talents. it's Riker who makes her realise the insecurity that lies at the root of her resignation.
      Riker:You always had an advantage, a little bit of control of every situation. That must have been a very safe position to be in. To be honest, I'd always thought there was something a little too... aristocratic about your Betazoid heritage, as if your Human side wasn't quite good enough for you.
      Deanna: That isn't true.
      Riker: Isn't it?

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "The Jem'Hadar, Part II," Quark lectures Sisko about his dislike of the Ferengi, claiming that Sisko's Holier Than Thou attitude toward Ferengi greed and deceit is hypocritical, given the fact that humans had far more and worse atrocities in their history: slavery, genocide, conquest, etcetera, on a scale that the Ferengi had never rivaled. As Quark stated, "we're not only as good as you are, human — we're better." Quark's point brings Sisko up short thinking about it, at least briefly.
    • Oddly the Slavery and conquest are massive lies, female Ferengi are slaves, and economic conquest is their biggest trait, they happily leave to their own devices those who fail financially and the only reason why they never committed genocide is because there's no profit in it.
    • More oddly Sisko never thinks to mention that humanity in the 24th century isn't doing any of this.
    • "In the Pale Moonlight", Quark does this mixed with Your Approval Fills Me with Shame by thanking Sisko for proving to Quark that "Every Man Has His Price" which happens to be Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #98.
    • Sisko pulls a variant on this on Dukat in "Waltz". Instead of snapping Dukat's already tenuous grasp on sanity by chewing him out and telling him to his face he's a jerk, Sisko uses feigned agreement, leading questions and coaxing him to reveal his uglier feelings until the Cardassian begins yelling about how he should have wiped out the entire population of Bajor while he had the chance. Things go downhill quite swiftly at that point.
  • Parodied in 30 Rock. During a poker game, Alec Baldwin's powerful network executive character attempts to intimidate naive NBC page Kenneth with a lengthy speech similar to the one from Silence of the Lambs. When Kenneth eventually loses the game, Baldwin explains that it was only a test, and, as the once-again chipper Kenneth exits on his bike, Baldwin utters the classic line, "In five years we'll all either be working for him... or be dead by his hand." Five seasons later, the former NBC page is in charge of the network. He was right.
  • In To Play the King, Prime Minister Francis Urquhart breaks down the King of England, forcing him to abdicate the throne.
  • In The League of Gentlemen episode, Nightmare in Royston Vasey, Ross seizes the opportunity to berate Pauline for her incompetence as a restart officer during a mock interview where Ross is the interviewer.
  • Happens a lot on House of Anubis. The sinners used it most often to provoke their victims into sinning, or in most cases, to just be cruel.
  • During Day 3 of 24, Sherry Palmer trash-talks her ex-husband's biggest donor, Alan Milliken, so badly that he dies of a heart attack on the spot.
  • Sara Lance gives Damian Darhk an epic Breaking Speech in the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Compromised", telling him of his future and how all of his grand plans are doomed to failure. Unfortunately, it simply drives him to team up with time travelling supervillain Reverse-Flash to Screw Destiny.

    Pro Wrestling  
  • Raven was well-known for delivering these to his opponents in order to demoralize them.
  • Shawn Michaels was a regular recipient of these speeches, particularly in the later parts of his career once he turned perma-face, but he usually interrupted them with Sweet Chin Music. Occasionally, after knocking his lecturer out cold, he'd deliver his own over their unconscious (or at least stunned) body. (If it's done to someone unconscious, it can't really qualify for the trope.) He was particularly fond of doing this to Chris Jericho.
    • Back in his heel days, he used to hand them out himself like party favors. Even as a face, he'd break them out occasionally, and he's the one guy ever who could get away with throwing them at The Undertaker.
  • Vin Gerard performed a number of these on Shane Storm — playing off Storm's betrayal of the technicos by selling out the counter to the Chikara Special (a Chikara Moral Event Horizon if there ever was one) and then twisting his world on its axis as Vin thanked him for it. Ended with Storm 'transforming' into the rudo STIGMA, dropping the colour from his outfits, the bright mullet becoming a black mohawk and joining with Vin Gerard and Colin Delaney to become the UnStable.
    • Then inverted when Vin tries the same thing on Jigsaw, who had removed his mask elsewhere and hadn't been seen in Chikara for a year. Vin said that he'd never seen the boys in the back as angry at anyone as they were at Jigsaw ("No matter what I did, I never had to buy a ticket!") and there was no way to get back on their good side - Jigsaw might as well join the UnStable. Jigsaw responded with superkicks.
  • Chris Jericho. Back in 2008 and early 2009 when everyone took his heel character completely seriously, Jericho would do this weekly. They rarely worked, but they were awesome.
  • CM Punk in his Straight Edge persona. He is so awesome that he can actually give these while he's in the middle of a match.
    • Punk also delivered brilliant ones to John Cena and Vince McMahon after his infamous pipebomb. So much that Cena responded with a punch and Vince responded to his demands in vigor.
    -Vince: "I apologize, you son of a bitch!"

  • Brilliantly used in That Mitchell and Webb Sound, a radio programme. In multiple segments, Webb's character insults a woman's dress sense, weight or intelligence, eventually turning into a full-blown Breaking Speech. When the woman has been reduced to a wreck, Webb asks for a date, to cheer the woman up.

    Tabletop Games 
  • On the (very) few occasions when the Dark Powers of Ravenloft have apparently communicated directly to anyone, it's been to do this to a potential darklord, delivered in familiar voices. Strahd heard the voices of Tatyana and Sergei taunting him, while Azalin heard the voices of his son and his mentor in wizardry.
