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Death Seeker

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Morty: Why do you keep doing this to us?!
Rick: I don't know Morty! Maybe I hate myself?! Maybe I think I deserve to die, I-I don't know!

At some point in the past, some characters have had a traumatic experience, found themselves dishonored, committed a crime they could not repay, lost everything worth living for, caught an incurable disease or just became bored with continued existence. For whatever reason, rather than turning to suicide, they went off seeking battles to fight, hoping to find an enemy who would kill them, and achieve an honorable, heroic, awesome, or otherwise acceptable death, sometimes going as far as outright surrendering and offering their life to their enemies. Martyrdom Cultures may regard such a character as a role model, even if upon closer examination he or she might seem like a Martyr Without a Cause. In cases of cruel Irony, Death Seeker characters who snap out of it and find something to live for often end up dying or getting killed shortly afterwards anyway.


Compare Heaven Seeker, when a heroic death is viewed as a means of being rewarded in the afterlife, and Suicide by Cop, where one engineers a scenario where someone else (it doesn't necessarily have to be a cop) will kill them. Contrast Immortality Seeker, for those utterly dedicated to avoiding death. Compare and contrast Not Afraid to Die, where someone is definitely unafraid of death but isn't actively seeking it out, and Worth Living For for something or someone who pulls a Death Seeker out of this mentality.

Likely to cause a Threat Backfire to any death threat, for obvious reasons. These characters are, however, prone to Revenge by Proxy. See also Miles to Go Before I Sleep and Suicide by Assassin. Some immortal characters who contracted a bad case of Who Wants to Live Forever? may also become Death Seekers if they know of one hard-to-obtain way for them to get a peaceful death.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Most M&M's do everything they can to avoid being eaten. M&M's Minis, on the other hand, actively seek those who will eat them, in a bizarre example of the trope.
    "M&M's Minis! Tons of chocolate candies searching for a mouth!"

    Comic Strips 
  • Zbeng! has a character named Stav — an extremely depressed, pessimistic Goth girl, who constantly tries to commit suicide. She does seem good at driving others to it, but she herself is so "lucky" that she constantly wins the lottery despite never buying tickets (she doesn't tend to collect the winnings).
  • In Dilbert Alice becomes one after being promoted to manager, which she quickly finds a Fate Worse than Death.

  • The song "Across the Rainbow Bridge" by Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth is written from the perspective of an aging Norse warrior setting out to find an honorable death and so enter Valhalla.
  • The Megas: In the track 'Programmed to Fight', they characterise Crash Man as being philosophically opposed to his creator Dr. Wily's plans, but being unable to act against his programming. His hopes lay with Mega Man being able to take him down and use his Crash Bombs against Wily, but, in the end, he was implied to be able to resist his programming for long enough to be able to convincingly throw the fight.
    My end has come and I welcome glory!
  • "Criminal" by Disturbed. The Despair Event Horizon and Sanity Slippage turn the narrator into a Death Seeker.
    Set me free from all of this / I need you to quicken my end
  • "Across the Highlands" by Kamelot is about an immortal who longs to die.
  • Nightwish:
    • "End of All Hope" leads to "Death wish without a prayer".
    • "Planet Hell":
      My only wish to leave behind
      All the days of the Earth
      An everyday hell of my kingdom come

  • In the final episode of The Adventure Zone: Balance Travis says that early on he imagined Magnus as ultimately wanting to go out in a blaze of glory, for the right cause, so that he could reunite with his dead wife Julia, but that over the course of the story things change for him, and he finds so many more reasons to live. He actually dies of old age, surrounded by friends. Though Julia teases him for living a lot longer than she expected when they are finally reunited.

  • The Magnus Archives has a few of these, most notably
    • when planning for their attack at the end of series three, it becomes very clear that Tim doesn't intend on coming back from the Unknowing and in the end, he doesn't
    • when Jon enters the coffin to save Daisy, he admits himself that it wasn't just to save her, he thought it would have been better if he'd died trying
      Jon: If I do die now, or get sealed away somewhere forever? I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. And I don’t want to lose anyone else, so if I can maybe stop that happening, and the only danger is to me, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. Worst case scenario, the universe loses another monster.

