Human fingernails can be remarkably powerful. They assist grip, and protect the soft skin under them.
Unfortunately, they can also be turned into a tool for Self-Harm.
Scratching one's throat is often the result of Sanity Slippage and is often done in an absent minded way. The character scratching their throat may have an unfocused gaze or Hidden Eyes. Their voice may have dropped to a monotone level, if the character is still capable of talking after causing a lot of damage to their throat.
If the character is in serious danger of killing themselves, there will always be blood.
Clawing your throat would cause a lot of damage, but is a very slow method of suicide, so suicide by clawing the throat is not very common. Yandere characters often do this, but rarely end up dying from it. This trope is almost always played for drama, and is frequently a major source of Nightmare Fuel.
Lastly, it's not always played for self-harm: It's also a frequent reflex for characters that are strangled or force-choked.
- Played for laughs in the anime adaptation of CLANNAD, where, during a teasing session between Akio and Tomoya regarding the fact that they're now in-laws, both of them jokingly mimic the action as an expression of extreme disgust.
- In Big Finish Doctor Who play "The Shadow of the Scourge", the eight-dimensional alien invaders have a voice that will compel humans to do anything, however suicidal. And the Scourge like to kill.
"Now put your fingers to your neck. And push..."
- In Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons the terminal madness the titular planetary defense system induces in intruders makes this the least you do to yourself.
- In A Storm of Swords, this is how Joffrey Baratheon meets his end when the character drinks poison that prevents them from breathing. In a desperate attempt to breathe, the character claws at their own neck. It just kills them faster.
- Robert Sheckley's story "The Humours", later expanded into the novel The Alchemical Marriage of Alistair Crompton, has the protagonist try this upon realizing that the recovered portions of his personality don't integrate into his own - rather, all of them together reintegrate into something new.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry, advanced stages of the Hate Plague infection manifest themselves in the infected clawing at their own skin, particularly the throat. This is shown repeatedly throughout the series:
- Tomitake is repeatedly found having clawed his own throat out.
- In Onikakushia-hen, Keiichi kills himself by clawing at his throat after killing Mion and Rena. He was talking to Ooishi in a phone-booth when he started uncontrollably clawing at his neck.
- In Tsumihoroboshi-hen, Rena starts to scratch at her own throat but Keiichi manages to stop her from killing herself. It's shown that she hallucinates bugs under her skin.
- In the DS and PS3 adaptation of Meakashi-hen, there is a "Bad Ending" (though on net, fewer people actually die in it than the "Good" Ending) where Keiichi correctly guesses that the "Mion" preparing to torture him is actually Shion, and then she promptly claws her own throat out.
- In Someutsushi-hen (a DS and PS3-only adaptation of the manga-only Onisarashi-hen), Natsumi claws her throat out after Akira resists her attempted double suicide with him.