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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. 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. 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:

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  • 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 Books 
  • Deadshot, an assassin in The DCU. His death wish stems from an incident in his childhood; his wealthy parents hated each other, and mom tried to hire her sons to kill their father. The younger brother, Floyd, tried to prevent his older brother from doing so, but his brother kicked him out of the house. Floyd got his hands on a gun and stood on a tree branch, hoping to simply wound his brother, but the branch snapped and he missed. So he killed the brother he loved to save a father he hated. Eventually, Floyd became an assassin for hire, assuming the Deadshot identity. After multiple stints on the aptly named Suicide Squad and a few fights against other badass assassins, he's still alive.
  • Mr. Immortal of the Great Lakes Avengers is named for his one power, which is to come back to life after dying. He discovered this after his girlfriend Terri killed herself and he tried to follow suit. After dozens of suicide attempts, he finally realizes what's going on (little slow on the uptake) and decides to fight crime. However, he is still prone to depression (especially after his new Love Interest Dinah Soar was killed) and occasionally goes on multiple suicide sprees. Since he now knows about his powers, it's unclear if he is actually looking for a loophole, or if it's just his way of blowing off steam.
  • Yorick of Y: The Last Man is like this for the first few volumes, thanks to Survivor Guilt after The End of the World as We Know It. It turns out that this is also Alter Tse'elon's motivation for everything she does in the series — she's trying to die in honorable combat with a man.
  • The Sandman:
    • Morpheus. If he indeed was (his methodology makes it somewhat uncertain how much was planned and how much was not), he certainly went about doing it in an extremely roundabout way. Further backed by Word of God. Gaiman once summarized Sandman in the sentence "The King of Dreams learns that all things must change or die and makes his choice."
    • Another story concerned a female counterpart of Metamorpho, who was Driven to Suicide by her hideous form but whose body automatically protected itself from any attack. Naturally, the story features Death.
    • The anthology Endless Nights had a soldier whose life was empty, until he encountered Death and actually helped her on a job by breaking down a magic gate so she could enter a castle and claim the inhabitants. Now, he enters battle with renewed vigor in the hopes he will meet her again.
  • Daredevil (not Matt Murdock) of Earth X is unkillable due to his regenerative powers. It's not clear how he became suicidal, but he becomes the center of a circus act in which the audience is invited to kill him if they can. Later he tries to get several Big Bads to kill him, culminating in his multiplying into many versions of himself when he is ripped apart. Late in the series he apparently finally gets his wish, but only after all of humanity has joined him in painful immortality (due to the death of Death).
  • Batman:
    • Batgirl III's guilt over reducing a living, thinking creature to a large mass of inert meat with her bare hand at eight years old drove her to seek her own demise protecting others. It can be summed up when Lady Shiva demanded a duel to the death in a years time as payment for helping her regain the body-reading skills she lost when a telepath enabled her to speak:
      Cassandra: [thinking] I'll never take another life, not even hers. So I'll pretend to go all out, and then I'll die. I don't have to do this. I can still study Batman's method. I can be good enough for the costume. I can be...mediocre. For a lifetime. Or perfect...for a year.
      Shiva: Well?
    • Batman himself subconsciously slid into Death Seeker territory after the death of Jason Todd/Robin II, to the great worry of Alfred and Dick, and prompting Tim into becoming Robin, under the belief that 'Batman needs a Robin.'
    • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns features two implied examples:
      • While it's not explicitly stated Batman is constantly reflecting on the life-and-death situations he finds himself in and musing that "this would be a good death," the clear implication is that he's actively looking to go out in a suitable blaze of glory. Ultimately subverted; although Batman appears to do just that while fighting Superman, it's revealed that he faked his own death, having discovered a new purpose to live over the course of the story.
      • When Harvey Dent publically reveals that his face has been surgically restored, he appears to have turned over a new leaf. However, Two-Face-related crimes begin happening not long after, and Batman speculates to Gordon that Harvey may be looking to die. Sure enough, in the climactic confrontation in the first volume, Harvey nearly falls to his death trying to shoot Batman, and after a last-minute save, it's revealed that he's gone even more insane, seeing his face as completely destroyed, and has no will to live anymore.
    • In Batman Vampire, Batman, after spending Bloodstorm as a Vampire Refugee, has succumbed to his vampire instincts and embarks on a killing spree, slaughtering most of his Rogues Gallery for their blood. During one of his private monologues, he ponders whether or not he's killing to satisfy his bloodlust or to provoke Gordon and Alfred into taking action against and killing him.
    • Clyde Rawlins in Robin Vol 1 has abandoned his previous life and gone rogue and is explicitly looking to go down fighting and take King Snake with him for revenge. Clyde does find his death but he does little damage to Snake in return.
