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Doves Mean Peace

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"Now the world is ready for you
And the wonders you can do
Make a hawk a dove
Stop a war with love"
— Opening theme of Wonder Woman (1975)
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In media, it is fairly common to depict doves as a symbol of peace. This can appear either in the form of a peace offering being a dove, a dove (or dove-like) character being a pacifist, or even a major event being symbolized by a dove. Doves can also be used in this context as symbols of love and other positive emotions, to the point of even belonging to a Goddess Of Love. Usually, when doves are depicted this way, they usually carry an olive branch in their beaks (due to the associations of olive branches with peace). This trope extends to pigeons as well, since it's just a different name for the dove. May also show up as Rule of Symbolism.

This trope is Older Than Feudalism; The Bible depicts doves as being manifestations of the Holy Spirit and God's personal messengers, which would explain its popularity in religious imagery. This is in turn inheritted from a long history of these birds as sacred in the Levant.

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Sub-trope of Divine Birds. Contrast Pesky Pigeons. Compare Noble Bird of Prey, Cute Owl, The Owl-Knowing One, Bluebird of Happiness and Clever Crows for other examples of birds being depicted with positive traits. Related to Disturbed Doves.

See also Sweet Sheep, another animal that plays a similar role as doves (typically paired up) and also prominent in religions and media.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece plays with this trope with Hattori, Rob Lucci's pet white pigeon. Lucci is a cold-blooded government assassin who is willing to murder hostages so they don't get in the way of his target, so him having a pet that symbolizes peace seems ironic. But from Lucci's perspective, his acts of "Dark Justice" are all meant for maintaining peace and the greater good (In the aforementioned hostage situation, the hostages were a king's guards who had been captured by pirates. Lucci decided that if they were too weak to protect the king then, they needed to be eliminated so the king would hire new guards who would do a better job keeping his country safe in the future), making Hattori a fitting pet.

    Art 
  • Pablo Picasso's painting La Colombe, which is a realistic picture of a pigeon, was created during the World Congress of Intellectuals in Defense of Peace and became the emblem for the World Peace Council in Paris in 1949.
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    Comic Books 
  • Hawk and Dove was originally about a pair of superpowered brothers, the violent Hawk and the pacifist Dove. There have been many other versions of the heroes since, but Dove is always much less violent and aggressive than Hawk.

    Fan Works 
  • Pokemon Solar Light And Lunar Dark: Doveheart is a Pokémon that takes a lot of traits from doves. It is also said that its presence can calm even the tensest of situations, and that if Dovehearts of both genders appear, even the tensest of rivalries become the best of friends.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Birdemic: At the end of the film, as the protagonists are about to be attacked by eagles, a flock of doves swoop in, save them from the hawks, and chase after said birds. Considering the fact that the movie ends abruptly at this point, it could also be argued that the doves helped end the titular Birdemic.
  • Blade Runner: Roy Batty captures a dove before confronting Deckard on the roof. He then decides to save Deckard's life, delivers some final parting words to his former enemy, and then dies gracefully, releasing the dove to fly away into the sky, symbolizing Roy at last having found peace.
  • Mars Attacks!. A Martian ship lands on Earth in Nevada so the Martians can meet with the U.S. government. When the Martian Ambassador says that they come in peace, one person watching the event releases a dove as a symbol of the hope of peace between the Martians and Earth. Unfortunately, the Martian Ambassador kills the dove and the Martians start using their Disintegrator Rays on the humans.
  • On the Waterfront: Joey likes to keep pigeons, which is used as Rule of Symbolism to highlight his saintly nature. However, Joey is shoved off a roof later in the film and his pigeons are killed by Jimmy (in a bid to get back at Terry for snitching), showing that while pigeons represent goodness and innocence, these traits are vulnerable to more violent characters.
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915): Ironic, considering the film's promotion of violent racist values, but Ben and Else kissing a dove together is used to both symbolise their love for each other and peace between the Northern and Southern states of America.
  • Aptly subverted in promo material for Evil Hero Peacemaker from The Suicide Squad where he is shown surrounded by doves but there's also blood in the background.