  • Chronicles of Darkness sourcebook Slasher (which deals with exactly what you think it does) has this as a talent of the Genius Undertaking and its natural progression, the Maniac. The Genius has the ability to instinctively profile anyone and learn what facts they'd hate to have revealed. The Maniac uses this knowledge to always have advantage over a certain target, and, with time, to convert the target to his point of view (a la Jigsaw).
  • Sith Lords in the Star Wars d20 game have a power that lets them do this more effectively.

  • The Boys in the Band. Harold destroys Michael with a thorough undressing "The Reason You Suck" Speech at the end.
  • In Man of La Mancha the Knight of the Mirrors does this to Don Quixote, explaining to him in unpleasant terms how the world sees him and using a number of minions carrying full length mirrors to prove it. (It is worth noting that he does not do this in the book, which is why this entry appears in the theater section)
  • 1776: Rutledge breaks them by singing. "Molasses to Rum" has him vividly act out the process of the slave trade from Boston to Africa to the Caribbean and plantations, highlighting both the horrors of it and the hypocrisy of the Northern states in decrying it when their own citizens profit considerably. When he leaves (with all the Southern states), the independence faction is devastated and have no choice but to accept the deletion of the anti-slavery clause despite Adams' prediction that it would come back to haunt them.
  • In Archibald MacLeish's stage play J.B., based on the Book of Job, Satan's last attempt to corrupt Job is to paint the bit at the end — where J.B. gets all his fortunes back — as actually the cruelest torment of all; that God could ruin his life, and then just put it all back together again because the whole "Take away your fortunes, kill your children and cover you in boils" thing was just a bit of a lark. When J.B. points out that his children are dead, Satan dismissively says, "You'll have better ones!", mocking the notion that everything could really be put right just like that.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • In the sequence of mysterious dreams in the first game, the sinister presence lurking behind the Player Character's soul makes itself known and tries to bend them to its will, sometimes in words but just as often in images. The last dream ends with the equivalent of a "World of Cardboard" Speech, where the protagonist recognises they can control their own fate.
    • In BG II: Shadows of Amn, there is a similar but less focused sequence of dreams where something that looks like the Big Bad lectures you.
    "Why do you stand for this!? Why do you submit to the flesh when death is bred in your bones?"
    • Turns out though that it isn't quite what it seems. By the point the lecturer is replaced by your sister you'll have figured out the origin...
      "What does an eternity of nothingness matter when you can defeat all your opponents as easily as one... two... three... four... FIVE!"
    • In BG II: Throne of Bhaal, this is done by some wraiths to both the protagonist and their possible love interest by taking the forms of their lost loved ones and making hurtful accusations. It's a ploy to make the victims break down and become easy prey.
  • Before the final battle in Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, Big Bad Mephistopheles does this to each of your party members in turn, turning them to his side unless you can talk them back out of it.
  • Planescape: Torment:
    • Ravel, a mid-way adversary, confronts any and all characters in the party with a (de)moralizing tirade about how their particular history of suffering, self-deception, and misdeeds have shaped them, noting that in the end it was these things that led them to follow the lead character on his quest, so ensnared in circumstances that the choice never truly was their own. Though she is promptly defeated after this, the things she alludes to usually cast the pasts of both the NPCs and the Player Character in a new (and usually less pretty) light.
    • The Nameless One himself can use the technique on the resident Knight Templar, which convinces him to pass on as there's nothing worth holding on to in his unlife any longer.
    • Famously, the Player Character can do this to the Big Bad himself multiple ways: by explaining to him the answer to what is the Driving Question and Armor-Piercing Question of the game What can change the nature of a man?, by simply having a strong enough mind (high mental scores score), by manipulating him, or by knowing your name while he does not.
  • In World of Warcraft, as you progress through the questline to create Shadowmourne, a legendary weapon to match the The Lich King's own, he whispers to you about how you and he both harvest souls for your own ends, he too once sought a weapon of great power, how he commands powers beyond you, et cetera.
  • Archer in the visual novel Fate/stay night hammers Shirou. And considering Archer IS Shirou from the future, he knows exactly how to reduce him to complete Heroic B.S.O.D..
    "You need to become a hero. That is your only emotion, and it's not even your own. You knew. Yes, but you kept that from yourself. I remember, it's not that you felt guilty for being the Sole Survivor. You just admired your Kiritsugu; he looked so happy when he saved you. But you went too far. It would have been fine to admire him. But he left you a curse. I don't even need to say it. That is everything for you. Your ideal is borrowed. You are only imitating what Kiritsugu wanted, what Kiritsugu thought was right. A superhero? Don't make me laugh. Over and over you said you wished to help people, but that's not even your wish. It's conceited to think you could help anyone! That's right! You admired his desire to save people because it was beautiful! But none of that feeling was your own! What else can you call that but hypocrisy!? Driven by your need to help someone, you don't notice how wrong you are! But it's all fake. You can't save anything. You don't even know what you wanted to save in the first place! That ideal is a failure. It's all fantasy. If you can only live holding on to that, drown in your ideals."
    • The worst part about Archer's speech is that, unlike the modified version above, halfway through it he starts to talk about himself, using "I" instead of "you."