    • Despite Tim's introduction into the Bat mythos as helping Bruce out of this by the time Tim has switched ids to Red Robin he is being accused of falling to self-destructive tendencies himself, and his responses are telling non-answers. Cassie and Dick are given two different flavors of misdirection, but it's the way he brushes off Steph rather than answer her that seals the deal, since she's on the short list of people he wouldn't feed that type of misdirection to.
  • This, not vengeance against criminals like the ones who killed his family, has been The Punisher's true goal his entire career. That's the reason he's so reckless and cares little about the consequences of his actions. He hopes that someday he'll be killed in action so that he can finally be at peace, but if he can take as much scum off the street as he can before that happens, all the better.
  • Word of God says Rorschach from Watchmen is a Death Seeker. He finds it.
  • Hank Henshaw, aka the Cyborg Superman, became one of these, tired of the tragedy in his life and his near invulnerability. It got to the point where he joined the Sinestro Corps just because they agreed to kill him once their work was done. He eventually did die, much to his delight. Unfortunately for him, his minions resurrected him at the first opportunity. The first thing he did was shed a Single Tear over being alive.
  • The Mighty Thor: Eilif the Lost was the last survivor of a Viking Lost Colony in Antarctica. Old and growing infirm, he tried to goad Thor into killing him. "I would have fought a god, my lord. What Viking could have asked for a more glorious death?"
  • 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).
  • Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse from Scalped has an unconscious death wish. He constantly throws himself in dangerous gunfights with psychopaths and always alone. It's hinted that he suffers from PTSD (child abuse, fighting in Kosovo and witnessing a massacre), suicidal behaviour (flashback to a young Dashiell cry and put a gun to his temple, second time he does the same thing when he could've prevented the murder of a young boy) and from deep seated anger (his fists are bruised most of the time and we see him slamming his fists against his own truck). When Dash is confronted by his father, the conversation between them confirms all of this and more importantly his death wish.
  • Tony Stark, to a horribly painful degree. And, no, it didn't start during/after Civil War, either, though that certainly made it worse. It started when he was struck with survivor's guilt over the death of Yin Sen — that's right, it started with his origin story — and just kind of went downhill at breakneck speed from there.
  • Kaine, the imperfect clone of Spider-Man. He's not the typical death seeker as he sometimes changes his mind or even runs from a fatal fight. In the Grim Hunt back stories it's revealed he's too much of a coward to commit suicide, yet when he has a pre-cog vision about his own death at the hands of Kraven the Hunter he still challenges him.He finally got what he wanted by duping the Kravinoff hunters into thinking he was Spider-Man. They sacrificed him to revive Kraven the hunter. Afterwards, Kaine is resurrected with tarantula features, and is ultimately reborn possessing Spider-Man's enhanced powers from Avengers Disassembled.
  • Dara Brighton in The Sword insists that she is already dead after the murder of her family. She just wants to hunt down and kill the demigods responsible for said murders before she actually dies. She does and she does.
  • Thanos is a Deathseeker but not for the typical reasons. He wants to die because he is in love with the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death.
  • Lady Shiva of The DCU is a Death Seeker like Cassandra Cain her own daughter mentioned earlier. Shiva has always regretted that her sister was killed for the sake of her own potential as a martial artist and confessed to Cassandra that she misses her every day. As a result, Shiva is a mix of a Blood Knight and a Death Seeker. She continues to challenge and train gifted martial artists out of a need to validate her sister's death by proving that she is the strongest, but at the same time, she secretly hopes to die at the hands of someone better due to her guilt.
  • In one Star Wars story arc, the crooked ex-Senate Guard Venco Autem learns that he has a terminal illness, and so takes on suicidal jobs like assassinating corrupt Senators because he has nothing to live for. At the end of the comic, he places himself in a situation that he has little hope of escaping from in order to kill the Senator, and is indeed shot dead by his brother.
  • Deadpool wants to die. Death is in love with him and vice versa, so jealous Thanos cursed him with eternal life. In the Age of Stryfe, an alternate future timeline Deadpool is still alive because of the curse and not his healing factor. The voices in Deadpool confirm his deathwish among other things: the only reason he desperately wants to be accepted is so his friends will care and put him out of his misery. If that doesn't work out he antagonizes them so they can exact their revenge on him. The later "Dead" storyline finally gives this to him via Spider-Man villain Tombstone. However, it doesn't stick - he comes back, but he loses his healing factor, but his body is totally healed and he's regained his true face. More importantly, he doesn't want to die anymore.
    • Sadly, this has come back for poor Wade. After the events of Secret Empire and the villain Stryfe forcing him to try to kill his friends, he's put a $20 million bounty on his own head with the hopes that someone will finally murder him as he feels he's not worth it anymore with all of his credibility shattered.
