World gone to Shit
Might as well quit
Whatever the reason (a guilty conscience, the world is simply too much to bear, self-hatred, whether reasonable or unreasonable, a belief that they're facing A Fate Worse Than Death, or simply having seen some really weird shit), a character may be driven to take their own life. This may be as little as pondering their existence or as much as holding a gun to one's head. Most times, the character will have second thoughts, or will be talked down by a friend, but in shows where Anyone Can Die, the character may go through with it. In any case, this is a powerful way to underscore the desperation of the character. In a Backstory, being Driven To Suicide can illuminate the character's Dark and Troubled Past. On desperate occasions, this can be a happy ending, but only if a majority of the viewers agree, and this is very rare.
In some cases, the reason for suicide may not be depression, but honor, as with ritual suicide. This is obviously more common in Japanese works (as in Japanese culture, traditionally suicide can be done to cleanse one's honor) than in Western ones (as in most Christian sects, suicide traditionally is a shameful act — but classical settings allow it to be presented as honourable, e.g. in Shakespeare). It was also accepted by various ancient Greek philosophies, particularly that of the Stoics, as well as the ancient Romans and Egyptians, both of whom lauded it as a dignified and timely alternative to illness, dementia, or disgrace. Some Proud Warrior Races, such as the nomadic Scythians, preferred suicide as an alternative to dying in bed, thus making this trope Older Than Feudalism. By contrast, Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, et al.) abhor suicide, believing that only God is permitted to say when a life may be ended — however, there is considerable debate over issues like euthanasia, capital punishment, and killing in war.
At the other extreme, victims of The Corruption, Compelling Voice, or other forms of compulsion may resort to this to prevent the monster they are about to become from being unleashed on the world. This may allow Dying as Yourself.
This is regularly played for laughs, despite the risk of falling into "Dude, Not Funny!" territory. Also incidentally, deliberately pushing someone into suicide is treated the same as premeditated first-degree murder in many countries. For example, grave bullying (at school or elsewhere) can, unfortunately, result in the victim going to very great lengths to escape it.
See also: I Cannot Self-Terminate, Suicide by Cop, Suicide by Sea, Ate His Gun, Barefoot Suicide, Bath Suicide, Better to Die than Be Killed, Goodbye, Cruel World!, Gayngst-Induced Suicide, Suicide by Sunlight, Murder-Suicide and Mid-Suicide Regret.
Contrast Bungled Suicide and Interrupted Suicide, where the character's attempt fails or is stopped by somebody else; Happily Failed Suicide, where the character is grateful to be alive after all; Mistaken for Suicidal, where a character is mistakingly thought to be suicidal when they're not; Accidental Suicide where a character kills themself but had zero intention of doing so; and Suicide Is Painless, where the character has no reason to kill themself, but does so anyway. Also contrast Seppuku, a form of suicide usually associated with Samurai, which is done to retain honor if all other choices mean violating it. Not to be confused with Too Dumb to Live, where a character makes a decision stupid enough to unintentionally lead to their own death.
As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fairy Tales
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Mythology & Religion
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Visual Novels
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Other Media