  • Far Cry 3: Our protagonist, Jason Brody, accidentally landed on an island that turned out to be a pirate stronghold and his friends brothers were immediately kidnapped as hostages. Eventually, he's captured and their leader, Vaas, asks a simple question as Jason is waking up, "Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?" Vaas goes on a tangent about how insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results. If you think about it, says Vaas, life is composed of little everyday moments of madness, like "a bunch of pricks doing the same thing over and over again expecting shit to change!" Yet for some reason, despite Vaas already having "killed" Jason, here he is about to kill him again, and it's not like Vaas is crazy. He then drops Jason into deep water weighed down with a cinderblock...and when Jason survives that, Vaas finds him again, and says one thing before simply shooting Jason in the chest. "Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?"
  • AM from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream does this to his captives at the beginning of the game.
  • BlazBlue:
  • In Neo Contra, Master Contra does this to Bill Rizer in Stage 5 of the game as he reveals that he's the real Bill Rizer the whole time and that Bill Rizer is actually a clone of the original Bill Rizer. He also goes as far as to taunt Bill about remembering personal memories, as well as his memories being pieced together by a military database. This drives Bill into a brief Heroic B.S.O.D. until Mystery G pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save Bill and Jaguar from being killed and tells Bill that he's the real Bill if he lives by the original Bill's ideals regardless of being a clone or not.
  • Several enemies in Kingdom of Loathing fight this way. They will tell the player character something so hurtful, disgusting, or frightening that it does physical damage. For instance, nearly all the normal enemies in a 2013 sidequest zone attack by pointing out the player's fears, like death, loneliness, and poverty.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Sam and Monsoon attempt to do this to Raiden to prove he's Not So Different from them. They succeed, but not in a way they intended, as Raiden reawakens his "Jack the Ripper" personality and becomes far more bloodthirsty.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Kreia uses these in conjunction with her mind invasion techniques to inflict this upon the Exile's companions, breaking them into his/her service.
  • Every single boss in American McGee's Alice. The tougher the boss, the more Mind Screw they pour on in the Boss Banter. Justified in that every boss represents a self-destructive component of her own psyche (the Jabberwock in particular is Alice's guilt over surviving the fire that killed her family).
  • In Devil Survivor, Kaido delivers a particularly blunt one to Keisuke if you don't prevent their confrontation. Then he kills him and follows this up by calling Atsuro out over his anger.
  • Malefor from The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is able to make Spyro and Cynder doubt everything they've done in three games, though Cynder gets the worst of it. He makes her doubt herself to such a point he can retake her mind and turn her evil again, then continues to lecture Spyro as the poor guy is getting beaten down by his brainwashed girlfriend. Even though Sypro saves Cynder with the Power of Love, the shocker comes from the fact the fact we, and they, have no idea just how much of what Malefor said is true. His menacing Voice of the Legion also helps.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, many of the Foxhound members but in particular Liquid would enjoy lecturing Snake on how he is honestly no different than them, and how his superiors continually use him to further their own ends while screwing him over. Their speeches ultimately fail not because Snake figures out they're lying, but because he decides it ultimately doesn't matter: he has a mission, it's a good mission, and he's going to finish it. Their accusations come back to haunt him later in his life.
  • Eve from Parasite Eve really enjoyed giving these, usually combined with The Reason You Suck Speeches to Mind Screw Aya into either giving up or joining her.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, Mia Fey delivers one of these to the possessing spirit of Dahlia Hawthorne, pointing out that every single Evil Plan she's made has resulted in failure and shame, including the one that she made from beyond the grave. The Fey/Wright clan has always been there to stop her and as a ghost she's doomed to eternal failure. This revelation horrifies her so much that it winds up exorcising Dahlia from Maya's body completely.
  • In case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Aristotle Means delivers one of these to Athena for thinking she could get her childhood friend Juniper Woods found innocent, calling Athena out as an amateur lawyer who doesn't have what it takes. Athena nearly gives in to despair until Juniper and her friends chime in to back up Athena.
  • In Persona 3, Takaya does this to the S.E.E.S. on several ocassions such as calling their endeavors to end the Dark Hour futile, and especially on Ken, who he mentions to that if the boy does not get his revenge now, Shinjiro will die sooner or later due to the side-effects of the latter's drugs.
  • The Shadow Archetypes in Persona 4 have this as part of their nature: As they are the anthropomorphic personifications of their originators' repressed feelings and fears, they will relentlessly hound their owners with the knowledge they are made of in an attempt to make their owners face up to their fears and accept them as part of themselves, becoming personas instead. Trying a Shut Up, Hannibal! on them is not a good idea.
    • The Big Bad does this too (see the series page), as does the Normal ending's Final Boss, but he gets Shut Up, Hannibal!'d so hard his persona reverts into a shadow and possesses him.
  • Mega Man Zero 4: The Ragnarok Colony Drop has gone completely out of control, and Zero thought he destroyed the one behind it all. Until:
    Dr. Weil: I told you... I can't die! No one can stop Ragnarok now.
    Zero: If I destroy Weil's core, the explosion will take Ragnarok out with it... If Ragnarok is blown apart, it no longer poses a threat!
    Dr. Weil: Are you even capable of it? The Reploid hero, protecting justice and humanity! I am one of those humans you have sworn to protect! Do you have it in you to defeat me?!
  • Happens three times in Tales of Vesperia. First, Phaeroh explains how Estelle's power is killing the world, that killing her, while morally wrong, is the only way to prevent it, and finding an alternative is pointless. Later on, Alexei details how the world has become an utter crapsack and that its only hope is to be "reborn" (under his totalitarian rule). Finally, at the end, Duke explains why sacrificing humanity is the only way to destroy the Adephagos, and also why he beieves humanity deserves to die for the various atrocities they've committed throughout history. All three times, Yuri tells the speaker to stow it.