  • Vesa Turunen of Survival of the Fittest version two, while not starting out like this, eventually turned into one near the end of the game.
  • In Embers In The Dusk the Black Irons are primarily composed of soldiers with death wishes. Their commander, Lieutenant-General Viktor Mineyev, stands out in particular. Despite all the crazy shit he has been throwing himself into, he has yet to die. He did have to get large chunks of his body replaced with cybernetics though.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Atropus, the moon-sized, undead remnants of the universe's creator, has long since given up on the hope that it might return to its original state of being, and now mostly hopes for the only thing that can grant it release from its torment — the final cessation of its existence. Most its followers follow suit, as they tend to be beings who despise their own existence or no longer see worth in life, and hope to simply take down as many others as they with them when they go.
  • Legend of the Five Rings:
    • The Death Seekers of the Lion Clan are Lion samurai who failed the clan in some grave fashion, but not to the point that only immediate seppuku would exonerate their kin. Rather, they throw themselves into self-chosen Uriah Gambits, figuring that one of them will kill them off soon. In the meantime, the immediate wreckage they inflict on the Lions' enemies (they want to die, so the only time they'll hold back is if it will let them do even more damage within the next twenty minutes...and maybe not even then) will compensate for most of their crime—the actual honorable death in combat will compensate for the last few bits.
    • The Damned of the Crab Clan are the 'diseased' variation. They are victims of the corruption they fight and seek to do more damage to their enemy than they would do to Rokugan if they gave in to the Taint outright.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle:
    • Count Mordred the Damned is a Chaos Champion who is cursed to forever constantly mutate within his armour and will always be brought Back from the Dead by the Chaos Gods if he should fall in battle. As such, he doesn't have much of a chance of ever finding real rest in death, but it's what he hopes for against all hope.
    • Troll Slayers:
      • The rigidity of Dwarfs' honour codes results in Troll Slayers, unfortunate Dwarfs who have failed at some task or are unable to fulfill an oath, for which death is their only solace. However, it's dishonorable for a Dwarf to just off himself, so they dye their hair, cut it into an intimidating shape, and go into battle unarmored against the biggest, meanest opponent they can find. If they can't find a troll nasty enough to kill them, they graduate to become Giant Slayers, then Dragon Slayers, then Daemon Slayers. In some army lists, the Dwarf player gets almost as many victory points from getting his troops killed by monsters than his opponent does for killing them.
      • The Gotrek & Felix novels, in particular, tell the story of Felix Jaeger, a young poet who finds himself honor bound to accompany a Slayer and record his heroic doom. Unfortunately for Felix, Gotrek Grunnisson just happens to be the worst Slayer in history, on account of him being the most badass Dwarf, if not being, on the planet. He has killed everything from incarnations of rage and blood to dragons the length of football fields. Even if anything could kill Gotrek, Felix has no illusions about the fact that it would kill him soon after. The closest Gotrek gets is at the end of Slayer, during the End Times, when he meets the God of Slayers Grimnir who easily slaughters him... before resurrecting Gotrek so he can replace Grimnir as the God of Slayers. This ends up not sticking as Gotrek resurrects in the mortal realms in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, setting out to find Felix and perhaps finally find something capable of killing him for good.
      • Troll Slayers are a player career path in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, though after advancing through the Giant and Daemon Slayer stages their only exit career is "Glorious Death," so a note advises players to "think it over carefully" before picking the class. The class evades Game-Breaker status because anyone playing a slayer is expected to act like one; you are supposed to pick fights even when the odds aren't good, sleep deprivation, mental instability and rampant alcoholism is the best way to spend your downtime, and armour is for people without a death wish (i.e. people who are not you). Your impressive combat prowess is there to make the party want to hang out with you anyway. Their only non-combat abilities are limited to "resistance to getting drunk" and "scaring people," so the only thing a Slayer is good for outside of a fight is starting one.
    • Flagellants are citizens of the Empire who've become unhinged by the game's apocalyptic atmosphere, gathering into warbands and tagging along with the army in hopes of saving the world by dying in the most painful way possible.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Blood Angels chapter of Space Marines have the Genetic Memory of their Primarch's death built into their blood, a curse they call the Black Rage. This manifests in occasional outbreaks of Unstoppable Rage, but in its worst form, the Space Marine goes almost completely berserk, hallucinating the last moments of their Primarch and forgetting their own identities. Such unfortunates are grouped into the Death Company and thrown into near-hopeless battles in search of death, and any who survive are given the Emperor's Peace afterward.
    • From the Adepta Sororitas, Sisters Repentia are disgraced Sisters of Battle who have taken an oath of redemption, forsaking their armour and normal weapons for rags and a really huge chainsword. Any who survive a battle are allowed to rejoin their normal squads.