  • Kraven's Last Hunt: Kraven the Hunter's main reason for hunting was to escape the harshness of life: "in the midst of pursuit...or a kill...I do not exist..all the petty pain of living falls away..all unrealized desires...until only the hunt is left". In the end, he killed himself with a rifle in his mouth but he was resurrected years later against his wishes by the remaining kravinoff members. The ceremony of resurrection was corrupted so Kraven cannot die. Only the antithesis of a hunter (the spider) can kill him, so he hunts down spiders. Looking for a way to die with honor he went after Spider-Man but he refused to kill him.
  • The events of Target: X (and possibly NYX, the timeline isn't clear) leave X-23 in this state, and she tracks down Wolverine intending to kill both him and herself in order to put a permanent end to the Weapon X project. Logan talks her down, but even after Laura has shown a very poor sense of self-worth and a suicidal disregard for her safety, constantly putting her life at risk to protect others (such as taking a full-force blast from Nimrod that otherwise would have struck Hellion) or otherwise expressing a willingness to sacrifice herself (IE, taking the Legacy Virus into herself and then intending to commit suicide without a second thought. Even though Elixir, who could completely eradicate the virus from her body when her Healing Factor failed to stop it, was right there, and ultimately did end up healing her before she could kill herself). Her solo series has helped her learn to value her life, but she at times still struggles, and it's not helped that every time she seems to be turning the page on the pain in her past, something happens to threaten everything she's rebuilt.
  • In Action Comics, Doomsday the monster that nearly killed Superman becomes this millions of years in the future. Filled with self-loathing, he has gone back in time to remove every last trace of himself from the past, present, and future. Since people on Earth know how to clone him, he figures he needs to get rid of Earth as well.
  • In Supergirl story Demon Spawn, the titular heroine fights Nightflame, a villain who is actually her dying wish's embodiment.
  • In The Goon comics the immortally weary Buzzard agrees to go kill a monster terrorizing the countryside, hoping it will be able to kill him. When he arrives he learns that the ancient creature was doing this with the hope that they would fight back and kill it. They agree to fight it out and let fate decide which one of them...wins.
  • God in the Fallen Angel series. The Alpha is ready for the Omega, complete oblivion. He's being denied the ultimate rest because people keep praying to him. Enraged he punishes mankind with all kind of disasters so they will finally realise that their god does not care and so he can finally sink into the sweet surrender of nothingness. He refrains from destroying the human race entirely because he doesn't want to admit that his creation was an utter failure. If the worship eventually doesn't stop, he is not above omnicide so he can finally get some peace and quiet.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws: Arsenal fights Killer Croc for the sole purpose of dying looking like a hero, after hitting rock bottom.
    • The Talon implies that Red Hood may be one to some degree (especially considering how the fight was handled as a Not So Different situation).
      The Talon: I want to end this "life" on my terms. Sure you can understand that.
  • In Runaways, after losing his girlfriend, Chase Stein tried to kill himself by offering his life to the Gibborim in exchange for Gert's resurrection. They weren't interested, because his soul wasn't pure, but they used him to draw in the other Runaways so that they could try and take Nico. Thankfully, their plan failed, and Chase decided not to kill himself after all.
  • In The Spirit story "Wild Rice", Rice Wilder ran from her wedding into the arms of a bank robber after years of rebelling against the Gilded Cage of her family's wealth. In the end, when the Spirit offered to take her home, she broke away and made a run for it, only to be shot by the bank robber who thought she had betrayed him to the cops. She died with a smile on her face, her last words being, "I'm finally free..."
  • Jack Russell a.k.a. Werewolf by Night comes to suffer from his curse so badly that he reaches the point he no longer cares whether he lives or dies. He signs up for what will very likely be a suicide mission, which results in a fight with best friend Morbius whom he tells to do him a favor for once and just kill him.
  • In Dilbert Alice becomes one after being promoted to manager, which she quickly finds a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Catwoman has become one of these as of the New 52. It has caused a rift among fans.
  • The Joker is sometimes implied to be one, his monstrous acts being attempts to court death. Over time it's evolved a bit; he still wants to die, but he now wants Batman specifically to be the one who does it. Batman: Arkham Origins explores this in more detail. When he first arrives in Gotham, he's obviously expecting/hoping to get killed by the numerous people he's provoked. His obsession with Batman comes about when Batman refuses to kill him and even saves him despite the horrible crimes he committed; Joker is so confused that he becomes enamored with Batman, viewing him as his perfect opposite.
    • In the Joker graphic novel, Joker's henchman Jonny Frost seems to be one as in one scene during the story's midpoint, he is standing on the roof of his apartment building, looking down with a sad expression on his face. He finds it during the story's climax, jumping off a bridge after being shot in the face by the Joker.
  • In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Chromedome certainly seems less than eager to continue living. During the War, he was actively suicidal, to the point where he met his current conjunx endura, Rewind, at an assisted suicide clinic. In the plot, he has continued to engage in mnemosurgery despite its tendency to slowly kill its practitioners, and he got so reckless when performing it on a near-unstoppable captive Decepticon Super Soldier that he stopped telling anyone he was going in. When he finds out that Rewind's former conjunx endura has been Mode Locked as the Pet of the DJD, he attempts to bring back Dominus at the cost of his own life; Rewind has to sever his arm to get him to stop.