  • Castlevania: Judgment: Aeon does this as part of his hyper attack. He's got one for every possible opponent, including himself.
    against Simon Belmont: Not even the storied Belmont clan can stand against the power of time.
    against Alucard: You, who bear a heavy cross: what does eternity hold for you?
    against Trevor Belmont: Even a man named "Legend" is but a babe in the face of time.
    against Grant Danasty: You live for the sake of others. Your tale will be passed down for eternity.
    against Sypha Belnades: No matter how powerful the magic you wield, you will never surpass time.
    against Eric Lacarde: Jealousy of the whip does not excuse your arrogance with the lance.
    against Maria Renard: You are fated to walk a difficult path. Enjoy yourself while you can.
    against Shanoa: You seek a dangerous power. It, too, is governed by time.
    against Carmilla: Your quest for eternal beauty is doomed. Nothing withstands time.
    against Cornell: Everything resolves in its own time, regardless of your desires.
    against the Golem: Even artificial life is subject to the laws of time.
    against Death: You govern the fate of Death, but even fate is a truth bound by time.
    against Dracula: Even the Lord of Darkness cannot escape time.
    against himself: Mimicking my form will not allow you to rule time.
  • In Xenosaga: Episode I, Virgil gives a brief one to Shion just before he detonates a group of Realians in an attempt to stop a Gnosis invasion:
    Shion: Stop it! You have no right to play god with their lives! Using them as bombs... I won't let you do this!
    Virgil: So whaddya gonna do about it? Tell me, why haven't you disabled that function? Sure it's factory-loaded, but you of all people shouldn't have any trouble removing it. Since you care about them so much, all it would take is a little tweak, and they’d be free as birds... And yet you don't. Why not?
    Shion: protocol dictate...
    Virgil: Exactly! It's protocol! In other words, you’re just like me, bound by that protocol. We're the ones that give them a reason to live. Am I wrong?!
    Shion: But I —
    Virgil: That’s the difference between us and them! Am I wrong?! So, why not give it to them? A meaning to their pitiful existence!
  • GLaDOS of Portal gives some pretty solid speeches through the course of both games, but they're usually so ridden with sarcasm and crazy that most players find them more funny than frightening.
    Do you know the biggest lesson I learned from what you did?
    You tested me. I tested you. You killed me. I —
    - oh, no, wait. I guess I haven't killed you. Yet.
    Food for thought.
    You've been wrong about every single thing you've ever done. Including this thing.
    You're not smart, you're not a doctor, you're not a scientist, you're not even a full time employee. Where did your life go so wrong?
    • Cut content of the second game has GLaDOS delivering some pretty devastating ones. It makes you wonder if they were cut simply for being too nasty compared to the generally humourous tone of the game.
  • Several of the patient interview tapes in the Batman: Arkham series count. The ones in the first game are largely the patients trying to break their therapists, while in the second game, they are mostly Doctor Hugo Strange trying to break the inmates.
  • Monokuma tries to do this frequently in Dangan Ronpa. "Shut Up, Hannibal!" is the typical response. The true identity behind Monokuma, Junko Enoshima, is a master of this, and will frequently add a Sadistic Choice, complete with an Awful Truth, to further break her victims.
  • Skyrim: the Stormcloaks are currently rebelling against the Imperials (which, despite their name, are not at all villainous) because it was forced by the Aldmeri Dominion to outlaw Talos worship after losing the Great War. Sybille Stentor, the Court Wizard of Solitude, delivers a magnificent one to the Dragonborn aimed at the Stormcloaks as a whole when asked why Skyrim's previous High King refused to support them.
    Sybille Stentor: Because the Dominion is a sleeping beast that Skyrim cannot slay alone. Because many Nords are part of the Imperial army even now. Because the food and resources we get from the Empire are important to our people. Because even if we can't openly worship him, Talos the god was once Tiber Septim the man, and this is his Empire.
    • While both factions have Grey and Grey Morality, the Stormcloaks generally come off as somewhat difficult to empathise with, especially if someone has come through Morrowind and Oblivion. After fighting for a unified Tamriel for the better part of four games, it can be more than a bit hard to side with a bunch of pretentious, racist Nords. Especially when the leader of the Stormcloaks is revealed to be a Manchurian Agent under Thalmor control.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier can do this to a captured Legionnaire if s/he has a high enough Speech skill.
    • In the original Fallout, the Vault Dweller can do this to the Master if s/he has proof that the Master's plan to replace humanity with mutants is doomed to failure.
  • In the "Bad" Ending of Thunder Force VI, a message from ORN Faust is played calling for Earth's surrender. It contains many parallels to Guardian's Last Message from V, albeit using bleaker analogies to make its points.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line: A rather brutal one is delivered to Captain Walker, and by extension the player by Colonel Konrad/Walker's subconcious
    Konrad: The truth, Walker, is that you're here because you wanted to feel like something you're not. A hero.
  • In the Mass Effect 2 DLC, "The Lair of the Shadow Broker", The Shadow Broker attempts to give one to Liara T'Soni, noting that he knows everything about her and she knows nothing about him, and is simply "fumbling in the dark". She turns it right back around on him, with some obscure facts about his species and educated guesses about him specifically, driving him into an epic Villainous Breakdown and Unstoppable Rage.
  • The Super Famicom JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has the 'Talk' as one of the main functions. When used, a character trash talks an enemy to lower its MP. Once the target's MP reaches 0, it faints. This works rather well if you don't want to figure out the Puzzle Bosses that you can't hurt physically, like Death 13.