    • Lone Wolves from the Space Wolves army list are trying to find an honorable death in battle to rejoin their fallen packmates in the afterlife, so much so that their "A Glorious Death" rule penalizes the player if they survive the game. That said, if they manage to fling themselves at a terrible foe and survive the experience, they usually are welcomed into the Wolf Guard as one of the chapter's greatest badasses.
    • The non-canon Chapter the Fighting Tigers of Veda have a similar system with the Grey Tigers, complete with a short story about the redemption of Sudra Patel.
    • The more zealous devotees of Khorne the Blood God have been known to decapitate themselves if they're crippled and unable to fight the enemy, as a way to stay in their god's favor. For Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, so long as it flows...
    • Chaos Dreadnoughts fall deep into this category. Dreadnoughts are a combination Mini-Mecha and life support device, allowing Space Marines with untreatable wounds to continue to serve the Chapter, both as support units on the battlefield and as wise councilors in the monastery—Dreadnoughts are essentially immortal, as one in canon personally fought with the Emperor, making him over 10000 years old. Chaos Dreadnoughts, on the other hand, feel imprisoned inside their shells (Dreadnoughts live long because they are asleep in the centuries between battles, Chaos dreadnoughts aren't), constantly searching for a way out of them, with death being the fastest way out. Most Chaos Dreadnoughts are uncontrollably insane, even by Chaos standards. This is to the point that Abaddon the Despoiler created the Defiler Tank to fulfill the combat role formerly occupied by Dreadnoughts because Chaos Dreadnoughts could not be trusted even to keep their weapons on enemies.
    • Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising does a particularly good job of representing this. Chaos Dreadnoughts repeatedly beg the player to let them die (when their dialogue is even intelligible). When a Chaos Dreadnought dies, the announcer informs the player, "One of your Dreadnoughts has escaped in death."
    • Played with for the Dark Eldar. The Haemonculi have mastered the art of resurrection to explain how they keep up usable numbers with the all backstabbing going on. Some Dark Eldar actually have become addicted to dying, constantly trying to find new and interesting ways to kick the bucket, with one Haemonculus eagerly awaiting the new and bizarre mutations the process will inflict on him.
    • The Death Korps of Krieg are Imperial Guard regiments from the world of the same name whose world rebelled against the Imperium and only was brought back after hundreds of years of nuclear and trench warfare. They specialize in defensive battles, sieges, and wars of attrition, and have no regard for casualties because they see their deaths as a way of atonement for their world committing treason against the Imperium hundreds of years earlier.
    • Konrad Curze, Primarch of the Night Lord, knew his betrayal of the Imperium during the Horus Heresy was beyond forgiveness. Combined with his rampant psychosis and visions of his own end, he welcomed the assassin who liberated him of his head. More tragically, it is implied that he wanted to die before his time because it would prove his prophecies wrong and the future is not as doomed as his foresight showed.
    • In the White Scars chapter when a battle brother has done some thing dishonorable they will become Sagyar Mazan. Where they will be exiled from the chapter, and seek death in battle wash away their sins.
  • GURPS:
    • One of the example villains in the old edition of Supers was a disgraced sumo wrestler who couldn't commit seppuku due to his Nigh-Invulnerability. Thus, he sought out other supers to goad them into killing him. His sympathetic backstory, and his history of tracking down and defeating violent supers make him more of an Anti-Villain.
    • There's also a disadvantage called 'On The Edge', that basically allows you to play your character as a Death Seeker. It makes you passively suicidal. You won't off yourself, but if you're, say, facing down an entire biker gang while armed with a toothbrush...
  • Chrononauts: Lost Identities features Isaac, a playable character who prevents various tragedies, including his own death at Columbine. One of his win conditions includes allowing the massacre to happen, so Isaac can let himself die.
  • BattleTech: The Clans tend to have a lot of these types. Clan Trueborn value youth and innate ability over experience and believe that a warrior is past their prime by the age of 30 if they haven't done something notable enough to earn a Bloodname (which is needed to enter Clan politics and higher command). If an unblooded Trueborn reaches 30, they tend to get transferred to a Solahma unit where they're expected to act as cannon fodder with outdated weaponry if they're lucky. If they're unlucky, they'll get used as target practice for live-fire training by the next generation of warriors. Most warriors are expected to seek a glorious death in battle before they reach this point.
  • Exalted: The Neverborn are a variant. As Primordials, they could not die, so when the Exalted killed them anyway, they ended up trapped between life and death, stuck in excruciating agony. Now they work to tear down Creation in hopes that this will allow them to finally cease.
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf:
    • The Tanner hates his job, his life, and his village and only wins if he gets killed.
    • The Apprentice Tanner from Bonus Pack 2 normally tries to help the Tanner get killed, but becomes a Death Seeker if none of the other players are a Tanner.
    • The Synthetic Alien from One Night Ultimate Alien is like an evil version of the Tanner in that he only wins if he gets killed, but is on the Alien team.
    • The Mad Scientist from One Night Ultimate Super Villains also wants to get caught, but the game app says he gets captured instead of killed. The mechanics are the same as the Tanner, though.
      • The Intern acts similarly to the Apprentice Tanner in that she's trying to help the Mad Scientist get caught. If none of the other players are a Mad Scientist, her mission is to get caught.