    Literature 
  • The Bible is probably the Trope Codifier. Doves have been depicted in the book as a sign of hope and as messengers of God. In the story of Noah's Ark, a dove's not returning after Noah released it meant that the ship could now land and that Noah's family had a future. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit also chose to manifest as a dove during Jesus' christening.
  • William Shakespeare once created a poem called "The Phoenix and the Turtle", where he talks about the Turtle Dove. He refers to them as beautiful and loyal creatures and draws upon their symbolism as representatives of love and devotion.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brittas Empire: At the beginning of the episode "We All Fall Down", Colin procures a flock of doves, with the flock being intended to be released for the Eternal Flame ceremony celebrating "World Peace and Hunger" week. The ceremony ends up going awry, however, and the doves are electrocuted and burned to death as a result.
  • Red Dwarf: The antivirus that Kryten uses to combat the extremely malicious Armageddon virus in "Gunmen of the Apocalypse" is known as the "Dove Antidote Program", and is actually symbolized as a dove within the AR simulation of Kryten's mind.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: The Elba II and Tantalus Penal Colonies (which are both colonies that dealt with trying to treat the insane and cure them of their insanity) use insignias with a dove in it.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: Doves are associated with the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, who was a Goddess Of Love. Her association with doves also spread to Venus (God of love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity, and victory), and Fortuna (Goddess of Fortune), causing the dove to become associated with them as well.
  • Inverted in Mesopotamian Mythology, where doves are associated with Ishtar, the goddess of war.
  • The Bible:
    • After the Flood of Noah, Noah sends out a dive to search for land. It returns carrying back an olive branch representing that the violent flood is over - possibly the Trope Maker, or at least Trope Codifier.
    • In The Four Gospelsnote  and in Christianity more generally, the Holy Spirit is symbolized with a dove. Paul's letters frequently associate the Holy Spirit with peace, which in turn led later Christian thinkers to associate doves with peace more generally.
  • In Islam, doves and the pidgeon family are widely respected, due to the belief that they assisted The Prophet Muhammad in distracting his enemies outside the cave of Thaw'r in the great Hijira. Due to a pair of pigeons (alongside a spider weaving its cobwebs) laying their eggs and building a nest, Muhammad's enemies believed that he couldn't actually be in that cave (even though he was in there), which likely saved him.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theater 
  • In 1776, as they are discussing what the symbol of the new United States would be, Thomas Jefferson suggest the dove, showing he wanted the new country started in peace. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin override with the eagle and the turkey, respectively. Adams finally convinces them to use the eagle.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War: Played for tragic irony with the Arkbird; a giant low-orbiting spacecraft whose aerodynamic, almost angelic design evokes the imagery of a white dove. The Arkbird was initially built as a collaboration between two superpowers and former rivals, the Osean Federation and the Union of Yuktobanian Republics, and thus became a symbol of peace and cooperation between them. Rather than being used for warfare as it was originally conceived during their previous arms race, the Arkbird was deployed to destroy orbiting asteroid fragments following the Ulysses disaster, and served as the site of treaties aimed at reducing the number of strategic arms and nuclear weapons worldwide. All was well and good... until a full-scale war suddenly breaks out between Osea and Yuktobania. The escalating conflict leads Osea to deploy the Arkbird once more during the events of the game, this time as a weapon to counter Yuktobania's ballistic missile submarines from above with its orbital laser. While this gives Osean forces a significant advantage over the enemy, your wingmate Kei Nagase laments that her beloved "white bird of peace" is now being used for warfare. This comes to a head when the Grey Men — a sinister third party who orchestrated the war from the beginning — secretly sabotage, hijack, and equip the Arkbird with a nuclear warhead to carry out a False Flag Operation, further perverting the Arkbird's purpose and forcing your squadron to destroy it before the Grey Men succeed in worsening the conflict.
    Snow: What a pitiful sight.
  • The Binding of Isaac: The "Dead Dove" is an item that gives Isaac flight and spectral tears. For bonus points, it can be located in an Angel Room and contributes to Isaac potentially transforming into a Seraphim.
  • Cookie Run: One of the obtainable Treasures in OvenBreak is the Peaceful Dove Bun, which will award the player with Peaceful Jellies after they go without colliding with obstacles for a certain amount of time.
  • A subtle name example from Metroid Dread that emphasizes a "doves-versus-hawks" ideological conflict. The backstory heavily involves two tribes of the Chozo Bird People: the Thoha and the Mawkin. The name "Thoha" is derived from swapping around the syllables of the Japanese word hato (鳩), which means "dove/pigeon"; their tribe was a Proud Scholar Race that peacefully studied the native lifeforms and Aeion energy of SR388 and only reluctantly created the Metroids to wipe out the dangerous X Parasites. The name "Mawkin" is derived from the Japanese word mōkin (猛禽), which means "bird of prey"; they were Proud Warrior Race Guys who had a brutal society on ZDR that believed Might Makes Right and mistreated the beasts of that planet, and who also massacred most of the Thoha when the latter wanted to destroy SR388 to neutralize the Metroid threat — because Raven Beak wanted to use the Metroids to take over the galaxy.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pidove line takes a lot of inspiration from turtle doves and homing pigeons. They're also extremely loyal, with Tranquil's Pokedex entry noting that they're rumored to live in a place where no war exists.
    • Togekiss is also partly based on white doves, and it is said that it only appears where there is no conflict.