  • A particularly devastating one hits at the end of the First Chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky when Professor Alba/Weissmann the Faceless reveals himself to Joshua.
  • Freedom Planet: Brevon tries this on Lilac, pointing out that her headstrong attempts to thwart his plans have only succeeded in putting her friends in harm's way, and since his master plan is just to get off Avalice (sure, he's taking the Kingdom Stone, a major source of energy for Avalice, with him, but still) she's just ensuring that he stays on the planet longer and causes more damage. Torque eventually reminds her that Brevon is an intergalactic warlord, and even if he got off the planet, there's no guarantee his campaign of conquest wouldn't affect Avalice down the line.
  • The Flood Gravemind/Precursors of Halo take particular joy in this tactic. During the Forerunner-Flood War, their secondary tactic was delivering these to key Forerunner figures in galactic defense; a few excellent examples of such are noted in the "Literature" section.
  • In the backstory of Darkest Dungeon, this is how The Ancestor finally manages to get rid of a deranged, prophesying homeless man that somehow knew of nearly scheme and project he was plotting. After several failed murder attempts ranging from starving him out in a stockade, clamping ball-and-chains on him and leaving him to drown in the water, and multiple knife stabbings, he finally found success in luring him towards the excavation in progress of digging out the Hell Gate and personally telling him every detail of his plans, shredding the last of his sanity apart and driving him to tear his eyes out in maniacal panic.

    Web Comics 
  • A "good" version appears in this Darths & Droids, though it is used by one protagonist convincing another to destroy the Trade Federation ship.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Vaarsuvius does it to Elan accidentally. Sure, they were giving him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how stupid his attempt at being a wizard was, but they were quite shocked and shamed when he broke down crying, especially when he went on to say he just wanted to be powerful and smart like they are.
    • Redcloak telling Miko how she's just as unnatural as an undead creature here. It doesn't work, though, since almost nothing can get through her conviction that she's always in the right. Plus, Redcloak's being a hypocrite in that speech.
    • Xykon, often, just after having handed his opponents their asses. Also to Roy in trying to make Roy accept a mulligan, but Roy throws it right back in his face with a "World of Cardboard" Speech. Xykon kills him for it.
    • Right-Eye gives one to Redcloak in Start of Darkness, when the latter claims to have spent his life on The Plan.
    Redcloak: Look, i've spent my whole life...
    Right-Eye: Your life? Your life?! Brother, you may have had a lifetime, but you haven't had a life since the day you put on that cloak. Life is about growing — growing older, growing wiser, growing closer to your loved ones. But you, you're frozen in time. You're the same angry kid who took that artifact off of your master's corpse that day.
    Redcloak: Oh, so now you've gained some insight on the universe by letting your body and mind deteriorate?
    Right-Eye: Yes! When you're faced with your own mortality, you have no choice but to consider what's best for the next generation. And this deal with Xykon is killing our spirit as fast as it's killing our bodies. You don't know what it is you're trying to better, because you don't know what it's like not to serve an undead overlord, or a petty spiteful god.
    Redcloak: ...What did you just say to me?
    Right-Eye: Come on. You have to realize that the Dark One doesn't care about us. Why else would he let you throw goblin lives away on this plan?
    Redcloak: Throw away lives? How dare you?! Every goblin that has died since I've been high priest has been to further The Plan! Their deaths were a necessary sacrifice! They were not my fault!
    Right-Eye: Wait... that's it, isn't it? It's all about whose fault it is... If I kill Xykon now, then it was all a waste. You ordered goblins to their deaths believing in the Plan - so if we abandon it now, then you were wrong. You let them die for nothing. You're willing to throw good lives after bad so that you don't have to admit that we were wrong to work with Xykon in the first place, much less help him cheat death.
    • Redcloak receives another one shortly after this from Xykon, saying that he let Redcloak kill his brother so he would never betray Xykon. If he did, he would have killed his brother for nothing. And as his brother pointed out, it would mean everything he's done has not just been in vain, but wrong.
    • Belkar delivers a brutal one to Roy after they find out that Durkon has been turned into a vampire. It works.
    • Tarquin does it quite by accident to Elan in #763. He explains happily what a great story their exploits will make by the force of Narrative Causality, but since this involves a seemingly incontrovertible and slightly mind-bending argument that evil will inevitably triumph on both personal and large scale even though good will "win" in the story, it sends Elan running away in terror.
    • Vampire!Durkon attempts this on Roy after the 'reveal' of his supposed Face–Heel Turn (in fact, he's been Evil All Along, but is masquerading as the original Durkon to get under Roy's skin). Then he takes it a bit too far, pushing Roy to realize that this isn't the Durkon he knows in an epic Shut Up, Hannibal! moment.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Lucy finally lets Charlie Brown kick the ball... and then tells him just what the implications are.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • In "Oceans Unmoving", Bun-bun does this to Calix while duelling (and beating) him, explaining to him how he doomed his own people by encouraging them to mutiny on a high-tech ship they were subsequently unable to steer. Also lampshaded:
    Bun-bun: When we first shanghaied you, I thought I saw something in you that I liked. Now that I have the opportunity to crush your soul, I like you even more.
    • In "A Time for Healing", the zombie Jane gives Gwynn a "The Reason You Suck" Speech at least bordering on this about how annoying and shallow she finds her and how someone like her couldn't use real magic. Unfortunately for Jane, her last taunts makes Gwynn angry enough that she's finally able to show that yes, she does have access to about a hundred times more powerful magic than Jane does.