  • Posthumous Leonatus of William Shakespeare's Cymbeline becomes one in his regret over having had Imogen killed. He first strips himself of his armor and fights against the heavily-armed Roman soldiers. He successfully fends them off and rescues the king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to get killed in battle, but is instead captured. He's scheduled for hanging, but the King spares him. Poor guy just can't catch a break...
  • The Mrs. Hawking play series: The Colonel, in later life, with his pursuit of dangerous military missions and increasing drinking habit, is implied to have become this.
  • In The Lady's Not for Burning, Thomas is an ex-soldier who has given up on life after seeing much of the world's ugly side. He confesses to a murder he didn't commit as a way of making his death useful by saving the innocent woman on whom the authorities are trying to pin the crime. (It's a comedy, so he and the woman both survive, and fall in love, which gives him a reason to go on living — although he insists he isn't happy about it.)

    Visual Novels 
  • Kei Okazaki from Collar × Malice embodies this trope. Kei hopes he can die while protecting someone he himself believes to be important. He easily puts himself in harm's way and does not care very much about his injuries or personal safety. This becomes a major source of tension with the heroine in Kei's route.
  • Tsugumi of Ever17 leaps into a dangerous situation to save the hero's life, not because she cares about his wellbeing, but because she's hoping it will kill her. Unfortunately for her, her Healing Factor makes her more or less immortal.
  • Contrary to what the ending of The Labyrinth of Grisaia would have you believe, in The Eden of Grisaia Yuuji has basically given up on life and is actually looking forward to dying, feeling that he has no reason to go on at this point. After a meeting with Kazuki and Dead Person Conversation with Asako, he decides to hold off on blindly awaiting death for the moment, though he's still a prisoner.
  • Archer in Fate/stay night takes this to a new extreme: he wants to die, but because he exists as a Counter Guardian/Heroic Spirit, unbound by time, the only way it would even be possible for him to die would be to cause a paradox so big that reality itself will cause him to cease to ever having started to exist. He gets better during the events of the Unlimited Blade Works route.
    • In Fate/Grand Order, Jeanne Alter comments this is the ultimate result of every Avenger: their curse prevents them from ever letting go of their hate, even if they've completed their revenge, even if it takes an eternity: they will continue to hate, aware of the sheer, horrible pointlessness. As such, death is the only thing that can release them.
  • Dies Irae:
    • Mercurius was born as a god, and since the god can't experience the unknown, he wants to die, but he can't kill himself. All events of the novel are actually his plan to die.
    • Göetz von Berlichingen (Michael Wittman) is tired of battles and wants to die, but, since he's part of Reinhard's Gladsheimr, he can't.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has Ryoma Hoshi, the Ultimate Tennis Pro. Since he became a death row inmate, he thinks his life is worth less than anyone else's, and after Monokuma announces that everyone will be executed if murder isn't committed in 48 hours, he volunteers to be the first victim (and is disappointed when he isn't). He tries to find a reason to live, but in Chapter 2, he learns that nobody from the outside world misses him, causing him to lose his will to live and therefore allow himself to be murdered by Kirumi.
  • The Eden of Grisaia: Protagonist Yuuji becomes this, after being haunted by his past for too long, especially since his promise to his master, that he is not allowed to die until he is saved five people, been fulfilled.
  • While not strictly trying to die, Nicola Francesca in Piofiore No Bansho makes a set of choices that he believes will lead to his death because he cares more about Dante being free from his family's long-held mission than about being alive. He also gets very upset with the heroine in his own route for covering him from a bullet because he does not believe his life is worth hers.