    • Whirl was showing these warning signs as early as the first issue, where he may or may not have been about to commit fiery suicide atop a pile of mutilated Sweep corpses. Throughout the series, he spends his time picking fights with people and generally being a Jerkass, and never misses an opportunity for battle, apparently in the hope that someone will kill him; when he's held at gunpoint by a Shell-Shocked Veteran who's having a disastrous episode, he demands that Fortress Maximus pull the trigger. Amusingly, when the party does seem to end up in the afterlife, Whirl decides that it actually kind of sucks and starts needling Rodimus about getting out again.
      Whirl: If I'd known death was going to be like this, I wouldn't have courted it so much. Angry denials, stunned silences. Gasps of disbelief. It's like that time Magnus tried to tell a joke.
  • The entire plot of Druuna: Morbus Gravis is initiated because Captain Lewis is sick and tired of being unable to die and existing as nothing more than a disembodied head plugged into the ship's systems. He tricks Druuna into believing that deactivating the Master Computer responsible for running the massive city-ship, which has gone rogue, will solve the Viral Transformation plague that is wrecking it. It instead triggers the self-destruct, but Lewis ultimately can't bring himself to let Druuna die along with the rest of the human race simply because he loves her so much.
  • In the graphic novel version of Myth Adventures, this is Isstvan's goal after being cursed with immortality. Everything he does as a villain is in pursuit of this goal. The novel never gives him a real motive besides a hunger for more power.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars:
    • Due to the events of the preceeding story, at the beginning of the fic Asuka was so exhausted and soul-burned she genuinely believed that dying in battle in the upcoming war was the best thing she could look forward to.
    • Invoked. Before bringing him back, Daniel called Kaji a death-seeking idiot for letting himself get killed stupidly.
  • Advice and Trust: Rei lived in permanent pain due to her soul being split into three pieces. She also knew she was a clone and she would be replaced if she died. She collaborated with Gendo because she hoped she would die and finally rest in peace if he carried forward his plan. However, as her bond with Shinji and Asuka grows stronger and sturdier, she starts enjoying living and hanging out with other people, and stops wishing for the release of oblivion.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Rei was one in her former life, seeking oblivion to escape from her pain. After actually dying and returning to the past she is done with that attitude and intends to live and try new things.
  • Evangelion 303:
    • Deconstructed. During pillow talk, Shinji tells Asuka that he has never cared about living or dying. Asuka replied that was a dumb attitude since no one can live without a need for self-preservation, she could never go into combat with someone will not even fight to save his own life, and there were people — including her — that depended on him to live.
    • Ironically, after her best friend's death Asuka was so depressed and guilt-ridden that she wanted to die to meet Jessika again. She nearly did it, but Jessika's spirit stopped her, telling her that it was not her time yet and sent her back.
  • Here Be Dragons Series: Gangrel starts like this, but he gets better.
  • Scar Tissue: After masturbating over Asuka's comatose body Shinji was so sickened and disgusted with himself that he just wants to die. He sat in some place and prayed for someone coming along and killing him.
  • In The Three Kings: Hunt Ryou becomes this after becoming a pariah for being a mage as well as suffering abuse at the hands of his family and the unspeakables. He sort of succeeds in getting his wish, but he also gets better
  • In The Lion King Adventures, Shocker is made immortal in his debut story. From that point onwards, he seeks to die. But not before getting his revenge on Simba, Nala and Haiba first... Ultimately, he fails in all his goals, as the Interceptor buries him alive forever in order to get rid of him.
  • For The Legend of Zelda, in Kasuto of Kataan's "Eternity", the villain is attempting to kill herself with a special spell which would happen to kill several million bystanders after realizing that immortality is actually a curse since the world is boring after living for a really long time. She had already tried every other conventional method and failed.
  • In Murderer's Row, a Red vs. Blue AU fic, freaking Grif becomes one of these after Simmons dies in a prison riot.
  • In The Hill of Swords:
  • Downplayed in Intercom. By chapter 25, Riley doesn't want to die exactly, but she does seem intent on cutting off all ties with the real world and staying in the mind world forever, giving little regard to her family and friends.
  • In The Prince, a Death Note Yakuza AU by Neverending Odyssey, Light sees the deaths he must deal out as a burden and truly looks forward to the day L will catch and execute him for it-however since he's not engaging the detective in pitched battle he isn't leaving any clues behind and Ryuk sees a very long lifespan ahead of him.
  • The World Ends with You fanfic, Eri's Game, has the titular character trying to become an activist just to die as she's responsible for Shiki's death. However, some mysterious force, who is Shiki, keeps on foiling it. Luckily, her wish is granted in the end of week 1.