    • In "bROKEN", Bun-bun traps Oasis in a sauna and, after berating her for stupidity, starts verbally tormenting her with images of her "beloved" with another woman. It ends up almost as badly for him as in Jane's case.
  • A particularly long version shows up in Soul Symphony here. So long in fact, that it takes up multiple pages, and so severe, that it causes the target to faint out of stress.
  • xkcd:
    • During the first meeting of Black Hat Guy and his girlfriend. Here and here.
    • And later, by the same character, when someone tries "negging: you belittle chicks to undermine their self-confidence so they'll be more vulnerable and seek your approval" on her. She gives a speech that's so generic it could apply to anyone but still effective. Alt Text: "Son, don't try to play 'make you feel bad' with the Michael Jordan of making you feel bad."
    • Young Black Hat Guy manages to send some bullies running away screaming by verbally extrapolating "I am rubber, you are glue" into And I Must Scream for them.note 
  • In Goblins
    • Dellyn figures out that Thaco has taken levels as though he were a Player Character, he calls it the 'most perverse thing he's ever heard of', and points out that by doing so, Thaco has admitted that goblins will always be inferior to humans.
    • Thaco then gives as good as he gets by disabling and then refusing to kill Dellyn, rightly realizing that the sadistic bastard is more than a little obsessed with revenge on the one goblin ever to escape him, and dismissing the fight as "Just a random encounter at the start of my adventuring career".
  • This strip of It's Walky!, in which the main villain — who has a tendency to do this to certain heroes and play on their insecurities and the secrets he's learnt about them — finds his ability hampered when faced with members of the team that he knows next-to-nothing about, and what little he does know doesn't bother them in the slightest when he tries to throw it back at them. Frustrated, he curses himself for 'playing favorites'.
  • Hunter Ravenwood of Suicide for Hire sometimes does this to people who annoy him. He can even drive others to suicide by doing it, at least provided he can find someone who's already totally suicidal as well as willing to listen to what amounts to an evil prank call for ten minutes.
  • This is a power of Thrawn, demon of half-truths, from Shades – whenever somebody gets caught in his tentacles, he can see victim's dearest ideals and describe them through dark, twisted point of view. The worst part? What he says is always at least partly true.
  • Cuanta Vida, page 136. Rojo attempted to backstab Bleu, and for his efforts he received a broken nose and a vicious beating from Jeremy's crutch. While lying defenseless on the ground, Rojo attempts to appeal to Bleu's pacifistic nature: "Put down the gun...How many people have you killed today? Too many, right? Why add another?" Too bad it didn't work.
  • A lampshaded version in Fans! since seemingly every single prisoner that Rikk ever dealt with has attempted to do this on him
  • Boneclaw Mother in Digger is very old, has lived with her tribe for all her years and knows every last one of their closeted skeletons and how to flash them using the best possible words. She's so good at it most of her tribe thinks she's telepathic. When egged on to try it on Jhalm in the climax she wisely points out it doesn't work on people you hardly know — but nonetheless manages to wing it sufficiently to make Jhalm step off.
  • Questionable Content: After a rather notable blast of obnoxiousness from Pintsize, Bubbles (one half of the target of said obnoxiousness)note  grabs Pintsize by the neck and calmly breaks down Pintsize's actions and the motivations behind them. She concludes with the fact that she pities Pintsize's self-esteem issues and that she's sorry said pity will probably just fuel said issues. Pintsize is reduced to weakly pleading "please make her stop."

    Web Original 
  • In Worm Tattletale can do this due to her power. It doesn't matter who your are, if you can hear her, she will get to you. For this reason Armsmaster has some of his team wear earplugs when fighting her and she's frequently targeted first in fights.
    • Contessa and Scion are even more capable at this. Contessa made Bonesaw perform a Heel–Face Turn with a short conversation. Scion made Eidolon depressed to the point where he let himself be killed with 4 words.
  • In Saga of Soul, Downfall does it to Eriko. To put it mildly, it backfired.
  • The Auditor's favourite tactic in AJCO. She's only had the chance to use it on two people - A_J, repeatedly, and Egg - but she left both in tears. Until that point, A_J had never been seen weeping.
  • In X-Ray & Vav, The Mad King uses this to rattle the bonds between our heroes. While it seems that Vav isn't too bothered by it, X-Ray is frightened, thinking that Vav is going to focus everything on his reporter Love Interest.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, Rosalina does this to Kirito as a pre-battle tactic. Unfortunately for her, that just makes things worse because it changes him from a Jerk Ass Deadpan Snarker to a Laughing Mad Psychotic Manchild... and due to being trapped in a videogame complete with RPG-Mechanics Verse he's still every bit as high level and hard to kill.
  • In the Camp Camp Season 1 finale, it seems as though David's overly happy-go-lucky spirit has finally been shattered, to Max's absolute delight. As he desperately tries to light a symbolic bonfire that's important to him in the middle of a thunderstorm, Max goes in to lay the final blow
    Max: Do you really think a big campfire and some outdated, honestly kind of racist tradition is going to make anyone care about anything? No one gives a shit, David. Nobody want to be here! It's like you live in this stupid make-believe world where "everything's great!" The universe doesn't work that way, idiot! Just look around! It's what I've been trying to show you since day one! Life sucks. And we live in a world of desensitized, apathetic assholes. Why don't you just get with the program and stop giving a shit....

    Western Animation 
  • Megatron tries this on Optimus Primal in their climactic battle in the final episode of Beast Wars. He even quotes scripture from the Covenant of Primus (a book of truthful prophecies) to prove that Optimus would fail. Then Optimus turns it against him in a Shut Up, Hannibal! moment.