    Webcomics 
  • Of Mice and Mayhem: In order to signify the new peaceful relations between the United States and the unnamed middle eastern nation whose former dictator Gadget killed while under mind control, a "Dove of Peace" is planned to be released at a large event. Humorously, said dove is a foul-mouthed jerk who makes Pesto look tame.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-514 invokes this. A flock of anomalous doves that generate a field of influence around themselves which cause all weapons to malfunction and fall apart, and even cause negative and aggressive emotions to fade.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ducktators: While the ducks and geese start a war, the Dove of Peace tries to end it. Subverted when the Ducktators ignore the Dove of Peace and walk right over him. The Dove is furious and beats them up, which encourages the other animals to fight back as well.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Last Problem", Fluttershy gathers together a flock of white doves, alongside a pair of swans, to fly in synchrony during Twilight's coronation as a symbol of the beginning of a new age of peace and harmony.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Day of the Living Gelatin", Jenny's gelatin sculpture takes the form of a dove to symbolize her desire for world peace.
  • The Simpsons: "Realty Bites" has Marge become a real estate agent and sell a house to the Flanders. She neglects to tell them its a house where people got murdered. Marge is constantly worried the same thing might happen to the Flanders to the point she imagines the Dove on Ned's check urging her to tell them the truth.

    Real Life 
  • In politics, the terms "hawk" and "dove" (or as adjectives, "hawkish" and "dovish") are used to describe politicians and political actions that are seen as being very aggressive, relying on the use of force to get an outcome that is most beneficial to one's self (hawk) or as being more passive, relying on diplomacy and other more peaceful ways of coming to a mutually beneficial outcome for both sides (dove). These are generally used as pejoratives, but some politicians do invoke the comparison themselves and wear the label with pride.
  • The Olympic Games opening ceremonies originally had a tradition (starting in 1920 after World War I) of releasing doves as a sign of peace. This ended after an incident in the 1988 Seoul games where the doves perched on the Olympic Cauldron and were burned to death when it was lit; and in the years since the ceremonies have incorporated symbolic dove imagery instead.
  • The United Nations often uses doves as symbols of World Peace Day.
  • Real life pigeons do tend to be rather passive. Angry males are known to slap each other with their wings, however.
  • The Dove Foundation is an organisation which uses the symbol of a dove on movie releases to denote whether it is suitable viewing for the whole family.


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