  • Light in The Art Of Drowning upon learning that L is his long lost childhood friend who he thought was dead and the reason he became Kira in the first place to L's utter disbelief Light suddenly confesses to being Kira and begs L to execute him.
  • In The Jaded Eyes Series once Harry/Tristan has fulfilled his goals of creating a perfect world for magical people he fully intends to die.
  • My Hostage Not Yours: Tak is this for awhile in the third story, following her transformation into a human.
  • In Diaries of a Madman, this turns out to be the main motivation for Discord.
  • In Memento Mori Light tries to commit Suicide by Cop by confessing to being Kira but L refuses to allow Light to be tried and executed until he understands why Light confessed.
  • Harry Potter and the Death Wish. Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's a Dark Fic that's a more realistic take on Harry's history of childhood abuse—Harry feels utterly worthless and unloved and he is completely serious about wanting to die.
  • In Technomad's Death Seeker, Grima Wormtongue is inadvertently released from Saruman's influence at the same time that King Theoden is, and becomes the most fearless warrior in Rohan, charging headlong into every fight to pay for his folly as well as cursing out Saruman to his face in depth and detail that awes even Gandalf.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, an Alliance N7 finds a Cerberus Phantom who actively hoped to die in battle and says as much when speaking to the N7 since Phantoms live a miserable, painful existence from their cybernetics.
  • Leorin becomes this at the end of Shadowchasers: Torment, as illustrated by the final scene where he attacks the Dread Emperor. The ending is left ambiguous, but now that he can die, it is clear that he is trying to find a way to do so heroically. (The situation was a win-win for him; if he struck his opponent down, it would mean a cold-blooded killer known for slaughtering innocents would be eliminated, but if he lost, he would finally be free and his soul allowed access to the Bastion of St. Cuthbert.) The author has said that had he won the battle, he would have simply started looking for other powerful villains and challenged them, until he got his wish.
  • Most of the D.A. slips into this in Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness. At the beginning of the story, they decide that they will all go on a suicide attack as a protest/revenge/hopeless last stand at the end of the year rather than continuing to live under the current regime. Some of them were also talking, even joking, quite detachedly about their upcoming deaths.
  • Nearly every act carried out by the villains in Angel Of The Bat was the result of a single death seeker: The Seraphim was made immortal by some kind of hexing ritual by Deacon Blackfire, who told him he would only be allowed into heaven when he fulfilled his purpose of destroying the sinful of Gotham. It also justifies some of his Bond Villain Stupidity- he doesn't kill members of the Bat-family until things get extreme because, if all else fails, he wants to torment Batman enough to push him to kill him.
  • In Queen of Shadows, Nonki is a downplayed example. While he does see death as the only means to ever truly find peace and looks forward to it, he also knows that he's lived a sinful life and faces eternal punishment, unless he can find a way to insure that he reaches Nirvana.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
    • Subverted. The three pilots had been actively seeking (Rei) or passively wanting to die during the War, but they started to get better after the death of Kaworu.
    • Played straight with Keiko, who wanted to die after her mother's death.
  • In The Zeppo in Mind, every Slayer subconsciously wants to "surrender and embrace darkness". Xander and Faith theorize it's likely the real reason every Slayer dies so young; they eventually give in to a desire they're not even aware of. Xander helps Faith by giving her dreams of dark and violent sex to satisfy her desire for darkness.
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, the queen herself repeatedly states that she knows she won't leave the prison alive, and seems to have made peace with that thought.
  • Ask The New Hope's Peak has an interesting case with Monaca. She doesn't seek death by trying to find a worthy enemy to fight, she just taunts everyone and acts like a Jerkass, hoping that someone will kill her before the damage done to her legs does.
  • In Out of the Corner of the Eye, Francis White lives in constant agony due to Nyarlathotep making him immortal before flaying him. And while going insane has helped him cope with this, he hints at the fact that deep down he just wants to die.
  • Ageless: Whenever his semi-immortality gets to him (like after Kyoshi's death or when he believed the Avatar was gone forever during the Hundred Year War), Ryou would go looking for trouble, often signing on to fight in a battle hoping that someone would kill him. The Earth Kingdom even has a term for it; "going wolf".
  • X Men 1970: As trying to reason with the leader of a terrorist group who threatens blowing a building up, Cyclops realizes the guy actually wants a martyr death; and he intends to take as many people as possible with him.
    The guy had no intention of letting anyone in this building leave alive. Including himself.
    A deathwish? The lust for posthumous fame? Or just a more fitting, final Statement? The motivation didn't matter. All that would matter was the result.

    Films — Animated 
  • From Beauty and the Beast, the Beast becomes this after Belle leaves. When the castle is under attack, he outright says "Let them come." and it's only when he sees that Belle has returned that he fights back against Gaston.