    Megatron: 'And there came a hero who said, 'Hurt not the earth, nor the trees, nor the seas, nor the very fabric of time.' But the hero would not prevail!'
    Optimus: Finish the quote, Megatron! 'NOR WOULD HE SURRENDER!'
  • In the Family Guy episode "Seahorse Seashell Party", Meg finally breaks down and points out all of their hypocritical acts of ganging up on her and puting her down making her feel awful, and how they raised her specifically for that purpose. Her Lecture is harsh enough to send Lois into tears, and then makes all of the members of the family turn onto one another, ending with Peter crying and fleeing upstairs where Lois goes to look for him. Brian and she later realise that if the family didn't have someone to act as a lightning rod for their worst behavior then they'd end up destroying each other and themselves.
    • Another example is when Connie D'Amico casually insults Meg at the prom in front of her (very intoxicated) date Brian Griffin:
    Brian: Connie, I think I have a theory about why you're such a bitch. You see, Connie, you're popular because you developed early and started putting out when you were 12, but now, you can't stand to look at yourself in the mirror because all you see is a whore. So you pick on Meg to avoid the inevitable realization that once your body is used up by age 19, you're gonna be a worn-out, chalky skin, burlap sack that even your stepdad won't want. How's that? Am I in the ball park? (Connie runs off in tears)
  • Justice League:
    • In the episode "A Better World", the Mirror Universe President Lex Luthor uses one of these on his version of Superman. It partially succeeds. Superman does indeed break down as a result...just not in the way Luthor wanted.
    • In the same episode, Batman also pulls one of these...on himself.
      • And he won. When you think about it, Lord!Batman manages to win the first one ("And with that power, we've made a world where no eight year old boy will ever lose his parents...because of some punk with a gun.") and Batman does this later while driving in the Batmobile ("They'd love it here, Mom and Dad. They'd be so proud of you.").

        The commentary states that the scene was created by one half of the production team debating the other from Batman's point of view. And to actually keep the viewer in the dark, neither Batman nor Lord!Batman faced the audience while talking, thus allowing a one sided conversation that either Batman could have been winning until the reveal.
    • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Divided We Fall", several of the robotic evil knockoffs created by Brainithor (Lex Luthor merged with Brainiac) use this technique. It works against Superman due to his fears of being Not So Different from his Alternate Universe Evil Counterpart, but Evil Flash has what might be the least successful attempt in history:
    Evil Flash: Slacker! Child! Clown! We have no place here among the world's greatest heroes!
    Flash: Says you! I've got a seat at the big conference table. I'm gonna paint my logo on it! [punches through Evil Flash's chest]
  • In the The Legend of Korra episode "The Voice in the Night" Korra challenges Big Bad Amon to a one-on-one duel, only to be ambushed by his army of Chi-blockers. With her restrained, Amon reaches out threateningly, only to take her by the chin, and announce that while he could strip her of her Elemental Powers and kill her then and there, he won't, because she'll merely become a martyr for her cause. He tells her she'll get her duel when the time is right before knocking her out. When her mentor Tenzin comes to rescue her, she breaks down crying into his chest.
    • Season 3; Zaheer gives a chilling one to the Earth Queen while he's in the process of killing her.
    • Also in the series predecessor Avatar: The Last Airbender, Katara gives a rousing speech to the Earthbending prisoners about being strong people. But the warden there nastily tells her that their spirits were broken long ago, and she failed in her mission. This is enough to make her feel sad... and for Haru and the Earthbenders to strike back.
    • There's Princess Azula's unforgettable breaking speech to Long Feng when they both decide to betray each other, where she mentions that he had to connive and scheme to rule, whereas she was born with the right to rule. It's so good that she doesn't even have to fight him to take control of the Dai Li from him. He knows he's lost and immediately surrenders to her.
    Long Feng: You've beaten me at my own game.
    Azula: Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.
  • The Venture Bros.: An interesting variation of this happens in the season 5 finale; after The Monarch makes half-hearted attempts to physically torture Dr. Venture, he eventually breaks down and openly admits how pathetic he and Dr. Venture had become, eventually leading to Dr. Venture to simply walking away despondently. This was apparently all part of The Monarch's plan to break Dr. Venture's spirit.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • In "The Return of Harmony", the especially vicious Faux Affably Evil villain Discord corrupts each of the main ponies to keep them from using the Elements of Harmony that they represent against him. Ultimately he just brainwashes each of them with magic (aside from Twilight Sparkle), but he also takes the trouble to break each down before that, usually by talking. In Applejack's case, he manipulates her to doubt the value of honesty (her element) by showing her a terrible "truth" that she can't accept, before turning her into a liar. For Pinkie Pie (laughter), he makes her think her friends laugh at her all the time, before turning her unhappy and hostile. Fluttershy (kindness) is the only one on whom his speech doesn't work, because she's too trusting, and accepting of her own flaws... So he just zaps her into being cruel anyway.
    Discord: Well, it must be so upsetting to know how weak and helpless they think you are.
    Fluttershy: Not at all! I am weak and helpless, and I appreciate their understanding.
    • In "Putting Your Hoof Down", of all ponies to deliver one, Fluttershy does it to both Pinkie Pie and Rarity, calling their interests frivolous and driving them both to tears. Yikes. It's enough to make her realize what a bully she has become and locks herself away in her cottage out of fear she'll insult others.
    • After coming to the realization that she can't beat Starlight Glimmer in a head-on confrontation, Twilight Sparkle resorts to trying to talk her out of the battle. It's effective enough that, rather than defeating her, Twilight is able to actually swing her to the side of good instead.