    Web Animation 
  • The main character of the Cyanide & Happiness short "Sad, Sad Larry". He can never seem to kill himself, no matter how hard he tries.
  • The muffin in asdfmovie 7 and 8. And he looks so happy about it!
  • The Saga of Biorn is about Biorn, an old Viking who wants A Good Way to Die in battle because it's the only way he can enter Valhalla. After several would-be slayers die in series of increasingly improbable accidents, he finds a troll attacking a nunnery and gets his honorable death, but the nuns give him a Christian burial so he gets rerouted to Fluffy Cloud Heaven at the last second.
  • The Goomba in Mario Pissing begs Mario to jump at him while Mario's urinating, after The Goomba reveals Mario that hes very suicidal, Mario then sends him to a psychiatrist which luckily cures his depression.
  • RWBY: Jaune's willingness to put his friends lives ahead of his own is not seen as heroic by the villains. When Cinder defeats him during the battle of Haven, he tells her that dying doesn't matter to him if it buys his friends a little time because their lives matter more than his own. Cinder angrily states he's just a failure with a death wish. His teammates later address this attitude in Volume 6, insisting they love him like family and don't wish to lose him; this helps break him out of the mentality.

  • Lexx is suicidal in Alien Dice, but can't commit suicide because of the nanites in his blood, keeping him alive. He's too scared to try more extreme methods of suicide, so instead hopes he'll be killed in a battle. This changes later in the series, when Lexx decides to live and spend the rest of his life with his family and Chel.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Ellen shortly after her creation:
      Nanase: How can you be afraid of them after leaping into and subsequently destroying a slime monster?
      Ellen: That was win-win. Either the goo would be destroyed or I would die a noble death.
    • A more apt example would be Abraham, who created the diamond that made Ellen by separating Elliot from the V5 transformation and is sworn to kill any creation of it.
  • Doc Scratch of Homestuck has accomplished his life's purpose, and as such, wants his life to end. He's a First Guardian. You can see why he's having trouble dying.
    • There's also Scratch's adopted daughter, the Handmaid, aka Aradia Megido's ancestor. In her case, she's immortal thanks to a curse Lord English put on her, and can only die once she's completed her tenure. Thanks to Scratch's conditioning, she desperately wants to die.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • After being exiled to human lands, Durkon was like this when Roy first met him. While no longer explicitly seeking death, he is currently looking forward to it, since the Oracle informed him that he would go home "posthumously." At that point he expected that he would die in human lands and never be returned to his family's ancestral tomb, so he sees this as better than nothing. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the other prophecy made about his homecoming. It's also become clear that what the Oracle meant by "posthumously" was "after you turn into a vampire."
    • Dwarves in general are like this due to the "honourable death" exception from ending up in Hel's domain. At one point, an elderly dwarf is killed fighting a monster, Haley and Blackwing are shocked... and said dwarf's relatives yell things like "Way to go!" and comment that he got "in under the wire".
  • Jin of Wapsi Square has reached the point where she will even resort to suicide just so that she can die. The problem is that she is an indestructible clay golem and therefore can't die. It's not pretty.
  • In Dogs of Future Past, an Undertale fanfiction, this is Chara's true wish: be able to move on, instead of being stuck with just his consciousness without a body nor a soul. Considering that until Frisk's arrival his consciousness was trapped in his rotting corpse in the ground, and that without a soul he is unable to feel emotions like he used to, his wish for an end to his misery is quite understandable. In the end, Frisk is able to grant him the rest he so longed for, thanks to their godlike powers. His reaction is one of profound, genuine relief, and his consciousness finally passes on, after a final goodbye to Asriel.
  • Basically everyone in Gone with the Blastwave except Crosshairs has spent long enough in the post-apocalyptic urban warzone that death would at least be a change of scenery, but for the most part not quite long enough to do it to themselves. At one point Pyro's only objection to being used as an Action Bomb was that the explosion of his fuel tank wouldn't be big enough to hit all the enemies.
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: Chase is hinted to be one when Scarlet returns his gun after apologizing for using it. He reveals that there was only one bullet anyway. Later confirmed after Scarlet takes a bullet for him, he admits that the reason there was only one bullet was because he figured “one shot would do it.”