  • Queen Elsa becomes this in Frozen when Hans lies to her that her sister Anna is dead because of her. She collapses to the ground, and Hans takes the opportunity to kill her. She doesn't bother to get away or use her powers to protect herself. Fortunately, Anna shows up and saves her.
  • In Igor, Scamper is a rabbit that Igor gave intelligence and immortality—to his annoyance, since Scamper wants to die. He gets grievously harmed numerous times throughout the movie, all while snarking about it, but winds up appreciating life more by the end.
  • Tigger becomes this in The Tigger Movie when Rabbit points out it's not safe to be in the snow.
    Rabbit: Are you crazy? It's not safe out here.
    Tigger: Exactakly! That's why you should all go home where it is safe. But I've got to wait here in my family tree for MY! REAL! FAMILY!
  • In Up, there's a kind of variation — Word of God said Carl's motivation was originally supposed to be using the balloons so he could basically be with Ellie "in heaven." Of course, you couldn't actually have him kill himself and there wasn't much of a story you could get of him just floating around in the sky being sad, so the plot gradually changed to him trying to reach Paradise Falls (where he and Ellie always dreamed of visiting) while finding new meaning for his life.
  • Peter B. Parker in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has elements of being the death-seeker; thinking that he's ruined any hope of a future with his MJ, he's more than willing to stay behind to shut down the super-collider and send the other Spider-people home, even knowing that he won't survive long in this universe. Miles Morales manages to convince him to go home.

    Books – Literature 
  • In ‘’A Gameof Thrones’’, Robert Baratheon wants to abdicate, travel to the east, became a mercenary, and probably die because he’s too fat to even fit in his armor.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Forrest Gump has Lt. Dan, who has ancestors who have fought, and died, in every major American war. He winds up making it out of The Vietnam War alive and becomes one of these, feeling like he's a failure for not continuing the "family tradition", so to speak. He gets over it after surviving Hurricane Carmen.
    • In the book's sequel Gump and Co., he gets killed by friendly fire during Operation Desert Storm.
  • Nick in The Deer Hunter is a Shell-Shocked Veteran traumatized by the terrors of the Vietnam war. He never recovered from an incident where he was forced to play a game of Russian Roulette for the amusement of his Viet Cong capturers. He ends up as an Empty Shell living out his life doing Russian Roulette for money in Saigon.
  • James Bond movie Skyfall. Oh yes, Bond killed the villain, but it's made fairly clear that Raoul Silva would've killed himself after completing his revenge on M.
    Silva: So, I had only one thing left. My cyanide capsule in my back left molar. You remember, right? So, I broke the tooth and bit into the capsule. It...burned all my insides, but I didn't die. Life clung to me like a disease. And then I understood why I had survived. I needed to look in your eyes one last time.
  • Sgt. McCron in The Thin Red Line after his entire squad dies. (In the novel, he merely has a nervous breakdown.)
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The Baron doesn't mind death. In fact, he recommends it.
    Baron: And that was only one of the many occasions on which I met my death, an experience which I don't hesitate strongly to recommend!
  • In the various The Prophecy movies, fallen angel Gabriel's unwillingly-revived henchpeople fall into this category: when one them gets (re-)fatally shot by a protagonist, his last comment is a sincere "Thanks pal, you're a sport!"
  • Doc Holliday in Tombstone. " the consumption...might as well shoot at people."
  • Also Bodhi in Point Break (1991), to an extent.
  • John Ryder from The Hitcher. As the plot uncovers, he repeatedly asks Jim Halsey to kill him in cold blood (after their first encounter when Jim picked up Ryder as an unsuspecting hitchhiker). When Jim fails to do so, John proceeds to go on a path of carnage.
  • Stargate: Following his son accidentally shooting himself with Jack's gun, Jack O'Neill undertakes what he figures is probably a suicide mission.
    Dr. Daniel Jackson: [to Colonel O'Neil] I don't want to die. And your men don't want to die, and these people certainly don't want to die. It's a shame you're in such a hurry to.
  • Riggs in Lethal Weapon films start out this way, but his partnership with Murtaugh changes him for the better.
  • Louis, in the film version of Interview with the Vampire, becomes this when his young wife dies in childbirth and the baby doesn't survive either. His willingness to die leaves him open to Lestat's machinations. Note that this is a complete change from the original novel, in which Louis was unmarried.
  • Plot of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is set in motion when Larry Talbot (the Wolf Man) is accidentally resurrected and sets out to find the way to keep himself dead permanently.
  • Miles Tuck in Tuck Everlasting, due to losing his wife and children. He's fought in every war he can find and regularly picks fights, trying (unsuccessfully) to die.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Of the commanding officer's Survivor Guilt/Shell-Shocked Veteran variety, we have James Norrington in the opening. He'd deliberately steered his ship into a hurricane while chasing Jack Sparrow, resulting in the loss of the ship and most of the crew, and having to resign his commission. The next time we see him, he's a grimy drunk who seemed to be pretty zealous about his bar fights.