    • Diamond Tiara has proven time and time again to be very...eloquent in her treatment of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  • Mojo has a one in his final battle with The Powerpuff Girls in The Movie, until they Fight back.
  • Slade from Teen Titans is a master at this trope. Especially when Robin is the victim because they are Not So Different and that ticks Robin off.
  • Spectra pulled this on Danny in their first appearances in Danny Phantom:
    "Look at you... What are you? A ghost trying to fit in with humans? Or some creepy little boy with creepy little powers? You’re a freak! Not a ghost, not a boy! Who cares for a thing like you?"
    • Being an psychologist, who secretly uses people's misery to keep herself young and beautiful, Spectra did that to almost every student in Danny's highschool (althought most of it was done offscreen).
  • The evil wizard in The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland gives Alice one of these, over how neither he nor she thinks she can pass for a princess.
  • The symbiote in The Spectacular Spider-Man combines this with Journey to the Center of the Mind to get Peter Parker to bond with it permenantly, mainly by pointing out that he's living in a Crapsack World and has gotten nothing in return for his heroics. Thankfully his memory of his uncle and friends snaps him out of it.
  • Eric Cartman in South Park gives a Breaking Speech to a British super-nanny, of all people. He starts off asking her innocent questions about her job, which turn into biting remarks about how she'll die alone because "no one wanted to have babies with her". After realizing that Cartman is more than just an Enfant Terrible, she leaves. Later in the episode, he apparently gives a Breaking Speech to another nanny that's so bad is causes her to have a mental breakdown.
  • Often subverted with Jasper from Steven Universe, who regularly attempts this but fails due to the victim being too self-confident to listen to her or too clueless to understand what she is talking about. The only time it does work is in her first fight with Amethyst, whom she not only utterly curb-stomps without letting her land a single hit, but also shatters her already fragile self-esteem by telling her that she is a failure of a quartz soldier, because she came out small. This breaks her spirit to the point where she stops fighting and takes a final hit without dodging. This isn't helped by the fact that, when she recovers from her brief breakdown upon realizing she left two children to face a super-soldier alone, she discovers that they took her on with no problem, casing her into depression for the next few episodes.
    Amethyst: (shakily gets up) Rose said... I'm perfect... The way I am...
    Jasper: Then she had low standards.
    (After the battle)
    Steven: We WON! I can't wait to tell the others!
    (Steven and Connie run off laughing)
    Amethyst: Oh, good! (Beat, she looks down) You didn't need me at all...
  • In the Voltron: Legendary Defender episode "Crystal Venom". Commander Sendak is accidentally awoken from cryo-sleep by Shiro. Sendak tears into Shiro, claiming that the two of them are more alike than Shiro will admit. Shiro has a nervous breakdown and launches Sendak's cryo-pod into space as a result.
    Sendak: We're connected, you and me. Both part of the Galra Empire.
    Shiro: No! I'm not like you.
    Sendak: You've been broken and reformed. Just look at your hand.
    Shiro: That's not me!
    Sendak: It's the strongest part of you. Embrace it. The others don't know what you know. They haven't seen what you've seen. Face it. You'll never beat Zarkon. He's already defeated you.
    Shiro: I'm not listening to you!
    Sendak: Did you really think a monster like you could ever be a Voltron Paladin?!
    Shiro: Stop it!

    Real Life 
  • A series of independent experiments carried out by a sadistic Harvard psychology professor named Henry Murray in the 1960s could be counted as an extreme (and, as it turned out, extremely unfortunate) real-life example of Breaking Them by Talking. University students were instructed to write an essay summarizing their personal philosophy on life and underlying principles, then went into a room expecting to debate philosophy with a fellow student. They instead faced an interrogation by a far more experienced opponent, whose sole purpose was to attack and ridicule their beliefs at length. Since one of the main goals of the experiment was to induce stress and upset the subject as much as possible, it's not surprising that many students came out feeling traumatized. One of them eventually went completely over the edge (for this reason or some other) and became the Unabomber.

    Murray had worked with the CIA in developing a test that tested pilots' wills, preventing them from possibly being brainwashed if captured. He decided to "fine tune" his technique using students as test subjects, but really, the guy was a sadist who got off on this sort of thing. WNYC's Radio Lab covered this story in one of their pieces titled "Oops".
  • A favorite technique of many Trolls is to hurt people in chatrooms and the like with offensive language.
  • In the documentary, I, Psychopath, diagnosed Narcissist Sam Vaknin subjects the filmmaker to these during most of the filming. The filmmaker almost has a nervous breakdown.
  • Many gay men, especially drag queens, have perfected the Xanatos Speed Chess variation of this called "the read", being able to assess someone quickly and jab them precisely.
    (sassy voice) When you read somebody, what you are doing is you slowly chip away at they self esteem, but you do so in such a subtle manner they have no idea what is happening to them; they are simply overwhelmed by a sense of dread.
  • Sadly, some parents, teachers, and caregivers (i.e., at daycare centers, or even babysitters) have done this to their offspring / students / charges, in some cases, when they don't mean to...
  • A hilarious example from Tumblr in the comments of a photo of someone drinking Diet Coke out of a bag:
    totheinternetandbeyond: I lost the cap to a soda bottle
    wecanbreatheinouterspace: Then you're fucking stupid. If you can't drink a soda without a cap, then you're fucking stupid.

Alternative Title(s): Breaking Them By Talking, Breaking Speech, Break Him By Talking, Break Her By Talking, Breaking Lecture