    Web Original 
  • This is speculated to be what finally killed Emperor Franz Joseph in Malê Rising, as he was inspecting his troops in full view of enemy fire and lost his wife to a field hospital bombing a month before.
  • The Onion characterizes the entire zebra species having evolved to be eaten in its piece "Zebras: Nature's Ultimate Prey - Horrifying Planet".
  • Jamal Kaye in Ghosts In Quicksilver. At *best*, she's horribly careless about her own safety, and at worst, she's trying to commit passive suicide.

    Web Videos 
  • It's been implied that The Nostalgia Critic is this. Leaving the room that the bad movie is in vs. shooting yourself in the head... what would you pick? Confirmed in To Boldly Flee and Played for Drama.
    Film Brain: Critic, if you go in there, you may never return.
    Critic: Return was never an option.
  • While The Nostalgia Chick's never said that she wants to die, it's pretty easy to infer from her growing alcoholism that she wouldn't really mind it.

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack:
    • An early episode featured a Norseman who was cursed with eternal life by the Big Bad. He set himself up behind an elaborate death course to weed out anyone who had no chance of ever defeating him, and waited for someone to bring him death. As in the Colbey example, he had to fight all-out to get the afterlife he desired... but Jack did manage to beat him.
    • Jack himself is hinted to be towing this line as of Season 5. Having spent 50 years without aging or getting any closer to finding a way home has completely worn him down, and the second episode reveals that he's apparently contemplated seppuku at least once.
  • Macbeth (yes, that Macbeth) of Gargoyles, with a couple of twists: due to a Deal with the Devil (sort of), he and fellow antagonist Demona have been granted immortality and eternal youth until one kills the other, but once that happens, both will die. Since Macbeth is tired of life, and Demona wishes to continue living, they often come into conflict with each other, forcing the usually-homicidal Demona into an awkward fighting position. He gets over it in "City of Stone", when the Weird Sisters' Armor-Piercing Question makes him realize that death has never solved any of his problems. Macbeth still doesn't know what he wants out of life, but he knows death isn't the answer.
  • According to Word of God, Eddie Brock's reckless heroics in The Spectacular Spiderman (before he became Venom) were a sign of this subconscious desire.
  • In the Young Justice episode "Salvage", there's an alien golem created from the husks of four aliens that is forced to commit criminal acts. When it breaks free of its mind control, it tries to demolish a nuclear plant. Blue Beetle tries to communicate with it and the golem explains that it feels like it's an abomination and wishes to end the pain by death; thinking that a nuclear explosion will be enough to end its life. Superboy's response to its death plea is "I can relate". It's ambiguous as to whether he's referring to a past death wish or feeling like an abomination, but neither has been confirmed. The golem finally gets its death wish when an unseen enemy destroys it before Blue Beetle tries to talk it out of death.
  • Dinobot in Beast Wars, as confirmed by Word of God. Wish granted.
  • While they weren't exactly looking to die, in the Popeye short "Hospitaliky", Popeye and Bluto compete with one another to get injured and have Olive Oyl nurse them to health, who in this short works at a hospital. Any one of the stunts they try to pull could easily have killed them, such as purposely crashing a motorcycle, laying down in the middle of a busy intersection, and laying down on train tracks, however, they keep miraculously surviving unscathed, to their own annoyance.
    • A later short played on the same gag, this time with Olive seeking someone suitably beaten up as a model for a sculpture. So the two start trying to get themselves beat up. Eventually, Popeye makes Bluto eat his Spinach, making him go into an involuntary fit of beating up Popeye; Bluto wins the fight but loses the chance to pose for Olive.
  • Played for Laughs with Grandpa Marsh on South Park:
    Cartman: You piece of crap, I'll kill you!!!
    Grandpa: That's the spirit, tubby!
    • This also gets Played for Drama in Season 16's "Cash for Gold" when Grandpa Marsh tells Stan - or "Billy" - about his childhood dog, Patches.
      Grandpa: I loved that dog. She always made me so happy. When she died I didn't let myself get too sad, because I thought I'd always have the memory of her slobbering, happy face... I can't remember what she looked like, Billy.
    • Played straight in the Coon and Friends Trilogy, when Mysterion (aka Kenny) confronts Cthulhu both to save his friends and in the apparent hope of finally being Killed Off for Real.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • The Mr. Meeseeks, a Servant Race who finds existence painful, and can only die once whatever task they're asked to do is over. It's suggested to only give them simple tasks to avoid pushing them too much, but they can have some rather complex tasks done in less than a day, like a therapy session or making someone popular at school. However, if they haven't died by the second day, they start to go insane and find increasingly violent and kill-happy ways to solve the problem. After all, if the person who summoned them is dead, then their problem is solved, right?
    Mr. Meeseeks: I've been alive for two days! It's getting WEIRD!
    • It is implied that Rick is one in several Season 2 episodes, as living on the multi-dimensional scale he lives on has caused him to emotionally distance himself from everyone he runs into and his Heel Realization that he is a toxic influence on people nearly caused him to kill himself with a heat laser in Auto-Erotic Assimilation.
    • In the episode "Morty's Mind Blowers", an alien comes to Rick asking to be killed- according to his people, if he is killed by a great warrior (Rick counts) he goes to Paradise, but if he dies by accident he goes to Hell. At the last minute, he changes his mind, unsure if his religion is right- but in a Cruel Twist Ending, he is hit by a car, and spirits appear to drag him down to Hell, proving that his religion was right all along.
  • Stumpy from Kaeloo challenges Death in an attempt to go to Paradise in Episode 92. In the end, he commits suicide, but goes to Hell instead as a punishment for ending his own life.
  • With DJ in Total Drama, he wants to get himself voted off the show in World Tour because he thinks he's cursed after destroying a mummified dog. Eventually, he's the only person left on his team and finally decides to actually start trying to play (mainly because Alejandro found a (fake) lucky fish for him which makes DJ think the curse was lifted), only to be eliminated in the episode after his decision.