  • The WWI pilot in The Mummy (1999) wants to go out in a blaze of glory like the rest of his deceased war buddies. Seeing as he dies fighting a giant face made of sand while successfully escorting Rick and Johnathan to Hamunaptra, it's probably safe to say that he succeeded. His last words?
    "Here I come, laddies!" [huge laugh]
    • Hell, it's how they sell him on taking the mission in the first place.
    Winston: So, what's your little problem got to do with His Majesty's Royal Air Corps?
    Rick: Not a damn thing.
    Winston: Is it dangerous?
    Rick: Well, you probably won't live through it.
    Winston: By Jove! Do you really think so?
    Jonathan: Well, everybody else we've bumped into has died. Why not you?
  • Much like one of its main inspirations, The Dark Knight Rises puts Batman firmly in this territory. His world, his future, and his entire life has been shattered, so despite being in bad physical shape, he puts the cowl back on and throws himself into a fight with a much tougher opponent rather than find a way to live as Bruce Wayne. He finds his "fear of death" again and by the end of the film, he's able to give up being Batman and find a life for himself.
  • Sir Lancelot in Excalibur. He's more of a defeat seeker than a death seeker though, having traveled around looking for a King who was good enough to beat him and thereby win his fealty. He claims he was Cursed with Awesome.
  • J.B. Books in The Shootist. The death that was coming for him, though, was far worse than the death he sought.
  • In Man of Steel, Zod admits straight up he has nothing more to live for and goads Superman several times during their fight that he will have to kill him or be killed. Even his final act — trying to fry innocents with Heat Vision while in a choke hold — is basically pleading for Kal-El to end it.
  • Subtly hinted at with Riddick in Pitch Black. That trait is (mostly) ditched in later incarnations.
  • In The Grey Zone, most of the Sonderkommando can't live with what they've been forced to do — assisting the Nazis in disposing of the bodies from the gas chambers by cremating the bodies of other Jews, or they'll be killed as well. Simon discusses this quite extensively with Dr. Nyizli, stating that he doesn't want to live after everything is done. He chooses to die in the explosion which destroys the crematoria.
  • The Nature Of The Beast has this trait as a reveal in the final act. The main characters are a serial killer and a white-collar embezzler who know each other's secret. It seems like the meek wage-slave is the embezzler and the brash vagabond is the killer. However, it turns out that the vagabond is the embezzler, and he's been tormenting the serial killer wage-slave because he wants to be killed by him.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier ominously implies this about, of all people, Captain America. His 70-year sleep has robbed him of his entire world; he's a 20-something WWII vet stuck in an era where the girl he loves is 90 years old, long married, and is bedridden and suffering from Alzheimer's and later he finds he may have "died" for nothing — Hydra is alive and at the heart of SHIELD, and his childhood friend has been turned into a mindless weapon. When Sam Wilson asks him what makes him happy, Steve candidly tells him he doesn't know. Throughout the film, he takes one deadly risk after another and during the climax he gives Maria Hill the order to have the carriers fire on each other — despite him still being on one of them — and seems to resign himself to going down with the ship. He only springs back into action when he sees Bucky trapped under one of the girders, and when Bucky tries to kill him, he refuses to fight back.
  • The Last Samurai:
    • Nathan Algren, due to the massacres of the Indians he had to carry out previously, which still haunt him. While training the fledgling modern Japanese army, he gets on the firing range and orders a recruit to shoot him (only to miss, predictably) to prove a point about the soldiers not being ready for combat yet. Later in Katsumoto's mountain village, he doesn't even react when a Samurai warrior threatens to decapitate him.
    • Katsumoto labels himself as one as well.
  • The reckless and rage-filled way Darth Vader/Anakin dueled with Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of Revenge of the Sith could be explained by a combination of this trope and being drunk on the dark side. There were several times during that duel that Obi-Wan could have taken advantage of Anakin's complete lack of self-preservation before he actually did.
  • Loki shows shades of this in Thor: The Dark World. When his former friends and his brother threaten to kill him if he betrays Thor, he responds to their threats with superficially unconcerned one-liners, and later, when he sees that his brother is losing a battle against Kurse, he risks his life to save him, appearing to get mortally wounded in the process. Merely minutes before that, he saved Jane's life's without a second thought and would have most definitely been sucked into the black-hole grenade in the process if it hadn't been for Thor. Possibly still a subverted trope, as how injured he actually was in the battle hasn't yet been explained.
  • The War Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road believe that an impressive death is the way to Valhalla - such as hurling themselves onto an enemy vehicle holding a grenade-fitted spear while high as a kite on chrome spray paint and bellowing "WITNESS ME!" at the top of their lungs. Given that most of them have cancer or some other unpleasant side-effects of the post-apocalyptic setting - Nux makes reference to "night fevers", has visible tumours on his neck, and is in such bad shape early in the film that he needs to have Max's Type O blood piped in from the front of his car during the initial pursuit of Furiosa's war rig - it would probably be a comparatively noble way of sparing themselves a slow, painful death, if they weren't serving a weapons-grade asshole like Immortan Joe. Nux, unlike the others, gets his death in the form of a Heroic Sacrifice after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, Kaulder, especially in the flashbacks, seeks death to reunite with his deceased wife and child. Unfortunately for him, he's immortal, but in the present day, he seems to have come to terms with this.
  • Murder in the First: Young asks Stamphill to change his plea to guilty and get him the death penalty several times, as he's afraid of going back into solitary otherwise, which he views (with reason) as a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Blazing Saddles features a variation. After nearly gunning down a kid, Jim gave up gun-fighting and tried to drink himself to death.
    Bart: A man drink like that and he don't eat, he is going to die.
    Jim: (wistfully) When?
  • Gettysburg doesn't go into the details of the matter (see the Literature entry for The Killer Angels for that) but still clearly depicts Confederate general Dick Garnett as determined to die on the field of battle. General Armistead, aware of this, tries to get his superiors to intervene, but they can't decently do so because the Confederate officership is so obsessed with personal honor. Garnett nearly reaches "The Angle" and then appears to deliberately ride down a Union cannon; the next shot is of his horse, riderless.note 
  • Falcon Rising: At the start of the film, John is suicidal, both considering using a gun on himself and interrupting a liquor store robbery by taunting one of the robbers to shoot him.
  • They Look Like People: Both Wyatt and Christian have shades of this.
    • At one point, Wyatt puts the barrel of nailgun in his mouth as if on a whim and pauses for a long time before taking it out. He tries to put a nail through his hand, but the nailgun jams.
    • Christian admits to contemplating suicide in the previous year before seeing a therapist for a single session. In the climax, he volunteers to let Wyatt tie him up and gag him, knowing that Wyatt might murder him in a fit of paranoid psychosis.
  • Fearless (1993): After narrowly surviving the plane crash, Max believes that he's not truly alive. He keeps gambling with his life to test out his hypothesis, such as walking into traffic, dangling off the edge of a rooftop, and eating food that he's deathly allergic to. He only recovers at the end after going through a second Near-Death Experience.
  • Solomon Lane, the Big Bad of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, becomes this in Mission: Impossible – Fallout after having been tortured and interrogated for two years. During the chase in Paris, he doesn't flinch when Ilsa tries to shoot him and in the climax, he stays behind rather than escape on a helicopter with Walker, planning to die when the nuclear bombs detonate.
  • At the start of Avengers: Endgame, Clint Barton loses his entire family when Thanos "snaps" half the universe out of existence. The five-year Time Skip shows Clint has now become the masked Ronin, dishing out brutal attacks on surviving crime cartels. It's obvious that Clint is risking his life so much on the hopes he dies and can be with his family. In fact, when Scott Lang warns of the dangers of a time travel experiment, Clint volunteers without hesitation, showing he doesn't mind if he doesn't come back. He even tries to sacrifice himself for the Soul Stone, arguing that after all he's done, he doesn't deserve to be happy with his family again.

  • 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!

    Tabletop Games 
  • The name comes from Death Seekers of the Lion Clan in Legend of the Five Rings. These 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:
    • 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.
      • 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 sleep 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.
    • There's also the Death Korps of Krieg, 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.
  • 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.
  • The life goal of Clan warriors in BattleTech is to die gloriously amidst a sea of fallen enemies. This proves that their genes are fit for the next generation. In fact, living past thirty is considered somewhat shameful.

  • 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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 Grisaia no Meikyuu would have you believe, in Grisaia no Rakuen 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.
  • New Danganronpa V3 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.
  • Grisaia no Rakuen: 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.

    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.
  • RWBY: Jaune is implied to have developed a complex by Volume 4 out of (what he perceives to be) his failure to protect Pyrrha. In the ambush at Haven Academy, when he's fighting Cinder, he outright says he doesn't care if he dies if it means giving his friends a chance. It's not that Jaune actively wants to die, but that he clearly doesn't value his life very much. When Cinder mocks this Declaration of Protection by skewering Weiss in front of him, the trauma is enough to unlock his Semblance (which is functionally Healing Hands) and this seems to have pulled him out of this.

  • 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.
  • Ellen from El Goonish Shive 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.
  • After being exiled to human lands, Durkon of The Order of the Stick 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."
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • Hank J. Wimbleton of Madness Combat is suggested to be like this, in that he once tries to reject an attempt to revive him.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • The Onion characterizes the entire zebra species having evolved to be eaten in its piece "Zebras: Nature's Ultimate Prey - Horrifying Planet".
  • 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.

    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.


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