    Real Life 
  • The Banzai charges of World War Two by Japanese soldiers who had found themselves in a desperate situation.
  • In her memoir The Past is Myself, Christabel Bielenberg recounts a chilling encounter with an SS officer who, in despair at the atrocities in which he had participated, was determined to die in battle as the war neared its end: "...He told me of how he had tried to be killed, but his comrades had fallen around him and each time, by some miracle, he had lived. The ones with the photographs in their wallets, the frightened ones, and the ones with dreams of the future, they were the ones who got killed, he said. Only those who didn't care got the Iron Crosses. Now he was going to the front, to his unit if he could reach it, otherwise anywhere, anywhere, did I hear, where he would be allowed to die."
  • Siegfried Sassoon, the poet, during the First World War. Along the way, he picked up an MC, and the title of "best war poet to survive the war". Detailed in The Regeneration Trilogy. He had to choose between guilt over leaving his men on the battlefield and guilt over not continuing to protest against the war and ended up going on patrol without a helmet after going back to the front. But he lived.
  • Tlahuicole was the chief of the Tlaxcalan tribe when the Aztecs decided to conquer them. He fought bravely by Dual Wielding a set of hatchets that were supposedly too large for ordinary men to even lift, but the rest of his tribe didn't make it and he ended up being captured and brought before Montezuma. The Aztec leader offered him mercy after hearing how much of a face-wrecker he was (the Aztecs kind of valued that sort of thing), but Tlahuicole believed that since he had disgraced himself by letting himself get captured, he should be sacrificed as punishment for his dishonor. Montezuma basically told him to chill out and had him serve as a war-chief in an ongoing struggle against another tribe. He completely slaughtered them, so Montezuma wanted to make him a full member of Aztec nobility. Tlahuicole felt that doing so would be a betrayal of his people, so he refused. Montezuma ordered him bound to the Stone of Combat, where he would basically act out the end of The One by getting swarmed by Aztec warriors until he died (ordinarily the ritual was designed to let captured soldiers gain their freedom, but he didn't want to take that route). He killed seven of Montezuma's best Jaguar warriors and wounded over twenty more before finally falling, and an Aztec priest finally sacrificed him right as he was about to die anyway.
  • Jeffrey Dahmer frequently expressed his wish to die for his crimes while in prison. When he was attacked by another prisoner who attempted to slit his throat, he refused to press charges and requested to be returned to the general prison population. Only a few months later, he was beaten to death by another prisoner. His last words were, reportedly: "I don't care if I live or die — go ahead and kill me."
  • "Doc" Holliday, a dentist turned infamous gunfighter and gambler of the old West is a perfect real-life example of this trope. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in his early twenties Doc Holliday went out west, hoping the drier climate would ease his ailment. However, his hot temper and belief that death by gun or knife was far better than by tuberculosis, led him to a life of adventure, taking part in many shoot outs including the famed OK Corral and Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride. Despite this lifestyle, his extreme skill, and more-so his reputation of extreme speed, with a revolver kept him alive, he eventually died of his illness at age 36 in the bed of a sanitarium. His supposed famous last words, upon looking at his bare feet in bed, were "Now, that's funny."
  • According to contemporary records, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary was strongly implied to have become this towards the later years of his life, going so far as to practically mention this trope by name. Then again, after having to deal with the deaths of all those around him, including his brother (Maximilian; killed by firing squad in Mexico), wife (Elisabeth/Sisi; killed by an Italian anarchist), eldest daughter (Sophie; illness), son/heir (Rudolf; the Mayerling Incident) and nephew/successor (Franz Ferdinand; assassinated in Sarajevo with his wife Sophie, sparking World War I) and watching his Empire slowly fall apart from war, one has to wonder.
    • Empress Elisabeth was this in later life, owing to her depression acquired after the death of Archduchess Sophie and exacerbated by the death of Crown Prince Rudolf. Accounts of her ladies-in-waiting who traveled with her talked of Sisi standing on the deck (only in rare cases will she dismiss her attendants) of ships in terrible storms, despite entreaties for her to go inside. She traveled in secrecy, not for her own safety but more because she was ashamed of having grown old and lost her famed beauty.
  • Professional wrestler Fritz Von Erich. After his oldest son Jack died of electrocution at the young age of five, Fritz took on a much more aggressive fighting style in the ring, hoping that he would piss off the wrong person and get killed in the ring. This more aggressive ring style helped turn him into one of the most hated men in wrestling in the 1960's. It should be noted that back in that time, professional wrestling was not 'pure entertainment' the way it is now. The outcomes were still predetermined, but the guys would often really hit each other in the name of "keeping it real" and the wrestlers were more often than not legitimate tough guys.
  • Aristodemus was one of only two Spartan survivors of the 300 Spartans' famous defensive battle at Thermopylae. He had been temporarily blinded by disease and was sent home by Leonidas (another spartan, Pantites, had been sent on an embassy and failed to return in time for the battle). Back home in Sparta, both men found themselves disgraced. Pantites hanged himself, but Aristodemus endured being called a coward and humiliated at every turn and bided his time. Next year, the Spartans faced the Persians again at Plataea, and Aristodemus was in the front line. As the armies approached each other, Aristodemus broke ranks and charged the Persians by himself. He fought furiously and killed several Persians before being cut down. Afterwards, he was cleared of all accusations of cowardice (but he was not awarded any honors since he had left the phalanx to fight on his own, which was considered dishonorable and unfitting for a Spartan soldier).
  • The Knights of St. Lazarus. It was a military order for knights who had caught leprosy. Since leprosy is a fatal disease, knights were professional soldiers, and it was a monastic order... you do the math.
  • Reports from friends and family members indicate that Marvin Gaye became one of these in the months leading to his murder. Reportedly, Gaye had turned to cocaine use during his 1983 U.S. tour as a means of coping with the pressures of touring, and became increasingly paranoid and suicidal as a result; while living with his parents, Gaye attempted suicide by jumping in front of a speeding vehicle. After being fatally shot by his own father after a series of increasingly violent altercations, Gaye reportedly revealed to his brother Frankie that he wanted his father to kill him and that he coerced him into the act as a form of suicide by proxy.
  • Joy Division's Ian Curtis told his wife Debbie when they were teenagers that he didn't plan to live past 25. He didn't—he committed suicide on the eve of the band's first American tour in 1980 at the age of 23.


Video Example(s):


Stewart Lawrence

The titular Wolfman who wants to desperately die but cannot due to his Werewolf Curse making him immortal.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeathSeeker

Media sources:

Main / DeathSeeker